Did I Pass the 30 Before 30 Test?

Posted October 7, 2019 by Amber in Real World / 3 Comments



Yesterday was my 30th birthday.  It’s something I’ve been a bit anxious about – 30 is that definitive where you’re no longer in your 20s and you’re supposed to be an adult and you know where your life is going… and that’s scary, you know?  I’ve been trying not to think about this transition between 29 and 30, especially because I’m not a birthday person.

However, it’s always nice not to be alone, and one of my favorite bloggers, Tizzy @ Dusting the Soul, celebrated her 30th birthday in July.  Last year, she posted a 30 Before 30 list to accomplish and it’s been in my mind ever since.  For today, I have a bit of an un-bookish post… and I pulled a 30 Before 30 list from the Internet (I chose this one from GenTwenty) to see how I held up!

#1.  Travel somewhere you don’t know the language.

Verdict? Success!

I’ve been to a couple countries where I’m not fluent – most recently, Mexico.  I stumbled horribly through ordering at a restaurant, trying to work with middle school Spanish, and it was frightful.  I’ve also been to the Azores, and I know only one work in Portuguese (“obrigada” – it means “thank you” if the speaker identifies female… “obrigado” for males… I apologize, I’m not sure about non-binary).

Travelling is something I’m not planning to stop anytime soon – I’m planning to go to another six countries next autumn where I speak little to none of the language.  We’re hopping on a Baltic cruise that will take us to Denmark, Germany (I know a little German), Russia, Finland, Sweden, and Estonia.

Language barriers don’t stop me from travelling, though I do admit to taking the safe way out and going on English-speaking tours.  I actually love language and would love to learn more, but I still haven’t mastered French, so… ! There are so many things I want to do and not enough time!

#2. Date someone who isn’t your type.

Verdict?  Yup.

I did not have a wild and blossoming dating life.  While my middle school diary reveals I crushed on literally everyone, I only had three serious relationships… and I married the third.  I’m still friends with the first, so I think it’s fairest to say that the most off-type relationship I had was my second serious boyfriend.  It was a relationship that took me through college and I have a lot of deep regrets about being in that relationship.  From his interests to his physical appearance, he was very different from the other two, so I’d say that would be, statistically “not my type”.

Also that relationship ended pretty badly.  So.  Yup.

#3. Start your 401K.

Verdict?  Success!

I don’t think I would be here if it wasn’t for my current job.  401Ks are a benefit that, up until five years ago, I couldn’t afford.  I’m definitely behind on my 401K and am trying to play catch up now.  I’m very fortunate to have an employer with a generous match plan, and I’m grateful that I have the luxury to plan for eventual retirement.

#4.  Take a risk.

Verdict? Yuuuup.

So, the original 30 Before 30 list I’m pulling from here suggests bungee jumping, skydiving, or swimming with sharks.  The point here is to do something that gives you an adrenaline rush and is out of your normal comfort zone.

For me, this is definitely the zip lines in Jamaica earlier this year.

That was a terrifying experience for me, plaguing deeply on my fear of heights.  I felt safe, but it didn’t stop the terror.  And hey, I learned beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am not an adrenaline junkie.  Sorry, husband!

#5. Start investing.

Verdict? Nope.

Unless you count building equity, and I’m pretty sure they don’t, I haven’t dug into the world of IRAs, limited partnership subscriptions, or even a high yield savings account.  Because I work at a financial broker dealer, I have a pretty solid idea of what all of these things are, but I admit to not prioritizing them.

I do technically have stock options in the company I work for, but I feel like these barely count, as the company is privately owned and the options are granted annually, and anyway, I just cashed out all my vested options to buy a house.

#6. Form your political opinion.

Verdict? Ooooh yes.

I would like to thank my parents for helping me form my political identity…. screaming and as far away as possible from theirs.  This blog is not a place for politics, but lets just say I’m invested in the future of this country and leaving behind a less-dying planet as opposed to rolling back to the 1950s.

#7. Stop holding grudges

Verdict?  Still working on it.

Forgiveness doesn’t come easily to me, and the things I hold grudges on the most are petty things, and honestly, for many of those things, I feel like I’m the one who actually crossed the line.  I have forgiven many people for perceived wrongs, and I feel like I have made huge strides since college… but there are still a few things with complicated emotions that I’m working out.

#8. Start a collection.

Verdict?  Believe me, I’ve got this covered.

For me, the issue is not so much collecting things, but that I stop collecting things.  My parents got me started young with Beanie Babies (which I just got rid of, save a few particularly adorable ones), then Pokemon cards (admittedly, I still have these).  Then on my own I started with Disney snowglobes (terrible idea – expensive and unwieldy).  I tried Disney Vinylmation but never loved it and now I’ve mostly settled on Disney pins as my primary collection.

I also have a lot of Funko Pops… but I want to weed those out as well as my remaining snowglobes to the select few that truly bring me joy.  I’m hoping to downsize my Funko collection to 25% of my current amount, and I know exactly which 3 snowglobes I’m going to keep.

