30 Before 30

In honor of my upcoming 30th birthday, I’ve researched countless “things to do before 30” lists. And while there are plenty to choose from, I kept coming back to “Thirty Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30.”

The List was originally published in Glamour by columnist Pamela Redmond Satran in 1997. Over the next 30 weeks, I’ll be tackling each item on The List and reflecting about it here… publicly (gulp). I hope you enjoy and we can grow together. After all, turning older is a privilege denied to many.

By 30, you should have…
8. An email address, a voice mailbox, and a bank account—all of which nobody has access to but you.

When I first read this week’s challenge, I thought: Well, duh. Who else would have access to my email, voicemail or bank account?

I was quick to learn, though, this is about more than having a few things private to yourself. It’s about what we share of ourselves and what we keep to ourselves.

Jacquelyn Mitchard writes about how quick we (especially as women) are to share our experiences, insights and perspectives. But what are we left with when we share everything? Mitchard asserts that if we spend our time focused on listening, rather than talking, we stand to gain more than when we divulge endless pieces of us.

I see Mitchard’s point, maybe more clearly after the past year than I would have before: When we give away so much of ourselves, whether in conversation or on social media, we don’t always allow room for us to take things in.

I’ve struggled with privacy concerns on this blog over the past six years, because I haven’t wanted to give away too much of myself to the world. Knowing full well I’m nowhere near a celebrity’s status, there are still many pieces of my life I don’t want to be known via Google search. Forget sordid college memories — I mean as basic as what I do for a living or where I reside. It’s all a balance of wanting to connect with anyone who’s reading, without opening myself up to be the inspiration for an episode of “Law & Order: SVU.”

What’s easy to forget in our share-everything world is how much of a luxury it is to have privacy. We’re quick to post where we’re going, who we’re with, what we’re doing, what we’re eating, how we’re spending — everything but our social security numbers — in a Facebook update, Snapchat story, Instagram post or tweet. Hell sometimes, it’s on all networks at once!

And I’m not saying we should close ourselves off from the world, refraining from any social interaction for fear of repercussion. Instead, I think it’s a lesson in practice to think before you post (or share in person), to ask yourself why you want to share this piece of information:

What’s the motivation? Is it to brag? To vent? To not feel so alone? Whatever it is, can you get those feelings validated by another means? Can you keep things to yourself you otherwise might not have, because you recognize they’re only lessening your value, not enhancing it?

Clearly, this week’s theme raised a lot of questions for me, so I’m curious to know your take — if you’re so willing to publicly comment 😉 What’s your philosophy on sharing, whether it’s in person or online? What types of things will you always share, versus always keep to yourself?

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About Wittyburg

Sarcastic, sports-obsessed writer & FL native navigating SF.

2 responses to “30 Before 30”

  1. Jessica Duemig says :

    This is a great blog post. A couple months ago, I got into a fight with my family on Facebook. My cousins, I can deal with, but fighting with my grandmother over politics was the straw that broke the camel’s back. What was the point? I asked myself some of the same questions you posed… And another: why do I open myself up to other peoples’ opinions that I honestly don’t want? There are a few people in the world whose opinion I want, ask for, respect and enjoy – whether it matches mine or not… Only a few people that I feel I can have actual, intelligent conversations… Debates even. But those conversations don’t happen on Facebook. So again, why was I there? Admittedly, it was tough to lose my main time suck, but after a few days, it got easier not to log on. As a result, I find myself having conversations with people where I don’t already know the recent history of their lives. I have things to talk about that people don’t already know about my day or week or month. It’s been especially liberating. One side effect I didn’t expect was that when I signed off, and by habit went to post something about my day – a thought, a snide comment, a hilarious moment in time – I judged myself harshly for the lack of substance or thought that would have gone into whatever I was about to post. It was quite telling and I’m enjoying not posting immensely. Again, privacy is a beautiful thing that we’ve all forgotten about; but I think there can be a healthy balance. Have a conversation – voice or text – and I think you can avoid becoming a hermit.

    • Wittyburg says :

      Excellent points made, Jess. I often feel the same about posting my own opinions — I don’t want to debate with anyone, or even hear a chorus of “hurrahs” in agreement! It all feels like a vacuum we’re shouting into, when real-life conversations and dialogue can be much more valuable.

      I deleted my Facebook app in November, and find myself checking my account once or twice a day, sometimes not at all. If I could get rid of it altogether while still being connected to friends, family and volunteer organizations, I would. The substantial and meaningful conversations I care to partake in are always through text, call or (ohmygosh!) in-person interaction.

      Thanks for reading, and for your thoughtful reply! ❤

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