It's coming and it's coming up fast... The big three-oh. Turning 30 is a huge deal for so many reasons; for starters, it's the pivotal point in adulthood where people realize that not only are they old enough to know better, but they're also old enough to do better—hence the reason for this list!
It can be scary but it's also exhilarating to recognize three decades of experience on this earth, and that's worthy of celebrating. This isn't a typical article that will toot the "woo-hoo, 30 is the new 20!" horn. Rather, it's one of celebratory nature to let all newcomers to 30—or those who are almost there—know that life is just beginning to get good.
Turning 30 is a wonderful thing, but there are definitely some items to either check off or add to the "to-do" list before one gets there.
The fact is that all of these awesome life changes can be experienced at any age and they should, 100% be crossed on any self-respecting adult's list. Using 30 is a benchmark just for fun—but the more people can experience in this life, the better! Without further ado, here are 30 things everyone should want to do before they hit the big digits.
30 Make That Big Move (Literally, To Another Zip Code)
So many of us are so afraid to make a move like this, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with a change of scenery or with striking out on one's own.
Moving can be the most exhilarating feeling in the world because guess what? It marks the passage of time where you'll have a life that's all your own.
Being an adult doesn't need to suck, and this is one way to completely own it and live up to no one's expectations but your own. Blaze your own path!
29 Travel Outside Of The Country
This is a big one. Travel can do so much more than provide a reprieve from the monotony of everyday life—it can open your eyes to the world surrounding you and encourage you to both appreciate what you have while learning a new way of life. Being cultured isn't just for those with high salaries, and it can provide a life-changing experience that changes the way we view the world as a whole. Everyone should leave the comfort of their country at least once if only to see what else is out there.
28 Finish A Classic Novel (Or Many)
This novel doesn't specifically need to be Wuthering Heights (although it is an excellent option). Not only is it a proud feeling to finish off a classic, but it just makes you feel more intelligent.
There's plenty to be learned from the likes of words left behind by Tennyson and Shakespeare, and worlds to explore through Hawthorne and Milton.
If classic literature isn't your bag, try your hand at some beat poetry—Bukowski and Kerouac offer astoundingly raw views on the world.
27 Gift Ourselves With Something Extravagant
We all have fears of spending an extraordinary amount of money on ourselves (well, some of us do, anyway) and this is exactly why it should be done at least once. In need of a new coat for the winter? Or perhaps a strapping black dress that shows off every curve in just the right way? Just do it—not only does being almost 30 call for it, but you'll know it will be appreciated because it's being picked out and worn by none other than you. Appreciate yourself a bit more and allow for the luxury of splurging once in a while.
26 Change A Bad Job Or Settle Into A Profession
There is absolutely no time for working at a job that's despised any longer than humanly necessary. By age 30, we should all have a little more respect for ourselves than that.
Make it a goal for yourself to either quit the job you can't stand or, if you're without a professional path, make it a goal to find one.
Not all of us will find permanent jobs, though, and that's okay too—whatever it is you choose to do, just make sure that you're happy doing it. That, in itself, is an excellent goal for 30.
25 Take At Least One College Class, In Anything
College isn't for everyone, but that doesn't mean something can't be learned from attending a class. They're so accessible and easy nowadays, and can even be taken from the comfort of your own home. Websites such as EdX even offer free courses with no prerequisites other than signing up. Course materials are readily available and all students need to do is read and submit the work. In other words, learning is free—whether you're interested in rocket science or the philosophy of politics.
24 For The Good Of Humanity: Volunteer Time
Do good and be good because, by age 30, we can use all the good we can get.
A little positivity and karma never hurt anyone and if there's a cause you're passionate about, don't be afraid to give a little bit back.
Volunteering at a homeless shelter can literally change someone's life and, by extension, change yours as well. If animals strike a chord, there's no end to those that take on volunteers. If getting involved in the community is calling your name, seek out local support groups and nonprofits.
23 Download A Friend App And Meet New People
It never hurts to have too many people to turn to when things get rough or when they're going great. By 30, many of us have already experienced both great and not so great friendships. Humans will be human, which is why meeting new people can give you a whole new perspective—both on current friendships and the notion of having new ones. Download an app like Bumble or Hey Vina and make a coffee date—you never know who could be a potential sister from another mister.
22 Forgive, Ourselves And Others
It's not always easy to admit when people have shortcomings, especially when we need to admit that we have them, too.
The act of forgiveness seems simple but it's one of the most challenging things to do as an adult.
However, it's also never too late to reach out and repair a bridge that so desperately needs to be acknowledged. Even if it's not reciprocated, forgive others for the sake of your own mental well-being. Forgive yourself for the sake of loving who you are in spite of that.
