Tag Archive | 30 things to do before 30

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 know…
22. How to live alone, even if you don’t like to.

If you don’t believe in coincidences, you should skip on down to the next paragraph. When I discovered this week’s must-know, I couldn’t believe it. After living alone for 3.5 years (plus a couple more back in Florida), I moved in with housemates. Yesterday.

So, it’s safe to say I know how to live alone… I’ve enjoyed countless perks as queen of the castle, from controlling the remote to planning the menu. I’ve relished in solitude after a particularly challenging day or week, cozying up on the couch with a book or Netflix or whatever the hell I want because I’m the only one with an opinion. I’ve learned how to do plenty of things on my own, then thrown money at the problem for the stuff I don’t wanna do (see: DIY, deep cleaning).

There are downsides to living alone, though, and I started taking a harder look at those about six months ago. It could feel quite lonely, particularly after a breakup or on holidays when close friends were out of town, and I didn’t feel like I could force myself into other celebrations. My interior design indecision crippled me to the point that no housemate would ever put up with, or let slide. I was obsessed with my apartment, but often found myself “trekking” around San Francisco to friends’ places, instead of forcing myself to play hostess. And, the final straw: I did what you’re not supposed to and calculated how much I’d spent on rent — in SF alone.

My family and friends joke that New York wasn’t expensive enough, so I had to up the ante and move to the worst rental market in the US. And while I accepted it long ago, I wasn’t properly prioritizing my cash flow. Even with an OK salary, I don’t make “engineering money.” I didn’t found a startup or get acquired by Google or strike it rich from family finances. I, like millions of others my age, work hard and am paid a decent wage, but have no possible way of owning — especially in the Bay Area — without making some sacrifices. And even if I did rake in millions, spending thousands per month on rent with nothing to show for it isn’t so smart.

So, the opportunity came for me to move into a home with some friends. We discussed our lifestyle preferences, our pet peeves, etc., which is something I hadn’t really done in past roommate situations. Maybe it’s because we’re not 22 and pretending like living with friends is 100% amazing all of the time, but that conversation gave me more confidence in making my decision.

Courtesy of Me

I also came around to the notion of living with others as I near 30. This was probably the hardest hurdle for me to overcome, but I’ve convinced myself it’s not a sign of failure — again, particularly in SF — but rather a sign of financial security. The beaucoup bucks I’ll save in rent alone (not to mention other bills) will afford me the ability to become completely debt-free in about 18 months. See ya never, student loans. The likelihood of homeownership is at least a possibility now, since I won’t be squandering away so much in rent. I shudder to think how much I’ve spent as a renter since 2005, but at least I’m finally doing something about it.

Lastly, I had to change the lens through which I viewed this change: I had to focus on what I’m gaining, rather than what I’m losing. I’ll be saving a lot of money each month; I’ll be exploring a new neighborhood; I’ll be learning about my friends and their expanded social circles; I’ll have a shorter commute to both the gym and office; and yes, I’ll be forced to put on pants sometimes.

So while I do feel I’ve mastered the art of living alone, I don’t regret my decision to live with others for the time being. As Pamela Redmond Satran, creator of The List and this week’s featured writer says, “Living alone [meant] pleasing nobody, not even for one second, but myself.” Taking that knowledge into living with others again is a valuable lesson I won’t soon forget.

Courtesy of CollegeHumor.com

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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 know…
21. The names of the Secretary of State, your great-grandmothers, and the best tailor in town.

Finally — an easy task (for the most part)!

This week’s “reading” was simply a fill-in-the blank exercise to identify these prominent people.

  • The Secretary of State: Rex Tillerson
  • Your great-grandmothers: Lillian, Wanda, Marie and Edith
  • The best tailor in town: TBD

I could leave it at that, but you know that’s not my style. Here’s a little more about my perspectives on each of these people.

Image Courtesy of iEmoji

Secretary of State
From his multi-millions as (now former) Exxon CEO to his close ties with Russia, Rex Tillerson’s name has been on a lot of lips since his nomination and confirmation in early 2017. I don’t know how you couldn’t know his name at this point.

But, I didn’t know a whole lot about his background beyond Forbes profiles and mass-media blunders, so I figured I’d study up. Despite opposing many of his political positions, I was pleased to discover his extensive involvement in the Boy Scouts of America — he even served for a few years as its national president, which is its highest non-executive position.

