Help Me Figure Out The 30 Things I Need To Do Before Turning 30

Just to clarify: I’m 29, and in 10 months I’ll be 30.

I have always looked forward to turning 30. I had this idea in my head that turning 30 would mean that I’d enter a totally different stage of my life. Like, all of a sudden I wouldn’t be so clumsy, and I’d have my shit together, basically.

But I was talking to a friend the other day about turning 30, and much like me, she’s right on the cusp of it. When I mentioned that I was excited for the change, she said, “Really? Because I think that turning 30 is going to be exactly the same, except I’ll be 30.”

The problem is, she had a point. My 30th is only 10 months away and, really, why would that age make my life drastically different?

Turning 30Much like any other birthday, the only thing that truly changes is your age. And yet, I can look back at 25, 26, 27, and 28, and remember if it was a good year, or a bad year. I’d really like to make 29 a good year. So good that by the time I’m 30 I really do feel different.

There are a lot of “30 things to do before you turn 30” lists out there, and they have suggestions like travel, volunteer, write a book, etc etc. All of those are great things to do, but realistically, I probably won’t be able to backpack through Europe, and I wouldn’t really want to, at this point in my life. My thing is this: I’d actually like to make a to do list of what I should accomplish before 30 that are actually accomplishable. A list of 30 things to do before you leave your 20s, basically.

With the help of E, I came up with some things that I’ve always personally wanted to do, and I think I could get done in the next 10 months:

  1. Eat an entire cheese pizza all by myself in one sitting. This has been a goal of mine ever since watching Curly Sue do it as a kid.
  2. Finish writing the musical I’ve been working on, and have it put up in New York.
  3. Go on a totally spontaneous, spur of the moment weekend trip.
  4. Learn how to make sushi! Which is also a bucket list item of mine.
  5. Read Anna Karenina 
  6. Go camping/glamping, because I’ve ever been.
  7. Spend a day at a weird food festival, and don’t feel guilty about not doing any work that day. (Maybe the LA Street Food Fest?)
  8. Watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Because I’ve actually never seen it.
  9. Learn Italian. Or rather, begin to learn Italian. So, maybe a goal of 200 Italian words in 10 months?
  10. For the next 10 months, have some kind of dinner party with friends once a month.
  11. Finish decorating and painting our new apartment so that it feels complete. (E said, “I feel like a few more rugs would really tie the place together!”)
  12. Beat E in a game of chess. He’s really good.

I’d like to get this list up to 30, and I’m curious if anyone has suggestions? If you’re already 30 or older, what are some things you would have liked to have done? And if you’re under 30, what are some cool and realistic goals I could set over the next 10 months to make me a more well-rounded person? Help me turn 30!


Sorry For The Radio Silence, But I Was Busy Living It Up In Utah

I didn’t think that I’d get to cross an item like this off of my bucket list for a long time. But, as the BuzzFeed fate would have it, I got an opportunity to go and cover Sundance for a week, and it was really quite incredible. (So long, item #46!)

For those who may not be familiar with the Sundance Film Festival, it was started by Robert Redford in 1978— I didn’t know that off the top of my head. I had to look it up on Wikipedia, like all the other kids — and it’s an opportunity for independent filmmakers to get their movies seen on a large scale. The ultimate goal for these filmmakers is that a company will finance their film and help it get distributed to a larger audience and more theaters.

I don’t know why Sundance was on my bucket list, really. I prefer TV to film. I’m not a film snob. I don’t really know MUCH about film, other than I like watching movies. Oh, and I definitely don’t ski. So going to a ski mecca like Park City, UT had no appeal to my athletic side. (If there is one.)

My flight from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City was exclusively filled with people who work “in the industry.” Meaning agents, managers, lawyers, directors, actors, producers, la di da. All of them were talking about movies, while I sat and quietly listened. It was one of the most bizarre moments of my life, if only because it felt like a parody of a Sundance flight.

Being at Sundance in general often felt like a parody of what Sundance should be. From the way people wore a ridiculous amount of fur, to the frenzy that often occurred when someone famous walked down the street. But that part of it I absolutely loved — it didn’t feel like anywhere else I’d ever been. I got to interview a lot of people I never would’ve been able to otherwise — looking at you, Lance Bass and Michael C. Hall— and, ya know, it was just really fun and different. So there was that.

