What new things should I do on my birthday?
December 2, 2011 4:05 PM   Subscribe

I want to spend my 30th birthday doing 30 things I've never done before. Can you help me think of some things?

I'm posting this anonymously because I've been asking everyone I know for suggestions, and the circumstances are unique enough to figure out who I am very easily.

This seems like exactly the kind of question that MeFi excels at so I would love to get the community's input.

I am turning 30 next weekend, and I will be spending the weekend in NYC and Philly with some friends.

Over the weekend I would like to do 30 things I have never done before. These do not need to be super huge like sky diving, but they should be more exciting than watching a new TV show.

Some examples I came up with off the cuff:
Drink absinthe
Get a manicure
Go to a strip club
Eat some weird or new food
Get a facial
Try a drug
Go to a psychic
Go to a religious ceremony for a different faith
Fire a gun
Get a makeover

It's been an extremely tumultuous year for me. Normally I'd be balled up crying in the corner (and I did spend part of the year doing so), but I've decided to embrace the flow of change running through my life. So things that might push personal boundaries are really good. Creative or spiritual suggestions that somehow acknowledge that I will be building a new life are also really welcome. (This is more about experiencing things than buying stuff.)

I know it's hard to list things without knowing me, but perhaps you can list some things that you've never done that you'd like to. Or things that you think everyone should do once. Or things that you think people should have done by age 30.

Including NYC or Philly specific suggestions for a venue for an activity is welcome.

Some facts that may help:
- I'm of the lady persuasion and single, born and raised in the US, pretty typical US upbringing, though I haven't done a lot of lady things if you couldn't tell from the list
- I'm pretty adventurous (Eat weird foods and ride all the roller coasters and have a threesome kind of adventurous but not drive without car insurance and ride a bike without a helmet risky adventurous.)
- I'm willing to drop some dough...hundreds but not thousands. Springing for an expensive meal, drink, beauty treatment is okay. Spending $1,500 to go bungee jumping is not okay.

Thank you! Peace!
posted by anonymous to Society & Culture (55 answers total) 76 users marked this as a favorite
Ride a horse? (With a helmet.)
posted by XMLicious at 4:12 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Stay up all night? (Did you do that already when you were a kid?)
Kiss someone of your non-preferred gender?
Climb a cliff (with proper rock-climbing gear and an experienced leader)
Touch a snake/shark/leopard/tarantula/something else weird or exotic. Most zoos have opportunities to do this for an extra fee.
posted by lollusc at 4:16 PM on December 2, 2011

Go bowling (Chelsea Piers is great for this)
Walk the High Line
Go skinny-dipping (be prepared for this to last all of five seconds before you need to warm up, of course)
Do some sort of subway-busking

Just off the top of my head.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:16 PM on December 2, 2011

give blood
walk a dog at the ASPCA
hold a baby in a preemie NICU
make your own sushi
make bread from scratch
float in an isolation tank
watch the sun rise
posted by aimeedee at 4:17 PM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]

30 new things in the span of a weekend?

Hug a stranger.
Leave a $100 tip.
Write 1000 words about where you want to be where you're 40.
Call someone who has left your life.
Go a day without using/watching a computer, TV, or cellphone.
Eat hákarl. (You will only want to do this once. May be difficult outside Iceland.)
Learn to whistle through your fingers.
Get acupuncture.
Get a reiki treatment.
Walk across Manhattan.
Donate an outrageous amount of money to the charity of your choice.
Buy coffee for a homeless person. Or a meal. Or more.
Hail a taxi (you may have already done this.)

These aren't quite what you're looking for, but they're nice to think about: Thanks for the 30 reminders that I'm 30 now and 30 reasons to shake up the status quo . . .
posted by punchtothehead at 4:18 PM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]

Get arrested.

Get thrown out of a bar.

Have a different type of threesome (you and two guys, you and a guy and a girl or you and two other girls). Afterwards, snort cocaine off their butt.

Have sex in a church.

Use a flamethrower.

Go hunting. Butcher and skin the animal yourself.

Join the mile high club.

Drive a Ferrari.

Operate a blowtorch.

Operate heavy machinery.

Go topless in New York (it's legal).
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:18 PM on December 2, 2011 [3 favorites]

Sing a duet with a busker.
Attend a service at a house of worship that is totally unfamiliar to you.
Get a Brazilian bikini wax.
Get a professional bra fitting.
Sample porn in a genre you've never tried.
posted by argonauta at 4:25 PM on December 2, 2011

If you go with firing a gun, see if you can do it at an old TV. I don't generally like guns but shooting a TV with a shotgun earlier this summer was one of the most satisfying experiences I've ever had. No clue why, I'm not particularly a tube-hater.
posted by mannequito at 4:26 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

oh, another idea - go to karaoke and sing a song you've never heard before.
posted by mannequito at 4:26 PM on December 2, 2011


Get arrested in a church.

