Many weeks ago Andrea found this list of 30 Things Every Woman Should Have Before She Turns 30 and gave it a good and proper fisking. I was briefly inspired. Since I’m naturally the preachy, know-it-all type, and I am certainly qualified, I thought I could come up with a better list of 30 things, but I couldn’t even think of 10. So I left it in my drafts and ignored it for a while. Now, this last week of the year, I’m coming back to it and doing a little editing and adding a few items to finally finish it. 12 seems like a good number.
I’m not saying that I had all of these by the time I was 30 and I’m not going to say which ones I did or did not have. I’m just saying that looking back from where I am now, I know you need these.
1. A good bullsh*t detector – This was on the other list (#23) and I commented that it should be #1 so here it is. Actually, everyone should have one of these starting as early in life as possible.
2. A lifetime supply of drama repellent (hat tip)
3. Self-awareness – I don’t mean this in the scientific sense; I mean it in the “don’t point to the mote in your neighbor’s eye while ignoring the beam in your own” sense. In other words, be aware of when you are the problem.
4. A sense of proportion – Be aware of the actual importance, or lack thereof, of various things, desires, losses, disappointments, irritations, frustrations and incidents in your life. Hint: 99.99999% of things are really not that big of a deal.
5. Big Girl Panties – For those few times when something really is a big deal, you need to deal with it in a quiet, mature manner without any added drama.
6. A good sense of humor – Learn to see the funny side of things that really aren’t very funny, because laughing is healthier than being perpetually outraged.
7. At least 100 books that you have read – These should be mostly fiction in whatever genre you prefer but should also include a few “horizon expanding” books – books that are different from what you normally read – and at least a few classics.
8. Rose colored glasses – You should take them off once in a while to remind yourself of what the world is really like but there’s nothing wrong with looking at the world through them most of the time. Life as an optimist feels better than any of the alternatives.
9. A healthy sense of detachment – Not everything is all about you; in fact, almost nothing is about you. When you find yourself taking things too personally stop, back off and try to look at it from a different perspective.
10. At least one conservative outfit (dress or suit) in a dark or somber color – There will be times in every life when such attire is appropriate (important job interviews or other, sadder, occasions) and when those times come the last thing you’ll want to do is spend time worrying about what to wear.
11. A good iron skillet – When I was 20 I was sure I would never want an ugly, heavy iron skillet. After wearing out several shiny new “non-stick” skillets I decided that iron skillets are the thing to have after all. The iron skillet can also serve as a metaphor for all things tried and true. Very often, simple, old-fashioned things are better than the fashionable, “new and improved” versions.
12. A proper sense of loyalty – First, know to whom you should be loyal. It’s a short list: husband, close family, best friend. (Perhaps a few others, but husband (if you have one) and family should come first.) Give these people your help and support when they need it. You might sometimes need to tell them things they don’t want to hear but do it as kindly as possible and always in private. Never undermine their efforts or belittle their dreams. Never gossip about them. And never use your loyalty for purposes of reward or punishment. Loyalty that can be withheld for whatever cause, real or imagined, is not loyalty at all.