30 Things I Did Before I Turned 30

I remember when I was 27, I saw a book on sale called something like “30 Things Every Woman Should Do Before She Turns 30.” I got a sinking feeling in my stomach, worried I had only 3 years left to do whatever I hadn’t done that was on that list. Needless to say, I never actually picked up the book to see what was inside. I don’t want a book telling me how to live my life.

Now that I’m days away from celebrating my 30th birthday 12.5 hours into officially being 30, I wanted to make a list of 30 things I did before I turned 30.


Age 19
1. Had my first poem accepted to WestConn’s Literary Journal.
2. Having said poem accepted gave me the confidence to major in Professional Writing.

Age 20
3. Went to Atlantic City with my friend Erin and her mom and Grandpa–Erin and I had the BEST time not gambling or drinking. Because of course we would find a way to have a blast at a casino regardless.
4. Started Live Action Role Playing (LARPing) as Loxi, a sassy, half fairy, half human nature caster with a thick British accent.
5. Joined the literary journal staff, Black & White.

Age 21
6. Didn’t drink on my 21st birthday.
7. Saw Coraline in theaters 3 different times.

Age 22
8. Wore a tutu on my 22nd Birthday (I kept referring to turning 22 as my tutu birthday because someone once told me that I wouldn’t have anything to look forward to after turning 21. Challenge accepted.)
9. Became president of WestConn’s Literary Journal, Black & White!
10. Went to my first AWP Writing Conference in Denver, Colorado.

Age 23
11. Graduated with my BA in Professional Writing!
12. Started my MFA in Creative Writing Program.
13. Taught my first college writing class.

Age 24
14. Had my first drink since I was 18.
15. Spooned a mouthful of hot sauce into my mouth because I thought it was soup.
16. Hugged a manatee.

Age 25
17. Tried to sign up for a Spring Break trip to The Grand Canyon, but it was already sold out–so I signed up for a volunteer trip to Nicaragua to work with elementary school kids! instead. This was my first trip abroad alone, and the experience was incredibly eye-opening.
18. Graduated with my MFA in Creative and Professional Writing!
19. Moved to Massachusetts.

Age 26
20. Lost 50 pounds over the span of 9 months.
21. Taught a college-level Creative Writing class–a dream come true at 26

Age 27
22. Move to Japan!
23. Went to Thailand for Golden Week and spend a day hanging out with elephants.
24. Tried scuba diving for the first and probably the last time. (I’ve always been too afraid to try, but I faced my fears and did it!)  

Age 28
25. Moved home from Japan.
26. Started a new job as an education counselor for new immigrants and refugees.
27. Went to Hawaii for two weeks and hiked the Kalalau trail (23 miles round trip in a day and a half!)

Age 29
28. Drove around Iceland for a week, slept in a van, and saw the northern lights–TWICE!
29. Was elected president of the New England JETAA chapter (no one else ran against me, but still pretty cool.)
30. Finally went skiing in Colorado for the first time (something I promised myself I would do before I turned 30.)

It’s fun to think back and quantify how much I’ve learned and changed over the past 10 years. A lot of people have been asking me how I feel about turning 30, but I’m completely fine with it. Proud of what I’ve done, who I am, and where I am–especially right now–because I’m celebrating my birthday in Barcelona with my sister!

I got this message inside my Dove chocolate wrapper the other day. Don’t worry, Dove, I am proud!

2 thoughts on “30 Things I Did Before I Turned 30”

  1. Let me be the first to say–YOU ROCK and happy birthday (from Japan!). I don’t know what that book says, but I’d say that you’ve certainly had an exciting and kicka** first 30 years. I look forward to following along for the next! Thanks for sharing :)

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