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13 Awesome Things To Do Before You Turn 30

Updated on April 30, 2017
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Okay, okay. I’ve got to admit: I’m old. I never thought I’d be old. When I was 15, I had teachers who were 25. “Woah, that’s crazy old,” I thought. I always wondered what being 25 would be like, and I found it unimaginable every time.

This year, I turn 30—whad’ya know, there’s life after 25 after all! I’m still a couple of months away, so I want to lock down a few more experiences before I become an official grown-up. On this list, you’ll find things I’ve already spent a good chunk of my 20’s doing, as well as things that I have yet to do. Nevertheless, they’re all important to me, so I thought I’d share them with you.

1. Pick up an artistic skill.

You can never be too old to pick up an artistic skill. Find an inspiration, grab your weapon of choice, and make your mark. Flip through an anatomy book and you’ll learn how to draw people. Draw grids over photos and you’ll see basic perspective. Or focus on one simple thing, like the human hand or flower petals, and you’ll learn how it all works. Such artistic skills will provide you with the technical abilities needed in creating something beautiful. And, really, who doesn't want that?

2. Try a new sport.

Trying a new sport is a way to keep life interesting and challenging. And you, my friend, are in your prime for it—and I say this because the physical peak for most humans, in most sports, is between ages 25-35. Figure out how to use a bow! Go mountain biking! Start fly-fishing! Take the time to learn as much about whatever sport you decide to take up, identify and remove distractions, and practice for at least 20 hours.

3. Learn another language.

Bill Gates was once asked if he had any regrets in life. To a lot of people’s surprise, his biggest regret was not learning a foreign language (he wanted to learn French). While there’s plenty of good reasons to do it, I personally like to think of learning a language as investing in your future. Once you learn a particular language, it’s your skill and you get to keep it forever. It might just help your career, and traveling will be much easier and enjoyable because communicating in multiple languages is fun. Where to start? Download any of these language learning apps.

4. Play an instrument

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Many people think of playing an instrument as this all-or-nothing proposition—either you’re the amazing guitarist who plays Nirvana tunes on command at your friend’s party or you haven’t touched an electric guitar for over 15 years. But, hey, it doesn’t have to be this way! Indulging your musical interests can actually help in becoming more creative and finding your state of flow. If you’ve never learned, it’s not too late to start lessons. Hit up YouTube for free tutorials! Learn the drums while playing video games! Study on the go with mobile apps!

5. Cook like a pro.

Cook a steak, roast a chicken, bake a cake. You may not be summoned to compete on the next season of Master Chef, but you sure can make a simple meal for yourself without resorting to ordering takeout or calling your mom for help. Have the best cooking equipment, and you’re all set to prepare tasty meals.

Now the Internet is brimming with cooking resources—it’s virtually impossible not to cook like a pro! There’s this, which can take your culinary skills to a higher level. There’s also How2Heroes and Epicurious for how-to’s and recipes. If you’re into food listicles, Buzzfeed has a lot! And if you’re a visual learner, there’s plenty of infographics like this one online:

6. Start a collection.

Collections get better with age. They take time, sure, but if your start now, then you’re guaranteed to have one hell of a stash in the next decade. Kitschy figurines might be right up your alley, but I recommend art and records more. Collecting both is beyond a hobby. It's more like a personal journey that reflects not just your taste but also your personality and individuality. Peep above for that one great scene from one of my favorite movies, High Fidelity.

7. Read, read, read.

Do we really even have to talk about this? Reading is fun! On top of that, reading comes with heaps of benefits—from boosting your imagination and keeping your brain sharp, down to improving your communication skills and helping learn new things and exploring experiences. If you’re a woman and into classics, Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse and Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar are good places to start. For other books, here’s an interesting list to work your way through.

8. Create something.

You don’t have to become the next Frida Kahlo or compose this generation’s Chopin nocturnes to nurture your imagination. Start small. Pick up a notepad and draw the world around you. Blast a feel-good tune and choreograph a new routine. Grab your camera, take a walk, and snap away. We can't live forever but what we create in this lifetime can.

9. Travel alone.

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I’m going to sound like a fortune cookie, but the best travel companion is yourself. I used to never go anywhere alone; however, after a few life-changing experiences, I can honestly say I’m hooked on solo travel. If you’ve always wanted to travel but been afraid to go, or if it’s something you did once before but vowed to never do again, or if you absolutely hate the idea of going somewhere where you don’t know anyone, now’s the time to reconsider.

It sounds frightening, I know, but traveling alone will not just push you to get out of your shell, it will also help you discover your true self and experience things you simply wouldn’t have had if you traveled with someone else. Go cafe-hopping! Linger in a museum! Loll on a beach! Join a group of like-minded strangers for a trek! It's totally your call.

10. Find your cause.

What do you care about? Find it and commit to it. While doing good for others is always a good thing, committing yourself to a cause makes you a stronger and more well-rounded person. You won't believe how incredibly inspiring it is to have something you give your life to that's outside your career or your social life. Whether it’s throwing a fundraiser or volunteering at a nursing home or a shelter, devote yourself to it.

11. Have your portrait taken.

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And we’re talking about a non-selfie, professional portrait. You will always be beautiful but time, my friend, waits for no one. Capture your youth and stay in touch with the young adult you’ve become by having a portrait taken. No need for an orchestrated photo sesh; just be yourself and allow a friend (or anyone, really) to snap you in a moment.

12. Start a workout routine.

Our bodies change as we get older. Wrinkles spring up where your skin was once smooth, hangovers seem to get worse, and parts of our body that we didn’t know could hurt begin to hurt. Since there’s no magic potion that will help you stay young forever (or maybe there is and I just don’t know about it?), working out will help you reach optimum fitness and support long-term health. The sooner you start, the better chance you have in maintaining a set workout routine for the rest of your life.

BRB by LANY

13. Move to a new city.

Now this one, right here, is something I believe everyone should do at least once in their lifetime. It’s scary as hell but it's also super exciting. Just imagine everything being new: your address and your commute, your habits and your friends, your favorite restaurants, the weather, and your outlook on life. It will shake things up, that’s for sure, but it will also feel more like an adventure and open new opportunities for you.

New Beginnings

There's something momentous about saying goodbye to your 20s. It's terrifying, yes, because it means you're now a full-blown adult, and hiding behind excuses of being young and stupid is no longer acceptable. But it's also thrilling because you're entering a new decade, which means new beginnings that are filled to the brim with infinite possibilities. You're only young once, so live it up! Take this list in and enjoy every ounce of fun and challenge it has to offer you.

What about you? What are some of the most awesome things you've done/ are doing/ are going to do in your 20s? Are you terrified or excited about hitting the big 3-0?

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