As the calendar reaches the end of October, I know that my birthday is a mere week or so away.  For me and my sister, whose birthday is exactly one week before mine, Halloween always meant that our birthday week was upon us.  As a child, I would spend the weeks leading up to the big day coming up with a list of gift ideas.  Having a large and generous family, it was rare that a year would pass without receiving most, if not all, of the items on my list.  This year, the past several weeks have been a little different.

Since the idea of “30 before 30” was first brought to my attention, I’ve been making a list.  Instead of gift ideas though, I’ve been wracking my brain for ideas of experiences and accomplishments I would like to achieve over the next year.  I think if I were to ask you to come up with 30 things to do before you kicked the bucket, you probably wouldn’t have much trouble.  Coming up with 30 things to do in the course of a year however, is a different story.  There are budget restraints, time restraints, and lets not forget the feasibility factor.  I mean I could say, “I want to see the Orioles win the World Series.” Is it possible this could happen before the big man upstairs calls my number?  Absolutely.  Is it likely to happen next year?  Not so much. (Sorry Mom and Grandmom, I know you have high hopes…but lets not kid ourselves)

The point here is that there are factors that had to be considered when putting this list together, one of which is that I actually want to complete it.  Other factors as I have mentioned before include my two young kids, my full-time job, and my lack of what you might call “disposable income”.  With these things in mind, I came up with a few rules that I had to abide by when creating the list.  Here are my 30 before 30 bylaws:

  • If an idea requires me to be away from my family for more than 3 days, it will not be included on the list.
  • If an idea requires me to take 2 or more consecutive days off of work, it will not be included on the list.
  • If an idea requires me to find a part-time job just to pay for it, it will not be included on the list.

And perhaps the most important rule of all:

  • If the wife says NO, it will not be included on the list! (Just kidding honey…sort of)

So with those things in mind, I spent the past couple weeks slowly but surely developing my list.  It is now posted on the page appropriately titled “The List”.  I am actually really excited about it now that is out there for everyone to see.  I think there are some items on the list that will be easy to accomplish and others that will take some work.  There are also a few that may take a helping hand or two.  Again, I plead to you, my loyal readers, to spread the word.  The more people who read this, the more likely I am to find someone who can help with the hard stuff.

Finally, with the list being really just a list, there are some items that may confuse you or need some explanation.  Let me detail just a few of them here and feel free to inquire about any others you don’t get.

4- Do the Polar Bear Plunge or the Santa Swim- Most of you are probably familiar with the Polar Bear Plunge.  It’s basically a bunch of crazy people jumping into the Chesapeake Bay in the middle of winter to benefit the Special Olympics.  I’ve always wanted to do something fun for charity and while this may not be considered fun to everyone, the cause is worth it.  The not-as-well-known Santa Swim is a similar charity event that takes place on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and adds one other little wrinkle (no pun intended)…participants dress as Santa Claus before jumping into the frigid water!

8- Catch a pass from an NFL Quarterback- Not really any explanation needed here, just one of those things that might require more than money to make it happen.  I don’t care if it’s a past or present QB or where this might take place, but how cool would it be to play catch with a guy who makes more than your yearly salary every time he sneezes on the sideline!

12- Learn the guitar- Anybody can learn a few chords, rattle off a little “Hot Cross Buns”, and say they are a guitarist.  That’s not what I’m after here.  I want to learn at least a song or two and know when I’m finished that I can actually play.

13- Read one of the top 5 books- This is pretty subjective as you can imagine.  One person may say War and Peace is the best book ever written while someone else may say its Juiced, by Jose Canseco.  Who am I to judge?  The NY Times however, is a fairly legitimate outfit and they recently came up with a list based on the opinions of some of the world’s most esteemed writers.  This is the list I will choosing from.

15- See a Ravens, Orioles, Wizards and Capitals game- I’ve actually seen all of these teams play before but the idea here is to do it all in the same year.

16- Play a round of golf at Bethpage Black- Known as one of the most difficult public golf courses in America, Bethpage has hosted multiple US Opens and is among the top 10 golf course in the country according to Golf Magazine.

19- Start a blog- Ok, it may seem like cheating to have this one on the list since I’m already doing it.  But the truth is it was on my list before I came up with the idea to write about it…honest.

20- Be a guest on Bill Simmons’ BS Report podcast- Bill Simmons is my favorite sports columnist and hosts a podcast on ESPN called the BS Report.  In the past, he has had average people like myself on his show talking about sports or some crazy stunt they may have done.  I hope that this blog will generate enough interest that I may be able to get on his show and shoot the s#*! with him.  Again, this is where I may need some outside help to get this one accomplished.

24- Have a carefree weekend with my wife- I had to include her on the list somehow if I was going to get permission to leave her alone with the kids while I went to watch sports.  Actually, this will likely turn out to be the weekend of our 5 year anniversary.  With two kids under two years old, time alone is rare so by adding this to the list, we can be sure to make time for ourselves to just have a good time somewhere, anywhere!

26- Eat dinner at The Charleston- The Charleston is regarded by many as the best restaurant in Baltimore.  I love me a good dinner!

27- Go on an adventure- This one is interesting.  I haven’t decided what I mean by this yet.  An adventure can mean different things to different people so I’ll keep you posted on this one.

28, 29, and 30- ???- This is where you guys come in.  I want to see suggestions for 3 more items to add to the list.  I am putting myself in your hands here.  Please send me emails or post comments with what you think I should add to list to round out the 30…but please remember to follow the bylaws!

Ok folks, that’s it.  The list has been revealed.  Now it’s time to start figuring out how I’m going to do it all.  So many things, so little time!  Talk to you soon!