30 Things to Accomplish Before 30
If you’re lucky, you’ll make it to age 30. If you’re doubly lucky, those 30 years of life will be pretty awesome.
To help you in that goal, below is an exhaustive list of goals to achieve within your 20s, largely informed by one particular Asian-American woman’s experiences*.
*Any resemblance to people, places or objects that exist are coincidental and definitely not oversharing.
1. Have sex outside
Obviously, you should have sex in the first place. Well and safely, at that. But until you’ve experienced the thrill of having sex in the ocean (a bad idea), in Muir Woods on a hike (an ok idea), outside of a hot tub in someone’s backyard in Alameda (a great idea), you can’t know the joy of the crisp air on your skin and the ever-present threat of discovery. Caution: do not partake in this activity under any threat of police intervention. You cannot erase a sex offense from your record.
2. Travel abroad (not to Europe)
Look, Europe is fine. It’s beautiful and cultural and whatever. It should be your priority, however, to seek out travel in places that didn’t colonize so many people. Learn where the best pho in Hanoi is, look up the mummies in Mexico City, or find a market in Tangiers that sells live chickens because another one of your goals is to kill a chicken for dinner with your bare hands. As long as you can respect the culture, go farther.
3. Learn to puke
First of all, puking inside a car is amateur-hour. Puking in an uber is doubly so. Learn to roll down the window or open the fucking door. It’s not that hard. Recognize when the moment is quickly approaching to take-off. Accept that the vomit will happen and plan accordingly. This is not a time to be a hero.
4. Have a favorite establishment, “Cheers”-style
It doesn’t have to be a bar. A cafe will work nicely, a restaurant, a bookstore or a haberdashery. Find a place where you can get to know who works there, what they specialize in, where they’ll allow you to post up and feel comfortable. Learn to make yourself respectable and likable in the process. Be generous and usually, the world will be generous back.
5. Divulge your darkest secret
You don’t have to tell everyone. Pick one person, whether a friend or stranger, and tell them the secret you know deep in your heart is what keeps you from being a whole person. You know what I’m talking about. It’ll feel better, I promise. Except that you might end up in jail depending on what that secret is. If so, you have bigger things to worry about than this list.
6. Eat the goddamn piece of cake
Everyone goes through a crazy diet at some point. Unless your diet is only eating cakes, just eat the fucking cake. You can be healthy and still eat cake. It’s cake.
7. Write a resume
This is just an essential part of adulthood you should learn. And make sure a friend of yours with a good job looks at it.
8. Know your 3 biggest strengths and weaknesses
This is also something you should have a friend verify. You should be able to know immediately and concisely what makes you the person that you are. For instance, I am an impatient, easily-distracted and impetuous asshole. I am also a generous friend who is naturally curious with great taste. Having this skill under your belt will also help with online dating.
9. Join Tinder
Speaking of online dating, I don’t care if you’ve been married to your high school sweetheart for 10 years (except to say, “why?”). Join Tinder so you can really experience how the people around you have chosen to represent themselves in order to get some strange. Anthropology at its best, really.
10. Host a dinner party
It’s not quite so simple as learning how to cook. You should probably learn how to cook but also understand how to entertain. Learn what it takes to make people come to your house, feed them something edible and talk to them at the same time. It will be a true lesson in your own fortitude and in which of your friends kind of suck.
11. Get a massage
Just do it.
12. Crash a stranger’s party
This one is like a triple challenge: can you effectively convince people you belong at this party, be charming enough not to get kicked out if they find out you shouldn’t be there and can you tell if a party is worth staying at? Like the episode of “Broad City” where Ilana is on the quest for the perfect party, you need to know what makes a party a 10…for you, baby. Not for anyone else.
13. Go camping
Nature, y’all. Whether car camping along the Yuba River, glamping in Ojai or hiking into the hot springs of Big Sur: grab your spot of our precious national forests while they still exist. You should learn to feel small in the face of the night sky. Plus drinking around a fire with your good friends and maybe a dog or two is a pleasure that all human beings should experience. And it’s a great way to knock out #1 on this list.
14. Visit a strip club
Support your local sex workers! Don’t be gross about it. You don’t need to get a lap dance and please don’t go during lunch, but grab a friend who is respectful and unembarassing to get your fill of nude ladies, dudes and everyone else who chooses to bare all for drunk strangers. If possible, go to one in Portland over one in Vegas.
