Friday, January 23, 2009

a list for the ages

One of my friends sent this out as an email last week, and even though I've seen it before (just like 30. I've seen that before, too), it really caught my attention. I'm not entirely sure why, except that it's a list about taking stock of your life, and as we all know, there's a lot of that going around these days.

Some of these things are timeless, applicable to any age. Others are more specific to a younger time in life. The first thing I had to do, of course, was go through and check off what I do and don't have. The second thing I thought was how interesting it would be to do this list for 40 and 50 and so on. Because if 40 really is the new 30 I think we need our own list. By 40, you should have: Your Own List. And by 50, you should have your own list. And 60. And 70. Even if 40 isn't the new 30, I still think we need our own list. But even so, this is interesting.

By 30, you should have:

One old boyfriend you can imagine going back to and one who reminds you of how far you’ve come.

A decent piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in your family.

Something perfect to wear if the employer or man of your dreams wants to see you in an hour.

A purse, a suitcase and an umbrella you’re not ashamed to be seen carrying.

A youth you’re content to move beyond.

A past juicy enough that you’re looking forward to retelling it in your old age.

The realization that you are actually going to have an old age—and some money set aside to help fund it.

An e-mail address, a voice mailbox and a bank account—all of which nobody has access to but you.

A résumé that is not even the slightest bit padded.

One friend who always makes you laugh and one who lets you cry.

A set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill and a black lace bra.

Something ridiculously expensive that you bought for yourself, just because you deserve it.

The belief that you deserve it.

A skin-care regimen, an exercise routine and a plan for dealing with those few other facets of life that don’t get better after 30.

A solid start on a satisfying career, a satisfying relationship and all those other facets of life that do get better.

By 30, you should know:

How to fall in love without losing yourself.

How you feel about having kids.

How to quit a job, break up with a man and confront a friend without ruining the friendship.

When to try harder and when to walk away.

How to kiss in a way that communicates perfectly what you would and wouldn’t like to happen next.

The names of: the secretary of state, your great-grandmother and the best tailor in town.

How to live alone, even if you don’t like to.

How to take control of your own birthday.

That you can’t change the length of your calves, the width of your hips or the nature of your parents.

That your childhood may not have been perfect, but it’s over.

What you would and wouldn’t do for money or love.

That nobody gets away with smoking, drinking, doing drugs or not flossing for very long.

Who you can trust, who you can’t and why you shouldn’t take it personally.

Not to apologize for something that isn’t your fault.

Why they say life begins at 30.

I'm actually doing better than I would have thought. I didn't have a lot of these things when I was 30, but I sure am racking them up now. Some faster than others.

How about you? What would you put on your list for the ages?

P.S. For some reason this is often attributed to Maya Angelou as a "poem". It was actually written by Pamela Redmond Satran for Glamour Magazine in 1997. As a list. Need I say more?


Iota said...

If you fall in love without losing yourself, you haven't truly fallen in love.

Do skin care regimens really work? If so, is 43 too late to start one?

And yes, I thought your home town description was just right (although 48 hours wasn't really enough to be able to make a proper judgement).

my two cents said...

I guess 40, or so, is the new 30.

The friend who always makes me laugh is the same one who lets me cry. You might know her.

The Finely Tuned Woman said...

In my case 50 is the new 30, because I just now am learning the things that are on the 30 list. What the hell, I am a late bloomer. In my mind I am 39 forever.

Stacie said...

I am also a lot further along than I would have thought. The past year made me do quite a bit of growing up, not that I think I was not grown up before, but well you know how it's been. I am still working on that belief that I deserve it (and by it, I mean something good).

The only things I think I might add for me is to have the confidence in myself that I can do what needs to be done and the peace to be okay with things that I can't control. Those elude me. Boy do they elude me. :-)

Maggie May said...

In my case, 60 is the new 50!
Oh I have gained some of them and lost others. By the time you get to my age, you don't really care!

Daisy said...

Reading the premise of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button bought it home to me how truely awful it would be if we actually got younger as opposed to older! The idea scared me so much don't think I can bear to see the movie. So live well and keep slapping on the creams...ageing is FABULOUS!!
Glad to have stumbled upon your blog

laurie said...

you know, that's all well and good, but .... i really resent other people telling me where i should be in my life at any particular time.

those lists are fun but i simply refuse to measure my life against someone else's standards.

nor should you. take stock, yes. but don't let glamour magazine be your guide, RC!

Kila said...

Good list. I like it.

Don't forget "How to work hard and accomplish all your tasks (or at least look like you are) while blogging."

Daryl said...

OY .. lists ... so Virgoian .. and this Aquarian loves your blog but cant wrap her mind around lists ..

aims said...

I understand 40 being the new 30. We want to and we do think we are younger than we actually are.

So having said that - I guess 53 is the new 22 right?

And I'm supposed to have a list? Wish someone had let me know that!

ciara said...

awww christ, i'm screwed!

distracted by shiny objects said...

I'm 53 and still hoping to come up with a fabulous idea of what to be when I grow up. Now come to find out I'm short on a life list from not just ONE decade, but THREE. Dammit, I felt like I was forgetting something.