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40 Things I'm Doing in My 30's

I am 32 years old.  Two years, two months and 19 days into my thirties.  I am a thirty-something.
I recently read an article called, “30 Things I Hope To Do After 30” where the author spelled out the things she looks forward to do as a recent 30-something.  She made it clear that it was not a bucket list of things to do before she dies.
I love articles like this for two reasons:

  1. I love to plan
  2. I love a good list

I quickly started to develop my own.  A number of other articles and videos have explore life in your 30’s, especially as a woman.  Eudie Pak posted in the Huffington Post about the 30-something experience,

Being a female in your 30s is a bit perplexing — you’re not so young, you’re not so old — but even beyond that, it’s a period of time that seems to be a quieter, less socially-discussed endeavor compared to the decades that sandwich it. When you think of women in their 20s and 40s, it seems easier to define them in intangible terms. The 20s chick is known for exploring and taking risks. The 40s chick has a rep for coming into a higher level of independence and self-empowerment and hell, she’s even got More magazine. These two decades even have their own version of well-documented existential crises — quarter-life crisis and mid-life crisis, anyone?

The author further went on to describe her 30’s as an awakening and gaining an honest confidence.  I would completely agree with this statement.  But how easy it is for your 30’s to fly by.
As The Happiness Project author Gretchen Rubin coined, “The days are long but the years are short.”  Well I may be physically short, but I’m not interested for the next seven years, nine months and 11(ish) days before I turn 40 to be.
The list created by Lori Fradkin, the author from ’30 Things I Hope To Do After 30′ helped me start my own.  We had ten hopes for our 30’s in common:

  1. Be an author: I am hoping #11 will be my catalyst to get me there.
  2. Travel to Australia and New Zealand: Seems like the most magical place on earth, the adult version of Disneyland.
  3. Learn how to do my make-up: Let’s be honest, who really knows what they are doing.
  4. Gain confidence in cooking: For shame, I am domestically challenged.
  5. Drink more water: For all the benefits of staying hydrated, a goal such as this is a requirement.
  6. Take a cross-country road trip: But specifically up the coast of California into the Northwest then heading east through Montana, Idaho, Yellowstone and Wyoming.
  7. Run a half marathon in another country: The perfect mix of fitness, fun and travel.
  8. Learn to edit photo and video: A skill set becoming more and more relevent and required.
  9. Make new friends: Can we ever have enough?
  10. Own my own business: Even if I have another fulltime job, I’d love to have a project completely my own that I can foster overtime.

From there, I just couldn’t help myself.  I came up with 40.  What can I say, I’m an overachiever.  So, really I have 40 things I hope to do before turning 40.
11.  Become Dr. Ahlquist: One year done, two years to go!
12.  Go on a last-minute trip: What can I say, I love to travel.
13.  Be a mentor: If and when someone is out there that may need some guidance, I hope to give back as previous mentors have done for me.
14.  Give a keynote: Since being a Park Ranger in college, I caught the public speaking bug.  I believe goal #1 will fall in line to support this one.
15.  Renew my vows with my husband every five years.  I love him a lot.  Maybe this can happen at the same time as #2.
16.  Run a triathlon : I’m not talking an Iron Man here, but three of my favorite activities in one race sounds awesome!
17.  Be more than a volunteer.  I am more than willing to volunteer for a few hours here and there, but what I really yearn for is to be fully emerged into an nonprofits’ fabric.  I hope this type of goal would lead to a role on a board of directors.
18.  Send my parents on a trip.  No explanation really needed, they deserve it.
19.  Improve my Spanish.  Even with three years in high school and college, I am far from conversations.
20.  Learn self-defense: HIYA!!
21.  Become an expert at something.  Research says it takes 10,000 hours.  That one may need to be on a the life-long list.
22.  Be a Blogger.  My writing journey so far has been extremely rewarding, I hope to continue blogging through my 30’s.
23.  Own a Dog.  While we love our little cat, I always had dogs around me growing up.  Give me a mid size dog that I can run with.
24.  Take a Me-cation.  Me, myself and I.  Me time!
25.  Give back to my alma mater SDSU.  My undergrad experience was awesome, hopefully finances will allow to provide support to a student in need.
26.  Write, record and release a song.  I know, how cheesy.  I’m not going Taylor Swift here, just something fun to try.
27.  Run or Bike a Race for Charity.  With a number of races under my belt, it is time that I race for something bigger than the bragging rights of finishing.
28.  Decide about kids.  Not going to get into it here, it would take another post.
29.  Throw a surprise party for a friend.  SURPRISE!!!
30.  Instill a daily practice of meditation.  I have only had meditation in my life for the past few months, but I hope to make it a essential part of my day.
31.  Get head shots.  It’s not like I’m preparing to go on auditions, but a fun and professional photo shoot sounds like a great plan.
32.  Expand anti-bullying research.  This will go along with goal #11 as I work toward my doctorate.
33.  Be a LeaderShape facilitator.  I have had my eye on this organization for a long time, it is time to finally apply.
34.  Become an Aunt (Or Godmother).  Not to put all the pressure on my sister-in-laws, I’ll take the role of godmother too.  Is this my classified ad?!
35.  Go Parasailing.  I think this could also be accomplished while enjoying #2.
36.  Maintain a healthy weight/fit in my clothes.  It has been noted we gain at least one pound per year.  As I age I am not looking for skinny, I’m looking for healthy.  Rocking my same jeans and dresses I’m in now would be awesome (given they aren’t too out of style in the coming years).
37.  Have my palms read.  All those lines on my hands have to mean something.
38.  Teach a master’s level university course. Really more of a job prospect I’m working toward.
39.  White Water Rafting.  Suit me up, let’s do this.
40.  Re-learn Piano.  Funny how hard I fought learning piano growing up, now I’m ready to try again.
What would make your list?  Whether you are in your teens or fifties, we each can dream and aspire to make the most of every day, month, year, decade and lifetime.  Start free-writing a list, right now!  Don’t judge yourself with what you write down.  It can be 10 things or 100, whatever inspires you.  Then, start doing!

About Josie

I’m Dr. Josie Ahlquist—a digital engagement and leadership consultant, researcher, educator, and author. I’m passionate about helping people and organizations find purposeful ways to connect, engage, and tell their unique story. I provide consulting, executive coaching, and training for campuses, companies, and organizations that want to learn how to humanize technology tools and build effective and authentic online communities.

My blog and podcast have been recognized by EdTech Magazine, Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle of Higher Education. My book, Digital Leadership in Higher Education, was published in 2020 and was listed as a #1 new release for college and university student life. I have been growing my consultancy since 2013 and am based in Los Angeles. When I’m not helping clients lead online, you might find me training for a triathlon, spoiling my nieces and nephews, or exploring with my husband and our rescue dogs in our new RV called Lady Hawk.

I’d love to connect! Find me on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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Rebekah Tilley

Assistant Vice President, University of Iowa Center for Advancement

Rebekah Tilley is the assistant vice president of communication and marketing for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement (UICA). In that role she supports fundraising and alumni engagement efforts for the university, including its CASE Gold winning Iowa Magazine, and serves UICA in a variety of strategic communication efforts.

Previously she was the director of strategic communication for the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business, and the director of communication for the University of Kentucky College of Law. She is a Kentucky native and a proud alum of the University of Kentucky.

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