30 at 30 List #6: Things I Want to Do in My 30s

In honor of me turning 30, I’m compiling 30 different top-30 lists on a wide variety of topics ranging from trivial interests of mine to meaningful life moments. Read the introductory post for more background information on my 30 at 30 project. Reminder: there is no scientific rationale for these lists. They were composed by a panel of one—me.


Happy birthday to me! It’s official. I am 30 years old today. As I suggested when I began writing about the 30 at 30 project six months ago, this project will continue on after September 7th. I still have 24 lists to cover, including the final pieces of the musical artists countdown that got this whole thing started. Given my teaching schedule, it’s a likely bet that the 30 at 30 project won’t officially wrap up until sometime next summer when I’m approaching 31.

Today’s list is all about possibilities. At the dawn of a new decade of life, I’m focusing on what I’d like to do. Some are very specific; others are more general guidelines. Some will be easier to accomplish than others. There’s no guarantee that I’ll make any—let alone all of these—hopes turn into reality, but I’m going to try. Here’s to making the most of these resolutions over the years to come!

30. Stop biting my fingernails.
It’s a bad habit I’ve had since childhood. Yes, LeBron James does it too. It’s still not OK. It’s unsanitary, unsavory, and unbecoming. More recently, it actually proved to be a financial issue too when I chipped a small piece of my tooth biting my nails. Gross! (I know). Let’s move on.

29. Develop better posture. 
I’ve come to the conclusion that my body was not ergonomically designed. It wasn’t long after I graduated college and got an office job at Erie Insurance that I began having issues. Back, neck, shoulders, arms, wrists…the whole chain of command has been affected by my inability to sit at a computer comfortably. Chiropractor, physical therapy, traction, electrical stimulation…I’ve tried it all with moderate success. At this point, the pain, which is generally more like discomfort, is just something that I manage. It comes and goes, and I have better days and worse days. All that said, I think I’d be better off if I simply maintained good posture. I’m noticing myself slouching even now as I type this. Moving on!

28. Keep up with technology.
I think I’ve done a good job with this so far in life. I’m a tech-savvy teacher. I’m fairly active on social media. With each passing year, the odds increase that there’s a cool new something that renders me into a grandpa, clinging to my old technology and talking down the new thing that the kids are using. Not yet.

27. Wrestle my brother Mike in a wrestling ring.
This has been a dream of ours since we were kids goofing around in our parents basement. I have no idea how to go about obtaining access to a wrestling ring. What I do know is that if this doesn’t happen in my 30s, it’s likely never going to happen.

26. Take a long road trip to a place I’ve never been.
Preferably this will happen with Jessie as my navigatress. We are great travel companions, and the adventures we’ve shared on the road have been an important part of the story of our relationship. I’d love to add a new chapter to that story as our marriage continues to grow.

25. Make time for quiet reflection.
As I mentioned in #28, I’m generally good at keeping up with technology. The downside of that is that occasionally I get caught up in the same trap that I often warn my students to avoid, mindlessly scrolling through my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds or, watching extraneous amount of television, or listening to hours upon hours of entertaining podcasts. None of those outlets are inherently bad, but it becomes problematic when it prevents me from spending any introspective time in quiet reflection. 

24. Start a podcast.
I used to produce and host a weekly sports-themed podcast called “The Winning Hand Sportscast.” From February 2008 to May 2009, I recorded nearly 40 episodes, usually featuring Mike and occasionally some other friends. Unfortunately, the podcast host went offline, and months later I lost my high quality microphone and soundboard in an apartment fire. While we didn’t exactly have a massive fan following, we did have a blast talking sports. I nearly began a D-League-focused podcast a couple years ago, but it fell through. I’m not sure what I would want to podcast about. Sports again?  WWE? Education? Tag teaming a concept with Jessie? I’ll have to let this idea marinate a bit.

23. Bowl a 200 game.
My third season of bowling in the 3rd St. Polish Falcons Thursday night league begins this Thursday. I finished my rookie season with a 129 average. I improved to finish last season with a 138 average. My best game ever was a 185 on Sept. 19, 2013. Hopefully the scoring average continues to trend upward.

