Pinterest lists amuse me. 15 Five-Minute No-Fuss Hairdos! 30 Steps to Kardashian Glutes! 20 Ways You're Treating Your Underwear Wrong! (In a quick mental pass, I only came up with not washing them, wearing them inside-out or putting them on backwards. Apparently there's so much I don't know!)
Today, here is a list of my own. I turn 30 in a few months, and I've taken it upon myself to watch the Sex & The City series before that big day because it feels like a rite of passage -- single women surviving in their 30s! (Um, in the 1990s when I suppose chain-smoking was in.) Some messages in the show are better than others, but it remains entertaining thus far. So with my very-busy-almost-turning-30 life in one ear and the narration voice of Carrie Bradshaw in the other, here is a little advice column of my own.
5 Simple Rules for Being a Grown-A** Woman
1. Champion Other Women. This is one I definitely didn't get when I was younger. When I finally opened my eyes to feminism, the problems were there -- subtle and blatant sexism, institutionalized misogyny, rape culture, a gender-based wage gap....it's no joke, and it's no small issue. Here's what I know: there is room for more than one woman at the table at a time, and if there's not, we need to make more room. I read a great article about the myth of the catty woman, which said that if women compete with each other it's not because we're naturally bitchy -- we've been trained by a bent culture to know that there's only so much space to go around, and also that the actions of one woman speak for all women. The result? Little elbow room in the board room and a tendency to dissociate ourselves from each other to avoid going down as a pack. Pleasant, isn't it? And so not necessary. I love my female friends, I love my female coworkers, and I love seeing strong women do strong things. No woman is an island, my friends. Let's stick up for each other.
2. Take Care of Yourself. It's a real truth that food sticks to your [insert your personal trouble area here] with increasing tenacity the older you get. My body doesn't recover from misuse and abuse (see: not drinking enough water, eating enough real food, practicing better oral hygiene, taking care of my skin or getting enough good sleep) the way it did in my early 20s. I look ahead and know what I don't want my health to look like in 20 to 30 years, and so I try. I'm not perfect at it, but I try, and that matters to me. Please note this applies to mental health as well. Do you need a therapist? It's worth your money, ladies.
3. Set Boundaries. As someone who has a tendency to feel ultra responsible for the feelings of all the people around me (my therapist nailed that one on the head at our first meeting a few months ago and I immediately knew she understood something important about me), it takes a lot for me to say no and set boundaries. Say no when saying yes will do you harm and/or take you away from the things you truly value. The side effect of boundaries? Some people might not like it. Then again, not every friend is worth having -- especially if they take more than they give.
4. Loosen Up a Little. A couple weeks ago, I went on a trip to a wedding and, in an uncharacteristic manner, stayed out until 4 in the morning. I'm a fairly controlled person -- I almost never fly off the handle, I work hard to stay balanced, I keep a fairly predictable sleep schedule, etc. But occasionally? It is a luscious feeling to not give a damn and do what simply feels like a fun thing to do. Stay out late! Go on a spontaneous trip! Paint your nails a weird color! Apply for a job that intimidates you! Ironically, tipping myself off balance til 4am made me feel more in balance than I have in awhile.
5. Make Your Own Rules. Did you read all of the above? Did you hate it? Good news: you can ignore it all you want, because I am me and you are you! I spent so much of my life checking my own gut feelings at the feet of other people's rules, and shedding that scenario from my life has made me one very happy human. Sometimes you have to answer to other people -- like your boss, or you know, the law. But other than that, it's up to you! You are up to you. And you don't have to apologize or explain your reasons to anyone. Oh, how magic that realization is.
Relevant little trinkets I bought recently: