10 things every woman should do before age 30
Ten essential things every woman should do before she hits age thirty.
1)Master one good meal
In your 20s you can get away with serving macaroni and cheese to last-minute dinner guests; not at 30. You should be able to whip up a quality meal without getting into a panic. It needn’t be fancy; it needn’t be difficult. But you need to be good enough at it so you can prepare it blindfolded – well, almost. Keep staples on hand and have ingredients memorized so you won’t be rifling through cookbooks as you dash out to the store. Once you master this meal – be it a beef, poultry, fish or pasta-based main dish plus one or two sides – add a few more to your arsenal.
2)Take control of your body and your health
As you approach 30, your body may not seem what it was at 21. While you’re probably not binge drinking and pulling all-nighters anymore (a good thing), you’re probably not as active as you were (not such a good thing). Now is the time to commit to physical activity. The sooner you begin the better. You can start with a daily 10-minute walk around the block or a few minutes of stretching in the morning. Don’t be afraid to start small: It’s better to gradually build toward more than to start too big and lose steam after two weeks.
While you’re at it, commit to regular health checkups: an annual pap smear, twice-yearly dental cleanings. Know your cholesterol level. Chart your family’s health history. Keep the information in a notebook and bring it with you to appointments. Keeping track now means fewer surprises later.
3)Streamline your style
There’s something to be said for experimenting with style in your 20s: It helps you figure out what you like and what suits you. But different bags for different outfits, lots of jewelry and a different pair of shoes each day can become exhausting – and expensive. As you approach 30, think about the things you really love to wear. Think about the image you want to project. Think about how less really can equal more. Find a bag you love that goes with most outfits, and keep a couple of special ones for nights out. Ditto for shoes and jewelry. Think about what an item will go with before you buy it. A closetful of mismatched purchases will always seem emptier than one with items that flow. Remember, a streamlined style offers more definition than a constantly changing one.
4)Pick up the tab for your parents
Will they object? Probably. Should you do it anyway? Absolutely. This doesn’t have to be a $200 meal. Just paying for coffee and ice cream can help you feel more adult. Of course you’ll still accept dinners from your parents from time to time. But picking up the tab every so often reminds both of you that you’re an adult.
5)Leave the country
There’s plenty to do and see in the United States, and regional differences can be astounding. But nothing beats the experience of traveling to a foreign country. Whether you choose to be part of a tour group or to go it alone, what’s important is to immerse yourself in the experience. Pick a place you’ve fallen in love with through the movies, or one that speaks to your heritage. Read as much as you can before your departure. Scour tour guides for off-the-beaten-path eateries and activities. Ask people for recommendations. Bring a journal. Take lots of pictures.
6)Rethink stale relationships
Everyone has friendships that have withered over the years. Some may benefit from fresh effort; some have run their course. It’s not hard to know the difference. Perhaps you’re afraid of hurting someone’s feelings, but maybe she or he is thinking the same thing. Perhaps you’re afraid of “giving up” on a relationship that existed for so many years. But would you continue to wear an unflattering shirt simply because it’s been in your closet so long? If a friendship or romance isn’t working, now is the time to let it go and make room for more.
7)Stop trying to please everyone
It simply can’t be done. For every person you aim to please you may leave someone displeased, and where does that leave you? Don’t confuse being nice with trying to please. Being nice involves treating someone with courtesy and respect – what we all desire. Aiming to please means trying to win others’ approval on issues that don’t affect them anyway.
8)Stop comparing yourself to younger women
Genes vary, but chances are you will have a couple of wrinkles or a few gray hairs as you begin your 30s. Maybe you have a stretch mark or two. In our youth-obsessed society, these are marks of distinction, but they needn’t be negative. When you are confident, fit, well-dressed and poised, you are beautiful – and your “flaws” only add to that. They distinguish you and tell people you have some wisdom on your shoulders.
9)Take a vacation alone.
One night or 10, it’s up to you. You choose the destination, the accommodations and how to spend your time. Spend a day at a park with a pile of books followed by a movie, or tour a museum you’ve always wanted to see and have dinner at an outdoor restaurant. Stay at a budget motel and lounge by the pool, or rent a lavish suite and order room service. You’ll have plenty of time in life to compromise, and often you’ll have to put your wishes on the back burner. But it’s also important to have time alone to trust and indulge in your own desires. A solo trip is the perfect chance.
10)Be ready to turn your beliefs upside-down
When you were 10 you knew everything, as you did at 13, 18, 21 – and surely now! But you have decades ahead of you, and wouldn’t it be a boring ride if everything you know and believe is set in stone now? As you approach this milestone birthday, take just one thing that seems certain to you — whether it’s a political belief or your dislike of a particular band — and see if you can challenge it. You’ll be amazed what you might discover.