Hitting the big 3-oh is a milestone. Back in college not only did we think it was the beginning of middle age, we also adopted the mantra “Don’t trust anyone over 30.” Today we say stuff like “Life begins at 30” and you probably have at least 50 more years to live it to the fullest. However, by the time a woman hits 30 there are a few things she should know and should have done.
By the time you reach the magic milestone you should have pretended you were a virgin at least twice, learned how to drive a standard shift (you never know when you’ll have to navigate the Italian Alps) and lived alone so you’ll be prepared for divorce or widowhood.
A woman approaching 30 should have been given a piece of expensive jewelry, experienced the guilt and pleasure of wolfing down an entire box of Girl Scout cookies in one sitting and been fired from a job just when she thought she had a semblance of security at the place. She should know how to be friends with former lovers and should have had at least one affair simply because the man looked good in tight pants. But she should also understand that if a man has big feet all it means is that he has big feet.
She should have had her ears pierced, discovered at least one lump in her breast that caused untold anguish until her doctor reassured her that it was benign and finally stopped worrying about the size of her breasts. She should have had a urinary infection, a few vaginal infections, and tried The Pill, expensive champagne, caviar, snails and a Big Mac.
She should have bought her own car and learned to change a tire, bought her own bling, gone on vacation solo and flown first class at least once. She should have started a savings plan, learned how to read an annual report and opened an account with a brokerage firm.
She should not be afraid to squash a bug with her bare hand or go a night without sleep. She should understand that if she marries for money, she’ll earn every penny of it. She should be able to walk into Tiffany’s without being intimidated.
She should be able to speak before an audience without her voice shaking. She may be inclined to have a fling with a married man but she has to understand that when he confided “My wife doesn’t understand me,” it really meant “I wanna get laid.”
She should recognize the economic disparity between men and women in the workforce and realize that equality between the sexes will only be a reality when mediocre women enjoy the same job opportunities that mediocre men have held for years. She should understand that if she does have any power in the workforce it isn’t really hers, but is carried with the position she holds.
And what shouldn’t she have done before her cake is crammed with 30 candles? She should not have let herself get hopelessly fat, passed her sexual peak or settled into a dull routine. She should not have met the great love of her life or her worst enemy. She should not have a dead-end job, a lover over 40, written her memoirs or run for political office. She should understand that there are decades of living after the big 3-oh and that, while 30 may seem old, life is just beginning.
Rosemary Fanti Illustration