Use a flamethrower in New York.

Get thrown out of the mile high club.

Have sex in a Ferrari.

Operate a blowtorch topless

Operate heavy animal machinery.

(This is a cool idea by the way... )
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 4:27 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Go to a range wearing jeans. Drop trou and run the jeans down as a target. Shot them with a shot gun with buckshot. Wear the jeans the rest of the day,
posted by plinth at 4:30 PM on December 2, 2011 [3 favorites]

Make it rain. (Fling a handfull of dollars somewhere where it's funny or meaningful.)

Go somewhere while wearing only a coat. (Actually flashing is up to you.)

Smoke a cigar.

Happy Birthday!
posted by snsranch at 4:31 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Tell the truth to someone who you are afraid to tell the truth to.
posted by vignettist at 4:37 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Go to a strip club ... and perform.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:40 PM on December 2, 2011

Play a game of pickup basketball in Rucker Park

Eat a cheesesteak at both Pat's & Geno's

Go to a museum you've always wanted to, but haven't done yet

Find someone of a different political persuasion than you, pretend you agree with them, and see how well you can convince them that you actually do agree with them

Do the Power Hour (shot of beer every minute for an hour)

For the love of $_Preferred_Deity, stay away from FB and the rest of the internet, and spend the saved time enjoying yourself
posted by AMSBoethius at 4:42 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Get a massage.

One session with a home/personal organizer.

One session with a life coach.

Get a mani/pedi (I know you listed manicure but do both at once! At a place that gives you a glass of champagne or wine if you want!)

Write a short story.

Try a new sport.
posted by JenMarie at 4:42 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Pole dancing/belly dancing lesson
Drive a race car at a track (there are places you can pay to do this)
Learn to skateboard
posted by tracicle at 4:47 PM on December 2, 2011

Go to a local old man bar and have a beer.

Have you done all the touristy things in NYC/Philly, like the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty (all the way up to the crown!) and whatnot?

Have a quiet moment at Ground Zero.

Go on an architecture tour, either one that goes through the whole city or a neighborhood, or find one that features a significant building (especially old theaters and churches).

Write your congressperson an actual physical letter that you take to the post office and mail.

Call your political representative of choice and tell them your thoughts about an issue.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 4:52 PM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]

Have you ever gone to an art museum and really spent time with a piece? If not, go to the Met, find a famous work and spend 5 or 10 minutes with it.

Do the above, but at a zoo, with a single animal.

Read US Bill of Rights or a famous speech (or listen to it)

Drive a boat or go sailing

Place a very physical sport and go all out.

Gather some friends and catcall guys.

Do something you're not supposed to do. Go to a supermarket, stand in front of a close register and yell "I'm opening up over here."

Spend 20 minutes with a homeles person

Randomly give out dollar bills to strangers, regardless of whether you think they need it.

If you play an instrument, try busking for a few hours.

Go to a firehouse and ask for a ride, or to least sit in the cabin

Launch a paper airplane or two from the top floor of the Guggenheim.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:55 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Watch a real court proceeding.

Go to the UN and watch ... whatever kind of meeting might be open to the public?

Protest something - walk around with a sandwich board attached to yourself and give out flyers about an issue dear to you.

Join a picket line.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 4:58 PM on December 2, 2011

Lots of great ideas here -- but 30 of them in 24 hours sounds more exhausting than fun. How about doing a new thing every day for the month of your birth?
posted by ottereroticist at 5:20 PM on December 2, 2011 [6 favorites]

at the bar, yell: "next round's on me!"
posted by modernserf at 5:20 PM on December 2, 2011 [3 favorites]

Eat fugu (might be on the dangerous side, but I think it's pretty safe if you go to a reputable restaurant).

Tip $20 on a sit-down meal that costs less than $10.

If you decide to get a makeover, I suggest going to a MAC store and telling them you have a party to go to that evening and you want a really dramatic and eye-catching look. You'll probably get something crazy and fun (you do have to buy $50 worth of stuff to get a "free" makeover though - give it to a friend if you don't wear makeup).

Breathalyze yourself after one drink, two drinks, and three drinks (there are cheap breathalyzers online, they're not reliable but that's not the point).

Make & eat jello shots.
posted by insectosaurus at 5:27 PM on December 2, 2011

(ms. Vegetable commenting)
Wear clothes that you never would "normally"
Rent a convertible. Preferably an expensive one. Or just test drive it.
Use a laaaaaaame pickup line at a coffee shop/bar/bus stop.
Sign a petition.
Join the occupy folks for a bit.
Read out loud in the library like you are the storyteller. Or the entertainment.
Go to a courthouse wedding. They're open to the public.
Play chess or backgammon with the old men in the park.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 5:28 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Post up somewhere (safe) in your neighborhood with a lawn chair. Bring a bag lunch and stay there all day.

