Things to do before I’m 30

I should probably lead with the admission that I’m 32 – this is something of a retrospective post.

So, a little over 12 years ago, on my 20th birthday, I wrote a list. That list got carried around in my wallet for the next 10 years (Okay , another admission, it’s been 12 years and I have no intention of throwing it away – it’s like a little part of me).

Here it is – looking a little tattered and held together with selotape:


So, what does it say?

  1. Get a degree.
  2. Become fluent in a foreign language.
  3. Write a novel
  4. Learn archery
  5. Learn to use a quarterstaff
  6. Learn to use a sword
  7. Learn to ride a horse
  8. Get married
  9. Have kids.
  10. Go skydiving
  11. Run a marathon
  12. Learn a Dutch song
  13. Learn scuba diving
  14. Learn skiing
  15. Learn to surf


So, more admissions. The list originally only consisted of items 1 to 10. Items 11 to 15 may have been added while a bit tipsy in a bar somewhere in Egypt….

So, let’s discuss them.

Item 1 – Degree. Done. Got a Masters at age 22. Yay.

Item 2 – Language. Hmm, not so much. When I visit a country, I like to learn enough to get by, so I’ve learnt bits of German, French, Italian and Spanish, but only a bit. I have never really even been competent in them, let alone fluent. One day though…. maybe?

Item 3 – Writing. Done. I started writing Cruel Reality (see earlier blog posts) a few days after finishing my degree. I completed the first draft a mere 3 years later, age 25. I was writing my 2nd book before I was 30. Yay.

Items 4 – 6. Learn to use medieval weapons. These were sub-points for item 3. I knew the book I wanted to write (it had been in my head since my teens) and I wanted to research it. So I had lessons in archery and using a hand-and-a-half bastard-sword. Archery was fun. Sword lessons (blunt swords) were painful but educational. Never got around to quarterstaff.

Item 7 – Horse. I’ll come back to this.

Items 8 and 9. Marriage and kids. Done and done (wonderful wife, 2 beautiful daughters).

Item 10 – Skydiving. This (and item 7 – horse) is where item 8 (wife) really paid off. For my 30th birthday (by this time distracted from this list by item 9 – daughters), my wife realized I had a few things without ticks on that tatty list I carried everywhere. So she booked me a (tandem) skydive and horse-riding lessons. So they got ticks too.


The additions to my list.

Item 11 – marathon. What was I thinking? Don’t know why I wrote that. I was running a lot at the time. I probably could have run a marathon. Never felt the need to. Feel the need to even less now.

Item 12. Dutch song?? While a bit drunk in that bar in Egypt, I may have been learning a song from a couple of Dutch girls. I have a vague memory of the song being about a crocodile, but that makes very little sense…

Item 13 – Scuba diving. Done. Enjoyed 2 great weeks of scuba diving in the Red Sea.

Item 14 – Skiing. I learnt to ski (and snow-board) across several trips to the French and Italian alps.

Item 15 – Surfing. Did a bit. It’s not for me. That juice isn’t worth the squeeze. Lots of paddling out and waiting around for not a lot of time riding a wave. It has been explained to me that I’m missing the point of surfing. I agree. I’d rather be on the beach reading a book.


In case your wondering, on my 30th birthday, I wrote a list of things to do before I’m 40.

  1. Write less lists.





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