PROGRESS REPORT: 30 things to do before you’re 30

Happy New Year, everyone! Hope it brings love and happiness to you and yours.

Instead of making whole brand new set of resolutions this New Year, I thought I would look back at the 30 things to do before you’re 30 post I wrote a few months ago and see if I’m on track. I wrote it shortly after I turned 27 in June, and is intended as a mixture of things both fun and practical, to get me out of my comfort zone.

Updates in italics.

TL;DR – As of January 1, 2016

  • Five goals out of 30 are achieved
  • 25 are in progress or need to be started
  • 899 days still to go until my 30th birthday, June 16, 2018


familyGet professional photos done and frame the best one: Well, I’m not getting any younger, am I? Some lovely photos will be great when I’m older looking back.
Achieved! My Christmas present to the family this year was to have a professional photographer come and take photos of us during one of the brief periods when we are all in the same country. If When I achieve #9 and I’m proud of my body, I’ll be hoping to get individual shots done.

Move home to Ireland: My target date for moving home has been pushed back repeatedly, and right now March 2017 is the target date.
Achieved – whoop whoop, I moved home earlier than expected in December!

Join a sports team: I’m not a sporty person at ALL, the only team I was on in school was the debate team. I want to join a sports team for the fitness and the camaraderie.
Achieved! I joined Qatar GAA in August and trained with them for two months, as well as going to a few of the socials. Unfortunately, training clashed with some of my other commitments, so I stopped going. It was a fun experience and I’m glad I did it.

Adopt a dog: I follow lots of pet shelters on Facebook- I really want one but I travel a LOT. I need to come up with contingency 12279227_10153632642501163_9090235166536710882_n
plans for when I’m away before I get a doggy.
Achieved. I adopted Harriet in August 2015. She had been abandoned and was badly neglected and likely abused, based on her scars. After a couple of months at my place, she was almost fully toilet-trained, her coat had grown back and she had a whole new personality. Sadly, my sudden departure from the Middle East in December meant I couldn’t take her with me, but she’s doing really well with a friend of a friend and I get regular photos and videos from her new family. I guess this ended up as more of a foster situation than an adoption, and I’m glad I was able to nurse her back to health before I moved away. 

Take up a completely new hobby: Ideally something that would involve meeting cool, interesting, creative people. Any ideas, folks?Achieved. I spent a few afternoons walking rescue dogs at the shelter in Qatar, and I had a great time. Now that I’m back in Ireland, I’m looking for a brand new hobby to take up my time. 


Learn to drive: Why didn’t I do this years ago? I’ve spent years living in cities where it wasn’t really necessary. But I’m from rural Ireland – any time I visit home I feel trapped! I revert to being a teenager, relying on my parents for lifts everywhere. This HAS to end.
I’ve just booked my driver theory test for next week, and all going well I’ll be on the road doing my lessons by the end of the month.

Buy a house: There are lots of advantages to being an expat, but I want something substantial to show for my years abroad. I want a home that’s my own.

Write a book: I love writing. I’ve always wanted to write a book… I just don’t know what kind. I get all sorts of ideas for fiction and non-fiction books, poetry and short stories… It’s just a matter of nailing an idea down and writing it.
I have two ideas in my head, one fiction and one non-fiction. The first is a book of short stories, a couple of which are already written, and the second is a book of advice for young people who want to give up alcohol based on my own experiences. Watch this space.

Start a postgrad: I don’t feel like I’m finished with education. I’d like to do an online postgrad in something like International Relations or Crisis Management. Since most part-time Masters take three years, I’m not going to aim to complete this – just get it started.
This idea is temporarily shelved. Depending on how my job hunt goes, I’m not sure how much value a post-grad will add. I’ve changed my mind a few times on this, and may do so again.

Take Mam and Dad on holiday: My parents have made me who I am today and I owe them everything. I was a pain in the ass in my teens and even early 20s – it’s time to start giving something back.
This is definitely going to happen, as soon as my parents get less busy. My mam has all kinds of commitments and my dad works really long hours – but I will make this happen!

Achieve decent conversational Arabic: I don’t need to be fluent, and I don’t need to know how to write it – but I’d love to be able to have a proper chat with friends and colleagues in Arabic.
Based on my early departure from the Middle East, this may no longer be relevant. I’m going to change this goal to ‘Become proficient in a language other than English’.

Earn a body I love to see in the mirror: I’m not too down on myself in terms of how I look – I’ve got great hair and lips, skinny legs and nice boobs. I’m not awfully overweight, but I know I would be happier with how I looked if I was slimmer and more toned.
Well, they say “nothing changes if nothing changes”, and since I haven’t changed my diet or started exercising regularly, my body has not changed much. Yes, I joined the gym yesterday, and I’m hoping to be the exception rather than the rule when it comes to this year’s January joiners.

