I'm Thirty And Guess What: I Didn't Finish My Thirty Things Before Thirty List
Sorry, reached for the mouse a bit too quickly there. Still getting used to this thirty years old lark!!
What’s that, long-suffering RW reader? Isn't it time to revisit that Thirty Things Before Thirty list; drafted back when I was an idiot twenty-seven year old with too much time on his hands?
I'm afraid you're right. And I have some bad, if predictable news: I did not finish it.
Oh Thirty Things Before Thirty list. Started with such good intentions; then left to languish amid the typical life detritus of a late-twenty-something in London (suspiciously clean spiraliser, wilted window boxes, moth-eaten Bullet Journal). Reader, you were right to worry about the 18 month silence on the subject.
Nonetheless, Russian Spambot and/or my father, I owe you an end-of-decade report. We shall go through it together, and with an easy to use scoring system I literally just made up.
I did this one. Slice of cake for me, Ross.
Unachieved, sure, but either in progress or something I still sort of want to do. Let’s carefully refrigerate for future new year’s resolutions/pub moans/I’m-almost-40 online attention seeking.
I failed and never want to talk about it again. To the landfill with you.
Thirty Things I Wanted to Do Before I Was Thirty: The Results
1. Purchase a Dyson vacuum cleaner.
Boom! I love a ‘walk into a shop and buy something’ sort of life goal. Though you’d have to ask our cleaner to be sure, this little guy was worth every penny.
2. Buy a KitchenAid.
Yay! A second financially ill-advised John Lewis trip from 3 years ago, but one I hashtag blessed all over Instagram every time I whip up one of my newly flawless meringues.
3. Purchase a tailored suit so I can attend weddings looking like an adult male rather than an unusually hairy child who’s broken into his father’s wardrobe.
Ding! Double ding! I have done this not once, but twice: both among the more expensive moments of personal growth I’ve experienced this decade, but the tailor’s compliments (“you have unusually large calves”, “er, where’s your other sleeve gone”) were more than worth it.
4. Purchase an apricot labradoodle named Scrumpy.
A plague of carpet moths on the London landlords I blame for my ongoing lack of pets, carpet moths aside. Scrumpy exists, albeit in my mind, and one day I will have him realised in physical, 100% adorable form.
5. Sort out some kind of pension.
Age 27: no pension.
Age 28: paperwork complete... in desk drawer.
Age 29: regular pension payments commence.
You’re fucking welcome, future me. Buy me a yacht.
6. Begin saving money with a view to eventually purchase a first property (we’re probably looking at sometime nearer my 60th birthday for that).
Another money-related BOOOOOM. Ross’s First Property might still be a housing market meltdown away, but my Help to Buy ISA remains George Osborne’s crowning achievement in public office.
7. Finish the first, partially written novel that’s been floating around in my head and various notebooks for over TEN YEARS GODDAMMIT.
Age 27: *basks optimistically in the reflected glory of writing 35k words the year before*
Age 28: *buys a new keyboard, mouse and laptop stand to ‘assist’ with ‘creative process’*
Age 29: *mutters something about desk succulents to whoever will listen*
Look. This is definitely going to happen. If turning 30 and completing my first invasive work-related health assessment has taught me anything, it’s that I’m in this for the long run. And I need to stop eating so much cheese. I have at least another 10 years to get my act (and desk) together, right?
8. Learn how to consistently poach eggs.
My success rate has definitely improved (the secret? Buy fresh; buy Wholefoods. Spend all money. You’re welcome) but you know what? I actually prefer scrambled. With a crumbling of feta, smooshing of avocado, and sprinkling of chilli flakes. Fuck this.
9. Learn how to talk knowledgeably about wine in polite company.
These days I only really drink gin and prosecco, and rarely in what could be described in ‘polite’ company, so I don't quite know what to do about this one. I know: a test!
ROSS: Ask me a question about wine!
BOYFRIEND: What are you drinking right now?
ROSS: ...pinot noir?
BOYFRIEND: It’s a rioja.
10. Learn some rudimentary French so I can order bread and cheese in Paris without embarrassing myself.
ROSS: Ask me a question in French!
BOYFRIEND: Ash nazg durbatulûk, ash nazg gimbatul, ash nazg thrakatulûk, agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.
ROSS: ...bon soir?
11. Earn some £££ from words what I myself have written.
Technically, as a Communications Professional, I have been earning dem coint from wordz what I do for the last 6 years. Yes, I know that’s not what I was getting at when I set this challenge. But don’t I deserve a bit of credit for still being employed? No?
12. Consistently maintain this blog for three years – and with posts, rather than pointless, obsessive template tweaks.
We’re still clinging on in there, unexplained 3 month hiatus and total blog relaunch aside - right guys???
13. Either accept myself as someone who just has two chins, or find a sustainable way to return to a weight of 70kg that doesn’t involve wanting to kill myself and all my loved ones.
Despite what my Instagram might suggest (“ceaseless creation and consumption of pies”), in the last 18 months I’ve only gone and lost roughly the equivalent of a lesser Kardashian. Having considerably overshot my original target, I’m confident I can move forwards in life with a maximum of one chin from now on.
14. Give up my can-a-day addiction to Diet Coke.
Holy fucking shit. I’ve done this one too. The bad news - a self-satisfied chronicle of my weight loss/clean eating ‘journey’ is only a matter of time.
