I'm less than 30 days from turning 30, and while I have every intention of finishing this project exactly the way I started it -- with vigor, but habitually late -- I'd be lying if I told you I'm not also looking for a way to enter this new decade with a little bit of grace. And dignity. Because right now, all I want to do is cry.
I went to the Internet to find articles by other women approaching my age to see what insights they could share. I found this article in Glamour magazine from 1997 (when I was a mere 17-years old), that contained a list of what every woman should have accomplished by the time she is 30.
I decided to take a look and see how I'm doing with only a month to go before my "important milestone."
By 30, you should have:
1. One old boyfriend you can imagine going back to and one who reminds you of how far you’ve come.
Hmmm . . .not sure about that, but is it good enough to say that I have learned more about what I want and what I don't want with each relationship I've ever had.
2. A decent piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in your family.
Uh . . .uh . . .(I'm looking around my apartment wildly right now, certainly I have something . . . ANYTHING?!) Nope, my apartment looks like a garage sale. My parents bought me a piece of furniture a couple of Christmases ago, but I had no place among the crap to put it, so I left it in my closet at their house. I must figure out a way to get it here before September 27th.
3. Something perfect to wear if the employer or man of your dreams wants to see you in an hour.
Definitely. Thank you, Kyle and the Sandpiper.
4. A purse, a suitcase and an umbrella you’re not ashamed to be seen carrying.
Purse, yes. Umbrella, yes. My suitcase has seen better days but only because like its owner, it's well traveled, and I'm not ashamed of that at all, even if it does look like it's been through a tornado. If anyone is looking for something to get me for my birthday, though . . .
5. A youth you’re content to move beyond.
I feel like this is for the people who had traumatic experiences as children, which I did not. But sure, I'm ready to leave my awkward teen years behind. I thought I already did.
6. A past juicy enough that you’re looking forward to retelling it in your old age.
A juicy past? I've got some good stories to tell, but I'm not sure my past would qualify as "juicy." I do have 30 more days to spice it up, though. Who's in?
7. The realization that you are actually going to have an old age—and some money set aside to help fund it.
Here's to financial independence and responsibility! Thanks, Mom and Dad for teaching me the importance of IRAs and 401ks.
8. An e-mail address, a voice mailbox and a bank account—all of which nobody has access to but you.
9.A résumé that is not even the slightest bit padded.
10.One friend who always makes you laugh and one who lets you cry.
I've got more than one of these, and some that do both. I also have a lot friends who want to get drunk, and they're fun too.
11.A set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill and a black lace bra.
I'm not sure I agree with "needing" a cordless drill. But set of screwdrivers, check! Black lace bra, check!
12.Something ridiculously expensive that you bought for yourself, just because you deserve it.
I have a lot of ridiculously expensive things, most of which I bought for myself, not all that I'm proud of.
13.The belief that you deserve it.
I'd say I deserved at least half of them.
14.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.
Boooooo . . .getting older DOES suck. I knew it!
15.A solid start on a satisfying career, a satisfying relationship and all those other facets of life that do get better.
A "solid start," is a fair assessment, I'd say. Neither category is where I want it to be, but I'm on my way.
By 30, you should know:
1. How to fall in love without losing yourself.
If this were a report card, I'd have to check the "Needs Improvement," box here.
2.How you feel about having kids.
I think I want kids someday. I think I also want to sail around the world. I'm not sure if those two things go together, so I'm still sorting this one out.
3. How to quit a job, break up with a man and confront a friend without ruining the friendship.
Quit a job: Thank your boss for the opportunity, tell him you're leaving and wait for him to tell you he already knew because your new boss already told him (this one works best if you're moving departments within the same company and your old boss and new boss know each other.)
Breaking Up: Take a Xanax, sleep for five hours on the way back from a trip together, wake up when you arrive at your destination and just do it. Then stand in the street with him for half an hour and cry.
Confront a Friend: I need work on this one, because I hate confrontation in general. Maybe I should go the breaking up with boyfriend route and use prescription drugs.
4. When to try harder and when to walk away.
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. If then you still don't succeed, walk away, find the friends that want to get drunk and do that.
5. How to kiss in a way that communicates perfectly what you would and wouldn’t like to happen next.
I am 75% sure I'm good at this, and 100% sure that my dad doesn't want to read about it.
6. The names of: the secretary of state, your great-grandmother and the best tailor in town.
Hillary; Lillie Ellen; no idea what her name is. We don't speak. I tell her what I want done, and she grunts at me, and then smiles.
7. How to live alone, even if you don’t like to.
Yes, unfortunately, I am very good at living alone.
8. How to take control of your own birthday.
Ugh, this is a conversation for another blog entry. I'm in the midst of planning my own birthday party as the thing I've never done before and it sucks. I wouldn't say it's at all "under control," and it's extremely depressing, but it is happening. And I'm in the driver's seat. Solo.
9.That you can’t change the length of your calves, the width of your hips or the nature of your parents.
Gah, this one really blows, but yes, I've accepted my dumpy knees and borderline cankles, courtesy my mother. Let's hope these special gifts come as a packaged deal, along with her sharp wit, affinity for choosing a good husband and having extraordinary children.
10.That your childhood may not have been perfect, but it’s over.
My childhood was pretty damn perfect, minus the perm, the braces, and the subsequent insecurity.
11. What you would and wouldn’t do for money or love.
This list just took an interesting and seemingly serious turn. I mean, I wouldn't subject myself to emotional or physical abuse for love and I wouldn't whore myself out for money. Is that what they're talking about here?
12. That nobody gets away with smoking, drinking, doing drugs or not flossing for very long.
Not true, some of us were meant to party. Like Lindsay Lohan.
13.Who you can trust, who you can’t and why you shouldn’t take it personally.
I know who I can trust, and who I can't. Not taking it personally is a challenge.
14. Not to apologize for something that isn’t your fault.
I have a hard time with this one. I'm really big on helping those who have hurt my feelings feel comfortable with hurting my feelings. It's my "thing." I think I need to find a new "thing."
15. Why they say life begins at 30.
Let's hope so, though I've lived and learned a lot up to this age, none of which I want to ignore or forget about. But I know that I'm not exactly embracing this milestone age as I had hoped I would.
I had a dream over the weekend that I was standing in a room with all of my cousins and one of them asked me if I was nervous about turning 30. My response, in the dream, while doing a high kick, was, "Nah, I'm going to kick 30's ass."
I really hope that I do.