15. Donate to charity
Be smart about it though. Look up your nonprofit on www.charitynavigator.com to learn more about them. If you can’t find them, do a little more research. If it’s a local small nonprofit, cool! As long as you find something to care about and give them money, you’re doing great. And trust me, money is almost always the best thing you can give.
16. Go to a museum
You know, a surprising amount of places qualify as a museum. If it houses an assortment of things that people might be into, it’s a museum. Whether it’s art or skeletons or carnival games or postage stamps, there is a museum out there to strike your fancy. Let your mind wander and learn something new. Museums are the history of us. Get into one.
17. Buy decent boots
At what point do we learn that decent shoes are worth investing in? Humans put their feet through so much. Get some real leather (or at least high quality vegan leather) boots with sewn soles, not glued, that properly fit and have some kind of comfort padding. This is not a joke. Boots maketh the man (or woman).
18. Join a protest
Preferably, you would join a protest that is anti-racism, anti-sexism, pro-LGBTQIA, pro-immigration and I think you get my point. But at some point in your life, you should band together with like-minded folks to make your opinions known. Take it to the streets. Take it to your representatives. Take it anywhere you know it matters.
19. Do drugs outside
Suggestion: eat a bunch of edibles on the hill above the Jerry Garcia festival in McLaren Park in San Francisco. Bring friends who will make you sandwiches and then learn how to braid a flower crown. Groove out to some Dead.
20. Celebrate your friends
It’s amazing how easy it is to pay lip service to the idea of being a loyal friend without actually doing it. Real friends can take pleasure and express that pleasure at their friends’ happiness. It’s sometimes a lesson hard-learned and hard-won.
21. Curate your social media
Sure, Facebook and Twitter suck. But not because of what’s on your feed. That’s all the work of people. Don’t blame the game, blame the player. If you are constantly bled dry by the horror coming across your newsfeed, learn to cull. Guess what? You don’t need to friend your racist uncle. Your college friend who only posts picture of cats? Gone. Following your exboyfriend on Twitter is a bad idea if you aren’t friends. Get better at curating your whole life while you’re at it. Not everyone has to be your friend, digitally or physically.
22. Learn to keep a plant alive
Some things in life require compromise. If you can’t keep whatever plant you want alive, get a plant that’s easy to take care of. Succulents, snake plants, rubber trees, all that shit is really hard to kill. If you do kill one of these, please don’t own a pet.
23. Mend your clothes
Buy a sewing kit at Walgreens. It’s honestly not that hard. Americans in particular waste so much landfill space and money on clothes with just the tiniest rips in them. If it can be salvaged, just try. Or at least bring it to a professional alterations shop to fix it for you.
24. Start a savings account
Yes, I agree with your dad. Even if you only put $1 a month in it or if you keep emptying out, get in the habit of saving some money. Under your mattress doesn’t count.
25. Buy a sex toy
Give me one valid reason why you shouldn’t.
26. Be naked
As often as you can without being arrested, be naked. In your own home, in a lake skinny-dipping, at Harbin when it finally reopens after the terrible fires, if you can let it all dangle, you will feel more free. Other people not required.
27. Show up on time
Don’t be an asshole and leave people waiting when you’ve made set plans. Don’t fuck up a dinner reservation or a movie showtime or an appointment to horseback ride in East Bay. When you’re late, you tell people that you don’t care about their time. It’s shitty and you should know better. If it’s unavoidable, at least warn them in advance. But you’re not allowed to be hurt if you do it all the time and no one invites you to events anymore.
28. Eat dim sum
At dim sum, you don’t wait for service. Dim sum is about expediency, thrift and mountains of dumplings. It requires at least 4 more people for a true dim sum experience, with carts, full tea pots and impatient waiters. Bring a Chinese friend if you want to do it right. Don’t have a Chinese friend? Make one.
29. Go to yoga
Just once, find out what kind of state your body is in through a series of honestly exhausting poses. The first time you go, it will be confusing and uncomfortable. That’s fine. Maybe you never go again, that’s also fine. But at least you can say you tried.
30. Whatever the fuck you want
Your 20s should be spent doing other things besides reading strangers’ opinions on the Internet. Future scholars will likely track that kind of behavior to the downfall of our society…except they won’t exist because we’ll all just be feral snake-people writhing in toxic sludge. So, anyway, YOLO.