20 Before 30: A Quarter Life Bucket List

Photo courtesy of Raymond Larose

Your twenties are that magical decade when you’re finally able to make your own decisions in life, but you haven’t got all of the responsibilities that come later. Take this time now to explore the world around you in a variety of exciting ways, learning about yourself all the while. As you take advantage of all that life has to offer you at this stage, be mindful of each experience, internalizing how to experience joy. The earlier you learn how to be mindful of your own happiness, the better. As you try each of the following 20 suggestions, root yourself firmly in the moment each and every time.

  1. Visit New York City, and not just for the tourist attractions. Stay for a few days and learn just how amazing that city really is.
  2. Date people. Plural. Getting to know a variety of people will help ensure that you end up with someone you’re really compatible with.
  3. Wear a bikini as often as possible. Guys, skip this one. Unless that’s your thing.
  4. Take an impromptu road trip with friends. The destination doesn’t matter. When will you ever have the chance to jump into a car on a whim and just GO?
  5. Eat at an all-night diner at 3:00AM. Why? Because you can.
  6. Get a tattoo or a piercing. Put some thought into this one though. You are probably going to have a career soon, so be responsible about it.
  7. Go to a dance club. The kind with lights and techno music. Dance all night, come home, and sleep the entire next day. When you wake up, eat cereal.
  8. Move out of your parents’ house! You do not want to be that thirty year old who lives with Mom.
  9. Get an education. If not now, when?  It gets increasingly harder to go “back to school” with each passing year.
  10. Find your passion. Switching professions later can be exceedingly difficult and stressful.  Believe me - I did it.
  11. Take the subway.
  12. Travel out of the country as much as you can. My recommendations: Paris, Capetown, Barcelona, and Bora Bora.
  13. Get amazingly fit. Go to the gym as much as possible. Staying fit and healthy now means you’re setting yourself up for success in your thirties and forties.
  14. Explore your talents. If you’re insanely good at something, see if  you can’t possibly make an awesome living doing it.
  15. Drink a really amazing glass of wine, and try to taste every single ingredient.
  16. Live somewhere cool and trendy with lots of nightlife.
  17. If possible, live alone. Enjoy solitude. Learn to like doing things on your own.  Be comfortable with yourself.
  18. Learn how to cook.
  19. Buy something completely impractical, just because you want it. Only do this once, though. You don’t want to be bankrupt at 30.
  20. Begin your journey toward self-discovery. You might not get all the way there by 30, but if you start now, you’ll have an amazing head start.


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    • Laurie

      From someone who has been out of her twenties for 16 years, now, I offer up a bit of hindsight for those who still have the chance (and if you are not dead, you still do…):  Do it!  All 20 are MUCH easier in your twenties, especially number 13, which is the only thing I did not completely check off.  (OK…the piercings were second holes in my earlobes, but it counts!!!) 

      If you have not traveled out of the country and have the mindset of it being too expensive, plan for a couple of years, watch for deals and believe in those who tell you that the experience is priceless.  I have a friend who became a certified English as a Second Language Teacher and taught in Japan for a couple years.  The institution helped him get the job over seas and paid for the trip over.  (He also met his wife there and has been happily married with children for many, many years…they live back in the U.S., now.)

      Such an inspirational article, Adrienne!  I was a bit down this morning (Thunderstorm prohibited my morning walk…).  When I read this, it got me thinking of all the cool things I have done in my life, plus what is coming up for me which brightened my gloomy day!  Thank you so VERY much!

      • Adrienne McGuire

        Agreed, Laurie! As I wrote this, I was thinking back on my twenties and remembering some of the things I did then that I probably just won’t get to do again. However, I was also thinking about some of the things I didn’t get to do that I WISH I had done, like #2 and #10. I so wish I could go back in time and talk some sense into twenty-year-old me!!!