Spend a night in a youth hostel and party with your roommates.

Call in to a talk radio show.

Do open mic night.

Go geocaching.
posted by clorox at 5:28 PM on December 2, 2011

Find a stranger with a cast and decorate it.
Use your non dominant hand all day.
Sing on the subway.
Buy socks from the guy at the intersection.
Use crutches.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 5:30 PM on December 2, 2011

Write a letter to the editor.
(i know i should stop, but this is fun.)
posted by a robot made out of meat at 5:31 PM on December 2, 2011

Depending on your job and your hair color, you could dye your hair a crazy color - if you're light-haired, it will show up and you can pick something that will wash out in a week or two.

If you're super platinum blond, it may stain your hair, and if you're dark brown or darker haired, something temporary might not show up.
posted by insectosaurus at 5:31 PM on December 2, 2011

Ride in the grocery part of the shopping cart like little kids do.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 5:32 PM on December 2, 2011

Wear false eyelashes - either for an evening or all day, you can buy either natural looking ones or dramatic ones for about $5 at the drugstore. There are lots of videos on youtube for how to apply them.
posted by insectosaurus at 5:33 PM on December 2, 2011

Send a drink to somebody at a restaurant you find attractive.
Send flowers from a "secret admirer"
posted by a robot made out of meat at 5:33 PM on December 2, 2011

Self-link, but this similar to a project I did in February, 28 things on 28 days:


It includes shooting guns, going to a psychic and some more/less weird random things.
posted by justkevin at 5:34 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Take naked photos of yourself - you can delete them right away or keep them for posterity. Tasteful nudes, sexy photos - up to you!
posted by insectosaurus at 5:35 PM on December 2, 2011

Make love to a transgendered person
posted by Poet_Lariat at 5:37 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Throw a pie in someones face
Paint a picture or portrait of a friend
Ride a unicycle, scooter, motorcycle, canoe, jet ski, segway
Smoke a cigar
posted by ljesse at 5:37 PM on December 2, 2011

Go to roller derby. Cheer HARD.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 5:46 PM on December 2, 2011

Look at yourself in the mirror. Tell yourself you are awesome and beautiful and talented. For whatever reasons. Be honest.
Write down 100 things you like about yourself.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 5:49 PM on December 2, 2011

Actually buy a round for the bar. Buy yourself a pair of expensive but FABULOUS shoes, so every time you wear them, you'll think, "these are my fabulous 30th birthday shoes." High five a specified number of strangers (30 seems like a lot; maybe 10). Order a drink that is set on fire before you drink it - say, a flaming Dr Pepper (juvenile but fun). Wear a dramatic hat. Every time you get into a cab, use a different fake accent when talking to the driver - English, Southern, clipped 30s mid-Atlantic, etc. happy birthday!!
posted by Countess Sandwich at 5:49 PM on December 2, 2011

If you're going to be in NYC, nothing's spookier/more awesome than wind-swept, deserted Coney Island in winter.
posted by devymetal at 5:58 PM on December 2, 2011

go skydiving

go mountain climbing

perform an outrageous act of random kindness

sneak onto the roof of a very very tall building
posted by zdravo at 6:03 PM on December 2, 2011

take a life drawing class
eat something you've never eaten before (snails, crocodile, kangaroo, some ethnic food?)
post a video of yourself online
posted by b33j at 6:17 PM on December 2, 2011

Let someone else order for you at a restaurant. A friend, the staff, the chef.
Order something at, say, a Japanese restaurant, in Japanese.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 6:18 PM on December 2, 2011

Drink only water.
Turn off the electricity for a day.
Live by the sun - up at dawn, bed at dusk.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 6:24 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Pretend to be an elevator attendant and try to accept tips for pressing the buttons.

Here's one that probably won't make the short list, but I've always wanted to replace a piece of art in a hotel room with one of my own and see if anyone notices. (Sign the work with a throw-away e-mail addy.)
posted by snsranch at 6:56 PM on December 2, 2011

Buy a bouquet, go to City Hall and hand them out to newlyweds.

If you haven't been on the Staten Island Ferry... isn't it about time?

Or the Circle Line.

Go to a exotic pet store and handle some snakes.

Grays Papaya! Pastrami at the 2nd Avenue Deli! In Philly, cheesesteak at Pat’s.

Or, eat a type of food you've never tried (Afghan/Kenyan fusion?)
posted by Marky at 7:42 PM on December 2, 2011

Go look up your name at Ellis Island.

