My 30 Before 30 List

In keeping with my unintended valentine’s theme this week, let me pass on to you the best date idea I’ve come up with in a long time. I mentioned last week that I was going to share my 30 Before 30 List, and here it is. But a kind of amazing thing happened in the midst of pulling this together; I realized that it wasn’t just about me. 

It started when I was writing this post a few weeks ago. I was thinking about what 2012 will hold for me, all the firsts I have to survive without mom. And then I thought about mom, all the things she survived just to be with us as long as possible. And then I thought about me, all the things I want to live long enough to do. I'm only 24. And it's only February. A lot can happen in ten months. And a lot can happen in the five years, eight months and 23 days before I turn 30. If I'm blessed to make it that far, and maybe even another 5, 10, 20 or 30 years or more, I want to capitalize on that "privilege denied to many" of growing older. So it started as this short little list of things I wanted to make sure I accomplish this year, and then the list grew longer and the goals more grandiose. Maybe I can't accomplish all these things in 2012, but in the next five years, I sure hope so. 

In my excitement, I told my husband, Matt, about it. 

“What’s on the list?” He asked. 

“Lots of things,” I replied, and I started listing them off as they came to mind. 

“I should make a 30 Before 30 list, too, I think,” he mused. 

And it sparked an idea : we agreed to finish our 30 Before 30 lists and then read them aloud to each other. So Friday night after he came home from work, we sat on the couch and drank Blue Moon’s Winter Abbey Ale (my favorite!) and ate pizza and read our lists too each other. Surprisingly enough, about half of our lists were the same. The other half were largely related to our personal career success. It was romantic and relaxing and fun, and perhaps most surprising of all is that it didn’t prompt arguments about money or time or responsibility. It was just dreaming, much the way we did when we first dated. Whether you're married or not, making a list of goals is a great way to gauge whether you are on the same page with each other in a positive way. 

So here’s my list, arranged by category and definitely not in chronological order.


1. Get a dog.
2. See hubby go on tour with his band!
3. Start a family.


4. Earn a graduate degree in creative writing/publishing.
5. Become a full-time freelance writer.
6. Curate an art exhibit for local artists.
7. Contribute a story to This American Life.
8. Become a regular writer for a renowned magazine, newspaper or NPR.
9. Write and publish a mother/daughter memoir.
10. Write and publish a book of poetry.

P E R S O N A L 

11. Buy a Mac desktop complete with Adobe Creative Suite.
12. Buy new living room furniture.
13. Buy a new bed (mattress and frame)
14. Take a French cooking class.
15. Host a four-course dinner party.
16. Donate blood once per year (at least)
17. Run a half or full marathon.
18. Read all of Jane Austen
19. Take a yoga class.
22. Make a scrapbook/photo album of my semester abroad.


20. Visit hubby and band while they are on tour.
21. Go on a European vacation with hubby.
22. Return to Salzburg, visit the Monchsberg.
23. Go on vacation with my Dad, my brothers, and hubby.
   (Yellowstone, Maine, or Alaska, maybe? You pick, Dad!)
24. Visit :
- New York City
- Washington D.C.
- California wine country


25. Get health insurance for my husband, me and our growing family.
26. Establish life insurance.
27. Get better at saving money.
28. Bring down school loan debt by 50% (I feel like this is lofty, but nothing is impossible, right?)
29. Establish college fund for our kids.
30. Buy a house.

Do you have a list for what you want to do in the next five, ten or twenty years, or before you reach a certain age? What's the top priority?


j. kaary said...

I love this... I should do one but I feel like mine would be terribly unrealistic... btw the exact second this page loaded my pandora started playing the song I know I can by Nas... a sign? Lol :)

Leah Gonzalez said...

This is a great list! I've made my own list, too, but it's for this year. I think I should do something similar to yours anyway. I'm already 30 so maybe I can do 30 after 30? Haha. A few on your list are on mine, too, like becoming a full-time freelance writer and publishing a book of poetry. I've been thinking a lot about the latter one lately. 

Good luck with your list! :)

Rachel Hanson said...

Bethany this is awesome! I'm so inspired to make my own, and realize my vision board is similar to this in so many ways, save for the fact that it applies only to 2012. Must try it as a date night! P.S. If you like, in a few months I'll be a registered yoga teacher, possibly with a class at a local studio. ;) Or I can set you up with one of my yoga teacher buddies anytime. Good luck accomplishing all your dreams with Matt!

Anonymous said...

This is beautiful! I'm so excited for you and Matt! If you want help with 15, let me know ; ) and I cant wait to meet number 1. Love you Bethy, and I think I'm going to write one of these too. Thanks for inspiring me : )


MoriahEsther said...

wonderful list! As a mother of a rambunctious toddler, I would suggest all the Jane Austen reading done now. Once I start one of her books, I can hardly put it down which is not conducive to life with a 2 1/2 year old :) Thankfully each book is now a re-read for me so its easier to stop.  My favorite on your list is #6.

HopefulLeigh said...

That is a fabulous list! Have fun checking them all off.

Elizabeth Hudson said...

I love your ambitious goals! Dreams should be nothing but ambitious. I'm in the middle of making a list of things to do before my birthday in December.

RMBittner said...

Fantastic list. And it's a great balance of the personally enriching and the practical. (Even more practical than my own list would be!) I'm just glad you actually shared your list: There is a lot to be said for simply telling people what you want. (Won't elaborate on that idea here...) Because now that people know, they will help you meet those goals. You'll network, they'll network on your behalf, and who knows what you might be able to reach. You might need to come up with a whole new list before you even make it to 30.

Kara said...

That is a great list.  I especially like how you've included both short and long term goals.  Perhaps, we will be soon be seeing a photo of your new puppy?  ;)

Bethany Suckrow said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Bob! 

Bethany Suckrow said...

Haha thanks for the advice, Moriah! Hopefully, the "starting a family" goal will be one of the last things to check off the list. ;)

Bethany Suckrow said...

Rachel that would be SO awesome if you could be my instructor. Whenever you start classes PLEASE let me know and I will try and sign up. 

Beth said...

This is a great list! I'd like to make a 30 before 30 for myself. On the list: starting my PhD, getting UK residency,  getting one of my academic papers published...

Katya Rudenya said...

"Bring down school loan debt by 50%"

   *cricket sound*

Yeah, I can relate to that one ;) Woot-Woot for overpriced college education!!!

Rachel Hanson said...

I definitely will!!

Melanie bowen said...

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Melanie here! I
enjoyed this piece, please email me--I have a question about your blog. MelanieLBowen[at]gmail[dot]com


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