Books are functional and don’t count… but I’m trying to be more selective about those, too.

#9.  Take a cross country road trip.

Verdict? Nope.

This is actually one of the items on the list I have no desire to do.  While I like the romance of it and think it would have been awesome in college or even high school… I get terrifically, horribly car sick.  What could be a beautiful picturesque journey would likely end up as a giant pit of nausea for me.

Which is a bummer, honestly.  My dad went cross country in his younger days and says it was one of the best experiences of his life.

#10. Pay off your credit card debt.

Verdict?  Totally covered.

I am one of your rare individuals who never had credit card debt.  While I admit my bank account occasionally gets low, I never spend more than I have on day-to-day items (college, car, house… obviously).  It’s something I’m pretty proud of, to be honest.

#11. Go see live music you love.

Verdict?  I guess?

So, I’m not really a concert person.  I’ve tried, really I have.  I went to a week long concert with a friend and her family in high school, and it was an amazing experience.  And I guess, at the time, yeah I could say it was music I loved!

Actually, you know what?  The answer to this question is just “yes”.  I may not be able to get my husband to see Billy Joel with me at Fenway… but I have seen some artists I’m crazy about.  For example, I saw Halestorm in 2016, and I adore Lzzy Hale.  She’s not … a popular artist?  But they’re good.

Still waiting for Bruno Mars to come to Boston but whatever.  My husband and I have VERY different taste in music, so concerts are tough.  He loves the experience, so I usually send him off to techno shows with friends. 🙂

#12. Set an annual reading goal.

Verdict? *gasp* Me? Never!

I mean.


Welcome to my book blog.

#13. Overcome a fear.

Verdict?  Working on it.

While I don’t think my fear of heights is ever truly going away, I’m at a point now that I can be on a plane in relative comfort… unless there’s turbulence.  But that’s not the fear I’m working on.

My social anxiety, fear of being an outsider and not meeting expectations, is a pretty common one among my peers… and I am working on it.  I am working on saying yes when I want to say no, and I am working on being okay with who I am.  There are people who surround me now who support that acceptance (vs. shame) culture, and they are wondrously helpful.

#14. Get a tattoo.

Verdict?  Nah.

Honestly, just not interested?  I don’t think I like anything enough to wear it every day, for the rest of my life.  I’ve thought about this a bit and if I did get a tattoo ever, it would be something small (a symbol – for whatever reason, I’m pretty stuck on an ankh) and it would be the inside of my right arm just below my wrist.  But I’m not that interested.

#15. Join a club.

Verdict? Yes/No

College and high school don’t count, but I am pushing past that and counting the improv groups I was a part of in high school through college.  Because this wasn’t a “resume fluffing” thing – I was (and still kinda am?) super passionate about it.  It was fun, it was therapeutic, and I miss it.

Bask in a really old picture from the college improv days.  This is almost ten years old, please withhold judgement.  Still though, me with two of my favorite humans, doing one of my favorite things.

Seriously, though?  I really miss the sense of community that comes from clubs and group activities.  As an adult, finding something like this has been challenging… particularly because we’ve moved so much.  I’m hoping to change that.

#16. Treat yourself to something really expensive.

Verdict? Absolutely.

Every time I go on vacation or upgrade my phone, I feel like I’m treating myself to something expensive.  I suppose expense is in the eye of the beholder, but my Apple products come to the top of that list as far as luxurious purchases go… at least for me.  I use all of them daily (except my iPad Pro, but that’s weekly) so they’re easier to justify… but dang they’re expensive.

#17.  Be the first person to apologise.

Verdict?  Improving!

Admittedly, I tend to avoid or at least head off conflict when I can, so I try to keep out of places where apologies are necessary.  But there are those inevitable times.  I am very good at aplogising at work, but when it’s to the people who matter and the hurt feels more personal… it’s difficult.  Like I said, working on it!  I do try to be more accountable in general, but the genuine “I’m sorry” is hard.  I have to get to that place where I actually am sorry first!

#18. Run a marathon

Verdict?  Never gonna happen.

Running a marathon is so far off my life goals list that it’s just… never going to happen.  I want to get that same rush of joy out of running that many of my friends do… but I just don’t.

do need to fix most of my self-care habits and routines.  I am aware of the problem… and I need to work on it.  But a marathon is not in my future.

#19. Forgive yourself for mistakes

Verdict?  Mixed.

I find this particularly challenging.  It’s easier to forgive myself for things that seem to have only impacted me, but I have difficulty forgiving myself for things like spoiled friendships and hurting those I care(d) about… even if they have forgiven me.  Working on it.

#20.  Learn how to cook.

I’m actually pretty decent at this!  I’m not sous chef or anything, but I can make lots of things from scratch.  In fact, there’s some satisfaction to cooking… and absolutely none to cleaning up afterward.  In the last couple years, we’ve realized that I’m more the baker, and my husband enjoys cooking, so our tasks are split to accommodate minimal misery.  But I can cook.

#21. Eat really expensive food.

Verdict?  I think so, yes.

