At some point, 30 approaches, which is scary. We’re becoming adults, but we shouldn’t have to wait until 65 and retirement (ha!) to start our bucket lists. Lauren K. Johnson, for inspiration, shares for you her list for 20-somethings — her shot glass list.

By: Lauren K. Johnson

Photo Credit: 20 Something Magazine on Instagram

In our 20s, life seems to speed up. If we’re lucky we go from yearning to jump ahead to adulthood to actually being an adult, complete with the education, paycheck, apartment in the city we always wanted—and lots of things we didn’t anticipate. Student loans. Stress of a 9-to-5 that’s really more like 8-to-6. The task of cleaning said apartment in the city. At the end of the day, we just don’t have the time or the energy to live the glamorous adult life we imagined.

I recently turned 29, and I’m not exactly where I pictured my verging-on-30 self. I’m back in school, unemployed and living with three cats. I’ve done a lot of things I never thought I would—bought a condo, gone to war, ran a marathon, adopted three cats. But there are some fairly basic adult-ish things I’ve never done. I’ve never hosted a dinner party with an entrée other than frozen pizza. I’ve never grown a plant, or even kept an already-growing one alive for more than a few months. And like many of my 20-something friends, sometimes I feel like I’ve forgotten how to just let loose and have fun. So as my third decade slips away, I’m determined not to let my youthful ambitions—or my childhood fascinations—leave with it.

Thanks to the digital age, rounding out a bucket list (or for quarter-life matters, a “shot glass list”) is easier than ever; there are entire websites dedicated to crazy/cool/unusual destinations and activities. The first 10 items on this list are things I’ve done which, for whatever reason (life experience, perspective, masochism) I think you should too. The final 20, coming next week, are my goals for this next year. If I survive, next January I’ll pass along my newfound 30-something wisdom.

Follow along as I suck the last drops of vodka out of the shot glass that is my 20s!

(Many thanks to Brian Toomay, Lucus VanTassel, Gabby Dahlman, Debbie Johnson, Shannon LeBlanc, Emily Avery-Miller, Colin Halloran, Jacob Seifert and Amanda Talley, who contributed ideas for this list)


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Additional Photo Credit: Photo Four is “Virgin America flight interior” by Flickr user Marc Smith (Licensed by CC 3.0)

The next 20 of the list! Click here!


Lauren K. Johnson (@LaurenKayJ), an Afghanistan veteran and former military public affairs officer, has won regional and national-level Department of Defense journalism awards. Her work  has appeared in Mason’s Road, the Edmonds Enterprise, and numerous Department of Defense publications, including military.com, Tip of the Spear magazine and Special Operations Technology. Lauren is earning an MFA in nonfiction writing at Emerson College in Boston, where she is completing a memoir about the experience of female soldiers during and after war. She blogs at uncamouflaged.blogspot.com.


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