30 Things You Must Do Before You’re 30 [You Only Live Once]

This article may contain affiliate links. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Privacy Policy.

Turning 30 is a major milestone in life. It’s literally the point at which you start to feel like a real adult!

But the number alone doesn’t make you a grown-up. It’s what you’ve done up to that point that makes it so.

Here’s our list of thirty things that you NEED to do before you turn 30 if you want to be happy, healthy and feel like a real adult.

1.  Live On Your Own

Living in your childhood bedroom in your parent’s house is fine when you’re a recent college grad in your early 20’s. But beyond that, it’s not so cute.

If you lived in a dorm at college, you already have a sense of what it’s like to live on your own (even if mommy and daddy were paying for it).

If you didn’t go to college, it’s even more important that you rent an apartment, get out of your parents’ house, and learn what it’s like to live on your own. (That also means paying your own bills!)

Related: 7 Things No Adult Should Have in Their Apartment

2. Get Your Education

It’s okay if you don’t want to go to a four year college – it’s not for everyone. But that in no way means that your education should end when you graduate high school.

At the very least, enroll in a vocational school, learn a trade or hone a skill that will propel you into a professional career. We will always need plumbers, electricians, artists, auto mechanics and first responders.

So if a bachelor’s degree isn’t on your to-do list, at least sure up your education by learning a valuable skill that you can put to good use.

3. Find Something you are Great At

We all have talents – every single one of us. Some of us are incredible caregivers. Some of us are amazing with numbers. Some of us have a knack for music, or politics or athletics.

Before you turn 30, find something that you’re good at. REALLY good at. If that means trying your hand at 20 different things before you find the right one, so be it.

4. Splurge on Something you Really Want


Have you always wanted to drive down the open road on your very own Harley? Have you been dying for a pair of Louboutin red bottoms for the past five years?

By the time you’re 30, make it a point to splurge on something luxurious. Indulge in something you really want.

Now we’re not saying that you should run out and buy a brand new Porsche if you’re living in your parents’ basement. But it sure does feel good to work hard, save some money and splurge on something that you really, REALLY want.

Related: The Most Expensive LV Bags (and Affordable Alternatives)

5. Learn to Cook Your Favorite Dish

The older you get, the sadder it becomes to have to go to your mom’s house or your grandma’s place to get your favorite meal. It’s time to learn to cook it for yourself!

Get the recipe, buy the ingredients and get in the kitchen. Whether you love blueberry pancakes, fried chicken or turkey burgers, there’s no excuse not to know how to make your favorite dish by the time you’re 29.

6. Conquer a Fear


We all have fears. Some people are afraid of snakes and spiders. Some people are terrified of heights. Some people would rather have their teeth fall out than ever have to go to a dentist.

By the time you’re 30, tackle one of your fears head-on and try to rid it from your life. It’s perfectly fine to take baby steps – just take some steps to get there.

Conquering a fear is a great way to prove that you can do anything if you put your mind to it.

7. Revisit a Childhood Hobby

Did you play the piano when you were six? Did you love to build model airplanes when you were ten? Did you love to skateboard in middle school?

Think back to your childhood hobbies and carve out some time to do them again when you’re in your twenties.

Revisiting a childhood hobby offers two benefits. One, it can make you feel like a kid again. Two, it might make you realize the talents you had as a kid are talents you still have as an adult!

8. Investigate Your Family History

Even if you grew up in the perfect two parent household, there are probably things about your family history that you aren’t aware of.

Make a point to sit down with your parents, grandparents and elderly relatives to learn more about where you came from.

Research your family tree on or do a genetic test with 23andMe. What you don’t know about your roots may be more interesting than what you do know!

9. Take On a Physical Challenge

Run a marathon, take a surfing lesson, climb a mountain. The more you challenge yourself physically, the easier it will be to recognize that you also have mental strength!

10. Start an Exercise Routine

By the time you’re 30, you should know that it’s important to take care of both your mind and body. Develop a fitness routine that you enjoy when you’re young and it will be easier to stay active when you get older.

11. Get a Real Job

Let’s be clear – by “real job” we don’t mean a 9 to 5. A real job can be any job that pays well and offers benefits. By the time you’re 30 you should be thinking more in terms of a career and less in terms of a “job” that pays the bills.

12. Find a Cause You’re Passionate About


We all know that it’s good to give back. But it’s a whole lot easier to do when you’re giving back to a charity or an organization that you actually care about.

Volunteer your time at an animal rescue or a women’s shelter. Spend some time at a soup kitchen or a children’s hospital. Become an advocate for cancer research.

Having cause that you care about and devote time to means you’re one step closer to becoming a real adult!

13. Sing in Public


A lot of people have a fear of public speaking. But public singing can be even more terrifying. If you’ve never done it, grab a mic and get on stage. At the very least, hit up a karaoke bar and sing (badly) to your favorite ‘80s song.

Singing in public is a great way to break out of your shell!

14. Travel Alone

Traveling alone is one of the biggest confidence boosters there is.

Now we’re not saying you need to traverse the rainforests of Costa Rica all by your lonesome. But hopping a flight and heading to a nearby city – even if just for one night – is a great way to prove that you can survive in the real world on your own.

