30 For 30: A Review

It’s my 30th birthday soon. As in late part of next week soon. Normally that would mean I take the time to write up a birthday post, rant about something, blah blah blah blah blah, and there we are. As you’ll see on Sunday, I’ve got something better planned for my birthday’s actual week.

That said, I’ve been saving a post idea I wanted to do for about a year now for this very moment. Back in 2012, on my old, long dead blog, I wrote a post called 30 Before 30. I had just had my 25th birthday a few weeks prior and I was planning for the future. I wanted to make a list of things that I could go before I turned 30 and get to as many of them (ideally all of them) as I possibly could. Though the blog post itself is long gone, I saved the actual list for purposes of reviewing it later. That later is now.

The list itself is below. I’ve bolded the ones I’ve completed, italicized the ones that were partially completed, and left the others in normal text. I’ll meet you down at the bottom of the list to talk about them.

  1. Shave with a straight razor
  2. Get back into reasonable running shape
  3. Attend a musical in person and enjoy it (difficulty: the show cannot be Sunset Boulevard or Avenue Q)
  4. Bike 26 miles in one day
  5. Develop collegiate-style curricula for a business environment
  6. Visit at least one new country
  7. Attend a NHL playoff game
  8. Learn to write some sort of computer code (specific language to be determined)
  9. Donate my unneeded clothing to charity (I have more of this at my grandparents’ house than I realized)
  10. Own a car that is less than nine years old at the time that I purchase it
  11. Learn to wake up without hitting the snooze button
  12. Finish writing at least two new novel/novella length stories (not sure if this will include my current project or not)1This one is bolded if we’re saying novellas, would be italics if it’s solely novels, but bolded if we’re counting both. This is confusing.
  13. Remember enough of my Spanish knowledge for it to be useful OR become semi-competent in another language
  14. Build my own desktop computer OR server
  15. Learn to tolerate a TV show I hate
  16. Finish the three books on my bookshelf I’ve never touched: The Iliad, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and The Picture of Dorian Gray
  17. Eliminate my student loan debt
  18. Get married
  19. Visit seven new states in the USA (which would bring me to 50% of the USA visited)2So close…
  20. Try one of the bourbons on Gayot’s 10 Best Bourbons list
  21. Re-watch both Jericho and Animaniacs from their first episode to their conclusion
  22. Go to a Raw/Smackdown show live…a taping/TV airing would be best, but not necessary
  23. Devise a master plan and execute it
  24. Drive a car that is classified as a sports car
  25. Learn to actually use my vacation days at work (so that I don’t lose some/all of them like I have every year since I started working)
  26. Guest write for 30 blogs
  27. Move in with my wife/fiancée/girlfriend/whatever she happens to be at that time
  28. Acquire a blender
  29. Reenact the escape scene from Shawshank during a rainstorm, minus the shitty pipe
  30. Have a birthday celebration that is more than just doing nothing…but I still get ice cream cake

Still there? Why?

All things considered, I’m pretty happy with the fact that I was able to finish half of the items on the list, as well as partially complete another six of them. Considering the fact that I forgot this list existed for the better part of two years, I did alright. That said, I certain could have done better. Let’s look at the failures first.

  • Shave with a straight razor
  • Get back into reasonable running shape
  • Bike 26 miles in one day
  • Attend a NHL playoff game
  • Learn to write some sort of computer code (specific language to be determined)
  • Learn to wake up without hitting the snooze button
  • Build my own desktop computer OR server
  • Go to a Raw/Smackdown show live…a taping/TV airing would be best, but not necessary
  • Drive a car that is classified as a sports car

Of the nine items I made no progress towards, four of them3Shaving with a straight razor, writing computer code, building my own computer, and driving a car that is classified as a sports car. are items that I look back on now and wonder why they were even on the list. I mean, sure, those things would be neat. But I didn’t need to do them before 30. Frankly, all of them except the sports car sound awful now. Missing the running goal is arguably the most disappointing on the list, though I’m certain my wife would argue it’s the snooze button one. Now that my commute is even longer, I’m certain that she might end me if I don’t learn to at least be better about that one.

