30 Things to Do Before I Turn 30 #bucketlist

30 Things Before I Turn 30 (My Bucket List)

My birthday is coming up, and as birthdays go, they’re a good opportunity to reflect not just on how many more wrinkles or cellulite I have but also on how well I’m living life–how fully I’m enjoying this short visit on earth.

And as I reflect on my life so far, I’m blown away by the many opportunities and experiences I’ve had (from seeing dozens of people baptized in the Black River to hiking the Alps on my honeymoon to cradling my newborn baby moments after she was born). God has richly blessed me, and every day I’m learning to recognize His presence in my life.

As I look forward, I also nurture dreams of what may come. We all have bucket lists of sorts, whether they’re on paper, on Pinterest, or just in our heads.

I sometimes think “that’s going to happen someday“, but as I’ve been reflecting on My One Word for 2014, INTENTIONAL, I realized that if I don’t write them down and work toward them, they may never happen.

So I broke down my life goal into small measurable activities that I can accomplish before I turn 30. Some of them are fun, some of them are serious, some are to develop skills, and some of them lack any obvious connection to my life goal except that I want to live fully and enjoy every day.

30 Things to Do Before I Turn 30 #bucketlist

My 30 Before 30 List


  • Go camping with Flaviu (umm… apparently I prefer cabins; moving this to my #30inmy30s list)
  • Bake cookies with Carissa (done multiple times–so fun!)
  • Memorize the Sermon on the Mount (still working on it)
  • Pay off our mortgage (achieve zero debt!) (Oct 2014)
  • Run a 5k with Carissa (in jogger, of course) (September 2015)
  • Take a family picture in every park in MetroParks
  • Make sarmale (Romanian stuffed cabbage rolls) (done Nov 2014) and cozonac (Romanian nut roll) by myself
  • Complete a sprint triathlon (September 2017)
  • Visit Chicago (visited Moody Publishers Fall 2016)
  • Try sushi again (April 2014)
  • Make blueberry scones from scratch (spring 2016)
  • Complete a Whole30 (done Sept 2014)
  • Visit a country I haven’t been to before (Canada, June 2017)
  • Go to a wine-tasting event
  • See a Broadway show in NYC (not exactly, but saw Wicked in Cleveland, December 2017)
  • Make chocolate mousse
  • Eat an authentically ethnic meal from the following cuisines: Egyptian, Indian (summer 2016), Greek (done June 2014), Thai (summer 2016)



  • Publish a book (Full: January 2017 and Unwrapping: November 2017)
  • Finish reading books on BBC Top 100 Books list (hahaha–let’s all pause and have a good laugh at how overly-ambitious this goal was with two toddlers)
  • Generate a side income with writing so I can stay home with Carissa (summer 2017)
  • Attend a national blogging conference (Allume Sept 2015, Speak Up June 2016, She Speaks July 2017)
  • Take a photography class (Creative Live’s Photography Fundamentals, January 2018)
  • Publish an article in a print magazine (January 2017)
  • Speak at a conference/event (October 2017)
  • Make code changes on my website by myself (Feb 2015)


  • Sing in a Christmas concert (could have pushed it but decided this isn’t the right season for that kind of a commitment)
  • Mentor a younger woman (realized my daughters are my #1 mentoring opportunity; spring 2015)
  • Host a block party (sadly, no. moving to my #30inmy30s list)
  • Volunteer at a Moody Share event (no longer offered in Cleveland)
  • Surprise someone in a big way (Mom’s 50th birthday party; February 2016)

Dreams are ways our hearts express their innermost desires. If we are to live intentionally, we must learn to tap into those desires, hold them in our open hands before God, and ask what He wants us to do with them. More on discovering God’s purpose for your life in the weeks to come.

dreamI’ll be updating this post with the progress I’m making over the next few years, so I can share with you the fun and the lessons I learn along the way.

Your Turn

What’s on your bucket list?

Photo credit: rainbow; linked up here.