Everyone has their own idea of what it means to turn older. For me, growing older was synonymous with maturing. I had the preconceived notion that maturing meant not being able to get away with foolhardy activities. Therefore, growing older meant not having any fun. Being the harlequin that I am, I had as much fun as I could at every age I grew -- pulling timeless pranks; eating strage concoctions made out of assorted condiments; bellowing with laughter; feeling the thrill of naughtiness; and many other juvenile experiences too numerous to name.
As my 30th birthday rolled near, I was excited to see what surprises a new decade would bring. "Wait until you actually turn 30," more than one friend had warned me. "Then you'll really start to feel old." It is widely accepted that turning 30 is one of the major milestones in life, especially for women. An ever-growing number of articles and blog posts discuss fears and advice on turning or being 30. Pamela Redmond Satran wrote the now-infamous "30 Things Every Woman Should Have and Know by the Time She's 30." @HuffPostWomen had been tweeting a lot about fear at different ages.
I have known people who make "Before I Turn 30" to-do lists, people who are terrified of starting a new decade. (Then again, I have also known people who are nonchalant about the whole thing and trudge on.) It made me wonder why this milestone is such a big deal, as I had not been able to comprehend why people subjected themselves to the fear of getting older. From what I can gather, some people feel that they have not accomplished what they thought they would by the time they got to their 30s. Fair enough, but is a to-do list really necessary?
Although I am not much of a celebratory person, I did want to do something that would ring in the new decade. Turning older is about letting go of past mistakes and facing the unknown with as much courage as possible. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg recently started the Lean In movement encouraging women to "lean in" to achieve their ambitions and change the world. So, I wanted to lean in... to my 30s. What better way of leaning in and facing the unknown than dares? Thus, 30 Dares in 30 Days for the Big 30 was born! (It occurred to me only halfway through the project that the time allocated for my dares was, in fact, less than 30 days. What can I say? Math was never my strong suit.)
From disgusting challenges (drinking a 1.5 L of Coca-Cola in 20 minutes) to humanitarian ones (spending time at an orphanage of choice) to embarrassing moments (singing a Celine Dion song in public), the dares made the days up to my birthday quite interesting and entertaining! As the 30 Dares neared the end, I realized that I could summon up the courage to step outside my comfort zone and adjust to most situations that were thrown at me. I finally understood the meaning of those "to-do" lists. They were not a form of subjection to fear, but a way to celebrate the end of one decade and to embrace the new one.
I turned 30 years old on April 10, 2013. After (less than) 30 days, the dares taught me this: maturing is not about losing the fun. It is about tossing in the fun with the responsibilities of life. As my friend Montiese once said to me, "When we were young, we did stupid things. Now that we're older, we still do stupid things... within reason."
Dared by: Papi Zak It’s official. I ate beef. Voluntarily. Before I go any further, let me explain that there's a back story to this dare. Since high school, I have not eaten red meat. OK, that’s a lie. There was that time I had lamb soup because it was either that or comfort my hunger pangs with air and water. There was another time when I had s craving for beef and ate a sliver of it. There was another time when I accidentally ate a whole mini beef pie thinking it was chicken. The aftermath of all those encounters with red meat were headaches, queasiness, nausea and on occasion, vomiting. It was like morning sickness without the pregnancy. Eating the hot dog was just gross. There’s no other way to describe it. I salute those who incorporate red meat in their diet because it has got such a heavy, dense texture. I felt ill even a few hours after eating the hot dog. I still feel like it’s going to acid reflux it's way out of my system. People have said that it’s all in my head. Other people have said that it could be allergies. A few have said that it could be that my body isn't used to that type of meat anymore. Whatever the reason, it’ll be another 10 years before I even consider eating another beef dish again.
