Life is very different for each of us, depending on so many factors.
But there are certain experiences we should all try to have before we hit three decades.
It’s not a race, but the following life experiences come with a five-star rating and will help you grow enormously as a person.
1) Try dating someone unexpected
Who you decide to go out with is partly a matter of choice.
They have to be into it as well, of course.
But if possible, try going out with a couple of people you wouldn’t normally date!
Even if the sparks don’t fly, you’ll learn a lot about yourself and have some unique and interesting experiences.
In the worst-case scenario you’ll find out a lot more about what you’re not looking for.
2) Fall in love
If at all possible, take a chance on love.
This isn’t something you can force, of course, and it’s only partly in your control.
But if you feel like you might be falling in love, be open to seeing where that leads.
Life is short and love is rare.
Take a chance on being happy while you’re young and (hopefully) of sound body and mind.
3) Stand up for yourself
When the odds are stacked against you or you’re being pushed around, stand up for yourself.
This could take many forms.
It could be:
- Leaving a relationship where you’re being disrespected;
- Ending a friendship where you’re being manipulated;
- Standing up for yourself against bullies or abusers;
- Putting your foot down on people who are financially leeching off you…
Or it could simply be that you get up one day, look at your job and say “I’m done.”
And you mean it…
4) Quit a job you hate
Quitting a job that you strongly hate is something everyone should experience at least once before age 30.
Let’s face it:
So much of our suffering comes from bending to the whims of people who don’t have our best interests at heart, and a lot of who we become is shaped in our response to that.
How much do you tolerate being stepped on and underpaid and how much do you rebel?
Rebellion isn’t always the answer: it can be irresponsible and petty. Sometimes it can lose you a salary you or your family desperately need.
But at least once before 30 try quitting an awful job and telling your boss to “shove it.”
You’ll feel a lot better about yourself and your value.
5) Make a close friend
One good friend is worth more than 100 average or not very good friends.
Try your best to cultivate at least one long-term close friend before you turn 30.
Life can be a tough road and having somebody by your side and returning the favor is a very good idea indeed.
What’s more is that in your friendship and its many ups and downs you also come to know yourself at a deeper level and see your own behavior and trajectory reflected in the feedback and relation with your friend.
6) Learn a new language
Learning a new language is an amazing experience, and my language courses were always my favorite in college.
You not only pick up a potentially useful way to communicate with others, you also get to see the world in a new way.
Languages are ultimately different versions of reality, different ways of filtering and interpreting the world and speaking about it.
Learning one is a great thing to do before you’re 30 if you have the chance.
7) Pick up a new practical skill
In addition to learning a new language I highly recommend picking up a new practical skill.
Whether that is basic plumbing, sewing repair or learning basic First Aid procedures, these kinds of simple skills will end up coming in far more useful than you realize.
If you want to learn a few skills, go for it, but if you really don’t have time to do much outside your job in terms of new talents, focus on getting one useful skill down well.
8) Find a hobby you love
A useful skill is one thing, and a fun and relaxing hobby is another great necessity that I also highly recommend.
This could be collecting coins and rare money, which is one of my hobbies…
Or it could be collecting sports cards, carving or learning mosaic tilework and making beautiful place settings to give out at Christmas.
Find a hobby you love doing and spend some time on it!
9) Play a new sport
Playing a new sport is a great hobby to try.
Whether that’s football, swimming, badminton (my favorite) or boxing, the sky is really the limit.
Your new sport could be skydiving, after all.
Don’t be afraid to try out a new sporting activity and discontinue it if it’s not your cup of tea.
There’s no harm in trying.
Then again if you try out Escrima and get a few teeth knocked out during an introductory session I suppose there could be some potential downside.
10) Save some money in the bank
If at all possible, save some money in the bank!
That seems to be getting harder and harder to do with inflation, student loan debts and all, but if you can get above the red by 30 you’re doing OK.
Knowing that you at least have a bit of money sitting there for an emergency will make you able to live your life with a tiny bit more confidence and wellbeing.
Money can’t buy happiness, but it can stave off a bit of anxiety sometimes.
11) Laugh until you cry
At least once before you’re 30 try laughing until you cry.
It’s hard to explain this mix of intense emotions, but it’s an intense release of energy and frustration and gladness all at once.
If you’ve experienced it then you know what I mean.
It could be hilarious friends, something absurd that keeps happening or a film or song that just touched you in the most hilarious way and you can’t get over.
Laugh about it until you cry. Plus your abs will get a really good workout.
12) Go to a concert
At least once before you’re 30 try to check out a live concert.
It doesn’t need to be massive if that’s not your style, but do yourself the favor of soaking in the live talents of a band or singer who you admire and enjoy.
You’ll have a great time and remember it for years to come.
13) Love what you already have
At least once before you’re 30, sit in a quiet place or pray or meditate on thankfulness for what you already have.
Really let it sink in.
Don’t compare what others don’t or do have. Just think of everything you do have starting with the air in your lungs.
It’s truly incredible, and sometimes before you can make a big change and become massively empowered you really have to feel the magic of being alive at a deep level.
This brings up my last piece of advice…
14) Make a new start
At least once before you turn 30, try making a new start.
Whether that means a new career, a new relationship, a new place to live or even just a new way of living, reinvent yourself.
Find out what you really want by making a clean break from an inauthentic version of yourself.
Take a chance and hit the road.
As Tracy Chapman sang in 1988…
“You got a fast car
I want a ticket to anywhere
Maybe we make a deal
Maybe together we can get somewhere…”
Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is a very real issue.
If you haven’t had the life experiences above, I want to encourage you not to panic or think less of yourself.
You may have had other experiences which were more difficult, strange or wonderful than those on this list!
You may have undergone an intense spiritual awakening over a number of years which didn’t leave time or energy for some of these experiences I’ve listed above.
That’s not only OK, that’s extraordinary.
The life experiences above are important and meaningful, but there’s never a one-size-fits all approach or guide to life.
If you’ve had some of these experiences that’s wonderful; if not, don’t worry. Your life is unfolding the way it needs to and soon enough you’ll be experiencing them as well.