30 Things to Do During My 30s

I was talking with someone the other day who is about to turn 30 years old. He was freaking out a bit because, in his mind, hitting 30 somehow signaled an end to everything fun in life. I can understand his fear since there seems to be a myth that hitting 30 somehow means that you’re old. But you know what was the main difference between the night before my 30th birthday and waking up on my 30th birthday? Nothing. I was still me.

Being in your 30s doesn’t mean the end of fun and of a vibrant life. It’s the start of a new decade of hopes, dreams, and adventures. So, if you’re fearful of turning 30, or one of those other supposed milestone years like 20, 40, or 50, I encourage you to make a list of things that you want to do during your new decade. What new dreams do you want to go chase? What big ideas do you want to pursue? What little, goofy, yet incredibly cool, things do you want to do? I’d love to hear some of yours. Here is a list of mine.

Dawning of a New Day
Try to think of “milestone” birthdays as new beginnings rather than as sad endings. Photo By: Elizabeth Preston
  1. Have my novel published. One of my wonderful mentors gave me some awesome revision suggestions for my novel, so I’m thinking that the chances of this happening may increase after my revisions. Hopefully.
  2. Write more novels.
  3. Write more screenplays.
  4. Take a picture at Barnes & Noble with a book that I’ve published. Seriously, how cool would that be?
  5. Sell a screenplay.
  6. See one of my screenplays actually on the screen—whether that be on the Silver screen, the TV screen, or the computer screen.
  7. Publish in a scholarly journal. I’m working on it, and I’ve gotten close. But close only counts in hand grenades and public restrooms.
  8. Achieve success in the scholarly world. This means presenting at more conferences, achieving academic prestige within my field, etc.
  9. Achieve monetary success in my writing. I love writing. I really do, and I will always write. However, I would like to make some money at it, and that doesn’t make me a sellout. You’d understand if you saw my current paycheck. *insert the tiniest violin to play the tiniest sad song* I’ve placed in some contests, and the prize money was enough to cover my entry fees for those contests and then some (in a few cases). I’ve also done some copyediting and ghostwriting (oh yeah, those are things that I do now, so message me if you’re interested; okay, shameless plug over). But it sure would be nice to get enough money from my writing and just buy a boat. Or something. It doesn’t have to be a boat. Although, a boat would be cool . . . .
  10. Fish more.
  11. Worry less.
  12. Be happy with who I am. Overall, I am happy with who I am as a person. Sure, there could always be some tweaks here and there but, in general, I’m pretty okay with who I am.
  13. Obtain my PhD. Many years ago, my best friend noticed that as your degree got more advanced, the hat that you wore at graduation got uglier and uglier. She is not wrong, and I want that fashionably-questionable, floppy doctorate hat.
  14. Make an entire meal of homemade dim sum. I’m part Chinese, and I loooove dim sum. However, I don’t know how to make many dim sum dishes. So, I want to learn how to make some of my favorites (such as steamed custard buns), and make an entire meal’s worth of dim sum.

    Red Lanterns
    I’m trying to get more in touch with my Chinese heritage. This is from an exhibit called Dragon Lights that travels the country. If you ever get the chance to see it, take it. It’s amazing. Photo By: Elizabeth Preston
  15. Fish in two states I have not fished in yet. I’m thinking Alaska, Utah, or Idaho.
  16. Fish for king salmon. I want to catch a big, old king salmon with a monstrous hook jaw. I once saw a picture of a lady who was about 90 years old, and she was posing with a massive salmon with that kind of jaw on it. She couldn’t even lift the thing and her fishing guide had to hold it for her. I want that kind of salmon. I also want to be that kind of senior citizen when I get old.
  17. Nurture my passion for photography. I’m not very good at it, but I do thoroughly enjoy it, and I admire those who can do amazing photography. If you have a photography blog, or have a lot of photos in your blog, then comment below or message me so that I can follow your blog and study the craft.
  18. Make a positive difference in someone’s life as often as I can.
  19. See a wild bear. Living in the mountains and being outdoors so often, you would think that I would have seen a wild bear by now. But nope. Apparently, everybody I know has seen one, but me? Nope. There was even a very confused bear who ran through an urban park here. But was I there to see it? Of course not.
  20. Net a 30-inch brown trout for a certain someone on the Truckee River. I’m a good netter of fish. Actually, maybe I’m not good, but dang nabbit I commit. I limped for a month after taking a bad fall in the river while trying to net a rainbow trout for my dad. Good news: I netted the trout. Bad news: I still can’t feel part of my leg. Nevertheless, I’m going to call this a win.

