30 Before 30

A personal challenge I undertook between 2009 and 2011. I might have done better, but I had many unexpected obstacles. See my 6-month and 12-month updates linked below.


This is the page for my 30 Before 30 challenge: thirty goals I mean to achieve before my thirtieth birthday, May 23, 2011.

  1. Take a vacation–something preplanned, overnight, with hotels, airplanes, guidebooks, and (with luck) a passport.
  2. Visit at least one metropolitan U.S. city that I’ve never been to before.
  3. Get a professional massage.  Completed: 5/23/2009.
  4. Have some sessions with a psychiatrist and find out what is up with me.  Completed: Fall 2009.
  5. Take swim lessons or learn how to swim properly through some other means.  We had a pool when I was a kid, but it was 4 ft. depth all around and as a result I can only swim when I can launch myself by pushing off bottom with my feet.  Hence ‘swim properly.’
  6. Educate myself in popular music (broaden my music horizons beyond The Killers and Coldplay).
  7. Go to a karaoke bar or piano bar and sing.  Did this once in college, but in the dorms, not a bar, and in a duet with my roommate, not alone.
  8. Cook a real dinner (nothing microwaveable or pre-cooked, and no take-out) every night for a month.
  9. Enjoy taking care of the dog I have.
  10. Take part in some kind of public trivia competition.  I came in second in a Simpsons trivia contest in college.  I want to relive that glory.
  11. Get over the need to obsessively tally everything I accomplish.  Clearly the mere existence of this violates this rule, but it’s something I need to work on.
  12. Complete both of AFI’s 100 Best Movies lists and Entertainment Weekly’s 100 New Classics list.  Completed: 8/5/2009.
  13. Get in the habit of going to a gym with some kind of regularity.
  14. Plan more concerts, trips to museums and sporting events, and general fun outings.
  15. Pass my MA exam in Spring 2010 and graduate from Case with a Master’s degree.  Completed: 5/16/2010.
  16. Take my nephew on some kind of fun aunt outing.  Said outing will, of course, have to be age-appropriate, because he will only be two years old when I reach the big 3-0.
  17. Actively participate in an academic conference.
  18. Respond to a CFP with a submission.
  19. Complete at least one of the large-scale independent projects I am continually envisioning but never do anything about because of lack of follow through.
  20. Establish weekly library hours and follow through on them for an entire semester.
  21. When an article of clothing or pair of shoes becomes unwearable due to holes or some other kind of breakage, throw it away AND purchase a replacement item immediately (which currently I tend to put off).  Completed: Fall 2010.
  22. Have a dinner party.
  23. Discover a new author I love, and read everything they ever wrote.  Bonus points if the author is contemporary (i.e. still alive). Completed: 4/17/2011 with Kate Atkinson.
  24. Go to Melt Bar and Grilled, a grilled cheese-themed restaurant in Lakewood, OH.  Completed: 5/23/2009.
  25. Figure out a wearable hairstyle that looks nice for a special occasion which I can do myself.  Right now my creativity begins and ends with ‘ponytail.’
  26. Figure out CSS so I can be a little more creative with my websites.
  27. Make a monthly budget and learn to stretch my meager graduate student stipend a little further. Completed: Fall 2010.
  28. Take part in some kind of social/political activism.  I can accomplish this by doing something as small as writing a letter to a congressman, or donating twenty bucks to Habitat for Humanity or something, but not quite as small as, like, eschewing Starbucks in favor of free-trade coffee, or recycling.
  29. Budget for, shop for, and commit to buying a brand-new piece of furniture.  As yet, I have never (by myself) priced and purchased a big-ticket item.  Everything in my house is cheap, or a hand-me-down. Completed: 8/7/2009.
  30. Go “unplugged” for one week.  No computer, no TV, no iPod, no cell phone.  Electric lights as well as heat or air conditioning (depending on the season) are allowed; nothing else.

See also:

the origins of the 30 before 30 challenge

the 6-month progress updates (part one) (part two)

the 12-month progress update

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  1. September 4, 2010 at 11:31 am
  2. July 29, 2015 at 3:08 pm
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