october spotlight on: the 30 while 30 (THE DIRTY THIRTY)


Today I turn 30.  One year ago, on my 29th birthday, I sat down with a legal pad and a pen to come up with a list: 30 things to do during my thirtieth year on this earth, from October 4, 2012, to October 4, 2013.

Many people have done this already, apparently. The direct person to inspire this was my dear friend Meghan, whose own list is much more athletically ambitious than mine. My thought was that I would take the next 365 to do 30 things that I’ve either always wanted to do/try/learn/experience, and do them. I tried to keep it realistic, within the realm of my capabilities and interests — no scaling Mt. Everest, for instance — but also personally, and maybe even socially, relevant.

I’m sharing my list because I’m told that if you write something down and/or tell the world, it becomes an intention, it manifests as a visceral, physical thing in the universe, and it will exist. Also people will hold you accountable. You’ll notice this list includes tasks that will take a great deal of planning (#4 & #5), some that channel my inner 8-year-old (#12) and my inner 85-year-old (#1), some that are entirely selfish (#16), some that push me physically (#3) and emotionally (#29), and others that will require friends’ help (Spencer, are you reading this? Holding you responsible for #14 & #22).

It literally took me an entire year to finish this list, so know I don’t take it lightly. People, will you help me? Will you pray for me during gluten-free month? Will you eat my experimental Norwegian food? Who will teach me to drive a stick? Not my father nor my uncle nor anyone ever has succeeded…

In no particular order, I give you The Dirty (Purdy) Thirty: 30 Things to do During my 30th Year.

1. Learn to knit and knit something.

2. Attend monthly meditation at the Shambhala Center. maintain a daily meditation practice.

3. Run a sub-8 5k. A sub-8! Coach Hood, are you reading this?


4. Read 15 books of the classic literary canon (see forthcoming sublist).

5. Read 15 books of the contemporary literary canon (see forthcoming sublist).

6. Try 30 days of gluten free.

7. Stand Up Paddleboarding.


8. That trip to Istanbul we’ve always talked about? We’re doing it, Meghan. It’s on the list.

9. 30 days straight of Mysore Ashtanga (minus 2 moon days, of course).

10. Be an adult: create final will and power of attorney.

11. Visit (finally!) these historic New York necessities: Ellis Island. The Tenement Museum. The Cloisters. Guggenheim Museum.

12. Go ALL OUT for Halloween. Like, REALLY.

13. Learn to drive a flippin’ stick.

14. Fly in a plane piloted by Spencer Elliott. Then jump out of it.


15. Learn to cruise on a skateboard.


16. Save up monthly to buy a pair of Louboutins on 31st birthday. Paid for by me.

17. CENSORED: this one is for my (and the mister’s) knowledge only. ❤

18. Take 6 cooking classes, each of a different cultural persuasion: French, Thai, Japanese, Norwegian, Argentinian, Lebanese.

19. Host 6 different dinner parties for friends and serve 6 meals to show what I learned.

20. Compete in a mud run obstacle course: Tough Mudder? Do it!

21. Attend performance of Handel’s “ Messiah” by the boys choir of St. Thomas Church.

22. Circumnavigate Manhattan by foot (calling on you yet again, Spencer).

23. Volunteer once per month walking dogs at Animal Haven in SoHo.


24. Start a fire escape herb garden.

25. Take my Forearm Stand to the middle of the room.

26. Visit the subject of my fifth grade state report: Maine.

27. Invest in some really nice stationery.

28. Write a letter once a month to both grandmas.

29. Conquer insanely debilitating fear of needles by donating blood.

30. Say bedtime prayers again.

4 responses to “october spotlight on: the 30 while 30 (THE DIRTY THIRTY)

  1. Wow! Ambitious list. If you need help with #1 let me know. I took up knitting a little over a year ago and have gone knit crazy since then–socks, sweaters, gloves, the whole spectrum. Very meditative. I actually hope to get a knitting and yoga workshop and/or retreat going in the not too distant future since they seem to compliment each other nicely.

  2. Great list! Very inspiring! See you at Shambhala. I’ve been attending workshops and practicing meditation since my first class there in February!

  3. Pingback: meatless monday: inspired by austin | here | there | everywhere.

  4. Pingback: meatless monday: ok, I’ll have some pasta | here | there | everywhere.

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