    Gotcha
    Here’s the fish that I netted for my dad. I wish that I had gotten a better picture of both the fish and my dad, lol. Don’t worry, the fish was released to swim another day. Photo By: Elizabeth Preston
  21. Do more music. I love music, and I love making music via either singing or guitar. Am I very good at either? No. In fact, there’s a cruelty in it, because I can hear myself get offkey when I sing, yet it’s difficult to correct the sour note at times for me. Oh, my poor, poor neighbors.
  22. To not say goodbye to any more family members. I understand that I have little control over this. But, honestly, I’d like not to go through that pain again for a very, very, very, very long time.
  23. Try belly dancing. Because why not?
  24. Catch a 20-something-lb trout. It’s my white whale.
  25. Try aerial yoga. I’m not sure why, but it just looks like fun. Maybe this is because Men Try, LaurDIY, and the Try Guys did videos on attempting aerial yoga, and it looked like so much fun.  I’ve included the videos below if you want to watch them.
  26. Get better at skeet shooting. Nevadans are notorious for being able to shoot well. Yet, I’m a Nevadan who can’t shoot. This is a travesty. I am shaming my state by being so terrible at this. I never want to kill anything (I’m a weenie and would feel too bad), but I do want to be able to hit just one clay pigeon some day.
  27. Get good enough at fly fishing to be able to volunteer for Casting for Recovery. This has been a dream of mine for a while, but I’ve never felt adequate enough with my knots or my knowledge of flies to be able to volunteer. I will change this, because Casting for Recover is a really neat organization and I believe in their mission.
  28. Find a fast way to grade students’ essays. Oh, wait. There is no fast way.
  29. Play Horizon Zero Dawn II. Yes, I’m a gaming nerd, and Horizon Zero Dawn was a fabulous game. I want to be able to play its sequel. Do you hear that Guerilla Games? It’s all on you now.
  30. Find balance. Each time I seem to be doing great in one area of my life, two other areas appear to tank. So, I want to find balance, and just do great and be gloriously successful in all of the areas all of the time. That’s not too much to ask, is it?
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39 thoughts on “30 Things to Do During My 30s

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  1. Well! You did. Please let me also say that age is what you make of it. President Reagan made that truth known. The oldest person in the world was shown on the news today. She lives in Japan, and is 116. She didn’t look a day over “96” lol. God bless her.

  2. I like that. I’d love to be a 90-year-old person who still acts like she’s in her 30s, lol. I’m not sure if I would want to live to be 100 though.

  3. I do!! Btw, I don’t write often on my Equipping Web Site. I was really surprised to see your omments on it. Can you please tell me how the past crossed your path.

  4. Sure! I typed in “teaching college” in the reader search bar, and I clicked “date” for a filter. Your post on the Declaration of Independence was one of the results. Do you have another blog? I’d love to check that out too if you do.

  5. Thank you. I have a number of them. My Equipping Blog, not web site, shows many other articles that I have written, which are mainly on a Biblical basis. But, I do have one that is pretty much for much. There are times that I will listen to songs of all times, and try to pick up a theme for an article that I might be composing. My music is from the 60s

  6. Very cool! The 60s music is great. I grew up on that because that is my dad’s music. In fact, I was just playing some Jim Croche (although he’s a little more late 60s and early 70s, I think) today. I’ve found that The Beatles are always good writing inspiration.

