30 choses à faire avant 30 ans

When I was still a youthful girl of twenty-five I assumed that I had years ahead of me to compile my (practically obligatory these days) list of exciting challenges to set and then cross off before the clock struck the stroke of 23.35 on a particular day in the far off future and I became cursed with instant and irreversible old age. I got as far as deciding on challenges number one and two on my twenties’ bucket list before life got in the way and I forgot all about it. These were to have read all of Dickens’s novels and to have visited thirty countries. Life never quite going exactly according to plan I know that I have now already failed both tasks. Theoretically I might still possibly be able to power read my way through the second halves of The Old Curiosity Shop and Dombey and Son, by devoting every second of child-free time to the cause. (A midwife laughed when she saw the enormous Dombey and Son that I had brought to while away the hours before my son’s grand entrance into the world. She was right to laugh – by the time I finally saw a doctor (it turns out that hospitals are packed nine months after Valentine’s Day) my son had made it very clear that he was on his way. Three sleepless nights later and my poor book was reluctantly abandoned – I never read a single page.) I would still, however, be faced with the prospect of racing through Barnaby Rudge at a brain-scrambling speed, and I ultimately decided (as an quasi-mature and rapidly aging twenty-nine year old) to abandon my quest and to enjoy them at leisure instead. I fared even more poorly with my intention of visiting thirty countries. So far I have stepped foot on the soil of twenty-two foreign lands, the mortgage and a disinclination to drag around all the paraphernalia associated with a loud and strong-willed infant joining forces to make staying at home look like a very attractive arrangement.

There are now only four months remaining until the dawn of that dreadful day. The mind games of denial have already begun, and now the closer I get to turning thirty the younger it seems. I have even started to think it possible that life as I know it might not actually end. After all, my aged thirty-something-year-old husband seems to be managing tolerably well. He even finds something to smile about every now and then. I have taken to wondering if my thirties will finally be the making of me. I know that these are simply the mad ravings of a lost soul, but even so I cling to the hope that I might survive the process of leaving my twenty-nine-year-old-self in the past to face my future. The list-worshipping part of my brain, however, is becoming anxious not to let an opportunity for a really long list pass it by, whatever the outcome – it craves the satisfaction of crossing off a bucket list in competition with the ever-ticking clock of impending doom. The rest of me having no desire to feel like a failure on my birthday, a compromise was hurriedly made. Here, then, is my ‘thirty before thirty’ list of (hopefully) realistic and child-friendly challenges:

  1. To visit Monaco – this will be our second attempt (the first failed due to a minor motorbike accident during a freak hailstorm on an alpine mountain pass in June 2014. It was thrilling but relatively uneventful – my husband bruised his ego and I bruised my derrière);
  2. To finish building a vegetable patch and start growing stuff (this involves a great deal of heaving rocks, that used to belong in our walls, around the garden);
  3. To finish reading The Old Curiosity Shop (luckily I already know the end in case my son is successful in his endeavours to prevent my paying attention to anything that happens not to be him);
  4. To begin a new classic. Any and all suggestions will be gratefully received;
  5. To make eco-friendly beeswax ‘cling film’;
  6. To be brave enough to face Catholic mass in my little town (it’s in French and I’m Anglican…and a wimp);
  7. To climb to the top of our tiny mountain – hikers walk perhaps half an hour uphill just to get as far as our house, and my brother has run to the top twice. There is no excuse not to hike up too;
  8. To spring clean the house from top to bottom. I hope to discover long-forgotten floors and counter space;
  9. To clear the dining room table so that I can get out my sewing machine to make something for my little chou, and to finish sewing my skirt (the table is currently moonlighting as a fort);
  10. To dye my hair, just to feel thirteen again;
  11. To visit our local cave – it really is about time. The owner also supplies us with fifteen stère of wood each year for our heating, his uncle used to own our house and his cousin installed our septic tank – we must be virtually friends at this point;
  12. To finish the first chapter of the book that has been in my head for the last five years, and of which I have written nearly a page in all that time;
  13. To make a successful tarte tatin. It has so far eluded me;
  14. To finish at least one of the Christmas projects that were started respectively two and five years ago;
  15. To finish the back kitchen wall – to finish plastering, bodging (a technical term), painting and to make the curtains that I spent over a year acquiring through cunning remnant hoarding;
  16. To go on a date with my husband. We went on three last year (one lunch and two waiting-for-takeaway drinks). They were heavenly;
  17. To visit somewhere new in Ain*;
  18. And in Haute-Savoie*;
  19. And further afield;
  20. To have at least four barbecues, which equates to one per month. They are my husband’s favourite things;
  21. To begin painting my bird cupboard;
  22. To (get my husband to) reassemble my bike and go for a bike ride;
  23. To remind myself how to knit (once again);
  24. To do something truly worthwhile for someone else;
  25. To bring downstairs all the books in the attic and to start organising them into a library
  26. To create an index for my (now full) handwritten recipe book (I really am that uncool – I have been waiting to do this for years);
  27. To start running again;
  28. To paint my son’s bedroom – his nursery has yet to be finished and he is now two and a quarter;
  29. To do one thing completely and utterly new and different;
  30. To host a three-course dinner complete with tablecloth and wedding china (which has been taken out of the cupboard a grand total of twice since we got married over four years ago). I used to love this ‘game’ when we lived in Geneva.