22. Run a 5K faster than I did in my 20s.
I was never lightning on the track, so this isn’t as tough for me as it might be for others. I haven’t even competed in an official race since the 2010 Dan Rice Days 5K, so even finishing a race at all would be an accomplishment.

21. Dunk (on a regulation hoop)
They say to set your sights high, right? Despite my dad being 6’3″ tall, I never hit the 6-foot mark, and my hands are too small to palm a basketball. Two strikes against me. Hitting age 30 might be strike three, but I’m sure there have been sub-6-foot 30-year-old who have dunked in history before, right? So why not me next?

20. Perform standup comedy.
My personality is such that I do not command people’s attention in conversation, but I’m good in front of a classroom, so I think I’d be better on stage. I can write and speak well. Let me be clear, I don’t think I would kill as a standup comedian. It’s an art of which I have zero experience, so it would likely be a struggle. Still, I think it would be a fun challenge to push me out of my convert zone and put my creativity to the test. Even if I did bomb, I’d like to say I tried someday.

19. Take an improv class.
Spontaneity is not my greatest attribute, but I love the idea of being quick on my feet. There is a certain thrill of being on the spot, something I’ve occasionally experienced attempting to freestyle rap at my buddy John White’s house with the 25 Watt Orchestra. At this point in life, I’m still 90 percent intimidated, 10 percent enthralled by the opportunity, but I’d like to see what I can do to flip that ratio, or at least balance it out. I think some practice in the art of improv might help.

18. Get a dog.
Yes, Jessie, it will be a basset hound. There you go, Badach family. I’ve officially established a 10-year window to get Blitz!

17. Write a book.
I’ve written a lot in my 30 years, but I’ve never attempted to write a book. I’m not sure if I’d rather try my hand at a novel or if something nonfiction would be more in my wheelhouse, but I like the thought of experimenting with a new genre of writing.

16. Be aware of what’s happening in the world.
I need to be better at this: occasionally clicking CNN instead of ESPN. That’s a really tough sentence for me to type, let alone put into practice. Baby steps.

15. Care about my community.
Like #16, but on a local scale. I’m better about this now than I was when I was 20, and I owe a lot of that to my socially conscious wife. However, I still have a lot to learn and a lot of room to grow in this area of my life.

14. Get involved in my parish.
Since we purchased our first house in Erie, we became members of Sacred Heart. Again, Jessie is light years ahead of me on this in terms of her eagerness and openness to volunteering and trying new things. In my defense, I think I’ve already attended more parish functions for Sacred Heart than I did at any other parish I’ve ever been affiliated with. As a thirtysomething, I need to transition from looking up to others as role models and become a better role model myself. Rather than complain from a distance about the things I don’t like about my church experience, I need to do my part to be the church and help influence positive change by my example from within. Easier said than done.

13. Write more poetry.
I wrote a lot in my late teens and early 20s, but once the don’t-know-what-you’ve-got-’til-it’s-gone freedom of a college lifestyle came to an end, the free time I had once devoted to creative writing was gobbled up by real-world adult responsibilities. It’s true that I might not ever have that kind of free time again, but I can still make time. Poetry is a great creative outlet for me, and I think it can also double as a tie-in with #25 on this list.

12. Play in a basketball league.
My last foray into rec league basketball was not particularly enjoyable (see #21 on this list). Physically, my body has a finite years of basketball left in it. Even NBA players rarely make it into their late 30s, and they are in peak athletic condition. I’ll still be able to shoot around and play H-O-R-S-E, but there’s nothing quite like live action full-court basketball. It’s my favorite activity for working out, and one of the only strenuous workout forms that is more fun than work for me. So I hope to get in at least one more run with a team before I hang up my basketball shoes for good.