Being a Boy Scout does not inherently make you a good person, but I was grateful to find some common ground with the guy. It’s too early in his service, in my opinion, to judge him outright and I hope to hear of positive policy work and relationships formed in his future. Call me an optimist, but I’d rather that than stew over every single pick in this administration.

Your great-grandmothers
Half of this section was easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. We were always very close with my maternal side of the family tree, and I knew those names without hesitation.

My mom’s maternal grandmother, Lillian, was alive for the first few years of my life. I remember giggling over our July birthdays, her affinity for baking and how much she adored being the matriarch of an extensive clan. I’ve always loved her name, and when the time came for Brother and SIL to name their second daughter, I suggested Lillian in her honor. Plus, it’s one of the most fun names to say, a la “Rugrats” dynamic duo, “Phil-lip” and “Lil-li-an.”

My mom’s paternal grandmother, Wanda, died long before I was born. From the stories I’ve heard over the years, she was a vivacious woman with a zest for life and a helluva lot of patience — six kids will surely do that to you! Her only daughter, my Great Aunt Mary, tells the best stories about Wanda and the whole family; her voice carries through the phone with incomparable charm and wit.

My dad’s side of the family tree was a bit more distant from my upbringing. Part of it was geography, but I relied heavily on my dad’s Aunt Merlyn for genealogy stories when I was a kid. She died last year, and with that went one of our last remaining links to my dad’s side.

Through the help of my mom, though, I was able to learn the names of my paternal great-grandmothers.

My dad’s maternal grandmother was Marie. My mom tells me she was a seamstress by trade and spoke very little English. She was a strong Sicilian — and don’t you dare call her an Italian! (This, by the way, sounds exactly like the type of woman to raise my Grandma Helen.)

My dad’s paternal grandmother was Edith. About the only memory I have is from visiting her and my great-grandfather’s gravesite when I was about nine years old. Ever the strong, silent type, my dad didn’t talk a lot about his grandparents around me — although that could have been a side effect of his memory loss after the stroke.

I only met one of my great-grandmothers, so it’s no surprise I’m filled with envy and emotion when I see friends post photos with generations of strong women. I may not be able to rival Great Aunt Merlyn’s knack for genealogy, but I can sure as hell appreciate the women who influenced my upbringing in their own way.

The best tailor in town
Finally, a real stumper. I am not the fashionista I once was — or at least, once thought I was.

I rarely buy new clothes, and when I do, it’s usually athleisure. The clothes in my closet that aren’t athleisure generally fit well… until they don’t, and then they’re donated.

The last item I had tailored was a bridesmaid dress I wore once and haven’t seen since I loaned it to my HS bestie (no rush on returning it, Jen 😉 ). But, I wouldn’t recommend the tailor anyway because of the pricing; though they did manage to get it done quite quickly.

I’ve seen enough episodes of “What Not to Wear” to know how invaluable well-fitting clothes can be. Pieces tailored to your body (obviously) fit better, which makes you feel better, and then the world is sunshine and rainbows. I’m being a jerk, of course, because I haven’t invested in pursuing a tailor.

So that’s my task in the next few weeks… as I prepare to donate ~10 bags of clothing, in fact. If you have recommendations for tailors in the SF area, please do let me know! I trust Yelp for many things, but a personal suggestion in this arena is always best.

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 know…
20. How to kiss in a way that communicates perfectly what you would and wouldn’t like to happen next.

OK, editors of Glamour. I wanted to hear you out, because my initial reaction to this must-know was not a positive one.

My mind raced with a stream of feminist fury: Why would a kiss dictate what we want and don’t want to happen next? Shouldn’t our words do the talking? Shouldn’t the person receiving said kisses and communication be understanding of whatever we want to happen (or not)?

Maybe I was so upset because I just finished the deeply moving Netflix series “13 Reasons Why” (more on that in tomorrow’s WO). Maybe it’s because I spent my college career flying under the dating radar, for fear of being labeled a “slut,” “whore,” or anything other than a young woman exploring her sexuality. Maybe it’s because I have nieces, whose safety I worry about constantly from 3,000 miles away. Maybe it’s because for the first time in a long time, I was pissed at Glamour editors for writing the exact kind of fluff expected from a women’s magazine.

Courtesy of ContentedTraveller.com

To say I struggled with this List item is an understatement. I understood the message the editors tried to convey: A woman’s ability to communicate via kiss can be powerful. It can be empowering. It can be a lot of positive things, indeed.