Like the early question on treating yourself, expense is in the eye of the beholder.  I’ve never had a $500 meal, but nor can I see that being something I want to have.  I mean, what in the world makes it SO GOOD as to make that price not exorbitant and not-worth-it?  Also food is a consumable, and that’s a lot of money to spend on something that will disappear quickly.

Every year, though, the company I work for sponsors a “night on the town” for each department… and mine goes to a fancy steakhouse with $40 steaks which, hey, I think is really expensive for a steak!  I understand that it isn’t in the grand scheme of things, but whatever.  Counts for me!

#22.  Pay it forward.

Verdict?  I think so.

I try really hard to pay forward positivity.  I’m not a coffee shop girl, so buying the order for the person behind me isn’t really a thing, but I do try to pay forward the kindnesses that are given to me.  I could always do more on this point, however!

#23. Attempt to break a world record.

Verdict?  Nope.

I actually used to work with a guy who held the world record for the largest snowball for a couple years, but I have no ambitions on this point myself!

#24. Attend the Olympic Games

Verdict?  Unfortunately no.

This is something I’d actually like to do, but not so badly I want to extensively travel to get there.  At one point, Boston was going to put in a bid for the games and I was one of the few who was really hoping they’d end up based here, but no such luck.  If they were within a reasonable driving distance, I’d probably try to go… just because even though I’m not a sports person… this is the best of the best in the world.  How could you not go?!

#25. Pick a cause and be passionate about it.

Verdict?  Not… really?  I guess?  Pfft.

Okay so um… this one just makes me feel like a bad person.  I know people who really dig into certain causes – autism awareness and breast cancer research are really big ones.  I feel like… okay.  So, this probably isn’t a surprise, but I’m really passionate about literacy.  I donate to NaNoWriMo and Accio Books through the HPA, but those aren’t… those aren’t conversational causes.  It’s complicated, but it’s just the type of thing where I feel like the question “why does that even matter” will come up.

But it does!  It does matter, because while all the other things are important, bettering lives and giving everyone a chance to be educated and the knowledge and skills to succeed in this world on an equal playing field are important, too.


#26.  Make your family tree.

Verdict?  Yes, to the best of my ability.

This is a school assignment in high school and I learned that my family doesn’t care, beyond me and my brother.  There isn’t a lot of knowledge about my extended family, particularly on my father’s side… but we’ve tried!

We are not very… adventurous, or so my DNA tells me.

We did the 23+Me test, which included a health profile that was good to have (albeit didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know).  It’s an interesting exercise and I wish we knew more about even our grandparents or great-grandparents… unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be.

#27.  See a Broadway play.

Verdict? Yes (close enough).

I haven’t actually been to Broadway, but I’ve been lucky enough to see the shows on tour, which is always super fun and I would happily to again and again.  I’ve seen Wicked (with my mom), Spamalot (with an ex), and Newsies (with my old college roommate).  All were super fun and I really would like to get a few more under my belt.  Like with concerts, however, this is something my husband and I don’t agree on, so I need to round up some friends.

#28. Work a menial job.

Verdict? Ooooh yeah.

I worked in retail from 2008 – 2014.  I also worked in a cafeteria from 2007 – 2008.  Both jobs – but especially the retail one – that grate on your soul and show you the worst side of your average person.  I have been cursed out, had things thrown at me, and demeaned for things out of my control.  Hated every minute of it!

#29. Become a connoisseur in something.

Verdict? Sort of?

I consider “connoisseurs” to be absolute experts, so I won’t say I know everything, BUT there are a few things that I am particularly good at and have done a lot of research into.  Unfortunately, these aren’t the type of things that usually fly t cocktail parties, and they include:

  • Planning your next Disney vacation.
  • Also Disney in general.

  • And ancient history… region dependent.
  • And the Crusades.
  • Harry Potter.
  • What’s hot in YA lit right now.
  • Cruising.

So I mean… if you’re into those things we’ll have a great time.  I also find I can serve as a bit of a Marvel ambassador to those who casually watch because it’s popular.  I am not an expert by any means, but in your average collection of 10 people, I’ll probably come into Top 3.

#30. Make a list of 40 things to do before 40!

Verdict?  I’ll pass.

I’m choosing to live the next ten years as the come to me!  Of course there things I want to accomplish – querying a manuscript and seeing more of the world among them! – but I am not going to hold myself down by a to-do list. 🙂


Have you ever broken a world record?  If you’ve done any of these 30 things, I want to hear about them!  Tell me in the comments!

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3 responses to “Did I Pass the 30 Before 30 Test?

  1. What a fun post! I don’t really have any sort of “must do” list. I’ve had a lot of crazy life experiences, but now my big adventure is keeping up with our five children (ages 5 up to 16). I suppose I should take a looksy at all the things I haven’t done yet. Thanks for sharing!

    • Amber

      Parenting is such a big and important adventure, and I’m sure you have many adventures with your family and on your own as well! 🙂 It’s always nice to have a bucket list though… for myself, I find life more fulfilling when I am working *toward* something (these days, mostly travel). Thanks for popping in!