I Turned 30 And My Face Didn’t Melt Off

Remember the old Glamour piece: 30 Things Every Woman Should Have or Know by the Time She’s 30?  You may have seen it crop back up recently.  The timely was impeccable for me, floating into my inbox just days before my 30th birthday.  I read through the list remembering when I first read it in 1997, and thinking how far away 30 seemed, and how old I would be then.  And yes, teenagers now will think I am so old.  Actually those in their early 20s think that too.

Scanning through the list was almost entertaining for me.  Thinking about what on this I had down and what I didn’t, and actually realizing, if I didn’t have that down, oh well.  I concerned myself more with what I should know than what I should have.  In case you need a refresher here you go:

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.
  2. A decent piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in your family.
  3. Something perfect to wear if the employer or man of your dreams wants to see you in an hour.
  4. A purse, a suitcase and an umbrella you’re not ashamed to be seen carrying.
  5. A youth you’re content to move beyond.
  6. A past juicy enough that you’re looking forward to retelling it in your old age.
  7. The realization that you are actually going to have an old age—and some money set aside to help fund it.
  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.
  11. A set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill and a black lace bra.
  12. Something ridiculously expensive that you bought for yourself, just because you deserve it.
  13. The belief that you deserve it.
  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.
  15. 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:

  1. How to fall in love without losing yourself.
  2. How you feel about having kids.
  3. How to quit a job, break up with a man and confront a friend without ruining the friendship.
  4. When to try harder and when to walk away.
  5. How to kiss in a way that communicates perfectly what you would and wouldn’t like to happen next.
  6. The names of: the secretary of state, your great-grandmother and the best tailor in town.
  7. How to live alone, even if you don’t like to.
  8. How to take control of your own birthday.
  9. That you can’t change the length of your calves, the width of your hips or the nature of your parents.
  10. That your childhood may not have been perfect, but it’s over.
  11. What you would and wouldn’t do for money or love.
  12. That nobody gets away with smoking, drinking, doing drugs or not flossing for very long.
  13. Who you can trust, who you can’t and why you shouldn’t take it personally.
  14. Not to apologize for something that isn’t your fault.
  15. Why they say life begins at 30.

I don’t have all 30 down, but I like where I am.  There are a few life lessons I could throw in, but what would be the point?  Looking back now I know what I considered a quarter life crisis is really just life.  Sometimes it sucks and you feel lost, especially when you’re 25 and underemployed.

I’ve spent the last week hearing jokes about anti aging crèmes (I don’t need those yet!), blue plate dinners (do I really need to eat that early?), and gray hairs (the first cropped up recently).  I have diligently kept track of these to throw at others (namely my boyfriend) when it becomes his turn later this year.  So what advice are men given about turning 30?

Ask and you shall receive!  Just the other day, Role Reboot shared a post from Hugo Schwyzer about what men should know by 30.  Whew – glad that conundrum has been solved!  It’s actually great advice – I don’t mean to sound so surprised, but the 30 things for women seem a little obvious, and things we’re told as we get older anyways.  The 10 things men should know, is actually 10 things every man should know (this means check it out to you male readers).

I approached 30 without concern for crossing some big abyss; I didn’t wake up to the ticking of my biological clock, or suddenly feel wise as the clock struck the time of my birth.  I have enough friends to tell me your 30s are great, and enough contentment with my 20s to move on without concern, sadness or trepidation.

For those of you old enough to look back on this list and think about what you knew when, what do you think of both the Glamour and Role Reboot lists?  What is missing and what do you wish you’d known?


*Photo via Creative Commons License by Greta Hughson

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