The rabbit hole I fell down, instead, was thinking about how much time I spent in my teens and 20s convincing myself I was OK with casual dating. Exploring my preferences carefully, because I didn’t want people to get the wrong idea about me. Being scared to have my reputation tarnished by one awful frog I’d mistaken for a prince. Finally letting go of it all when I moved to New York, where I learned very quickly it’s the smallest world of 9 million people you can imagine.

Thankfully, very few of my experiences shook me to my core. I wasn’t taken advantage of or abused or any of the negative things that can happen after something as simple as a kiss. I know not everyone is as lucky.

And while I understand the power a kiss can hold — it’s the gateway to intimacy and often still heralded as the first test of a potential partner — I don’t agree with this item on The List.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments! I’m eager to hear your perspective.

Courtesy of SickChirpse.com

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 columthe nist 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.

Courtesy of MemeGenerator.net

By 30, you should know…
19. When to try harder and when to walk away.

Similar to last week’s task, this challenge made me think a lot about what it means to quit.

Often seen as a pejorative term, quitting is frowned upon — usually without taking into consideration our human and humble needs. It doesn’t have to mean you’ve given up, or you haven’t tried hard enough or some other iteration of being a whiny baby.

To be clear, it’s understandable why “winners never quit and quitters never win” was drilled into our heads as kids. The point is about learning resiliency, and how there will often be things in life you have to do — whether or not you want to.

I was on a cycle for years of starting the year strong with Girl Scouts. We’d come off an amazing summer trip; I’d be pumped for the year ahead; and then around the time we had to sell cookies or calendars, I wanted out. Girl Scouts was dorky, or I was frenemies with a troop member or camping was gross. My parents wouldn’t let me quit mid-year, though — I was to see myself through the end of the year and then I could choose to not sign up for the following year. And what would always happen at the end of each year? Another amazing summer trip, and we’d start the routine all over again.

What if my parents had let me quit any of those times I cried dramatically about hating it? I wouldn’t have completed thousands of hours of volunteer work; nor earned my Silver Award, my Gold Award (the highest honor in Girl Scouts) nor my college scholarship for scouting service. I wouldn’t have continued what have become some of my longest-lasting friendships. I wouldn’t have cried at the thought of my former camp suffering from a massive brush fire last weekend.

Instead, I would have learned it’s OK to give up when things get tough.

I went through similar lessons in my years of athletic competition. Whether it was a practice, scrimmage, game or tournament, I’d want to give up when I just wasn’t feeling it. But I’d learn at the end of each season how perseverance paid off and hard workers were often rewarded. Setting records, learning leadership, forging friendships — these are just a few of the perks of sticking a tough situation out. And earning those after you’ve been ready to give up is all that much sweeter.

Now, what’s equally important, is knowing when to walk away.

This is one I clearly haven’t mastered, as evidenced in last week’s essay. Comedienne Kathy Griffin writes this week’s response to The List, and she provides the classic example of leaving an unhealthy relationship.

The problem for many of us, though, is not seeing how unhealthy a relationship is until we’re out of it. Hindsight is often 20/20… so how do we bump it up into foresight?

Objectively, you can look at the data. See what patterns emerge from past relationships (or jobs, or friendships… you get the idea). Do you leave feeling used or bad about yourself or some other negative way? Is it really possible for the situation to change, or are you giving it your all without ever receiving anything back?

Griffin points out how stereotypically easy it is for men to move on from relationships. They leave without looking back. But women, often, are “more analytical and accommodating. We tend to hang in there and try harder.” That’s not necessarily wrong of us, but it can explain why we can feel like it’s our fault if/when things don’t work out.

The point this week, I think, is finding the balance and trusting your instinct. If you feel you should try harder, then set a timeline to check in with yourself again and see if things have improved. Don’t give up, per se, but reevaluate what’s worth your precious time, effort and energy. And if you feel it’s time to walk away — or all of your friends are saying so because they’re acknowledging what you won’t — then know that you will be OK and aren’t a failure for doing so.

At the end of the day, it isn’t selfish to prioritize your needs and learn these lessons. It’s self-care.

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 know…
18. How to quit a job, break up with a man, and confront a friend without ruining the friendship.

Well isn’t this week’s List item just a bowl of sunshine?

I could keep my response as brief as this: If you’ve mastered any of these techniques, please let me know.