Related: The 8 Best Travel Backpacks for Light Packers [Reviewed]

15. Share a Summer House With Friends

The Jersey Shore … the Hamptons … the Michigan lakes …

Sharing a summer house with friends will lead to lifelong memories that you’ll treasure forever!

16. Do Some DIY

It’s really self-gratifying to know that you can make something or your own or fix something that needs to be fixed.

Grab a wrench and tighten that leaky pipe. Peel that old wallpaper and give your bedroom a whole new look. Grab some fabric and a needle and thread and sew your own pillow or melt some wax and make your own candles.

A little bit of DIY goes a long way!

17. Pull an All-Nighter

Between partying and studying, we all did this in college. But as you get into your 30’s and 40’s you’ll realize that all-nighters are great preparation for other things.

There just may come a time when you have to stay up till dawn to finish up a project for work. And when you’re ready to grow your family, it’s great prep for changing and feeding your baby in the middle of the night!

18. Move Somewhere New


There’s a big world out there, and living in your hometown forever just won’t cut it. Experience something new and move away for college, spend a year abroad, or move to a different city. Even if for just one year.

19. Date Someone That’s Not Your Type


Do you have a mental list of all the things you want your potential future spouse or mate to be? Ditch it.

Dating someone that’s not “your type” is a great way to open up your eyes to new possibilities. And you just might be surprised – that person could be the love of your life!

20. Find a Real Friend That You Can Count On


The older you get, the fewer friends you tend to have. Find at least one good friend that you can trust in and rely on when you’re in your teens or twenties. The older you get, the more important they will be.

21. Save Your Money

The older we get, the more we realize how important it is to save money. Even if you’re on a super tight budget, it’s always good to put a few bucks aside from every paycheck so you have a little cash for a rainy day.

22. Start a 401(k)

The sooner you start saving money, the more money you’ll have when you retire. If your employer offers a 401(k) or a similar retirement plan, start investing ASAP. Investing just $40 or $50 a week can turn into hundreds of thousands of dollars by the time you’re ready to retire!

23. Go to a Music Festival


The older you get, the harder it becomes to carve out an entire weekend to camp out with your friends and hang out at a music festival.

If a two or three day event isn’t an option, at the very least, go see a couple of individual concerts. There’s nothing like live music! And if you haven’t been to a concert by the time you’re 30, you’re seriously missing out.

24. Have Dinner at a 5-Star Restaurant

If the fanciest restaurant you’ve ever been to is Outback Steakhouse, it’s time to save a few hundred bucks and make some dinner reservations at a 5-star joint.

Don’t be the 30 year old that goes to a nice dinner and orders chicken fingers from the kids menu. Broaden your horizons and challenge your palette with some new flavors.

25. See a Broadway Show

Broadway at night
Federico Rostagno / Shutterstock

You don’t have to live in or even visit NYC to see a Broadway show. There are incredible touring companies that travel to cities all across the country. In some small towns, you might even find local theater companies that put on a great performance!

Like it or not, musical theater equals culture. You don’t have to love it, but you should at least experience it before you turn 30 years old.

26. Learn At Least a Few Phrases in a Foreign Language

In a perfect world, your parents will have forced you to be fluent in two or three different languages by the time you turn five. But that’s not always the case.

Make it a point to learn at least a few common phrases in a variety of different languages. You just might be surprised at how much Italian and Spanish you already know!

27. Find Your Favorite Alcoholic Beverage


Don’t be that 30 year old guy who orders a Bud Light at a fancy work cocktail party.

By the time you’re 30, you should have sampled a few different drinks and found a cocktail that you can be proud to order.

And we’re not talking about a Long Island Iced Tea, a margarita or a vodka cranberry. For Pete’s sake, learn to acquire a taste for an old fashioned, a Manhattan, or at least a decent craft IPA.

28. Adopt a Political Point of View

People who don’t vote are apathetic. It’s a sign of laziness and a true indication that you really don’t care about the bigger picture or the future of the world.

By the time you’re 30 you should adopt a political point of view. It’s perfectly okay for that view to evolve and change over time, but you should at least recognize the importance of having one.

29. Learn to Appreciate Your Body


If you don’t love yourself, no one else will.

Learn to embrace the skin you’re in. Learn to appreciate your own body – especially when you’re naked. Feeling comfortable and being happy with your physical being is a must if you want to be happy with life.

30. Experience Heartache

Heartaches are painful – but they’re also an essential part of growth, and they often lead to personal reflection. You can’t control when you fall in love, but the younger you are when your heart gets broken, the sooner you can learn that lesson.

What Should You Accomplish Before You Turn 30?

Turning 30 is definitely a milestone. But it will be even more momentous when you can step into a new decade of life knowing that you’ve accomplished everything you could up to this point.

Start taking chances. Start exploring who you really are.

Get an education, get a job, start saving money, and live on your own.

The more things on this list you can accomplish by the time you turn 30, the better off you’ll be!

You might also be interested in: 15 Ways To Start Reading More Books

Jessica Heston

view post

More from Lifestyle category