30 Before 30.

The sad reality is that I turn 30 in a few days.

I never really had a vision for myself at 30, much less at 40 or 50 or 90. I just wanted to be healthy, happy, and employed in a challenging job. Thus far, I have succeeded at 1 out of 3.

A good friend of mine turned 30 one month before I do and I was really impressed by a list she made in her late 20s, which catalogued 30 things to achieve before 30. Around age 28, I thought that I should write one for myself. But somehow I never got around to it, which is probably very indicative of my very nature.

Recently, upon the harsh realization that I could no longer deny that 30 is almost here, I catalogued what it was that I did get around to in my 20s. It turns out that I did okay. And you know what, okay is good enough for now. Here goes:

  1. Eat a meal alone. I actually now love walking to a bar in a restaurant, ordering a glass of wine, and enjoying a meal on my own. I have business travel and unemployment to thank for this. And guess what — you meet a lot of interesting people this way.
  2. Go to the movies alone. Again, unemployment really got me out of my shell for going to the movies alone. How else was I supposed to spend a hot Tuesday spring afternoon in LA?
  3. Fix a clogged toilet. I lived with my parents for 3 years in my mid-twenties (hey, it was the recession…) and the house’s plumbing was out of the 1930s. So I had to constantly call my dad for advice on how to plunge the toilet. At age 29, alone in said house on a getaway weekend, the toilet clogged. And for the first time ever, I fixed it by myself. It was the most triumphant Friday  night I had in years.
  4. Learn what you want to do in a job and what you don’t want to do in a job. Want to know why I’m still unemployed? Because I said no to 3 jobs I knew were going to make me miserable all over again. It’s fiscally stupid but morally responsible to all parties involved.
  5. Love.
  6. Learn to take criticism.
  7. Save money. The only reason I’m surviving on California’s unemployment payments is because I saved so much in my 20s. I have a family who welcomed me in to save on rent which I recognize is a unique situation but there are still little ways to save money. I religiously read resources like Learnvest and The Muse which have great tips.
  8. Try and fail. I tried and I failed at many, many things. And I’m stronger for it.
  9. Smiling despite all odds. Trying doing it during your darkest hours — it really helps.
  10. Travel the world.
  11. Learn how to cook basic meals. I have unemployment to thank for turning me into a banana bread-baking Martha Stewart. My waistline is not as thankful.
  12. Just say yes.
  13. I know the difference between a Phillips screwdriver and a slot screwdriver. Do you?
  14. Have hope.
  15. Find good people. Surround yourself with them. LA is full of phonies but even I found the few gems in the rough.
  16. Kill bugs in your house. I actually got over this phobia at age 8 going to camp in Wisconsin but it’s an important thing to learn to deal with, ladies.
  17. Recognize that you’re only 30. The sky is the limit.

I certainly didn’t make it to 30 accomplishments but I can’t help but thank Carrie Bradshaw with leaving some very wise words that speak to all generations: “The most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself.” I have a feeling that I’m only skimming the surface of that relationship.



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