Instead, I’ll do as I do, and share a few (mostly unsuccessful) experiences of my own…

My parents taught us to never quit — if you commit to something, you see it through. So perhaps this lack of practice in my adolescent years could explain why I’m quite awful at quitting a job.

Example 1: I left my college retail job for a call center job (making double what I did at the mall), only to confirm within a few weeks that I was not meant to be in customer service or scripted phone calls. I was very fortunate to find an external role just two months later, which put my degree to use and was sure to grant me more success. The problem? I needed to start with two days’ notice to my current employer. And while I knew going into the call center that I wouldn’t be a lifer, I felt absolutely terrible. I ummed and ahhed my way through a verbal resignation, hanging my head as I handed over a poorly written notice letter. Was my manager surprised? Not one bit. But I felt like a doof all the same and swore I’d never fumble my way through the experience again.

Example 2: A few years later, it was time for me to move on and pursue a relocation opportunity in New York City. This dream of mine was finally going to happen, but I had to go through the nightmare of resigning first. This time, I was able to give plenty of notice — I just wasn’t sure if my employer would grant it to me or send me packing that afternoon. What happened, instead, was a somewhat more coherent resignation speech and letter to my VP, plus a personal Facebook post that evening announcing my relocation. I didn’t specify whether or not I was leaving my company (we had an NYC office), and my post was not visible to non-friends. I came into work the next morning to a message from my VP, asking to see me. They were upset because they “hadn’t accepted [my] resignation.” They lectured me about the importance of social media and not burning bridges, but I remained baffled. I’d already signed paperwork with my next employer, and felt I’d done my due diligence by giving as much notice as possible. I hadn’t disparaged my employer in any way, shape or form; and someone had clearly shared my post with my VP for them to even see it. My heart beats rapid-fire even now, more than four years later, at the thought.

If only I’d had these articles to guide me then!

Romantic breakups aren’t much easier, I’ve found. While I’m more often the dumpee than the dumper, it doesn’t feel good to be on either side. I’ve learned to focus on my own needs, while avoiding the “It’s not you, it’s me” babble. Wanting to part ways with them doesn’t make them terrible (necessarily); it makes them not right for me. And with hindsight always being 20/20, it’s safe to say that both parties in a breakup will eventually find the relationship had to come to an end — better sooner than later, right? Right.

I believe it was in Aziz Ansari’s “Modern Romance,” and if not, he’s getting credit anyway: Break up with someone how you’d want to be broken up with. Don’t be a dick, and relationship karma will reward you, because getting dumped unceremoniously suuucks. PS: Maybe it’s the term “dumped” that makes it all the more painful. Let’s find a different word for that.

Some more helpful tips:

Courtesy of TheLadyGang.com

Finally, there’s confronting a friend without ruining the friendship. Oof.

This, again, has been a struggle for me through the years. I’d like to think I’ve gotten better — in large part, because my career consists of giving and receiving critical feedback — but it’s still a hard thing to do. No one wants to make their friend feel like garbage when you’re expressing an opposing opinion or critical callout.

A recent example comes to mind: I knew one of my very best friends, whom I love and respect dearly, was planning to vote for Trump. I wholeheartedly disagreed, avoided the topic and figured we’d all laugh about this in a few years.

As the election drew nearer, then came to a close, I knew I had to say something. We live in different time zones and have opposite work schedules, so we often text first anyway to make sure the other can talk.

I approached her, first and foremost, with positivity. Our text history is too long to revisit, but I recall the conversation going something like this:

Me: I love and respect you and hope this doesn’t sound rude, but can you help me understand why you’re voting for Trump?
Her: Haha [laughing because she knows I wrote and rewrote that 20 times before sending]
Her: Explains her reasoning, which is thoughtful and not accusatory of Clinton — or me
Me: I appreciate you letting me ask… Explain my viewpoint, again without accusation or hate speech
Her/Me: When are we getting together next?

Crisis averted. We don’t need to have the same viewpoints to remain friends, although some of my peers disagree with that very statement. For me, our friendship is too valuable to let this end it — and if I do, I have a hell of a lot of family members to dissociate from.

Some ideas to manage the message:

Courtesy of Flavorwire.com

Phew! If you made it this far, I hope you’ve learned something or maybe even laughed a little.

Again, if you’ve mastered any or all of these techniques: Please comment with your tips and tricks!

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 know…
17. How you feel about having kids.

They sure aren’t making the second half of The List easy, huh? No softballs in sight, where I can say “Well, of course I know that!”

