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.
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?