There is a lot of pressure and noise about ticking off the perfect bucket list before certain ages creep around. Some of them will give you a lot of reassurance, some of them provide fun ideas and some will just be downright confusing. Not all of them are worth dwelling on though. These are some of the things you don’t have to achieve before 30.
Travel the world
You should definitely try to travel, but you don’t need to have reached all four corners of the earth before the decade is out. Giving yourself a little more time to work out what you want to see, save some money and find the best local spots could leave you with a better experience overall. When you’ve already covered backpacking, or are just not a fan of camping, having a seriously good time away in an apartment or nice hotel is not to be beaten.
Own a home
Houses are getting ever-more expensive and it’s getting harder and harder to just get that deposit together. Putting a time limit on when you should achieve that is just adding unnecessary stress. Enjoy where you are right now, even if it’s not perfect, and eventually you’ll be in the right position to create your home.
Find “the one”
Whether you believe in soul mates or not, in amongst the public displays of affection, memes and social media, there’s a lot of pressure to settle down with your perfect partner. Relationships alone won’t leave you completely satisfied, and at worst you’ll end up stuck in an unhappy one. Rushing into settling because everyone else seems to be doing it is absolutely something you don’t have to do before 30. Hang around, have fun, meet different people, and you’ll find the right person when it works for you.
Know exactly what you want to do
Apart from a smug few who have always known what they want to do, most people have no idea. It’s reassuring to know that if you’re not happy where you are, there’s a ton of resources to help you move jobs, to retrain or even to start a business. You don’t need to be settled into your dream job before you reach 30, and with so many possible career paths to choose from there really isn’t any need to rush it.
Have a baby
They are cute and all and you get lots of presents, but at 30 you’re still really young. There’s so much exploring to do and raising another human is not a responsibility to take on lightly, or before you’re ready. Just because the majority of people on your Facebook feed are showing off their little ones, doesn’t mean you have to follow suit just yet.
Know how to make fancy food
Or any really impressive cooking for that matter. No amount of zucchini foam or red wine reduction will be worth the same as pizza and wine with friends. Learn the basics first, nail them, make recipes your grandma would be proud of. You’ve got decades to start adding frothy garnishes.
Handle your fears
When you’re young and your parents can pick up spiders and walk around in the dark without a care, it seems like the biggest achievement in the world. You’re an adult now, and despite the judgmental looks you may get when you scream as you spot something crawling across the floor, overcoming a fear is a step-by-step process. You won’t get there straight away, and you definitely don’t have to do it before 30, no matter who is judging.
Write a novel
It took JRR Tolkien 16 years to complete the Lord of the Rings trilogy. A master work of literature is not created overnight. Your twenties is a great time to read and experience everything that you can, so that when you’re more settled in later life, you’ll have all that experience to write about.
Become a millionaire
Granted, it’s a huge achievement and no one is going to stop you if you think you can do it, but it doesn’t need to be a goal. It can be difficult not to feel motivated by money, and if you are chronically comparing yourself to others then you will always feel worse off. Remember wealth is measured in different ways, and if you can afford to treat yourself and do the things you want to do, you’re already doing well.
When there’s so many different things you can achieve before you reach your next birthday milestone, it’s not worth restricting yourself to follow the same must-do lists that everyone has. Be different and tailor it to want you really want, otherwise you could end up with a lifetime of memories of all the things that you don’t have to do before 30.