Stylist and entrepreneur Rachel Zoe writes this week’s reflection, providing her perspective as someone who became a first-time mom at age 38. She and her husband, Rodger, had been together for 20 years — always knowing they wanted kids, but never necessarily slowing down to do anything about it.

She was, admittedly, quite lucky to become pregnant on their first try. And despite having such luck, Zoe urges women who know they want to have kids: “Don’t wait! I missed the window of being a young mom, and I’m super envious of my friends who had kids earlier than I did, because they can take their time and choose to have another child (or several!) if they want.”

This is where Zoe lost me a little bit. She’s making two assumptions here — first, that women who know they want children have the means, e.g., the partner and finances, in order to do so. And second, that they’ll be able to have as many children as they desire. While that sounds like a lovely landscape to live in, it just isn’t reality.

Plenty of women wish to have children, but want to be married and have a house before that. Or have prioritized their career, much like Zoe did, and want to be on more secure financial footing before bringing children into the world. Others still have fertility issues, complications and a whole host of other reasons why they’re not able to just close their eyes and wish for a child to appear, no problem.

Courtesy of GloriaBowman.com

Stepping off my proverbial soapbox, I also struggled to make sense of Zoe’s final point. She concludes by saying “there are many paths to motherhood… adopting, finding a surrogate… or being the best aunt ever. The point is that the path is in your hands.”

She’s urged us to not wait, but shouldn’t we be a bit more careful with such life-changing decisions? Perhaps this is the 29-year-old single girl in me shouting, but I don’t take the topic of motherhood lightly. Although I’m someone who takes forever to commit to a rug, I do believe bringing life into the world is not something to be rushed. There are many paths, but that doesn’t mean you have to sprint down any one of them before 30.

I can say with near certainty that my perspective on this would be markedly different if I were a woman who knew her own stance on motherhood. I’m not convinced I want children, but I don’t want biology or anything else keeping me from that option. I’ve thought about what paths I may take in the future, but I’m not rushing toward any of them when I know I’m not ready to be responsible for another life at this stage of my own.

For now, I’ll stick to being the best aunt ever. It’s fulfilling enough without having society shouting in my ear about what I should do. As I don’t have a 20-year partner to mull this over with, I think my current decision is just fine. And if I’m feeling particularly stumped, there’s a wikiHow article for that. Bonus: This blog post by Gloria Bowman eloquently emphasizes the plight of women without children. Please enjoy.

Courtesy of wikiHow.com

30 Before 30

Image Courtesy of BrightSoLight on EtsyIn 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. Let’s begin!

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.

Wow, way to start us off with a doozy. I instantly cringed when I saw this was my FIRST item on The List to “obtain.” My relationship history is bumpy and painful, full of letdowns and lessons. But that’s exactly what this first essay, by Genevieve Field, is about: learning.

Field mentions the Buddhist teaching that “every relationship we have in our lives, whether it lasts five hours with a stranger on a plane or fifty years with our soulmate, is meant to teach us something.”

As painful as it can be to think about love lost, I’m also able to look back and see how much I’ve learned and how far I’ve come…

The man I can imagine going back to is my most recent ex — not because of the recency, but because I truly felt we were a great match with poor timing. Our relationship ended, obviously, and in a not-so-great way. Had he not let me go, though, I don’t think I’d have ever ended it. I was in love and believed he was worth working through our challenges, as resentful as I (didn’t realize I) was growing. We haven’t had any contact in a few months, but I wish him well and hope he’s working through his needs, just as I’ve been working through mine.

The man who reminds me how far I’ve come was not a boyfriend, per se, but a romantic relationship all the same. I’ve never been one to fake interest or depend on others, but I threw all that aside to “be” with him. I let myself be second fiddle to whatever else he had going on; I tried really hard to care about video games; I depended on him to be my social calendar and support system and lost myself in the process. Our few months together were the best — I thought — until I ended it after another dead-end conversation about our future, and 20/20 hindsight helped me see that I didn’t even like myself anymore.

There’s nothing wrong with me, or these two men, for these failed relationships. We’re each on our own journey, and there’s no telling where those roads will lead us. In the meantime, I can be grateful for the lessons I’ve gained from each of them (and that the tears have subsided since each breakup).

Looking back on your relationships, do you have someone you can imagine going back to, and someone who reminds you how far you’ve come? Let me know in the comments!