From exotic travel locations to risky sports to having babies, there's an awful lot you're expected to do in the last year of your 20s image

From exotic travel locations to risky sports to having babies, there’s an awful lot you’re expected to do in the last year of your 20s.” Photo: Stocksy

If you’re on the cusp of your fourth decade on this earth, chances are you’re up to the eyeballs in opinions about what you simply must do by the time you turn 30. From exotic travel locations to risky sports to having babies (yes, this week,we’re back in the good old bad old days where babies need to be popped out, pronto), there’s an awful lot you’re expected to do in the last year of your 20s.

Take this list of “30 Experiences You Should Have Before You Turn 30”: evidently your average aspiring 30-year-old needs to run a half-marathon, go skinny dipping, take an improv class (?), test drive their dream car (??), and learn to bartend (???) – among other things – before the clock strikes [whatever time you were born] on the final day of your 29th year.

(I was under the impression that an improv class was less an “experience” than an endurance test, but to each their own.) (6)

Yes, from financial decisions to wardrobe items to music festivals to essential smallgoods to eat, there’s an unending well of “before you turn 30”-related content out there; enough to cause an existential crisis in even the most well-lived 29-year-old.

So, as a person quickly approaching the eve of my third-annual 30th birthday crisis talks, I’d like to offer a different slant on the ticking time bomb: here are six things you should forget about once you turn 30.

Talking Shit About People

Yes, there’s a certain bonding quality in getting together and ragging on what such-and-such wore to the work Christmas In July party (etc). But once you get a bit of distance, you may come to realise there’s nothing more tragic than a group of professional adults whipping each other into a frenzy of bitchiness (trust me, just spend a day on Twitter). That’s not to say you need to become saintlike in your day-to-day interactions, but just take a step back and take stock of how much of your time and energy is taken up by whining or griping: chances are you’ll be surprised.

Worrying About Solo Travel

The truth about group travel, as anyone who has ever travelled with friends or a partner will tell you, is frequent arguments, an irritating commitment to itineraries and inevitable griping about where to have dinner. Solo travel, for all its occasional moments of crushing loneliness (shout out to sobbing in New York doorways or on the Tube), is just really not that scary. I realise this is drifting perilously close to “you must try solo travel once you turn 30” territory but, really, trust me: it’s the best.

Going Bungee Jumping

“Go bungee jumping” is such a naff, late-’90s tourism campaign idea of letting loose and letting go of your inhibitions (see also: skinny dipping, parasailing, certain brands of backpacking) before adulthood comes knocking. Do you think Marianne Faithfull’s Ballad Of Lucy Jordan would have been so poignant if the eponymous 37-year-old was mourning the fact she’d never jump off a bridge into a river rather than driving through Paris with the warm wind in her hair? Plus, I mean, why stop there: take up stunt driving or BASE jumping or build a rocket. In your 30s, it’s time to reassess your commitment to your extreme lifestyle.

Whether Or Not Your Bum Looks Big In That

I vividly remember waking up on the day of my 30th birthday: after decades of fretting about whether or not my body looked “right”, I looked in the mirror at my stretch marks, grey hairs and the fact my arse was slowly disappearing into my thighs, and I thought, “Not bad”. Don’t worry about turning into a “YOU GO GIRL!!” model of body positivity, because it’s perfectly reasonable to also think you look like an old sock filled with corks on any given day, but rather try to treat yourself with kindness and respect. Your body has made it through at least 30 years, and it deserves a hug.

Dating “Bad Guys”

By “bad guy”, I don’t mean the dude from your drama class who wore a leather jacket, smoked and once combed his hair with water from the toilet bowl. No, I mean guys (and gals) who are emotionally withholding, manipulative, sulky, mean or stingy, or all of the above if you’ve picked a real winner. It’s time, in your 30s, to realise you are worth more than the crumbs of love that some gadabout scrapes off the table in your general direction. Stop that!

Trying To Work Out What You’ll Be When You Grow Up

If you went through school in the ’90s, it’s likely you were being pushed to have an idea of your career trajectory as early as Year 9, when you had to start thinking about your Year 11 and 12 subjects. This can lead to spending your 20s gripped by a crushing state of work-related existential agony if you’ve not “made it” to where 15-year-old you thought you’d be “by now”. But really, 15-year-old you also thought Dougie the pizza guy was hot, what the hell did they know? Take a break from being your own worst guidance counsellor. It’s okay to just let your career unfold. (5)

Henry Sapiecha

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