Why I Did A Before 30 ‘Bucket List’

by Mar 6, 2017

My 30th Birthday was looming, just levitating there in free space, taunting me. It was a constant reminder that three decades had passed and that certain societal pressures of what needed to be achieved by this age were impending.

Approximately 84 days before, I panicked. I had 84 days to achieve some substantial milestones, 84 days to add wisdom and whatever else 30 year olds have achieved. So, I quickly started thinking about what I needed to do to solve this dilemma. After approximately half an hour of Googling, I discovered a bucket list designed to be completed before the age of 30, rather than when one kicks the bucket. I thought this was a brilliant idea, and I started writing my ‘30 things to do before I turn 30’ list.

For something that meant so much to me, it was written pretty quickly. I didn’t leave too much time to thoroughly think the list items through, and I think that’s why it was more fun. It was spontaneous.

I looked at what I had achieved and noticed most things were academic based, so I filled in the gaps. I needed more adventure, creative outlets, more activities of variety and purpose, so I added them into the list.

When I had finished writing, I immediately had a sense of satisfaction and … anxiety. Was I going to complete the list in 84 days!? I needed to start immediately.

And I did. And with every crossed off item I had a surge of dopamine (the reward hormone) and a sense of fulfilment. Each item was a celebration of my three decades of life.

Here are a few of my items:

  • Paint a masterpiece
  • Visit a new Australian city
  • Be Vegan for a Week
  • Implement the habits of highly effective people and highly emotionally intelligent people
  • Start a collection

What I learnt:

  • Time is short and precious, it must be used to develop one self and goals;
  • If you have gaps in your life, its your own fault, no one else’s;
  • Making the most of your life and having fun is easy and sustainable;
  • When a thought enters your mind and the default response is “one day”, stop there. Write it down and do it. If it’s something easy, book it now. If it’s something that needs time, plan it now! Put it in your diary. Listen to your self-talk, if it’s negative, change it. Instead of “I’m too old” or “when I have the time” use “ok, I’ll do it this weekend” or “it’s now or never”.
  • That being a vegan is hard work;
  • TV is a waste of time;
  • Things aren’t going to fall on your lap – you need to make things happen. This is pretty cliché, I know, but I really came to understand this.

Advice for list wannabees:

  • The list should be personal, don’t copy too many items of generic bucket lists – you need to challenge yourself;
  • Obtain an adjudicator and a motivator, two separate people. Choose carefully, don’t pick someone who is too lenient on you or too busy to assist you here. You need to pass the item by the adjudicator to see if you’ve ‘passed’ in order to tick it off. You’ll try and find loop holes to achieving the items when time is pressing.
  • Push yourself outside your limits, but not so much that you become broke or injured. Challenge yourself to new limits.
  • Don’t leave it too late. I felt as though this list could have had a whole new dimension if I had more time to do it. Plus I would have written it differently and added more extreme ideas.
  • If you can knock two list items off in one go, do that.
  • Choose a variety of areas for your list items (i.e. self-improvement, culture, adventure);
  • Make the last list item to write a list for the next decade, to ensure continual service to your life.

On that note, I’m now preparing for my ‘40 things to do before 40’ list. Which is great as I have 10 years to do it, and I’m seizing the day and decade.

Featured image courtesy of Unsplash.


By Shadia Djakovic

By Shadia Djakovic

UTS Student

Shadia Djakovic is a Civil Engineering student at UTS. When she is not studying, Shadia is working hard to improve peoples diets and trying to impart her wisdom on everyone she can find.