Your ‘Hitting 30′ List


Sometimes it’s depressing hanging out with people still in their 20s.

In fact, I try not to make a habit of it.

But there are a few twenty somethings — like my pal, Hisae (above) — who are undeniably fun to be around, age notwithstanding.

Of course, until she asks me this question:

“Is there anything I should do before turning 30?”

I have to admit, that made me cringe a little.

I haven’t been 30 for almost a decade now. I can barely remember what I did then — this would be in 2005 — and I’m sure I didn’t have a list of things I wanted to accomplish before transitioning into a new age bracket.

But it was worth a ponder.

Looking back, I did a lot by the time I was 30. I was working full-time as a reporter at the now-defunct Honolulu Advertiser, I was teaching college journalism part-time, I had been traveling a lot with my girlfriends. Life was good.

But I didn’t accomplish a few items on my “Life List” that I figured would easily get checked off by the time I was 30. Things like getting married, having kids, owning a home. I was single, I was renting, I was happy. Suddenly, the things I thought were so important back in college weren’t relevant at all.

I didn’t expect to be 38, divorced and still renting. But I have no complaints about where life has taken me. I’ve been around the world, I’ve met incredible people, and I’ve got two dogs that keep it interesting.

Turning 30 wasn’t that momentous, at least not that I can remember. (Though I did have the stomach flu on my birthday and I vividly remember puking cheesecake, but that’s beside the point.) I think it was everything I did in my 30s that mattered most.

So here’s what I think: my friend, who’s living out her last years of her 20s, should do whatever she wants in her last year before turning 30. Don’t try to justify anything, don’t flat out reject anything, keep an open mind and just go for it.

Anyone else got some advice for Hisae? Anything she should accomplish by her birthday?

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12 Responses to “Your ‘Hitting 30′ List”

  1. M January 6, 2014 at 9:40 am #

    Hello Cat,

    I was 30, 30 years ago and I can’t think that far back. lol

  2. Masako January 6, 2014 at 10:13 am #

    Just enjoy the ride. At 30 your still young. Look back at the 20’s and see what worked and what didn’t and make adjustments from there.

  3. Jade January 6, 2014 at 12:57 pm #

    Just do what makes you happy. There are no rules, always regrets. As I pass 50 and look back, time seemed to have flown by. Turning 30 seemed like just yesterday, yet it seems like it was a lifetime ago. Surround yourself with people you love who love you back. If you make mistakes don’t be too hard on yourself, it is all part of the journey. Life is cut into thirds, you’ve just lived 1/3 of your life, onto the next 2/3rds….be happy, relish every day and make it count!!

  4. David Jackson January 6, 2014 at 12:58 pm #

    LOL… Ok Cat. Here is my advice to Hisae. a) stop thinking of age as a ruler by which to live your life b) you could die tomorrow, live today c) Catherine Toth puts rum in her cheesecake d) the best advise to take is your own e) the thing that will make you happier than anything in the world is to by David Jackson a Hawaiian vacation… just don’t let him sing.

  5. S-O January 6, 2014 at 1:01 pm #

    30-40-50, all irrelevant. I know I’m getting older, but I don’t feel much different. Keep active and enjoy your friends. 52, divorced, and still renting – and happy as can be!

  6. Annoddah Dave January 6, 2014 at 1:38 pm #

    CAT: Nothing should be done on the first 30, by the time the second 30 comes around, you will have plenty to pine about. If you live a full life, you will have more of a list for the third 30!

  7. Hank Chapin January 6, 2014 at 10:14 pm #

    1. Go to Amsterdam and see Vermeer’s great paining, “Woman Pouring a Pitcher of Milk.” Then compile a list of all the Vermeers in the world (there are only about 30) and take your time to visit them all as a scaffolding for your travel itinerary bucket list.
    2. Become a regular at the Hawaii Opera Theatre (HOT, the greatest acronym of all). If you think that opera is not for you, then start off with Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Mikado.” the third offering of the season. What fun!

  8. Dennis January 6, 2014 at 11:26 pm #

    Hi Cat! I was 30 –40 years ago and still working and having fun being a bachelor for 20 years. There is something missing but I can’t remember it since demetia kicked in and I can only figure out what happened 5 hours ago. Keep young and don’t admit you’re 30. Stay 29 forever!

  9. Glenn D January 7, 2014 at 1:25 pm #

    Hi Cat, Please tell Hisae not to worry about age and not to put any kind of deadline for herself. I was 29 when I got married, 26 when I bought my house but kept working a lot. My time between 30 and 40 went as a bliss. Now that I look back at it, I think I could have relaxed a bit more. Important thing is to have fun. Remember that you are only old as you think and feel. Personally, I think you look great Cat. I would have never guessed you were 38. For real.

  10. WildeOscar January 8, 2014 at 7:21 am #

    As others have commented, best not to view the milestones based on numbers, although 100 might be one worth looking forward to.

    Just making it through each day with a sense of accomplishment and purpose, having helped others where I could, and not having had a cigarette (19 1/2 years since my last one), and being able to laugh at life’s little absurdities makes for a successful day, week, decade, or whatever for me.

  11. snow January 8, 2014 at 8:26 pm #

    just to realize that she’s her own person, special in her own right, who should measure her life by her own standards, if she so chooses. when i was 29, i had just changed careers and was starting at the bottom of the totem pole while my friends were moving up theirs. certainly, i didn’t appreciate the comments i heard from others about not having “goals” but i knew where i wanted to be and i did not advertise it to everyone.

    she should know that age is but a number… you really are as young as you feel! she can have fun at any age… just the kind of fun might be a little different! but, she should appreciate, too, that with age comes wisdom and strive to be the best version of herself.

  12. Lusus Naturae January 11, 2014 at 5:19 am #

    I’ve ben wracking my brain for a few days now, trying to remember what goals I set for myself when I hit 30, and the only thing I can remember was that at each consequitive birthday, I’d start counting the years backwards and see how long it took anyone to notice. I think I got back to 25 before they did.

    Goals that are reasonable for any age:
    – if you can do so responsibly, adopt an adult dog or cat from a shelter. Kittens and puppies have no problems getting humans to take them home, but grown animals face a greater challenge.

    – Think of one thing you’ve never cooked and try to get it right before your next birthday.

    – Donate money to a charity (I recommend ; Cat, if it’s inappropriate for me to post a link please feel free to edit my post!)

    – Have fun and look forward to 31!

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