Recently my attention was called to a survey carried out by Privilege Home Insurance*. I came across it via this article by The Pool which was doing a great job of critiquing the survey. Privilege Home Insurance had apparently asked 2000 British people what goals they would like to have reached by their 32nd birthday.
Bearing in mind that Privilege Home Insurance sell insurance and as such, might have certain vested interests in goals people set for themselves (like owning a home to insure, for example) here’s the list that they came up with:
- Bought first home
- Met long term partner
- Having children
- Have a long term career
- Reached your target wage/salary
- Own a car
- Move in with long term partner
- Reached savings goal
- Be able to afford to go on two holidays a year
- Be able to drive
Incidentally, The Pool titled their article, “Here are all the things you should have achieved by 32, or all of your anxieties in one list.” Aye, that’ll be right. There’s not a single thing in this list that wouldn’t make you want to buy insurance. Don’t be fooled by the partner/kids things – that makes you a good target for a life insurance salesperson. You need to be able to drive to own a car and you need to own a car to be interested in car insurance. You’re more likely to reach your savings goals if you have a career and are making your target wage, but also if you have insurance so that when stuff gets broken or stolen you can replace it without destroying your savings, etc etc etc.
Anyway, since this list is bullshit and we aren’t just allocated our life partners on our 31st birthdays, I thought I’d come up with a better list. I actually quite like lists, goals and targets, they give me something to work towards. I’m just not interested in bullshit anxiety inducing lists that apparently 60% of people would be disappointed in themselves for not reaching. For example – if you hand me a list of 100 books I should read before I’m 30 I’ll get excited and maybe buy a few books, read a few and then forget about it. If you tell me I need to buy a house before I’m 32, I’ll laugh in your face.
So, without any further ado, here’s my list of things you should do before you’re 32. Take it with a pinch of salt, though. I’m only 27, what the hell do I know?
- Celebrate your gigasecond birthday. A gigasecond is 11574 days, 1 hour, 46 minutes and 40 seconds. You’ll turn a gigasecond when you’re 31 years and 8 months old.
- Have a go at keeping a diary. Abandon the diary. NEVER Re-read the diary.
- Master one recipe. I don’t care if it’s a recipe for toast. You’re going to be the best at toast.
- Give someone a copy of your favourite book as a gift
- Spend time with people you actually like, not people you feel guilty about not hanging out with
- Find a form of exercise that doesn’t make you hate everything
- Focus on being kind occasionally, but don’t forget to be kind to yourself
- Keep learning. Take a course if you like but browsing Wikipedia is fine too
- Think about things your parents told you not to do and wonder if they had good reasons – if their reasons were nonsense feel free to do those things. You’re a grown up now, you make the decisions (mine: wear short skirts)
- Eat ice cream for dinner. Just once. See above
Or, you could not do any of these things. I don’t care and it won’t matter (although I do want to know why you don’t want a gigasecond party). Make your own list, I’m not the boss of you.
*While researching this, I found another survey of 2000 people by the deodorant brand Sure in 2013. They decided that the average age of contentment is 37. The list of goals is fairly similar but I thought it was funny that a deodorant brand