30 by 30

Earlier this year I was reintroduced (via reading other people’s blogs) to the idea of the “30 by 30” list – 30 things someone wants to accomplish by the time he/she turns 30 years old. (I first heard of this sort of thing from Phoebe on Friends.) I thought it was a cool idea, but since I was 29 when I rediscovered it, it didn’t leave me a lot of time to think up 30 things and then try to do them all. (If I were independently wealthy and didn’t work full-time then maybe I would have attempted it!) Rather than set myself up for disappointment, I forgot about the idea.

Until I read Amy’s 30 by 30 post. As she put it so well,

It’s great to have goals, but for me this would be super stressful and a recipe for a giant let down on my birthday. Who wants to spend the day lamenting trips they didn’t take, concerts they missed, skills they never learned? Instead I decided to make a list of 30 things I DID do before 30…

I thought this was a brilliant idea! So I decided to shamelessly copy borrow Amy’s awesome idea and make my own 30-things-I-did-before-30 list… and I might have gone back to her list to get some inspiration for my own… hopefully she won’t mind 😉

And so, a few weeks late and in no particular order… before I turned 30, I:

1. Studied abroad

2. Fell in love and got married


3. Bought a house

4. Completed undergrad and got a Master’s degree

5. Met the Archivist of the United States

6. Ran a half marathon

7. Learned to play – with varying degrees of success – piano, flute, trumpet, recorder, guitar, bass guitar, and tin whistle

8. Traveled to 8 countries outside the US (England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Canada, Dominican Republic, Bahamas, and Aruba)

Me being unimpressed by this Christopher Columbus statue in Santo Domingo, DR

Not impressed by this Christopher Columbus statue in Santo Domingo, DR

9. Traveled to 23 US states (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Louisiana, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, California, and Washington) plus Washington, D.C.

10. Became an aunt (x2)

11. Studied (and fell asleep) in the Bodleian Library, Oxford

12. Went inside the non-public part of MIT’s Great Dome

13. Marched in a parade (color guard FTW)

14. Hiked to the Hollywood sign

Or, you know, hiked close(ish) to it

Or, you know, hiked close(ish) to it

15. Saw a Spurs match at White Hart Lane (and also saw a Halifax Town match at the Shay!)

16. Watched a Patriots game from the 50-yard line at Gillette, a handful of rows behind the visiting bench, and got pelted in the head by snowballs intended for the Jets players (fun times)

17. Attended baseball games at 6 ballparks (Fenway, Wrigley, Dodger Stadium, Coors Field, Shea Stadium, and the Sky Dome/Rogers Centre)

Shea, Sky Dome, and Fenway

Shea, Sky Dome, and Fenway

18. Explored an abandoned gold mine in Cripple Creek, Colorado

19. Got a tattoo (x5)

20. Scored my first-ever soccer goal at the tender age of 26 (I now have 4 career goals to my name… watch out, Messi!)

21. Went to Disneyland

Hangin' out in a (stationary) teacup

Hangin’ out in a (stationary) teacup

22. Saw Niagara Falls

23. Became a professional archivist

24. Was a bridesmaid (twice)

25. Climbed to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and York Minster, and St. Paul’s Cathedral, and Cadillac Mountain (and rode to the top of the Space Needle)

26. Took part in a flash mob

Flash mob ghost dance party!

Flash mob ghost dance party! I’m the dark blue one directly under the big red sphere.

27. Witnessed the Red Sox win the World Series… three times! (Three times more than my die-hard grandma saw in her lifetime)

28. Been in a rock band (the same band twice, for a few hours each time)

29. Met and hung out with Welsh band The Automatic

Look at me being cool!

Look at me being cool! And look at my terrible MS Paint skillz!

30. Rode a train most of the way across the country (Massachusetts to Colorado)


So there you have it. I feel pretty satisfied by what I’ve accomplished in the last 30 years! 🙂

Do you have a 30 by 30 (or 40 by 40 / 50 by 50 / etc.) list?

Have you done any of the things on my list?


19 thoughts on “30 by 30

  1. What a great list and idea! I’ll have to start thinking about my list for 35…. I have another 7 months go to but that’s a lot of things to think of 😉 I’ve only traveled to England and the US, been a bridesmaid once, have a tattoo, got married, bought a house, birthed two children naturally and ran 2 half marathons.

  2. You’ve done loads of stuff! I didn’t know you could climb to the York Minster. It’s a stunning building, isn’t it? I went when I was in school on a Religious Studies trip and it was the first time I ever felt overwhelmed by the size/beauty/atmosphere of something. I really should go back as I only live about 30 mins away!

    Corinne x

  3. Ah! I love it! 🙂 Thanks for calling me out! I’m super psyched you decided to do this. I had so much fun making my list; I hope you enjoyed making yours! I’ve done a few things on your list, but the one I’m most impressed by is #7. I love music but am completely hopeless at it. And, last but certainly not least — HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! (this does mean it’s your birthday, right?)

    • Thank YOU for such an awesome idea! 🙂 I did enjoy making my list! #7 is a little misleading… I did have lessons (both formal and informal) for all those instruments, but some of them I was totally hopeless at (flute, trumpet), and some I was okay, but a severe lack of rhythm as a child made any music I made pretty dire. And I haven’t played any of those things in years. I should change that! 🙂

      And thanks for the birthday wishes! My bday was actually the week of Thanksgiving, but it took me a while to get around to making the list 😉

  4. This is such a great idea! Even though I’ve got a 30 by 30 and a few years (read 3.75) til I hit 30, this is so much less stressful and nice to look back on!!
    I am super impressed with all your instrumental talents, and I’m jealous of all the travelling/climbing you’ve done! So cool :0)

    • Thanks! All credit goes to Amy for the awesome idea 🙂 Your 30 for 30 was the first I found in blog-land! I thought it was a great idea too, but by that point I didn’t have enough time. Haha… if you asked me to play any of those instruments right now all I could produce would be a few random sounds… and then Ode to Joy on the piano, the only song I can remember!

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