Dared by: Hana Here’s a few things you need to know about this dare: -Kelantan is the most conservative state in Malaysia. -My friends and I had been craving mango salad for days. -It just so happens that there’s a Kelantanese restaurant in Kg. Baru (a small village located admist the over-crowded city of Kuala Lumpur) that serves mango salad. Although randomly busing tables isn’t much of a dare, doing it while wearing a "provocative’"dress is. I put the word provocative in quotations because my dress doesn’t seem like a piece of clothing that would inspire sexual arousal. Allow me to explain. I’m barely 5’1″. Almost everyone is taller than me. Due to my height and the fact that I wore ballet flats, it is safe to say that my cleavage was visible. Let’s also add the fact that I speak only broken Malay. Communication was way, way, way below par. I think I gave everyone there a bit of a shock. In the corner of the restaurant were my besties enjoying their food while being entertained by me making a complete fool of myself. Oh, the things we do!
Dared by: Tharshni Me: "The person who’s with me is probably going to be more embarrassed than I will be." Tharshni: "LOL." That’s exactly what happened. Oh, and also I am unfamiliar with Celine Dion songs.
Dared by: Yusuf This dare was a spur-of-the-moment one. Dance wildly?! Done!
Dared by: Farah It was quite comical, really. Our friend's husband was trying to pay for our pizza. We were standing around, trying to ask the Domino's Delivery Guy if I could get a picture. The catch was that I had to ask Delivery Guy in Malay. I don't speak Malay very well. Delivery Guy was really cool about it all though. Knowing he had a busy night and he was late on his deliveries (we got a coupon for a free pizza on our next order), he still let me get on his bike and took a picture with me. Delivery Guy, you're awesome!
Dared by: Intan Me and heels go together like cereal and beer. Me and heels go together like mayonnaise and bananas. Me and heels go together like ice cream and sardines. Me and heels go together like ... I think you get the picture. The longest I've worn heels is five hours, give or take an hour. My day started at 6 a.m. and lasted until midnight. I went from my classes to a lunch date to Ikea to the office to dinner to the movies and back home. Needless to say, I have battle wounds in the form of blisters.
Dared by: Kye Lin I loved this dare, and it was in the spirit of community service. The police officer was a cutie and asked if the donuts were free! By far the easiest dare, but also the sweetest (pun intended).
Dared by: Ayesha I hate the color pink. Every year, my eldest brother and I have a "Pink War" where we buy each other pink things in attempt to embarrass the other. This dare would have taken the cake and I would have not heard the end of it from my brother. Fortunately for me, the salon didn't have pink. Next option? Blue! Although it isn't as eye-catching as Katy Perry's blue hair, it'll do for now.
Dared by: Kavin It took 5 1/2 cups. It took a two-minute break to puke out my lunch and dinner. It took 25 minutes to finish 1.5 liters. In this Tatiana versus Coke battle, Coke wins.
Dared by: Rickey Witnessed by: Papi Zak I love being reminded of innocent and ignorant times when life was just a little bit less complicated. The classic 'Do you like me?' note was always a favorite of mine because it is so simple and straightforward. No playing games, you tell it like it is! The guy was handpicked, although quite randomly. I handed him the note, but before I could say anything to him, he backed away like I had cooties. Trying to explain the dare to him in English didn't make my situation any better. What's funny is that all I could think of was if he thought I was a weirdo and how horrible of a salesperson I would be! In the end, I told him to take it and if he wanted, he could throw it away. He took the paper! ...and put it straight in the trash.
Dared by: Moe While the 'no cell phone' rule isn't much of a challenge, it gets a bit difficult when you consider that I do a lot of my work on my cell phone. Now that I'm without my extra appendage, I have noticed that I have a habit of checking my cell phone more often than I'd like to admit. (Maybe that's why this was dared!) Bad habits die hard, but it doesn't mean it can't die. One day without a cell phone? Challenge accepted! Heck, I went one year without Facebook. That was complete bliss. Let's see if this will be too.
Dared by: Kay This dare was more to embarrass me than anything else. Walking around Tesco, I sure did get a few stares... and also a few salesmen yelling out, "Kak! Kak! Mari sini jap! Sini lah ..." (Translation: "Sister! Sister! Come here for a minute! Come here lah..." It sounds so weird when it's in English.) It was in good fun! I think, for the most part, my baby brother was more embarrassed by it than I was.
