I’d like to think that I’m a “it’s never too late” type of person. For example, it’s never to late to visit a foreign country, start a new career or learn a new skill. But, let’s be honest, there are a lot of things that you should accomplish before you turn 30. Why? Because you have the energy, time, and freedom to do so.
While I’m over 30 now, I can look back on things I did do and things I didn’t do and laugh.
While there could be hundreds of accomplishments that I could have listed, here are my essential 29 things that you should accomplish before you turn the big 30. As Nike would say, “Just Do It.” You will be glad you did.
Note: I still recommend doing most of these things after 30 as well, it’s just easier to do most before.
1. Attend college.
Getting bogged down with student loans is definitely a concern. However, college provides priceless experiences like meeting new friends, getting out of your comfort zone, and learning skills that will help land a sweet job. And, most employment will require this. Graduating will also give you a leg up on other people applying for a job.
2. Learn to cook for yourself.
There’s nothing quite as rewarding as making a home-cooked meal and receiving compliments from friends and family. Besides, cooking your own food ensures that you stay happy and healthy for the rest of your life since it always includes fresh ingredients (wink) but overall, it can be a fun hobby. You don’t have to become a gourmet cook unless you want to — think simple, straightforward, healthy meals.
3. Know your family history.
This gives you a chance to actually sit down and talk with your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles while they’re still in your life. Also, you may be able to learn about a new culture and even plan a visit to where your family originated from.
I ended up visiting England last year. This is where my heritage comes from. It gave me a new sense of meaning and understanding.
4. Run a marathon.
“Running a marathon is one of those epic milestones,” Mort Nace, general manager of Medved Running and Walking Outfitters, tells USA Today. In doing so, you set goals, push yourself, build confidence, explore new places, and meet new people.
It’s also nice that for the rest of my life I can say I ran a marathon. Bragging rights.
5. Start a workout routine.
The sooner you start working out, the better chance you have in maintaining a set routine for the rest of your life. It should go without saying that exercise controls your weight, mood, decreases stress and prevents many negative health conditions and diseases.
6. Start saving.
It may seem too early to think about your retirement. However, the sooner you start saving, the more money you’ll have when it’s time to enjoy your golden years. The money you save in your 20’s will equal millions by the time of your retirement.
I would start by setting up a retirement account and contributing monthly to it. Even if it’s $25 a month, it’s something and will help long term.
7. Improve your wine knowledge.
As you get older, you’re going to be invited to more events where wine will be served, so you don’t want to be intimidated. While it doesn’t mean that you have to become a sommelier, you should, however, learn the basics like general wine and food pairings or how to properly open a bottle of wine. I don’t even drink wine and I could tell you a lot about it.
8. Find your BFF.
It’s funny about friendship. When you’re younger everyone is your friend. As you get older, however, you realize you only really need a handful of friends. And, that most important friend is your bestie. You know. The person who knows everything about you and is still friends with you. Find a quality friend whom you enjoy and remember that friendships require effort. Put the time in so you have this important stabilizer in your life.
9. Land your dream job.
There’s something to be said about working various jobs since they can teach you a variety of skills. But, do you want to be doing all that change-up for the next 20 or 30 years? Find your dream job and make sure that you do all you can to secure it.
10. Find your cause.
Doing good for others makes you a stronger and more well-rounded individual. Find out what you care about and devote yourself to it — whether it’s throwing a fundraiser or volunteering at the local soup kitchen. I personally help with Open to Hope, it gives me a sense of meaning and worth.
11. Rage at a music festival.
While it would sound awesome to be 70 years old and attending an all day festival, chances are that you won’t be up for that. Enjoy the loud music and large crowds while you can. Even if you don’t like it, try it once.
12. Write a story.
Writing something like a fictional story can boost your creativity and help develop your writing skills, which in today’s fast-paced world of texting and tweeting could be in low supply.
13. Read, read, read.
Reading has several benefits like boosting your imagination, improving your communication skills, keeping your brain sharp and help you learn new things and experiences. Make reading a habit now and stick with it throughout your life.
14. Learn to get organized.
This may not sound like the sexiest of topics. But working on your organizational skills now will pay off later since it will reduce stress and save you a whole bunch of time and money.
15. Stop smoking.
We all make foolish mistakes when we’re younger. And, for many of us, that mistake is smoking. It might have been cool in college, but it’s not a habit that is good for your health or those around you. And it’s pretty pricey, too.