Go skating at Rockefeller Center (probably been suggested already)
posted by zomg at 9:27 PM on December 2, 2011

FYI, Statue of Liberty is closed

perform at an open mic night
take a class
interview someone whose work.life you find fascinating
volunteer at a soup kitchen
wrap presents for toys for tots
posted by TravellingCari at 9:39 PM on December 2, 2011

Contribute to the sarong theorem archive.
posted by ZeroDivides at 10:05 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Go for a bike ride along the beach

Hike a fairly tough mountain, have picnic at the top
posted by melizabeth at 11:01 PM on December 2, 2011

Sky dive

Ad-lib a made-up language.
Contact someone you’ve lost touch with.
Cook crepes or doughnuts.
Do calligraphy.
Do free writing.
Do yoga.
Draw with your nondominant hand.
Eat (and maybe cook) flaming food.
Get a blind date.
Get an item of clothing custom made.
Get a session with a personal trainer.
Get a session with a financial adviser.
Get a tattoo or other body modification.
Get hypnotized.
Get your eyebrows done.
Get a will made.
Have a pie fight.
If you’re white, spend some time in a nonwhite neighborhood, not a touristy area.
¬¬Jump start a car.
Listen to music by Aaron Copland (dean of American classical music)
Listen to ragtime music.
Open the Yellow Pages indiscriminately. Close your eyes and point. Go to that business.
Participate in a drum circle.
Play darts.
Play a pub quiz.
Roll a cigarette and smoke it.
See the Liberty Bell.
Shoot skeet or trap.
Smoke a pipe.
Smoke hookah.
Study the back of your hand.
Throw knives.
Try mirror-writing.
Try ujam.com (automagic music accompaniment)
Volunteer at Habitat for Humanity.
Wear an evening gown.
Wear pearls.
Wear a wig.
Write a love poem.
Write your obituary for many years in the future.

Change your car’s:
Air filter

Pickled eggs
Venison or other game meat

Get a class or lesson in:
Circus arts
Martial arts

Go to:
Artist’s studio
Wall Street. Hear the opening or closing bell.

Crossword puzzle (even if you skip the clues)
Web page

Read (parts count):
Areopagitica (by Milton, on censorship)
Atlantic Monthly
Bible or other sacred text, especially from a religion that’s not yours
Christian Science Journal
Supreme Court case
The Economist
Wall Street Journal

Dirt bike
Horse-drawn carriage
Scooter (motorized or not)

Broadway show
Classic movie(s) you haven’t yet
Foreign film
Nutcracker or other ballet
Participatory theater
Poetry slam
Roller derby
Other performance or sport you wouldn’t normally go to
posted by maurreen at 3:08 AM on December 3, 2011 [4 favorites]

Of you're going to shoot a gun, make it a machine gun.
posted by craniac at 7:26 AM on December 3, 2011

- write a poem and give it to someone you care about
- dive off a high dive
- fly a kite
- whittle something easy
- make a Christmas ornament out of polymer clay and give it to someone
- wear sexy underwear underneath your regular clothes
- join a game of pickup soccer or football in the park. if you tell them you're doing this for your birthday they won't be upset that you're not very good (assuming you're not very good)
- chalk drawing on the sidewalk
- go to the top of the empire state building
- do the Times Sunday Crossword on the bus or subway. Ask people for help when you get stuck
- spend an hour photographing things you wouldn't normally photograph like insects, leaves, clouds, gum spots on the sidewalk. Or draw what you see.
- get a piercing or tattoo
- volunteer at a soup kitchen
- 9v battery -> tongue
- bake a souffle or something really difficult
- rent a rowboat. Row same
- write a letter to yourself at age 40. Seal and open in 10 years
- watch a silent film
- gamble in Atlantic City
- get your face painted in a badass fashion
- skip stones
- read poetry in the reading room at the NYPL
- climb a tree
- change the oil in your car/tires on your bike
- buy coffee for the person behind you in line at the coffee shop
- meditate
- time how long you can hold your breath
- throw a boomerang. It will not work but now you'll know firsthand that boomerangs are bogus
- play poohsticks like Winnie the Pooh
- learn a card trick
- make yourself breakfast in bed
- go see a Shakespeare play
- start a Twitter account #unlessyoualreadyhaveone
- make a tumblr blog full of photos of your birthday adventures
posted by k8lin at 8:41 AM on December 3, 2011

Go to the Bronx seaport at the crack of dawn and buy fish straight off the boat
Make out with someone on the Brooklyn Bridge, preferably at sunset
Get a massage in Chinatown
Go to a bar with no drink menu (custom drinks only)
posted by msk1985 at 8:47 AM on December 3, 2011

Eat a shoe.
posted by swift at 4:31 PM on December 6, 2011

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