21 is just around the corner. It’s a major milestone in life, and one that may pass by just a little too quickly (or can’t come quick enough).
You’re probably excited to get there, but once you pass it, there will be several times down the road you’ll wish you had given yourself a little more time to accomplish just a few more things. There’s plenty of time to be an adult later – now’s the time to have fun and figure out what you like (and don’t like) before the serious business of life starts!
Here are a few things you should cross off your list before you hit 21.
1. Start Writing (Even Just a Blog)
This is at the top of the list for one reason: A lot happens after 21. You may be graduating from college, starting a new job, getting married, having a family and moving to a new city. Once all the big things start to change, it gets harder and harder to remember who you were before you turned 21.
Now, you don’t need to write the next great American novel. A journal entry every now and again, a blog post on occasion, a YouTube video once in a while – all of which will be something you can look back on when you’re racing down the highway to middle age.
It’s an amazing feeling to look back two or three decades and see what you were thinking. The only way to get that feeling though, is to keep track of some important events now so you have something to reflect back on.
2. Travel Somewhere New
Anywhere. Throw a dart at a map. Spin the wheel of adventure. Just go somewhere you’ve never been. The less you’ve thought about the place, the better the destination.
The more the destination is different from where you currently live, the more you’ll take away from the trip. The important thing is that you just go. There are so many reasons not to, and only one reason to go: it’ll change your life in some way, not matter how small.
3. Volunteer for Something
This can literally be anything. It can be to give blood. Help the homeless. Coach a kids sports team. Work at the library. Plant trees. Clean highways. Anything.
I know, I know. These aren’t the most glamorous activities – but they’ll change your life in a way you will not expect. After 21, you’ll be working on a career and you won’t have as much time to just meander through life. Use this time to try something outside your comfort zone, and volunteering is a great way to do it.
You’ll also meet the most amazing people – some of which can be lifelong friends. I volunteered to teach boy scouts when I was 20, and I made the most amazing friends in other scout leaders, and knowing I helped some really cool kids was icing on the cake.
4. Buy a Stock
You’re probably thinking this is about as adult as you can get – you’d be wrong. The stock market is one big game, and you should play. Just pick a stock, any stock, and buy one. You don’t need a lot of money to buy stocks – even $20 would do.
The reason I suggest this is that you’ll learn a lot in the process about investing, saving, and how the stock market works. You can buy mutual funds and stocks through your bank, or with online trading platforms. Research it. You’ll be surprised what you could learn.
The coolest part is that you actually own a piece of a company. With a little luck, you can even make a bit of money!
5. Spend Time Travelling Alone
I’ll be the first to admit, this was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. I mean, what do you do with all that time alone on the road? Who do you talk to? What do you do?
The answer is very simple – you get comfortable with yourself.
I spent 10 days in England just riding around the BritRail system all by myself. Being from North America, I’d never crossed an ocean. I was only 20 and couldn’t get a friend to go with me due to timing.
It was the most amazing travel experience I’ve ever had. I’d show up at a train station and pick my next destination. There was no one to appease except myself. I know, it sounds selfish. Sure, there’s no one to share the experience with, but there are plenty of trips for that. This one trip is just for you.
6. Start a Club
Pick an interest, pick a day, pick a location, start a club. It can literally be anything. Knitting. Book club. Cycling. Baking. Football. Model trains.
It doesn’t matter what it is – just that you have an interest in it. You’ll meet some amazing people, with diverse backgrounds and interesting perspectives. Who know, after you’re gone, who knows what the club could become.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but if you can cross these off your pre-21 bucket list, you’ll have some phenomenal experiences before you even get to work on your first career!
Once you turn 21, you’ll have a lot more responsibility. Use this time to learn a little about yourself and be a little more careless. Your future self will thank you for the memories.