11. Sing with confidence.
I have overcome a lot of shyness in my lifetime. Teenage me would be absolutely shocked that my job requires me to speak in front of dozens of people every day, and that I like it. One area where the stage fright still gets the best of me, though, is singing. Occasionally, I’ll bust out a tune at a karaoke night given the right amount of persistent encouragement, but more often than not my singing takes place in the solitude of my car or the shower. I’m not a great singer, but Jessie tells me I’m not bad either. And she should know because she comes from a family that is all blessed with both the ability and confidence to sing just about anything for anyone at any time. Even in church, I’m usually to bashful to do much more than mouth the words, even while surrounded by hundreds of others who are doing their part. This one is a real challenge for me.  

10. Host family gatherings at our home.
We recently hit the one year anniversary of buying our home. For a variety of reasons, we haven’t had many family gatherings at our place yet. As the family continues to grow, I hope we can provide a fun place for people to congregate.

9. Find “our place” in Erie.
When Jessie was at Allegheny, we found “our place” in Meadville. It was called Gringos, which was like Moe’s or Chipotle times 10. It was a locally owned place that was extremely generous on the portions, and their cheese sauce was to die for. Loaded steak nachos from Gringos were so delicious. Sadly, Gringos closed and disappeared without notice. We have yet to find a suitable replacement as “our place” in Erie.

8. Be mindful of what I eat and drink.
I’m proud to say that I’ve already gotten a lot better at this since marriage. I still have a few bad eating habits like my love of salty snacks and cookies, but I have completely transitioned my regular lunch, replacing cookies and crackers with fruit and yogurt. Moderation is the key. I don’t think I need to cut out every unhealthy treat from my diet. I just need to have them as infrequent treats rather than regular components of my daily meals.

7. Coach basketball.
A few years ago, I was the 9th grade basketball coach at Fairview, and it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Back in college I served as an assistant at Villa. Last year, I helped out with the Our Lady of Peace CYO team. Based on those experiences, I definitely prefer coaching with the organization and commitment level of school basketball versus CYO, and I also prefer being the head coach. I don’t know if or when an opportunity like that will arise again, but I sure hope it does.

6. Become a distinguished teacher.
This will take some time, but I believe I’m on the right track. I am in my fourth year teaching, and I can honestly say that I’ve improved as a teacher each year. Experience isn’t everything, but experience added to the skills and motivation that I always brought to the classroom makes a big difference. As the years go by, I hope I maintain the same drive and passion that I have now. As long as I retain my desire to be a lifelong learner and realize that I will always have as much to learn as I have to teach others, I am confident I will be a distinguished teacher in the future.

5. Inspire someone in my classroom.
Whether it’s a school lesson or a life lesson, I hope that something I say or do inspires someone in my class. It may not happen every day, but even if I can inspire one student each year, I can take solace in the knowledge that I am making a difference.

4. Do a better job staying in touch with my siblings.
Mike, Jeff, and Molly aren’t just my siblings, they’re my best friends. So, I should probably do a better job of keeping in touch with them throughout the year. As the oldest of four, I take personal responsibility to be the leader in keeping us updated on life’s happenings. To date, there is a lot of room for improvement here, but I’m committed to changing that.

3. Spend more time with my mom and dad.
With each passing year, I appreciate my mom and dad more, yet I seem to find less and less free time to be able to spend with them. Being married means double the family, and I sincerely see that as a gift because I love my in-laws, but rather than always making it half and half, I want to find creative ways to spend more time with both. Creating more hours in a day isn’t an option, but I’m investigating all other options.

2. Find more married projects with Jessie.
Similar to #3, making this a reality means sacrificing some personal time. As an introvert, I do require a certain amount of isolated “me” time to function, but the “we” time shouldn’t be what suffers because of it. The truth is there is no one I enjoy spending time with more than Jessie. Occasionally, when our lives get so busy that our only common time together is spent discussing our busyness, I lose sight of that fact. So, this is my reminder to myself to try to spend as much of my free time with her as possible.

1. Start a family.
God-willing, my 30s will be the decade that I become a dad. It’s exciting and nerve-racking to think about, but it’s time, and I feel like I will be given all that I need to be the best dad I can be whenever the time comes. It’s a life-changing event for sure, but I’m ready.

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