As for the six items I made partial progress on, most of them were items I didn’t necessarily even mean to do. See my footnotes (you can click on them now!) for more information on how close or not close I got to each…with the exception of the first one. We’ll get to that one in a moment.

  • Remember enough of my Spanish knowledge for it to be useful OR become semi-competent in another language
  • Finish the three books on my bookshelf I’ve never touched: The Iliad, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and The Picture of Dorian Gray4I finished The Iliad (hated it) and 2001: A Space Odyssey (it was alright). Still haven’t picked up Dorian Gray.
  • Visit seven new states in the USA (which would bring me to 50% of the USA visited)5With a work trip to California earlier this year, my count is at 24. So unless I randomly get to the next closest state I haven’t been to (Maryland) by next week…not happening.
  • Re-watch both Jericho and Animaniacs from their first episode to their conclusion6Finished Animaniacs, never restarted Jericho.
  • Learn to actually use my vacation days at work (so that I don’t lose some/all of them like I have every year since I started working)7I’ve gotten better about using personal days, but since vacation can roll over, I bank those.
  • Guest write for 30 blogs8I think my end count here is 17. Not 100% positive, as a few of the sites I’ve written for have died off. It’s somewhere between 15-20.

As for the Spanish knowledge, of all of the items on my 30 before 30 list, this is probably the one that seemed like the longest shot to me. I hadn’t spoken Spanish to anyone since college and really hadn’t heard anyone speak it around me in a similar amount of time. Furthermore, while the company I work for has a large amount of Spanish speaking customers, those calls were all handled out of another office, so I never heard it. That said, over the last year or so, we’ve had five or six Spanish speakers start at my work, nearly all of whom sit directly outside my office. While I can’t speak Spanish back to them, I follow along well enough that I can walk out and answer their questions when I hear one that I know the answer to. So…unintentional win?

As for the ones I completed, here they are with a little more explanation of how/when they happened. Or just more explanation in general.

  • Attend a musical in person and enjoy it (difficulty: the show cannot be Sunset Boulevard or Avenue Q) – Book of Mormon was amazing.
  • Develop collegiate-style curricula for a business environment – I’ve done this three times now to varying levels of success. It’s much easier when doing this for internal employees though.
  • Visit at least one new country – Canada in 2015
  • Donate my unneeded clothing to charity (I have more of this at my grandparents’ house than I realized) – I’ve done this a few times now, as I really don’t need a ton of stuff.
  • Own a car that is less than nine years old at the time that I purchase it – Got my first true new car in mid-2013.
  • Finish writing at least two new novel/novella length stories (not sure if this will include my current project or not) – I completed NaNoWriMo in 2015 and published An Epilogue to Innocence in 2015. I’ve also completed 8 novella length stories in that time, four of which were posted on this blog.
  • Learn to tolerate a TV show I hate – A good portion of shows my wife watches fall into this category. I’m much less hating toward TV than I once was.
  • Eliminate my student loan debt – Done in 2014.
  • Get married – Did so in mid-2015.
  • Try one of the bourbons on Gayot’s 10 Best Bourbons list – I had Jim Beam Single Barrel at a speakeasy on my honeymoon.
  • Devise a master plan and execute it – Hooray purposing.
  • Move in with my wife/fiancée/girlfriend/whatever she happens to be at that time – Also done. My wife would be very confused otherwise.
  • Acquire a blender – Literally the first item I checked off this list. Done in January 2013.
  • Reenact the escape scene from Shawshank during a rainstorm, minus the shitty pipe – Spinning around in rainstorms is fun
  • Have a birthday celebration that is more than just doing nothing…but I still get ice cream cake – The wife and I went to dinner for a few of my birthdays. That counts in my book.

All in all, this list was an interesting experience. Even though I didn’t finish the list, I got to do a lot of things I otherwise wouldn’t have done, or at least wouldn’t have done in the same timeline. If you have a milestone birthday coming up in the next few years, why not try it for yourself?