With my twenty-fifth birthday approaching next month, it is almost impossible not to focus on the hard truth that thirty is just around the corner. I keep finding myself wishing I did more in college or planning adventures in my head that seem to be too unrealistic to happen. Instead of regretting things I did not do or planning things I will never do, I sat down and thought about what I hoped to do within the next five years of my life.
1. Plan a Weekend Get-Away
It is so easy to get lost in your day-to-day life that when the weekend comes along you stay at home all day binge watching Netflix while waiting for your laundry to dry. When Sunday comes along, if you are anything like me, you are cursing yourself for wasting another perfectly good weekend on the couch. Instead, text a few of your friends, see what weekend everyone is available and plan a weekend get-away. Rent an Airbnb. Get dressed up and go grab dinner at a fancy restaurant. Get hot-stone massages. Do whatever it takes to have fun.
2. Learn a New Language
Most people were required to take a foreign language in high school or college, yet how much of that language do you still know? Download a free language app and start learning a new language or two, it may be helpful later in life – and in this list.
3. Grab Your Passport and Go
I know, I know, you probably could give me nine different reasons right now for not traveling. Instead, think of all the reasons you should travel. Experience new cultures, meet new people, try new food and drinks around the world.
4. Now Do It, Alone
Nothing is more terrifying than going somewhere you’ve never been, where you don’t know the language – unless you’re doing it alone. Not only will it give you a chance to practice your new vocabulary skills, it will be an experience of a lifetime exploring a new world by yourself.
5. Get Professional Photos Taken
Sure, selfies and drunken girls’ night pics are all you see on Instagram right now, but give it a few years and those photos will be few-and-far between. Not only will getting professional photos taken help you upgrade your Facebook and LinkedIn profiles, you’ll have fun seeing your beauty through someone else’s eyes!
6. Take a Self-Defense Class
Let’s be honest, it can be scary on those streets… late at night … alone. If you live in a major city like I do, or work late hours, I highly suggest learning some basic self-defense. You know, just in case you ever need to whip some major booty.
7. Learn to Meditate
Work. Family. Finances. They all add stress to your life. While stress is not avoidable, meditating can definitely help with staying calm and levelheaded.
8. Skinny Dip
No matter what size you may be, everyone has felt some pressure to look – or dress – a certain way. Forget everything people and society have told you about your body, strip down, and jump into a body of water. You will not believe how freeing it can be.
9. Learn CPR
This basic, lifesaving course may just well be a literal lifesaver one day and you will be glad you know it!
10. Pretend to be a Tourist in Your Own Town/City
Whether you have lived in your city your entire life, or just moved to a new town, take some time and explore it. Find a new coffee shop; try a different restaurant than the one you frequent. Get lost and find your way back home. Take some time and really get to know the area you live in.
11. Take a Cooking Class
We all need to eat, right? So why not eat well. Groupon usually has some amazing deals on cooking classes, and you can learn tons of different recipes from various types of cuisines. Moreover, it gives you a good reason to host a dinner party someday!
12. Create a Family Tree
As you get older, so does the rest of your family. If you are lucky enough to still have your grandparents and other older relatives, take time and ask them questions about your family’s history. Look into sites like Ancestry to help you gather information and make a family tree that you can build onto when you have kids of your own.
13. Fall in Love… with a LBD
Every woman needs to have a favorite, go-to little black dress that works for any occasion. Find yourself a LBD that you can wear to work or on a night out with the help of accessories.
14. Stay Up Until Sunrise
There are not many chances to party all night now that you are a full-fledged adult. If you can, seize the opportunity to stay up all night long, making as many memories as you can. Then treat yourself to a late brunch and some mimosas when you wake up.
15. Start a New Hobby
Life post-grad can get boring. You are no longer staying up all night partying – and studying – and you probably are not participating in the same activities you were in college. Find a new hobby that allows you to unwind and even make some new friends!
16. Declutter Your Life
We can accrue a lot of stuff while living in a dorm or college apartment. From colligate gear and clubbing wear, to mini fridges and random plastic dishware; a lot of the stuff is just taking up room in your closet, on your floor, or in boxes sitting in the corner. Go through all your stuff and make a trip to your local donation center. Not only will you be happy to have less clutter around, but also you will feel good knowing your stuff is going to a good, and charitable, cause!