I hope for victory, but may settle for partial defeat – see you in four months, thirty-year-old me!

*Neighbouring departments in France

Mots du jour:

30 choses à faire avant 30 ans – 30 things to do before (turning) 30 derrière – backside/bottom cave (à vin) – place where wine is made stère – roughly a cubic metre of wood

34 thoughts on “30 choses à faire avant 30 ans

  1. Wow to that list!! I might be stealing a few of your goals (like the spring cleaning and hair dying) and add them to my bucket list …as for me it’s too late already to get them done before 30 😅I’ll be ready to welcome you to the club of the over 30 yrs. old 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great list! I have been thinking about doing a 30 before 30 too, since I have about three years on me to finish the list, a very realistic goal. You should definitely do the three course meal though, my parents have never used their wedding china and they got married over 30 years ago. x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! My advice would be to get started on it now, so that you aren’t caught unawares like I was! I used to host three course meals all the time when we lived in a tiddly tiny flat. Now that we have all the space in our house, I need to get back into it. Ha ha, I think that the problem is that it’s all saved for special occasions, and then completely forgotten about when the special occasions come round.


  3. They seem like realistic goals to me. Good luck with them. And I promise being the other side of30 isn’t as bad as it seems.

    Part of the reason I made a 35 before 35 list was so that I would feel as if I had achieved SOMETHING in my life. As previously discussed, I was devastated to be turning 30 without having had a child so I needed something so that, even if I was still childless at 35, I could look back at the other things I had done and realise that my life isn’t entirely meaningless, even if it so far hasn’t involved creating life. Whatever happens in the future, my chance to be a “young” mother is gone, but at least I can say drank Champagne in Champagne 😉 Even though I won’t complete everything, I enjoyed working on my list so much that I’m now trying to think of items for a 40 before 40 list to start after my birthday in August.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really wnat you to know that I feel for you completely and utterly, and that you have my full sympathies. I haven’t found the road to motherhood at all easy either, both before and since the birth of my (very much appreciated) son. I know that I am so lucky compared to so many people. I wanted to make a list to try to have some fun before my birthday, and to feel like I can achieve something other than just staying at home, playing duplo and making cake. I have also had Champagne in Champagne, and it was fabulous!


  4. I love lists too! I even had a book of them when I was a child. Now it’s a big book of spreadsheets! This list is a great idea and I like the way you’ve got trying new things on there, as well as things that you’ve been wanting to do. Let us know how you get on, but most of all, have fun doing it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Lists are seriously addictive! I nominated Unseen Beauty for a blogging award, but completely failed to get links to notify my nominees. If you enjoy taking part in these awards I’d be interested in hearing your answers. If you prefer not to that’s absolutely fine too…I just wanted to give you the chance to decide for yourself 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Haha, a ‘waiting for takeaway drinks’ date… made me chuckle!
    Let me know when you perfect the tarte tatin recipe, I’d love to have a go.
    Good luck with writing the first chapter of your book, as well as all your other goals!

    Liked by 1 person

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