The Furious Gazelle

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Tag: Marina Shifrin

Q&A with Marina Shifrin, author of 30 Before 30: How I Made a Mess of My 20s, and You Can Too

One night in her twenties, Marina Shifrin penned a list of 30 goals to complete before she turned 30. Funny and full of heart, 30 Before 30 tells the story of what happened as she set out to achieve each one. (Read our review here.)

We asked Marina a few questions about her book, and what she’s doing now.

Q: How do you think approaching life with a 20-something mindset can help even people who have passed that part of their lives?

Your twenties are this magical time for debauchery and experimentation, a time when mistakes can be molded into lessons instead of life-altering set-backs. Wisdom comes with age, sure, but we begin to lose a little bit of our tolerance for risk-taking. I think everyone, regardless of age, should approach life with enthusiastic resilience—you don’t need to be in your twenties to continue to learn and evolve as a person (these important practices are simply easier when your younger, and you have fewer responsibilities).  

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Book Review: 30 Before 30: How I Made a Mess of My 20s, and You Can Too, by Marina Shifrin

Review by Tess Tabak

When life gives you lemons, it’s time to quit your shitty job, move to Asia, and start fresh. In 30 Before 30, comedian Marina Shifrin shares the story of how she turned her life around with one little list, and a lot of guts. This surprisingly optimistic collection of essays is full of humor, and even offers some advice about living with the reckless abandon of a 20-something that can apply to anyone, no matter your age.

One night in her 20s, Shifrin penned a list of “30 before 30” goals in a night of frustration over her shitty job and life. She found herself drifting after college, unhappy with how little she had accomplished. In a series of 30 essays, she takes us through each goal, and what happened as she tried to achieve them. The list ranges from small (take a bus tour of NYC) to life-changing (“fall in love for real”). Some items seem quirkier than others (such as “learn how to drink”) but they all have a special meaning to Shifrin which she explains. The collection coheres more than you might expect it to – some goals, even seemingly random ones, bring Shifrin closer to reaching big goals, or in some cases made her realize that opportunities she thought she wanted once upon a time aren’t for her anymore. Even when the essays are more standalone, they’re all at heart about growing up, and achieving your dreams.

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