17. … and Your Social Media
How many times do you find yourself scrolling through your feeds and rolling your eyes? How many arguments do you foresee yourself getting into with high-school acquaintances and former college roommates? Still have some of your exes lingering and liking selfies? Your twenties are a great time to lose all the past friend baggage and keep only those you truly want in your life – and on your social media accounts.
18. Take Yourself on a Date
This one may seem weird, or embarrassing, or even over said but it’s a good thing to get into the habit of doing. Set aside a day or night where you take yourself on a date. Go to a movie, see a performance, grab dinner at a local restaurant, and completely unplug from the world for a bit. Take some you time.
19. Make a Scrapbook
Sure, Facebook, Instagram, and the Cloud hold all of our photos now, but what if some day your children or grandchildren want to see pictures from your vacation to Hawaii or when you graduated college? Will these social media platforms still be around – and relevant – in ten, twenty, thirty years? If they aren’t, you’re going to want somewhere to store all your memories.
20. Take a Risk
What is life without a little risk? We all have something on our personal bucket list that requires some risk-taking, so why not check it off while you are young so you can keep thinking of riskier things to do!
21. Keep a Journal
It is easy to forget all the great things that are happening to you. Getting a promotion, signing your first mortgage, even that book you read that changed your outlook on life. These moments slip away into the chaos of every-day-life. Take some time and write them down, you will be glad you did later in life.
Nothing is more rewarding than volunteering and giving back to your community. Call up your local food bank, animal shelter, or elementary school and see what you can do to help. I promise you’ll get more out of it than they will.
23. Drive Across Country
Nothing will be more stressful and fun at the same time. You will test your patience on long stretches of highway that seem to lead nowhere, but you will also see some great stuff along your way. If you are lucky, somethings will even go wrong so you have a great story to tell later on!
24. Move Away From Your Home & College Town
If you have already done it, well done – you are ahead of the curve. However, if you are like most recent graduates, you are probably living close to home, or close to where you went to school. Move. Move to the next town. Better yet, move to the next state – or across the country. New experiences and people wait for you just across that town border.
25. Get a Better Understanding of Your Finances
Sit down and create a monthly budget. Invest in a good financial tracker – there are some great, free apps for both IOS and Android. Learn how to balance a checkbook. Research stock and 401K options. Start paying down your credit cards and student loans. You are most likely making more money than you were in college, so it’s the perfect time to start saving and investing for your future.
26. … and Politics
Now that you are out of college it is important to know what is going on in the world around you. The way to start that is by knowing what is going on with your government. Familiarize yourself with all the current social and political issues; find out who your state and local representatives are. The only way change will begin to happen is if we all know what type of change needs to happen – and how to do it.
27. Learn How to Say ‘No’
One of the most important life lessons that can be instilled on anyone is learning how to say no. How many times have you found yourself agreeing to help a friend move because you were afraid they would be upset if you said no? Instead, say no to anything that does not make you happy – or that makes you feel uncomfortable.
28. … And When to Say ‘Yes’
It is just as important to know when to say yes, as it is to be comfortable with saying no. Do not let fear of the unknown – or worse, fear of failure – hold you back!
29. Be a Kid Again
Who said just because you are grown up that you cannot still have fun like you did when you were a kid? Not me. Get up early and watch cartoons. Finger paint. Eat your favorite childhood meal. Jump in a pile of leaves. Let go of all your worries about what other people are going to think about you and enjoy a day of total fun, total freedom.
30. Be Authentically You!
Speaking of freedom – this is the perfect time to stop caring about what other people think of you in general. We spend so much time stressing over how others perceive us that we sometimes lose sight of who we really are. Let all of that go. Do what you want, wear what you like, and take nothing from no one. Your thirties are going to thank you for this one.
Of course, there are countless of other things you could add to the list. Maybe you are a little more adventurous and want to sky drive or cliff dive. Perhaps you want to write a book or start up a blog. There are endless amounts of possibilities your twenties can hold if you just want them enough.
Don’t go yet, we have lot’s more goodies were that came from!