What I also learned about Sundance was this:

  1. It’s sprawling. Like, you can’t just WALK from one theater to the next. You have to be shuttled around everywhere, or take taxis, except the taxis charge an absolutely outrageous amount of money. (As well they should, I suppose.)
  2. If you’re given the opportunity to eat a meal, then you better eat everything on your plate, because you never know when you’re going to be able to eat again. There’s no time to eat ever, or room to eat, actually. I basically lived off of a diet of peanut butter granola bars, which I took from the hotel front desk every morning on my way out. Once you get onto Main Street, there are tons of restaurants. Except all of them are packed, and require reservations. And when you get to the theaters to see a film, they have snacks like popcorn and gummy bears for sale, but at that point, you’re so desperate for real food that the thought of eating flavored popcorn actually makes you want to die a little. If someone brought a food truck to Main Street, they’d make a KILLING. (And if you plan to implement that idea, I’d like 10%.)
  3. Black ice. Everywhere. They manage to salt most of the ice to a point where you won’t slip and break yourself, but the black ice remains, and I found every single patch of it.
  4. SMOG. Holy guacamole, I had no idea that Salt Lake and Park City had such enormous air pollution issues. Because of where they’re situated below the mountains, all of the polluted air is basically trapped in those cities. Each day when you look out and across the skyline, it looks… hazy. Much like Los Angeles, but even worse. That’s air pollution. Really nuts.
  5. There are WEIRDOS who go to Sundance, aside from myself, but seriously strange folks. I met a man who brought his pet owl to just hang out in the middle of Main Street, another guy was wearing a fur jockstrap and nothing else, even though there was snow on the ground, and then there was the party of a film exec I went to, who required that all guests remove their shoes and leave them in the hallway outside of his penthouse.
  6. Everyone comes back from Sundance with the plague. For me, that plague was the flu. I’m still recovering. (Though, will I ever really recover?)
  7. I really really knew that I wanted to go to Sundance. Mainly because I didn’t know what it was, but I wanted to know. And I have to say that while I didn’t know what to expect, it really exceeded all of my expectations. It was a festival unlike any other I’ve been too, and I had such an amazing time there.

Crossing #46 off of my bucket list has definitely made me feel like I can cross off a whole lot more this year. It’s not even the end of January, not really, so maybe there’s time for one more before the month ends… Either way, Sundance is a thing that I’m glad I was able to go to, and now I can say that I have!

New Year, New Bucket List Updates

I decided to write a bucket list for myself a few years ago, because of this MTV show that inspired me, as silly as that might sound. (Did anyone else watch The Buried Life?)Shark Dive

And ever since making that list, I’ve been crossing things off of it, slowly but surely. It hasn’t been a quick process, but I’m still amazed by the number of things I’ve been able to accomplish ever since making this. Maybe it’s like that book I never read, The Secret, and this list somehow acts as my dream board.

Either way, I thought it would be a good idea to remind myself of what I still need to accomplish. And the great news is that one of these things is already in the works! (See #46)

1- Swim with sharks

2- Hike in Alaska

3- Host Saturday Night Live

4- Walk across the Great Wall of China

5- Perform standup

6-  Write a book

7- Write a play

8- Visit Cinque Terre

9- Learn Italian

10- Learn how to make sushi

11- Go to a restaurant and buy dinner for a random family (anonymously)

12- Start a foundation

13- Volunteer in India

14- See the Taj Mahal

15- Meet  Josh Groban

16- Feed a village in Africa

17- Sing a song with a live band in front of an audience

18- Party at the Playboy mansion

19- Write an article for The New Yorker

20- Be on NPR

21- Walk in a protest

22- Win an award for teaching

23- Go to Paris for a weekend. Tell no one.

24- Go to the Oscars

25- Be a guest on the Tonight Show

26- Get a PhD

27- Ring the bell at the NYSE

28- Help build a house

29- Go camping

30- Skinny dip

31- Sky dive

32- Travel through wine country

33- Go to the X Games

34- Go to the Olympics

35- Go to the Superbowl

36- Go to the World Series

37- Have a sketch on Funny or Die

38- Teach my mom how to swim (She refuses to learn. I am determined.)

39- Go apple picking

40- Have a sandwich named after me

41- Learn the thriller dance

42- Be on a float in a parade (I rode in a cop car during a parade as a prize for winning a slogan contest. Doesn’t count.)

43- Mardi Gras in New Orleans

44- Carnival in Brazil

45- Zip line in Costa Rica (I’m crossing this one out, as I recently zip lined in California!)

46- Go to Sundance — UPDATE! I will be attending Sundance as a reporter for BuzzFeed this year. So, this will be crossed off starting Jan. 16!

47- Build a successful website (this one!)

48- Go on a yoga retreat

49- Have/be on a billboard in Times Square

50- Interview a polygamist

51- Ride in a car with a storm chaser

52- Visit and bet on the Kentucky Derby

53- Get a tattoo

54- Complete the Sunday New York Time’s crossword puzzle

55- Learn how to play chess

56- Take a photography class

57- Visit Forks with Gabby and Kristen, go on Twilight tour

58- Bike across America

59- See a moose in the wild

60- Go to a speakeasy in NYC

61- Make dinner for friends once a month (STARTED)

62- Make Thanksgiving dinner

63- Be backstage at the Hollywood Bowl

New additions:

64- Have a play produced and put up

65- Publish a book

66- Have a non-fiction story published

Sensing a theme on those new goals? I’ll be upping my writing game in 2014!

Do you have a bucket list? If so, do any of them line up with mine? Because I could use a partner in crime for some of these!