21 Take A Mondo Road Trip
Just do it! If a car is easily accessible and you're the proud owner of a license then, in the words of my wise grandmother—bless her heart—"just go." It doesn't matter whether it's an hour or ten, a road trip is a road trip regardless. Cruising down an open highway with music blasting and a window open is the emotional equivalent to a trip to the therapist's office. Everyone should experience this at least once because there's no greater freedom than knowing you have no destination.
20 Pick One Day To Play Hooky And Conquer A Fear
Don't deny it, we all know that hooky isn't just for high schoolers and it happens with adults, too.
We've all played hooky from our jobs at least once, but what did you do with your day off?
We bet you didn't conquer a fear (and if you did, then we're mentally applauding you and your bravery). Take this day off to jump on a zip line, hitch a boat ride, or jump out of a plane. Seriously... Just be careful when you do it.
19 Cut All Our Hair Off Or Change Our Style
At 25, I cut almost all of my hair off for the sake of having a mohawk... It was also three different colors, none of them "normal." It was probably one of the greatest things I've ever done as far as my appearance because all of a sudden, I was free—free from judgment from anyone but myself, free of society's unspoken rules, and free to be myself. Get a haircut, buzz it, dye it a crazy color, change your style, but make sure that's it's utterly, unapologetically "you."
18 Get A Tattoo... Permanent Or Temporary
Henna is big these days, mainly because it's temporary and it's also visually stunning. If you're not big on permanent skin art, then get something fun and unique that's temporary.
If getting a real tattoo is on your list, then take this as a sign—stop hesitating and do it!
It's not as bad as some make it out to be and if it's something that means something, it will never be a regret. Trust me, I have an arm full... And then some.
17 Throw A Dinner Party And Challenge Our Cooking Skills
It might seem small and mildly stressful, but having a dinner party can be fun, elegant, and make for a positively enchanting experience. Everyone should throw one with their friends at some point or another and be sure to pull out all the stops. Go to the specialty food market, follow Ina Garten's recommendation for real vanilla, use china rather than paper plates—just have fun with it. It'll make you feel like an adult and royalty all in one. Go the extra mile and play some fun swing music, like Parov Stelar.
16 Open A Savings Account
This is super important. It doesn't matter how old we get, as adults, we always need a cushion. My parents always call this the "rainy day fund," and it's that and so much more.
Even if a savings account starts out with on ly fifty bucks, if you keep adding to it, you'll eventually move into the hundreds and then hit the thousands.
Before you know it, you'll have an emergency fund that will both ease your mind and allow you to enjoy the extras in life, free of charge.
15 Figure Out Your Most Important Goal
This sounds simple but it's actually quite difficult. When it comes down to it, do any of us really know what we want out of life? Well, that's exactly what we can now figure out. Whether it's the ultimate goal of owning a business, learning a skill, moving to another country, etc., a goal is a goal. The sooner it's written down, the sooner it becomes real and tangible. So don't be afraid to dream big or small, all goals are favored equally and are just as important.
14 Attend A Yoga (Or Other Fitness) Class
Yoga isn't just for those who are "bendy." It's a practice that encourages muscle growth, controlled breathing for maximum relaxation, and strength. It's intended for those who aren't flexible in order to reach full flexibility, which is the most common misconception most have about it.
If yoga isn't your thing, sign up for any other fitness class—the important thing is that you do it!
Physical fitness is important but it's also fun and will pull you out of your comfort zone and boost your confidence.
13 Rage At A Concert Or Festival
We don't mean to literally rage—but be involved! Whether it's as big as Coachella or something small and local, a festival is a festival. There's nothing like dancing away under the open sky, living it up with some friends, and listening to incredible tunes with an adult beverage in hand. You know how the Alanis Morisette song goes: "I've got one hand dancing freely, the other is holding onto a craft brew..." Or something to that effect. Either way, it's fun and should be done.
12 Treat Ourselves To An Elegant Fine Dining Experience
Alternately, having at least one fine dining experience in your life is important. It'll teach showcase manners, proper dining, and, most importantly, good food. Fine dining is an immersive experience that takes its diner's minds off the outside world just long enough to distract them by literal food art.
There's something magical about splurging on good drinks, phenomenal food, and dabbing your mouth with a soft cotton napkin.
It's not as snobby as many think and it's fun to get dressed up and dine out, especially if what you're paying for is worth it... Don't forget about dessert.