Go to Electric Picnic or Glastonbury: I want to don festival gear and trawl through fields to see amazing artists… Before I’m old enough to be confused for somebody’s mother.
Hoping to go this year! Who’s going?

Have a post go viral: This has happened me once before on a previous blog and it was so cool!
I need to settle on a definition of viral. This post I wrote about Galway was widely shared and received thousands of hits over a couple of days in December. I’ve read than if your post receives 15 times what a regular post does, that means it has gone viral. Since the hits are still racking up on this post, I think it might actually fit the bill. I’d still like to see something go properly viral though and get tens or hundreds of thousands of hits.

Read five non-fiction books about Irish history: I want to know more about my country’s past and present. I love reading, so this should be a relatively easy one! Any recommendations, folks?
Currently reading a collection of essays by Michael D. Higgins, but I need to do more work on this. The 1916 centenary should provide ample fodder for this one.

Learn to make at least one amazing starter, main course and dessert: Because my 30s will presumably consist of many
classy dinner parties and I’ll want to keep up with the Jones’.I make a decent vegetable soup and an awesome roast chicken, I still need to learn how to make a good desert. This year, I’d like to branch into something a bit more exotic, maybe take an Indian cooking class, or Thai?

Go vegetarian for a month: Or maybe longer, depending on how it goes. There are so many good reasons to go vegetarian but I just LOVE meat! This one will be hard.
I made my first attempt at this recently and lasted six days, which wasn’t bad. I put very little planning into it, and I broke on Christmas Day and ate turkey. I need to do some more research on simple recipes and ingredients before I try this again.

Learn to play chess: I never learned as a kid and I always feel dumb when people are playing and I don’t know how!No progress. Maybe I’m just destined to be more of a draughts player. Anyone want to teach me?

Explore Ireland: Climb Croagh Patrick, see the Cliffs of Moher, walk the Ring of Kerry, go to the Giant’s Causeway and stay a night on the Aran Islands.This is the year.

Meet Russell Brand: Don’t judge me. I love him. If he would consider marrying another Katie I would happily oblige.I’m planning to go to the Trew Era campaign when I’m in London later this month. Hoping against hope Russ will be there. I feel we are close enough that I can call him Russ.

Write a comedy skit or spoken word poem and perform it: I probably should have done this in school or college but I didn’t have the confidence.
I totally failed on this front. I put my name down for a spoken word poetry night, but I totally balked and just didn’t show up on the night.

Spend a 3-4 weeks volunteering in a developing country: Everyone I know who has done something like this has come back with an amazing perspective on life. I’d like the opportunity to gain the same, and hopefully make a difference.

Complete a sprint triathlon: After a small amount of training, I did a super sprint triathlon. I would love to train up and do the next level – this will involve learning to run
!I’m registering for the Westport Triathlon as soon as reg opens – time to get training. Confident I can do the swim and the cycle, but it’ll take some training to do the 5k run – it’s a type of exercise that just doesn’t come easy to me.

Play Texas Hold’em in Vegas: I loved playing poker in college but I haven’t really played in years since I moved to the Middle East. What better place to make a comeback than Sin City?
This goal may need to be revised – I’m not sure taking up gambling is the brightest idea I’ve ever had.

Organise a fundraiser for St James’ Hospital: This hospital was instrumental in bringing one of my close family members back to health when he was really ill. I’m going to set a target of €5,000 for it.
When I live in Dublin, hopefully in the near future, this one is going to become my top priority!

Start a retirement fund: This is a boring one, but it seems like a good idea.
I’ll be needing a job before I get on to this. Should probably be working on that instead of writing this.

Learn to do yoga and/or meditate properly: I need to do this. For health, balance, peace of mind. I’ve made some half-hearted attempts to do this in the past, but I’d like to do this properly
.A renewed effort will begin tomorrow morning. If any of you have tips on meditation, please share them,

Write a letter to a stranger and leave it in a book: Just because I’ve read some really lovely stories about things like this.
50% done. I have written the letter, now I just need to find the right book to place it in, and I’ve got one in mind. Watch this space.

Go to a TED event: So much wisdom in one place. I love TED talks and the opportunity to meet some of these people in real life would be amazing.
Haven’t even looked into this – deferred to next year.

Fall in love: I debated whether to put this down. Of course, you can’t plan when you fall in love. But if I don’t choose to make it a goal, I have no hope of manifesting it in my life. Here’s hoping.
Does falling in love with myself count here? Seriously, I’ve done a lot of work on learning to love myself this year, and honestly I think that gets me half-way there.

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