At the humble age of 29 I decided it is time to read the Harry Potter series. Now or never. After all, I visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando last year, albeit without understanding much of what was going on around me. “The train will take me to Hogsmead? Wait, I thought it was called Hogwarts…” I actually called the park “Harry Potter Wander Wizardland” in Instagram stories. 

This January I decided enough is enough. I had to know what the hell is butter beer and when is the appropriate time to use “Alohomora!” When I told people that I was reading Harry Potter for the first time, it was so embarrassing that I usually added: “Well, you know… it’s on my to-do-before-I-turn-thirty list”. Insert nervous laugh. 

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Does this chick look like she is about to turn thirty?

The truth is I actually didn’t have a to-do-before-thirty list. But now that I started saying it… why the hell not? A tiny little problem here is that I turn thirty in three months. How thirty creeped up on me I do not understand. A year ago I was twenty, five months ago I was twenty five, just a week back I was twenty seven, and now – BAM! – I am turning thirty!

Remember when Phoebe in Friends realized that she was thirty one and not thirty years old: “It totally ruined my schedule! I… I haven’t done any of the things I wanted to do by the time I was 31… I haven’t met any Portuguese people! I haven’t had the perfect kiss! And I haven’t been to sniper’s school!”

That’s how I feel. Damn it, Yulia! How are you supposed to get a PhD in creative cake eating, start earning a six-figure salary, and meet Leonardo DiCaprio all in three months? 

What do they say in those motivational books? That we should care about things under our control and not waste time on things that are outside of our sphere of influence? I will let Leonardo DiCaprio find me. I will not worry about that. Meanwhile, I am going to create a very realistic, highly accomplishable in three months list of things to do before I turn thirty years old. 

you are my butter half

To Do Before I Turn Thirty

First on the list is to reread War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. Since I started writing this post I’ve actually finished reading all seven Harry Potter books. With that off my list, I felt like I need to add another challenging and preferably torturous reading project. War and Peace seems like an obvious choice since I am in Russia at the moment, visiting my family.

Then… but don’t laugh ok? I want to make a gingerbread house. My birthday is in July and there’s no reason whatsoever that would justify making a gingerbread house, but I’ve been meaning to make it for the past five years and, just like in case with Harry Potter, it’s now or never. It cannot wait till Christmas. 

While I am on the topic of cooking, I also dream of channelling my inner Nigella and prepare a sophisticated five-course dinner for my husband. You know, the kind of dinner where you can hardly pronounce half of the names because they are French and fancy. The kind you make from scratch, all on your own, including kneading the dough, cooking stock for eight hours, braising meat overnight, and all that jazz. 

Next on the list is learning to dance tango. I’ve already taken two tango lessons in Sri Lanka of all places and fell in love. Right now I am on “Oops! Sorry! I didn’t mean to step on your feet… at least not fifty five times” level, but I’d like to be prepared if, say, I meet Antonio Banderas who is looking to recreate the tango scene from Take the Lead. I don’t know why he would need to recreate it, but I’d like to be prepared fro everything in life.

To add to the cultural aspect of my to-do list, I am including catching a show at Bolshoi Theatre, something I dreamed of for years, but never did due to the fact that I don’t often find myself in Moscow, and if I do I feel bad spending a little fortune to watch men in tight pants jump around. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy immensely watching men in tight pants do pretty much anything, but the cost is steep. Before I turn thirty, I hope to walk into Bolshoi with my hair done, full make up, and wearing a beautiful dress. 

Next one is a task that I am most likely to skip and then find excuses why it wasn’t accomplished. I want to do a split. I used to be able to do it ten years ago and I’d like to do it again.

Last, but not least I would like to do something good for someone else. It’s not all about me. Although I do remember that episode of Friends where Phoebe was trying to do a selfless good deed and nothing she did was selfless if only for the fact that she got satisfaction of doing good things. As you probably noticed, I know Friends by heart and Phoebe is my favorite. Maybe the last task on my to-do list should be to watch less Friends. But we all know that it’s less realistic than me making a gingerbread house in July.