Forget all those books your mother bought you as you went through puberty — you know, the ones with the little Caucasian girl and her budding nipples on the front cover.
Forget that feeling you had when you finally turned 18 and could legally buy those cigarettes you didn’t even know how to inhale. Forget how you feel at work when you receive your paycheck and head back to your rent-controlled apartment. No matter how old you feel, you are not officially a woman until you turn 30.
Thirty. Say it to yourself over and over again until the word begins to sound funny as it rolls off the tip of your tongue. Say it until you can imagine yourself answering every nosey guy’s question with that number. Say it until you have wrapped your mind around the idea that you will be 30 one day.
It’s a word you’re not used to uttering, an age you assumed you’d never actually have to face. It’s a dreaded turning point for all females, as they realize life will never be as carefree, exciting and generally optimistic as it was in their twenties.
Aside from all the reasons turning 30 sucks, the main, dreaded factor is that you can’t get away with the sh*t you used to; people look at you differently when you’re 30. Suddenly, everyone assumes you’re responsible, dependable and generally stable; getting blacked out and contracting an STD when you’re 32 just isn’t as acceptably excused as it was in your twenties.
“The years between 18 and 28 are the hardest, psychologically. It’s then you realize this is make or break; you no longer have the excuse of youth, and it is time to become an adult — but you are not ready.” — Helen Mirren
If you’re reading this while still enjoying the exuberance of your twenties, heed this as warning. Respect your elders when they tell you to take in every moment, because time will pass much quicker than your naive mind can comprehend. One day, you will be staring 30 straight in the face (most likely on an unnecessarily elaborate cake with large, obnoxious writing, which your friends deceptively purchased) and realize a pivotal point of your life has come to a close.
That pivotal chunk you can never get back is your youth. It’s the years spent sleeping ’til noon and drip-drying in the bathroom of the club. It’s the 10 years you spent wearing anything in your closet, as long as it made you look thin and desirable. It’s the years no one cared if you used f*ck seven times in one sentence or threw up behind the bar.
Though these actions are no more respectable in your twenties than they are in your thirties, they are pardoned. So, as you coast through the thrilling, surprising years of being 20-sum, take your actions into account and engage in as much tomfoolery as you can.
Here are the 30 things to get out of your system before the sad, cold day when turning 30 becomes a reality, and you’re just another old woman, searching for her lost youth.
1. Fall asleep and wake up in another country. You never know where life will take you.
2. Go to the airport with no ticket, scan the departures screen and pick any destination. Bonus points if you only take a backpack with you.
3. Move to a place where you don’t know anyone. Knowing how to be independent is one of the greatest gifts you can grant yourself.
4. If you hate your job, quit. And do it in that big, over-the-top, “Bridget Jones’ Diary” way, where you announce it to the whole office and proudly march out afterwards. That will really show them who’s boss.
5. Meet a stranger on a train. Lower your guard and allow yourself to open up to this completely random individual. Then, learn how to listen in return.
6. Go someplace with no money and see what you can do. When we step outside of our comfort zones and abandon our most prized possessions, it forces us to get crafty. This leads to some of the most memorable adventures.
7. Take a road trip across the United States with your best friend. Make sure to bring a disposable camera, endless snacks and things to barter with.
8. Have sex in a public place.
9. Hook up with another girl, if only for the attention.
10. Use a fake accent and really commit. Make the next person you encounter believe you’re genuinely from Australia.
11. Lie about your name at least once. Somewhere in the universe, there’s a person who will forever believe you’re someone you’re not.
12. Travel to a location with a particularly harsh climate. See how well you survive.
13. Change your look entirely. See if it changes you.
14. Hitchhike at least once (preferably not in the US), and if you get pulled over by the cops, even better.
15. Date someone completely wrong for you, if only because it’ll help you realize who is right.
16. Rationalize your actions with “YOLO.” Drake does it.
17. Wake up on a boat. Then you’ll have full license to scream, “I’m on a boat, b*tch!”
18. Avoid your apartment for a full week. Try couch-surfing during this time; you’ll return with a new appreciation for home.
19. Don’t sleep for two days because you are so busy with experiences.
20. Learn a new language without attending a class… by making a new bilingual friend.
21. Sit alone for two hours with just your thoughts. Learn how to be comfortable with your own silence.
22. Pick up a guy at the gym.
23. Take a hip-hop class.
24. Go on a date with someone you meet online.
25. Visit all 50 states. You’ll be amazed by the vastness of this country.
26. Make a few mistakes in Vegas — just make sure they stay there.
27. Get a tattoo. Find meaning in its meaningless.
28. Spend your entire paycheck on a designer bag; this is your luxury version of living dangerously.
29. Follow your favorite band on tour, and make it your mission to hook up with the drummer.
30. Go to Paris in the company of only yourself. Pretend you are the heroine in your own romantic movie and live the script of your life.