Turning 30. It’s a major milestone for everyone. But women, in particular, feel the heat. As a youth every little girl had a dream of where she would be by the age of 30. Will I have kids? A successful career? A handsome husband on my arm?
Society puts the added pressure on women with ongoing advertising campaigns stressing the woman as homemaker, the woman as successful business tycoon, or the woman as a superhero mom.
Hollywood adds to the conundrum showering the youthful, beautiful celebrities with hours of television coverage while creating mockery shows like ‘The Real Housewives’ or ‘Hollywood Exes’ or ‘Cougar Town’ highlighting the ‘old maid’ fear by rubbing it in our face.
In this rat race, the scariest place to be is in the old maid’s chair: a fledgling career, no man on your arm, and a house full of cats. It’s every woman’s biggest fear.
But as we race against the clock, I can’t help but thinking how much of this is really our own fear and how much of it is manufactured.
I’ll be 30 next week (April 11th) and while I may not have accomplished all I imagined that I would have by now, I can say with conviction that I am a much older and wiser Sookton than I could have imagined.
A week away from thirty and I do not have kids, my career is doing ok, and I have a loving husband but is this all that defines me? Is that what makes me whole?
After reading Glamour magazine’s the 30 Things Everyone Woman Should Have by 30, I really got to thinking about what it takes to be a 30 year old woman living in 21st century America.
What messages and stereotypes are we falling pray to? What can we do to break the myth?
So I have devised my own list of 30 things every woman should have by 30, and I am going to share it here today.
Sookton’s 30 Things Every Woman Should Do or Have by the Age of 30
By 30 you should have…
- A grown up email address (no more cutesy AOL names for you, it is time to drop the ‘xoxo’ or ‘gurl’ or ‘sexy’ from your screen name.)
- A broken heart, at least once, it makes you stronger.
- A good sense of what you like and what you can’t stand. These values define you- they make your journey that much easier to navigate. If you don’t have a heavy hold on your own beliefs you are going to be easily lead by other people – and most of those people will not have your best interests at heart.
- At least a few stamps in your passport. Getting on a plane and seeing the world has really made me appreciate people, lands, cultures and this crazy world we live in.
- A sexy set of lingerie that you reserve only for special occasions.
- A key group of awesome women that have been there for you through thick and thin. They may not have been born of your mother but you are sisters through and through.
- A favorite book or movie that you can just read or watch over and over.
- A bittersweet understanding of your shortcomings. Everyone has flaws. We must accept this. Once we are able to take a good, hard look at ourselves, only then can we sit in judgement of others.
- A delicious recipe that makes your friends go, “wow.” It might be a simple pasta dish or something that requires hours of dedication and practice, whatever it is when you put it on the table you will have your guests practically salivating.
- A good relationship with your parents. They weren’t perfect. But neither are you. They may have had their flaws but these are your parents and they brought you into this world. Let bygones be bygones.
- Something that takes you away. Whether it is dancing, walking, running, painting, meditating, playing music, cooking or writing, everyone needs something that gets those creative juices flowing. I call it, “taking you away” because through these activities you can get into “the zone.” While in this zone nothing matters except you and your thoughts, your expression and your creativity. It takes you higher.
- A start (or at least an idea) of what you really want to do with your career.
- A list of three things you want in a significant other and three things that are absolute deal breakers.
- Done something adventurous, something you had never dreamed of doing, at least once . Life is so much sweeter when you add a little adventure!
- A pair of sex-em-up heels and a pair of I’m going to work heels- and know the difference between them!
- A childhood filled with happy and sad memories. A nostalgia for those days but also a thankfulness for the people you’ve met along the way and the beautiful places you’ve seen.
- An appreciation of where you’ve been and how it made you who you are.
- The ability to let go. We cannot control everything around us. Sometimes we have to just ride the wave
- A collection of wine glasses for when you have guests. No more solo cups for you!
- A charity or fundraising event that you regularly donate to. Giving is living.
- The strength to pick yourself up when you fall.
- A bucket list with at least one item checked off.
- The ability to say, “No.”
- A new found respect for adults and the adult world.
- Have bought your own domain name at GoDaddy.com
- An honest, well-written resume, bio of your accomplishments, and a stack of kick-ass business cards (that are entirely your own.)
- Exactly what to do if you are home alone on a rainy Friday night.
- A CD that you know all the words to from beginning to end.
- A diary that if you read back over you years later you will laugh, cry, and blush about.
- And finally…stolen from Glamour’s list: “Why they say life begins at 30.”