30 Before 30

We were going to be famous. We were so excited about our idea, a second bottle of wine was opened just for the occasion. “We’ll call it 30 before 30!” Tessa yelled as her wine sloshed back and forth in the glass. I was frantically writing everything down.

I hadn’t known Tessa for long, but I immediately fell in love with her. She was the epitome of a Brooklyn Babe; cool and creative, goofy and smart. We instantly bonded over our love for alcohol and Tina Fey. During the short while we were friends (the dissolution of our friendship is another story for another day) we came up with thousands of brilliant ideas — none that were executed, but nonetheless, they were brilliant.

One of my favorites was the “30 before 30″ challenge. We were sitting in her bedroom/living room/dining room/tv room with Mark, her friend from college who’d become my friend after I weaseled myself into Tessa’s life, when we came up with the challenge: A list of 30 things we absolutely had (to attempt) to do before we turned 30. None were too big and none were too small. There were obvious ones:

  • Have a drink in every borough of NYC in one night.
  • Meet Tina Fey.
  • Quit our shitty jobs.

And not so obvious ones:

  • Drive a cab.
  • Get married.

I was going to be the “official scribe”. We were going to chronicle the events on a website we were going to buy. “It’s going to be SO BIG,” Mark said as he vogued around the apartment. “AND we’re going to be on the TODAY SHOW! I’m going to poke Al Roker in the stomach!!!” Tessa yelled — she was always yelling when she was excited. I started writing down all the ideas.

We never got to embark on the 30 before 30 challenge. It was just too much “going to”, but I didn’t know that, at least not on that night.

On that night we were the kings of Brooklyn. We laughed, we drank, we imagined a life better than the one we had and then drank more. We went into premature labor with beautiful ideas. We cradled them in our gchat windows, oooing and ahhhing as they grew bigger and then became silent when they passed away. To this day, buried beneath the dirty streets of Brooklyn lie ideas of what could be. I still haven’t been able to give them up.

30 Before 30* UPDATED

  1. Quit job. [X2]
  2. Have a piece of writing published in the New York Times or New Yorker.  [X]
  3. Ride bike across the Brooklyn Bridge.
  4. Move to a different country. [X]
  5. Visit India. [X]
  6. Fall in love. The real kind.
  7. Write a pilot. [X]
  8. Buy furniture.
  9. Throw the best party ever.
  10. Fly first class.
  11. Get in shape. [X - for a hot second]
  12. Have a dramatic airport reunion. [X]
  13. Be a muse. [X]
  14. Meet Roe Conn. [X]
  15. Film a music video. [X]
  16. Sky dive.
  17. Go on a sightseeing bus tour. [X]
  18. Feature at a comedy club/get a comedy clip on TV.
  19. Create street art.
  20. Tell a story at a Moth event. [X]
  21. Watch all of the Godfather movies.
  22. Cook a four-course meal.
  23. Get a dog. [X]
  24. Take another art class.
  25. Go back to Russia.
  26. Write a screenplay.
  27. Write a book.
  28. Surprise someone. [X]
  29. Create a masterpiece. [X - according to Mom and Dad]
  30. Move back to New York and afford it.

*My personal 30 Before 30 challenge updated on 01/31/2014.

About these ads

20 thoughts on “30 Before 30

  1. This is a great list – and you still have plenty of time to complete it! Who was the dramatic airport reunion with? I’m reviewing your list to see how many of those things I accomplished by the time I was 30 — does buying a queen bed count as buying furniture?

  2. Yeah Kid, I think you can scratch off the NY Times goal as of today. I LOVED your Modern Love column and most of them make me cringe. Congratulations on making a bitter middle-aged woman almost cry. :-)
    I’m a big fan.

  3. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    Brilliant ideas unexecuted – ugh ugh ugh. This is dismal.
    Ha ha – you’ve done the ‘quit our shitty jobs’!!
    Write a pilot – you have time for that now :)

    Good luck, Marina. I’m enjoying reading you.

  4. Nahla says:

    Loved your video. It brought a smile to my face after a long day of work. One closed door opens many more. Just remember everything happens for a reason. Good luck :)

    • Michiel says:

      Don’t know about your standards, but 11 looks like “not applicable” or done deal. scratch. Nice list. Aim high, and survive lows…with your friends.

  5. i’m going to have to echo sandra on #11. you’re crazy if you still think you need to get in shape. congratulations on your freedom. i remember how good it felt to quit my job, and you did it with way more style. i suppose its open to interpretation, but i think you can cross off #29 off the list as well. going viral is in a way creating a sort of masterpiece, no?

    love all your bits/pieces about your russian family, it reminds me of my own. :)

  6. Love it and of course it inspires me to create my own – yeah…. 60 before 60. I have 3 years, 170 days, 12 hours, 35 minutes and whatever seconds. So, let’s see…… that’s 20 goals each year (with the 170 days left over for unforeseen complications). I had better make them pretty f*cking achievable except for some so I can carry them over to the next list. After all it would be so much better to do something absolutely insane when I’m almost 70.

    Carry on kiddo, you’re doing great. :-)

      • Hi Marina – I’m not rocking the list yet but I am making headway lol! New camera (Canon 70D – yahooo!) + learning it + improving my photography (check & check) including an early morning trip with the hubby up to a local mountain to try and take pix of Vancouver in the fog. Yup – we went the only day there was very little fog but it was breathtaking anyways and somehow weirdly memorable having McDonald’s breakfast at the viewpoint in the sun. Searching for a used cello – I want to learn how to play one. And taking the plunge to start writing on my own blog (other than the travel one which I started……). Making plans to go to the Haida Gwaii (formerly known as the Queen Charlottes) for a trip to see the migrating grey whales – that’s been on my bucket list for awhile. I turn 57 in March. Before my birthday I’m going to write the list down and post it. And one more thing – your inspiration is allowing me to have greater confidence in my own creativity (and not give a shit about what others think). Thank you for that. When I post – I’ll drop you a note :-) All the best, Shelley

  7. In a span of 7 mths since you wrote this blog entry, there are definitely a few things that you can safely cross out from this list!!! I certainly wish the list gets shorter as you’re approaching 30 in I’m not sure how long more!

  8. Vikas says:

    Nice to Read your blog. I fall in love for your writings.Innocence of words.Keep writing :) .Why do you want to visit India ? Am sorry this is personal question>But Why India :)

  9. Chris says:

    I’m not going to lie.

    I saw your video on Huffington Post. Your dance moves are pretty sweet, as they remind me of a young George Michael Bluth practicing his lightsaber skills in the garage of the model home.

    So I decided to check out your blog, and low and behold, I find that you have made a sub-30 bucket list. Which is was a coincidence, because I had literally just made mine as well.

    Fancy that!

    This September I noticed that I had 33 months to turn 30. So I decided to average one bucket list item a month. There is a website were I can kind of make a scrap book out of my experiences. It’s called

    Just thought I’d share. Email me if you want to compare lists, although mine is probably cooler. First one to thirty wins!

    Everybody wang chung tonight,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s