Dared by: Sylvia Our friend, Jaclyn, does this fake cry face over ANYTHING you say to her. Someone: "Jac, your shoes don't match your shirt." Jaclyn: [fake cry] Someone: "Jac, why do you eat so fast?" Jaclyn: [fake cry] Someone: "Jac, why are you so tall?!" Jaclyn: [fake cry] Her fake cry is endearing... but sometimes, really annoying. It makes you laugh, but bugs you at the same time. Anyway, a friend persuaded Sylvia to dare me to make Jaclyn cry. So what did I say to make her fake cry? Jaclyn: "I got a dare for you!" Me: "No! You cannot give me a dare! Everyone else can but you!" Jaclyn: [fake cry]
Dared by: Charmaine Witnessed by: Jaclyn, Ayesha and Kye Lin This was a straight-forward kind of dare. My friend is the kind of person that can laugh at her own silly antics. She's quite the comical one... except when someone does something to annoy her, especially when it comes to disorderly conduct. The dare (which I shall not name) was a bit risque in nature. When my friend gets annoyed, her reflexes are usually to smack the living crap out of you. And that's exactly what she did. It hurt. Real bad. But, dare completed! *No pictures were taken during this dare. Picture courtesy of Jaclyn circa 2011.
Dared by: Farid Me and my friend walked into Chilli Rush. "I'll have the Level 10, please," I said. The lady at the counter thought I was crazy! She spent a good five minutes trying to convince me to change my mind. She gave me a mouthful of reasons why I should reconsider: It's TOO spicy. Like, WAY TOO spicy. I'm crazy. I'm going to die. Do I eat chilli? No? I'm going to die. This is a dare? I'm crazy. She was cool, though. She went ahead and ordered my Level 10 with a smirk on her face that could have been read as "I can't wait to tell you 'I TOLD YOU SO.'" You know what? She was right. (How about that?) That s--- was mega hot! My mouth needed its own damn fire extinguisher! Call in the firemen! Stop the blaze! Bring the milk!
Dared by: Hafid Ketuk ketampi translates to "ear squat." It was traditionally used as a form of punishment in schools. Legendary Malaysian actor P. Ramlee popularized and made ketuk ketampi comical in the film <em>Labu Labi.</em> The dare was to walk like a duck while doing ketuk ketampi. Hafid chose for me to do it at a gas station.
Dared by: Tony The chicken wings dare was brutal to my stomach. So understandably, my stomach was being all diva. One big plate of rice doesn't seem like much of a dare, but it was A LOT. Like, a lot A LOT.
Dared by: Ita No words can describe this. Well, no words other than "I don't know how to belly dance." Just watch.
Dare beri oleh: Effa <em>'Dare' hari ini lebih menyusahkan diri daripada pendidikan. Susah jugak cakap bahasa asing. Satu hari kena paska cakap bahasa kebangasaan kecuali masa dua lelaki tu telefon untuk jadi 'caller' untuk RedFM. Selain tu nak tulis apa tentang 'dare' ni? Kalau guna Google Translate pun tatabahasa tak sentiasa betul. </em> Rough translation: Today's dare was more of an annoyance than educational. Speaking a foreign language is difficult. I was forced to speak in the national language for one day except when the two guys called me to be a 'caller' for RedFM (an English-speaking radio station in Malaysia). What else can I write about this dare? Even if I use Google Translate, it doesn't mean my grammar's going to be correct. Side note: English is my first language. I only started speaking Malay regularly about six years ago.
Dared by: Yen Rumah Hope is a sanctuary for abused and abandoned children run by Good Hope Lutheran Church. They had a booth set up at Taylor's University and I had noticed it on my way to class. After inquiring about volunteering for the day, I went to see how I could help. Given that it was a Friday on the day I went, all the children were too antsy to do any homework during their study period. So, I ended up spending time with two girls who were awaiting their acceptance letters to college. We talked about what's currently happening in their lives, their experience in the National Service (one had gone and the other one has to go in September), and what they aspire to be. It was a heartfelt experience for me, to say the least. I didn't do much while I was there, but spending time with those children makes me that much more grateful for my life and for the blessing of freedom.
