Friday, August 17, 2012

30 by 30: Are You Hitting Your Milestones?

My wonderful friend has a blog post about maturing and life goals (and she has--in my humble opinion--an awesome life that she's embraced with bravery and a wonderful spirit of adventure, so I sincerely hope she isn't taking stock in a self-judgmental way, but rather in a how-can-I-grow-even-more way).

She cites a McSweeney's article that's a tongue-in-cheek nod to those baby developmental milestone charts. You know, the ones that are used primarily to induce either panic or an alarmingly thick layer of smugness in new parents. (Yes, yes. I know that they have the very legitimate use of reassuring parents that their child's development is normal and alerting us to potential developmental delays to ensure early intervention strategies, but let's be honest, usually they're about panic and smugness).

My Armory: Chef's, Boning, Utility Knives
"'Advanced' 14 month olds can use a spoon and fork, eh? We'll show 'em!"
She developed a point system whereby you get 1 point for completing the "probably," 2 for completing the "may be able," and 3 for completing the "possibly." She also grants handicaps to adjust for age, so since I'm 27, I get 7.5 points (2.5 points +/- for years under/over 30). 

So, here's how I did:

By thirty-years-old, your adult will probably be able to…

Feed and maintain a house pet
Hold down a job
Maintain eye contact while speaking
Refrain from discussing high school
Cook a meal (three-course)
Make small talk

Forgive his family (Get out of my head, McSweeney's.) 
Acknowledge other viewpoints (social)
Detect and respond to ambiguity
Finish school (I've got two degrees, but I'm still not finished.)

Your thirty-year-old adult may be able to…

Make a martini (vodka) (Blech. I like my drinks sweet. When it comes to alcohol, I have the tastebuds of a six-year-old. Wait, that didn't come out right. What I meant to say is where are the mango margaritas?)
Tie a half-Windsor knot
Drive a manual transmission (This depends on what your definition of "drive" is, but I did it--for better of for worse--for a year, so I'm going to count it.)
Refrain from discussing college (I work at a college. I feel this is unfair.)
Get married
File his taxes (EZ form)
Remember 5-10 friends’ birthdays
Acknowledge other viewpoints (political)
Get a flu shot
Give a toast
Install storm windows
Go back to school (Back. Hahaha.)

Some advanced thirty-year-olds may possibly be able to…

Make a martini (gin) (And peach margaritas. Mmm.)
File his taxes (standard 1040)
Make and keep dental appointments
Have a baby
Finish school (Hey! That's double dipping!)

Final score: 35 (+7.5 handicap)= 42.5/49  I'm grown!

My friend finished it up with a list of 30 things to do before she's 30 and a challenge to others to do the same. Thirty seemed like a daunting number, and I do--after all--still have three years, so I'm going to start with 15 and then re-evaluate:

1. Submit two articles for publication in academic journals
2. Take my daughter to the beach
3. Be able to hold a basic conversation in Spanish
4. Get my insanely hyperactive dog trained well enough to be able to bring him to an outdoor festival 
5. Move to a new house
6. Finish my PhD (can "before 30" be "by the time you're done being 30," like really "before 31"? This one's going to be cutting it close). 
7. Visit another country (I don't even own a passport yet.)
8. Present at a teaching conference 
9. Take a yoga class
10. Run a 10k
11. Teach my daughter to swim
12. Update my wardrobe
13. See the Pacific Ocean 
14. Plant a garden 
15. Organize my closet

There. Now I feel ready to tackle the day. (Also, is it sad that the one I feel least confident in is number 4?)

What about you? What goals do you have? (And if you're already 30, feel free to adjust the timeframe!)

Photo: panduh


  1. I was thinking about starting my own 30 before 30 list! I have 4 1/2 years left. Is it bad that I don't want to start it because I'm already afraid I won't finish it? Sigh. The setbacks of being a perfectionist!

    1. I was tempted to put some "gimmes" on there. "Eat dinner tonight." "Do a load of laundry this weekend." Something that wouldn't feel so overwhelming! If you make a list, I'd love to see the link!

  2. this post brought me back to the days when i was 30 - desperate times! 3 wks after my 30th bday I had my first baby. 6 wks after that I started working on my phd in english. (so finishing by 30 would have been impossible!), but i remember those days vividly, balancing school, teaching and parenting. it was CRAZY! when i look at your list from my vantage now (45, phd done, kids are teens), the things i really hope you do: take your daughter to the beach and take a yoga class (something for her, something for you). the journals will always be there...good luck! :)

    1. Thanks! It's good to hear from someone who has gotten through some of the crazy! (Though I'm sure there's always new crazy to get through.)