30 Before 30

by marinashifrin

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. [X]
  7. Write a pilot. [X]
  8. Buy furniture. [X]
  9. Throw the best party ever.
  10. Fly first class. [X]
  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.