16. Indulge yourself in luxury at least once.
This doesn’t mean that you should max out your credit card. It does mean that you should enjoy the finer things every now and then, such as eating at an exclusive restaurant or purchasing a luxury item like a Gucci bag. It will help you to save and budget for the purchase and the experience or product will last for years. Don’t be that person that always has to have the best and spend away your “real money” for the future, but do make a splurge at least once. It will also motivate you in the future and push yourself for better.
Yes, you read that correctly. Fail. And fail a lot. There’s no better way to learn, grow and drive yourself to succeed in the future than to fail. Fail fast and learn to pick yourself up fast as well.
I’ve failed countless times but it’s made me a much better person. Much easier to fail before 30 than after.
18. Learn how to network.
Building a network can be beneficial in both your personal and professional lives. For example, maybe you had drinks with a couple from Britain while they were visiting the U.S. Now you have a contact overseas. If you attend an industry event, you should be able to interact with influencers or employers and make an impression with them. If you need their assistance to advance your career, they’re only an email or phone call away. Networking rounds out your life.
19. Sing in public.
Believe it or not, singing changes your brain. In fact, singing can make you happy and reduce depression or feeling lonely. If you have a fear of public speaking, there’s not a better way to overcome this fear than by singing your heart out in front of strangers during karaoke night. Sing so much that someone tells you to shut-up and you won’t be fearful again. Sing — even if you are really lousy at it. If you are truly too shy to do this — the shower is also a good option and so it belting out a tune in the car.
20. Travel by yourself.
This may sound frightening. But traveling by yourself will push you to get out of your shell, help you discover who you really are and have experiences that you probably wouldn’t have had if you traveled with someone else. It will also give you valuable thinking time.
21. Familiarize yourself with a foreign language.
I speak two languages and am learning another. If I can do it, you certainly can. You don’t have to become fluent in another language, though this would be the best option. You should, at least become somewhat acquainted with a foreign language. After all, this helps you learn about new cultures, exposes you to new people and helps you become more open-minded. The older you get, however, the more challenging (but not impossible) this will become.
22. Enjoy the outdoors.
There’s nothing as beautiful and inspiring as nature. Don’t take it for granted. Regardless if you’re just star-gazing, hiking or whitewater rafting, get outside as much as you can.
23. Rent a house with your friends.
Whether if it’s renting out a beach house or cabin for skiing, take the opportunity to spend as much time with your friends as possible. You probably won’t have too many times to relive these experiences. Besides, you may even learn how to budget as you set aside money for the rental. I personally like to do this at least once a year.
24. Get lost.
There’s really nothing like hopping in the car and just driving to some unknown location. You never know what kind of adventure you’ll run into. Eventually you have to abandon some of these types of opportunities once you have responsibilities like a family.
25. Go out on dates.
How else do you expect to meet Mr. or Mrs. Right? Best of all, you meet interesting people as well as enjoy the process of the dating scene before you do settle down. Stop worrying about having an awful boring night. Learn to enjoy whatever happens and have fun with it. So what if lightening doesn’t strike? Learn how to date well.
26. Pull several all-nighters.
No one is stopping you from partying hard after you’re 30. It’s just going to be a whole lot harder to recover. Get this out of your system while you can. This doesn’t have to be a binge of some kind. Go laser tag all night, dance all night, play pool, games or cards all night.
27. Get yourself out of debt.
Debt is bad. There’s really no other way to say it. Make sure you can pay off as much debt as you can so that you’ll be able to save for the future. This will help you be able to afford things like a home or car. Better yet, stay out of debt in the first place. Debt is a downer and a stressor you don’t need as a weight choking you and holding you back from great opportunities.
28. Build your brand.
Thanks to Google and social media we all have a brand nowadays. If you aren’t working on becoming the top Google result when you search for yourself or have some sort activity on social media then you’re doing something very wrong for your business. Having a brand will help you network and potentially even land your dream job.
29. Move somewhere entirely new.
It’s scary as hell. But it will force you to get out of your comfort zone and experience everything from new cultures to meeting new people. Everyone should do this at least once and don’t let yourself go back to the comfort spot until you have made it in your new local. You won’t believe the difference in yourself.
Here’s to some of the best years of our lives.