15. Give up the internet one day each week.
Of everything on this list, this now strikes me as the most wildly overambitious, particularly as I’m currently surgically attached to my new and beloved iPad Pro.
Only halfway through? Jesus.
I don’t know about you, but at this point I’m sick to death of my personal failings. Who wants some archive footage of happier times?
Why I am the way I am. Onwards!
16. Find myself a London dentist.
My fears (“removal of all teeth”, “anaesthesia shortage”) were generally misplaced on this one. Turns out there was a very pleasant London dentist opposite my flat all along, and unlike my old Scottish one, he shows no interest in extracting my healthy collection of wisdom teeth.
17. Do Glastonbury for the first and last time.
Who was I kidding. Being stuck in a field with tens of thousands of other unwashed humans? Shelling out hundreds of hard-earned pounds for the privilege? Having to then pretend to be HAPPY and EXCITED about it all for THREE-TO-FIVE-DAYS just in case you end up in shot on the BBC red button? Forget it mate. I’m happier on my sofa with some headphones and the entire Steps’ backcatalogue.
Why this all time CLASSIC has never been performed on the Pyramid Stage, fans and all, is beyond me.
18. Do a marathon for the first and last time.
Similarly to the Glastonbury thing, 27 year old me hadn’t quite registered that this is something that tends to cost money on top of crippling physical endurance. But seeing as I’m now able to run on a treadmill for upwards of 5 minutes at a time I’m not giving up quite yet.
19. Knit a hat.
Age 27: *buys Cath Kidson knitting kit*
Age 30: *bins unused Cath Kidson knitting kit*
20. Visit one of the continents I’ve not been to yet (ie. not Europe or North America).
At the risk of compounding my notoriety as an unadventurous homebody, I recently came to terms with a core part of my being: I hate travelling.
No, scratch that. I loathe it. DESPIIIIIISE it, with the burning passion of a thousand ineffective Italian citronella candles.
Now I’m basically geriatric, at least in gay years, I see no problem admitting I hate literally everything about stepping outside my front door, from the pavement to the plane travel to the fancy hotels I like to stay in to try and fool myself into thinking I never left my own bed.
Friends, family, colleagues: never invite me anywhere again. And shut up about your exotic holidays, it only makes me feel bad for you.
21. Drink cocktails in New York to make up for that time I went for my 21st birthday but was still actually only 20.
All that said, I’m still going to New York in December. Lord have mercy on my long-suffering boyfriend/travel coordinator/ledge-talker-off-of’er.
22. Complete Final Fantasy VII, some 20 years after I first started playing it.
Despite purchasing this for my PSone, PS3, PS4 and iPad, I still haven’t finished it. Bear with me Tifa, I'll get you out of Midgar eventually.
23. Decide once and for all whether or not to get a tattoo. If not, spend the money on a life-supply of temporary transfers instead.
It’s official: I’m never getting a tattoo. But I’m spending the money on something useful, eg. wine.
24. Go Skiing.
Reader: who has the time.
25. Create a viable sourdough starter (ie. one without mould) and perfect the art of breadmaking (ie. not burning down the flat).
This relatively simple task (add water to flour, leave for 5-7 days) is, for reasons unknown, completely beyond me. Do I just attract more mould spores to my person than average humans? Anyways - to cut a long story short - Ocado sells sourdough.
26. Read the 65 and a half books on this list I haven’t got round to yet.
Having recently suffered through the endlessly tedious tome that is Tess of the D’ubervilles, I no longer feel any enthusiasm for this challenge. I’ll save my fading eyesight for the inevitable Netflix/BBC/Amazon adaptations.
27. Listen through the Beatles’ entire discography to figure out if I actually don’t like them or whether, aged 10, that was just something I decided to believe in order to frustrate and defy my parents.
I recently made it to track 3 of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band. It was quite enough.
On a happier note, the Steps comeback album is brilliant. And isn’t Claire looking well?
The real Fab Four. Plus H.
28. Sort through the nightmarish filing box of confusing life paperwork I keep upstairs in the study, at the significant risk of discovering every payslip I’ve ever received since 2005.
BOOOM. Sorted. Cleared out, reorganised, purged.
Nearly two years ago.
What have I been putting in there for the last 24 months?
Right. If I don’t actually look I can count this as a success. Shut it.
29. Toast the end of each and every one of the next 156 weeks with a glass of whisky and the acknowledgement that life is never as bad as I might occasionally think it is.
It will unsurprise you to hear that I have diligently kept up a tradition of Friday night drinking, even as my tastes shift wildly from whisky, to gin, to prosecco, to gin again, and currently, to the understated and age appropriate porn star martini. The alcohol might change but my flagrant disregard for official medical guidance re: units remains the same!
30. DON’T DIE.
I’m still here goddammit, hairier and more alive than ever. Albeit with some interesting new bunions and a clutch of recurring health neuroses. *obsessively checks heart-rate with new iPhone app*
And that’s that. I’m officially less than half as accomplished as I’d hoped to be at this point in life.
Hey, at least I still have my looks.
And what would I say to any twenty-seven year olds out there, anxiously pondering whether or not to embark upon a similar endeavour?
Take it from me and my primary 3 photo - don't bother. Skiing? Beatles? Knitting? You have no idea what you're talking about.