Dared by: Ian So, I'm not suppose to be drinking or eating anything cold. The back story to it? About six years ago, I got Bell's Palsy. As much as I've recovered from it, there are things that I need to avoid in order to keep my immunity up and to not feel crummy. Consuming anything cold would be on that list. When I do, the affected side of my face feels like someone's squeezing the crap out of it. Either that, or it feels like an unbelievably painful charley horse... on my face. Drinking five milkshakes in ten minutes?! One was enough before I began to feel the effects of it. Sorry, Ian! My health is way more important than your (wo)man vs. food challenge.
Dared by: Jeffry Originally, the dare was suppose to involve my dad, but he's wasn't having it. Since we were having a family gathering today and it's my aunt's birthday, we had to give her a hazing, right?! So, here goes: The Nazir Harlem Shake.
Dared by: Azatul I was going to do this dare on the day I had to speak Malay, but life got in the way. So, I decided to still do it in Malay -- cute actions and all... Trying to sing the song in Malay while keeping to the tune was a bit challenging, but it was fun to do anyway! Plus, my baby brother, who was recording the video, had such a good time laughing at me.
Dared by: Sammy OK, so I didn't really go around hugging entirely random people, but I didn't know <em>some</em> of them. Plus, I didn't want to discriminate and not hug friends... because everyone needs love, not just random people! After all, it's a good excuse to hug some cute cubs, right?!
Dared by: Puteri Traffic, in any country, is ridiculous. Most mornings, it takes me about two hours to get from where I live to my destination. It is during these times that I do what I don't always have the time to do before rushing out the door -- put on makeup, brainstorm assignment ideas, and so on. This particular morning, I was bored out of my mind. I had seven minutes to get to my class, and I was about half an hour away from campus. The results are below.
Dared by: Dustin To be frank, the real Cinnamon Challenge is dangerous. I had cinnamon with a bunch of cut apples because, seriously, who wants to <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-204_162-57580670/cinnamon-challenge-dangerous-to-lungs-new-report-warns/" target="_blank">end up in the hospital</a>? PS - Don't mind the look. I had just showered.
Dared by: David There was point in time when I studied Athletic Training at the University of Tulsa. One of the skills we had to pass on was taping ankles in less than two minutes. We had to be quick because the athletes had to be out of the locker room as soon as possible. In Malaysia, athletic tape isn't as readily available in the stores as it would be in the United States. The only tape I could find was the 3M medical tape that doesn't serve the same purpose as athletic tape. I did the best I could and it was in 1 minute and 30 seconds!
Dared by: Patrick What is gwiyomi?! Yeah, I had no idea either. Apparently, it's a new K-pop craze. (Read more about it <a href="http://my.entertainment.yahoo.com/blogs/kpoppity/heck-gwiyomi-172238797.html" target="_blank">here</a>.)
Dared by: Rainer I always celebrate my birthday with my family. Initially, we were suppose to go eat dinner at a local restaurant in the middle of the city. Due to unforeseen weather conditions that caused massive traffic jams everywhere, we ended up at another eatery. Why is this so important to know? Well, the restaurant we ended up at was a lot nicer and there were less people there! Kay's husband dared me to go around to everyone at the restaurant and ask them to sing me "Happy Birthday." It was more of an embarrassment than anything else, but everyone was a good sport about it!
Dared by: Me As my 30 dares were coming to a close, I still had a few dares given to me that I hadn't done. Basically, I had my pick of the litter for my last dare. However, I felt that my last dare should be of epic proportions -- that I should go out with a BANG, as they say. There's no law that says you can't dare yourself to do something, so I took it upon myself to do so. Given that this was my last dare and I was entering my 30s, I wanted to pass down some kind of advice to the next generation. It just so happens that my friend's stepson has a birthday on the same day as mine. I contacted a few of my friends to make a video of themselves saying "Happy Birthday Koby!" The great thing about friends is that they love and trust you enough to do things without questioning it. They had no idea that this was part of their dare (except for maybe one person). So, I put a video together to celebrate Koby and to impart the importance of surrounding oneself with positive and supportive people. Side note: The video was made in a rush. Hopefully, the essence of it will excuse the quality.
Follow Tatiana Azman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@mafishmushkila