  7. Ooo, “Time in a Bottle” is definitely a good one. “I’ll Have to Say I Love You in a Song” is my absolute favorite of his, though.

  8. Absolutely! There’s a song where the bass line is well, in my opinion, kind of a rip off of “Can’t Hurry Love.” It’s “Your Easy Lovin’ Ain’t Pleasin’ Nothin’.” I play those two songs on the day I teach students about plagiarism and ask them to have philosophical discussions on what is considered “copying” and what is considered “sampling.” It’s quite an interesting day each semester.

  9. That is wonderful Music transcends age and interest. You will notice in the Roy Orbison black and white show that was the makeup of the entertainers. The jamming of the musicians in the longest video is wonderful You can also get the whole show in a single video. I am able to remember most of the words of the songs of the 60s. I was a teen looking for my love in life; the music was very much about that.

  10. If I may, I will add a personal thought. it was in the summer of 64 that I met “the love of my life.” It was when I was on vacation during the summer. We were both 16. At summer’s end, I returned home, crying much of the way. The following Christmas, I returned for a week, and then went home. Distance was too great to hold things together. Nobody ever replaced her in my life. She died a few months ago. Those memories still flood my mind. It was a pure, honest and innocent relationship.

  11. Very cool! Lol, it’s funny that you say that. My dad is the same way. There was some random song that came on (I think that it was by The Cranberries), and he knew every single word. It’s funny what sticks in our brains.

  12. I’m so sorry that she passed. There are some people who are forever etched on our hearts, and it sounds like she was one of them for you. Those honest and innocent relationships are some of the most beautiful and memorable, and I’m sorry that it didn’t have a happy ending. 😦 Thank you for sharing.

  13. Nice! You have a nice list! Keep writing! Get in touch with your Chinese heritage! Do everything your heart desires. My grandpa fished a lot and he was an awesome cook!
    Another thing that stood out to me is that you write screenplays! That’s amazing!

  14. It is amazing that I can still remember how she sounded whenever she spoke. I also remember the “cute way” that she would cock her head to one side, or the other,whenever she was kidding with me. I can remember how she sounded whenever she would giggle. I remember the first time that we walked to a drug store that made milk shakes; I bought her one, fifty cents, “bit spender.” I remember when I put 50 cents of gasoline in her car, “big spender.” She thought those things were special between her and me. My mind can draw up many other things that were special between her and me.

  15. I can remember exactly what she looked like. Her face was beautiful. I can remember her pink blouse and white tennis shoes. I can remember what it was like on the night before summer vacation ended. We went to church that night. Knowing that I would be leaving her the next day was hard on me. The people in the church started singing and I started crying. When I got back to my grand parents house (where my family and I stayed during vacations) my mother made an interesting comment. She said, “son, you’re very sensitive.” My unspoken reply was, “no kidding, Ma.” The next morning my grandfather drove my mother, brother, sister and me to the bus station. The crying didn’t slow down much. It’s that way when someone leaves the presence of the person that has captured their heart. Love can be wonderful, and can be very painful; I experienced both; neither was of my plan.

  16. Thank you, and thank you for reading! Yeah, it’s weird how I got into them, but I ended up falling in love with how quick and purposeful you have to be in screenwriting and what a visual medium it is. That’s awesome that your grandpa fished!

  17. Wow, thank you for sharing that. Those images are so vivid, and you described them so well that I can clearly visualize her. I’m not sure if it’s “sensitive,” although that line made me laugh with the “no kidding, Ma.” More like you just had a tender heart and very strong feelings of love. I love the last line of your comment. It’s so well put. Maybe you should write a blog post on this woman? I think that it would be a beautiful post.

  18. If you do 1/2 those activities you’ll have the vantage point one has standing on the shoulders of giants. Wow, I have a rough sketch of my 30s and wish I’d included some of your goals! Onward and upward. Cheers!

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