Fifteen things you should have by the time you're 30—six years late

Don't know if you know this, but I'm a fan of lists. 

I'm also a fan of gauging my life's progress against an arbitrarily defined set of societal standards, and, with equal amounts of sour grapes and gleeful iconoclasm, summarily dismissing anything that doesn't fit.

I have a feeling most of us feel like late bloomers at some point—so when I rediscovered this classic list from Glamour (written in 1997, updated in 2005) I couldn't resist reproducing it here.

This is the first half—I'll post the second half in the next post.

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.

    I have old boyfriends that I still stay in touch with (actually, they're ALL friends on Facebook), but I don't think I'd go back to any of them. All of them were appropriate to the time and place we were togetherand that's over. And yes, some of them remind me of how far I've comeand I'm grateful for that.

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

    Hm. My bed is mine, all minebut does Ikea furniture count as "decent"? I have my doubts...

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

    Yes, and yes. Since the employer of my dreams would likely be a theatre, and I have a carefully curated supply of black clothes and stage makeup, I'm covered. As for the man of my dreams—well, I have a couple of outfits that never fail to garner appreciative smiles/compliments/whiplash, so I guess I'm set on that front, too. (Plus, I just discovered that Victoria's Secret makes a push-up bra that gives me cleavage of SUFFOCATING proportions!)

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

    If you'd lost as many umbrellas as I have, you'd realize that it's far less embarrassing to be seen with a $2 Chinatown special than be seen with no umbrella at all.

  5. A youth you’re content to move beyond.

    Most definitely.

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

    Believe it or not, yes. There was the time one of the aforementioned old boyfriends and I wandered around Italy for a month...getting drunk on a pier in Venice...getting lost in Sicily...getting stuck on Capri...

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

    Well, about that... I have every confidence that I'm genetically equipped to live a good, long time, but as to the money to pay for itwell, that's one of the things in my life that make me feel like a teenager with eye wrinkles. I do finally have an ING savings account, which is a teeny step in the right direction.

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

    Damn straight.
  9. A résumé that is not even the slightest bit padded.

    Yes! And although it's a rather checkered employment history, I'm proud of every avenue I've explored.
  10. One friend who always makes you laugh and one who lets you cry.

    Yes, oh yes. More than one. Even better, though, I have friends whom I absolutely trust to tell me the truth, even when it's unflattering. (Believe me—if I ask whether something makes me look bad, I actually want to know. My best friends understand this, and don't pull punches. And they don't always wait for me to ask.)

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

    I don't have a cordless drill.

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

    Define "ridiculous." I just spent almost $5 on a watermelon, because I like watermelon. I buy original art, but I don't think that's ridiculous.

  13. The belief that you deserve it.

    Well, you know, I deserve not to panic about my bank account more than I deserve that cute-but-exorbitant pair of pretty shoes. I deserve to have a life of simplicity more than I deserve one more cluttery object. So what I really deserve is a life that's free of the need to affirm myself through my purchases.

  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.

    I object to the idea that 30 marks a downward slope in terms of appearance. I look far better now than I did before I was 30, simply because I've a) figured out how to make myself happy and b) mastered the art of eyeliner and blow drying. But yes, I take care of my skin, and I'm careful about what I eat, and I didn't used to worry about that stuff quite so much.

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

    Yes. Those are two areas of continuous work and reinvention, but as I get older, I'm realizing they always will be. All those other facets—being happy with myself, knowing what it and isn't authentic, speaking up and speaking out about what's really important—well, as the title of the blog says, I'm on my way running.
Next post: 15 things you should know by the time you're 30.


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