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“A woman, till five-and-thirty, is only looked upon as a raw girl, and can possibly make no noise in the world till about forty.” —Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762) English poet, essayist, letter writer. excerpt from a letter to Lady Rich, (20 September 1716), Letters, 1767
My twenties were a whirlwind of fact-finding, exploration and recognizing insecurities, and now that I am at the mid-way point of my thirties, I can say with certainty, it only gets better. My five years as a trigenarian have been far richer (primarily experientially) and more fulfilling, yet this is not to say without struggles and challenges. In fact, I can safely say that the challenges have proven themselves to be more difficult than in my twenties. However, the gained wisdom from these lessons learned made it much easier to navigate, and I have no doubt with such wisdom helped me to avoid unnecessary frustrations.
At the end of this week, I will be celebrating my 35th birthday, so if indeed Mary Wortley Montagu is correct and 35 is the end of being a girl, I say I’m ready and preparing to make some worthwhile noise, and I hear it only gets better.
Today I wanted to share 35 things I have found to be beneficial to attain – whether an actual physical item or particular knowledge – as we all navigate this transitional decade of a woman’s life.
1. a classic shoe (be it a flat, boot or pump that fits your signature style)
2. a quality timepiece
3. a complementary lip color
4. a work uniform that is appropriate and stylish
5. a signature perfume
6. a preferred flower (or one for each season)
7. jewelry that is stunning and irreplaceable
8. original art that is priceless to you
9. an investment tote that could last your lifetime
10. a quality, chic winter coat
11. a black dress that is indispensable
12. a hair style that reveals you’re a woman who knows her unique beauty
13. regular access to knowledge and information about the world
14. a growing retirement account
15. the strength to say no
16. the knowledge to know when to exercise this ability and when to set her fears aside and say yes instead
17. the courage to take a risk on her dreams
18. an understanding of good health: more water, less pop, more regular exercise, less body loathing, more real food, less quick processed food
19. the ability to cook a meal to impress anyone she wishes
20. the self-respect that having said cooking abilities means she isn’t obligated to do so simply because she is a woman
21. her own definition for a contented life
22. how to fall in love without losing herself in the process
23. respect for her body – physically (a fitness regimen), objectively (savvy to fawning charm from outsiders who might only see a woman’s body and nothing else) and mentally (eating well to nourish not diminish the brain’s abilities)
24. signature stationery and the knowledge of how to craft a lovely Thank You
25. a small handful of trusted confidants
26. at least one tremendous risk that she is unapologetically proud of
27. a broken heart that has rebounded and stepped forward from the past
28. rejection or challenges that have made her appreciate the success that followed
29. the knowledge of common grammar rules (i.e. How are you doing? I’m doing
30. nourishing, rich night and/or eye cream
31. an understanding that drama should be reserved for film, the theater and television, not one’s form of daily entertainment and conversation
32. time or financial support (no matter how much or how little) given to causes she is passionate about
33. to have read at least one book regarding U.S. Women’s History (here is a list of many books I recommend, some of which are focused on women and history)
34. an aesthetician she trusts for her beauty needs – waxing, massage, facial, nails
35. a passport and evidence of the beginning of a well-traveled life
While I still have a half a decade to go, I am eager to see what the future has in store and confident that while I will make continued mistakes along the way, gems of wisdom will be the parting gift to help make each year richer and more wonderful than the past years.
I want to extend the invitation for you to share in the comments what you’ve learned whether you’re currently in your thirties, have experienced your thirties or will eventually be in your thirties and want to comment on what previous decades have taught you. I am all ears and I know fellow readers would love to hear as well. Have a wonderful week.
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Image: TSLL IG