18 November 2011


Katie, left, and I decided to develop our lists of 30 things to do
before we turn 30.

When I was 24, I sat with a friend of mine at a restaurant and crafted an idea to make a list of 30 things. These were not just any 30 things, however. These items listed on my so-called “30 List” were 30 big things – at least to me – that I wanted to accomplish before my 30th birthday in 2012.

Some of the items on the list like seeing a moose, getting a tattoo (henna, I decided) or seeing a reenactment of the Boston Tea Party in Boston, Massachusetts, may seem menial but I had never done these things before. They each created an opportunity for me to explore regional culture whether by means of nature, cultural practice or history.

As I got older, the list grew and changed as my interests altered. My list also evolved as my life drifted along new courses. I moved to New Jersey, I got promoted, I got married, I moved to Ohio, I got promoted... and then I moved to Singapore.

Items like “Go to Mexico” and “Go to Europe” turned into “Get out of the U.S.” once I found out that my husband and I were about to become expatriates. Check! 

Realizing the travel potential here in Southeast Asia, I got a bit overzealous and added, “Visit 12 countries in 12 months” to the list, which is simply a new, much cooler version of stamp collecting.

I officially have two stamps in my passport: one I received the day we moved to Singapore and the other I received last month when I visited Bali, Indonesia, for my birthday. On Monday I will receive my third stamp when I visit Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

There are kooky things on the list that include going on Spring Break (because I never did) and taking a sexy class (pole dancing for my bachelorette party – it was Laugh Out Loud hilarious).

There are business-oriented goals like becoming a vice president and writing a book. 

But here’s the kicker…

I realized this evening in a late-night, off the cuff epiphany that this list of 30 specific accomplishments is no longer about accomplishing all 30 items on my list. The point of the goal, I now recognize, was to get out and experience things that I had not experienced before – and I have certainly done that!

This experience of living a more exciting life through 30 line items originally documented on a BlackBerry caused me to continuously seek new adventure and to stop saying, “Hey, that sounds like fun. I should do that some day.” When I added an item to my list, I did whatever I set out to do and I now have 20+ stories to tell, memories with friends and pictures to prove I was there.

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