11 Pack It All Up And Immerse Ourselves In Nature
There are no and's, if's, or but's, nature has a healing quality to it. There's nothing like being surrounded by nothing but plant life (and occasionally some other life, too), walking at your own pace, with nothing in your mind other than following the blazes in front of you. It doesn't matter if the trail is a half mile or six, get out there and do it! Your mind and body will thank you later—especially if you have proper hiking boots, breathable clothing, and a pack with emergency essentials.
10 Check Out Our Family History
There's nothing more important in this life than family, and everyone should know just a little about theirs.
Learning where a family comes from can provide an appreciation for your ancestors and for life itself, depending on which hardships they went through just to be here.
You never know what you'll find, and if you find nothing at all? We can guarantee that you'll be just a little bit closer to your parents because of it... And that's a beautiful thing.
9 Live On Our Own For A While
Whether it's a month or several years, it's important to live life as an individual adult. No one ever got very far depending on someone else constantly and in this world, you need to depend on yourself first and foremost. Living alone can boost confidence in unimaginable ways while also pushing one out of their comfort zone in the most uncomfortable ways. It'll pay off though because these are all things you'll get used to—and be much better off for them. In time, it might even be calming to head out for coffee on your own. Yay, independence!
8 Spend A Holiday With Our Family, Then Spend It Away
This goes both ways. It's so important to make memories with family, whichever definition you follow—biological or otherwise.
Alternately, it's important to make your own traditions as an adult, whether you have your own family or not.
Spend a holiday with fam and enjoy all those childhood traditions, but also choose one holiday to spend abroad or just away from home. Finding a balance between "comfort zone" and exhilarating new experiences is all part of growing up and living life to the fullest.
7 Attend A Protest Or Rally
As someone who considers herself an activist, this isn't something that's only for the politically-minded. Protests and rallies are held all the time, for a myriad of varying issues. They could be advocating for awareness of an issue or an effort to draw attention to an unfair law or amendment but either way, they're important. Taking a stand, physically, is liberating and confidence-boosting. It'll give you that feeling that you did something, supported something, and gave it your all. It could even change the course of the future, making you part of history.
6 Hit The Club As Someone Else
It might sound funny, but it's a blast to head out for the night and take on a new identity.
Sometimes, heading out with your closest pals and taking on a new name, a new life history, and an even a new accent, can be liberating.
It can also give you a sense of self and help boost personal confidence levels that you didn't even know you had. As long as we're not committing to any serious trouble, there's no harm in assuming a new identity and partying it up.
5 Reach A Summit And Embrace It
Standing at the top of a mountain is both intimidating and invigorating. Reaching a mountain summit is inspiring in ways you could never dream of and everyone should aim for it at least once in their life.
It doesn't need to be a 15,000-foot peak; plenty of mountains have summits at 800-feet and below. Hiking a mountain helps to center your being, put things into perspective, and help you let go of whatever is clouding your mind. It'll also give ways to views you could never even dream of. Be forewarned, though—it's addicting.
4 Put Our Phones Down And Enjoy Life
This is so important! Too often, we find ourselves at the mercy of social media, just waiting to have our personal lives rocked by someone else's post.
The remedy to this is simple enough—just put your phone down.
It doesn't matter whether you're on vacation or at home, simply making eye contact with someone rather than a phone screen is so helpful in taming stress levels and encouraging social behavior. Who knows, you might even have a fruitful conversation with a co-worker (insert collective gasp here).
3 Stay In A B&B Or Hostel And Make A New Friend
Traveling is necessary, yet. However, so is socializing and meeting new people! Hostels can be a great (affordable) way to meet others in a new city or country. They can also provide insight into communal living and how people work together, which is such a valuable experience. Staying at a B&B can provide a bit more elevated version of this, allowing visitors to have breakfast with all those staying at the inn. You never know where you'll find friends in a new country, and they could turn out to be friends for life. Do it, you'll learn something new—guarantee it!
2 Learn A New Hobby Outside Of Our Comfort Zone
Do this on one condition—whatever it is must be cell phone-free and hands-on. Creating art with your hands is a brilliant way to release inner creativity.
Whether it's pottery, painting (paint & sips do count), knitting, etc., it's still an act of creating something that wasn't there previously.
This is empowering, transformative, and therapeutic for many. It's definitely something that should be experienced sooner rather than later, with so many positive and uplifting benefits. Not to mention, you'll always be able to make a gift for someone at the ready.
1 Witness Something Incredible
We know this sounds super vague, and that's because it is. Everyone's definition of "incredible" varies, which is why we're posing the challenge of witness something that means "incredible" to you. Whether it's heading off to a world wonder, witnessing a kind act by doing one, or getting that seemingly unattainable job—make it personal. Everyone should have a memory like this before they turn 30, but what many don't realize is that they can go out and experience it for themselves. This life is yours... What incredible thing will you do with it?