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…
26. What you would and wouldn’t do for money or love.
Well, duh. Of course I had to start with that softball of a joke.
Seriously, though, this week’s List item could very well be one of the most important challenges. Why’s that, Wittyburg, you ask? Well, because this requires you to know yourself… and you likely haven’t learned about the lengths you’d go (or wouldn’t) for money and love without making a few mistakes.
To navigate this tricky task, our narrator is Lauren Conrad. Yes, THE LC, goddess of high school drama “Laguna Beach,” and then “The Hills,” “The City” and basically all of my domestic dreams. If you were in high school at any point between 2004 and 2009, you binge-watched right along with me and envied LC’s life.
Long gone are her days of reality TV, but Conrad’s life is still enviable. She’s built multi-million dollar brands in The Beauty Department, her fashion lines, books and more. She also married a cutie named William Tell(!) and is expecting their first child any day now.
What wasn’t enviable about LC’s former life? Broadcasting her ups and downs as she navigated love and career on national television. While she always looked flawless and generally handled herself with class and charisma, there’s something to be said for putting it all out there at 17.
Thankfully, Lauren’s left us some lessons from her days on reality TV (and since):
What she’d never do for money:
- Be a phony.
- Be a manipulator.
- Work a job she doesn’t love.
What she’d never do for love (at least never again):
- Turn away from her family and friends.
- Lie to herself about whether a guy is interested.
- Sacrifice her own happiness.
(BONUS!) What she will always do for love, no matter how humiliating:
- Care about the small stuff.
- One word: Karaoke.
Lauren’s lists made me think about my own lessons, naturally, and there are certainly some parallels.
Being true to yourself is a core component to being successful, in my opinion, but you don’t always have the luxury of time to learn who you are before entering the workforce. You may be thrown into a situation — heck, at 22 or 52 — and have to make a decision that could define (or redefine) your character. You may be asked to do things you’re not comfortable with, and not know how to say no without “getting in trouble.” It’s not easy to make those tough decisions, but it often says a lot about what you’re willing to compromise.
In that same vein, you may be fortunate enough to avoid relationship ethics until well after formative years. I can thank puberty and my tomboyishness for that, but I was also able to discover myself as a person and navigate personal relationships before having to make difficult romantic relationship decisions. I’ve since learned what I will and won’t tolerate, plus what I need from a partner in order to pursue a future with them.
Finally, as Conrad puts it, “…just because you love somebody and they love you back doesn’t mean your relationship makes sense or that it’s a good one for you both to be in.” That may be the hardest lesson of all for me personally, but it’s one I’ll carry with me and apply to all relationships — romantic, personal and professional — for a long time to come.