[Who cares about] Before 30 lists

When you’re in your late twenties, sometimes it kind of feels like you’re on a very fast rollercoaster – you’re white-knuckled, screaming, and on a terrifying free-fall towards thirty.

At this time, you’re bombarded with lists – the before-thirty bucket list, thirty things every woman should know/own/do before she turns thirty, etc. etc. Which only makes the fall seem that much faster and more terrifying. (There was even a list out there of thirty places you should “do it” before you turn thirty, which inexplicably included the zoo, a public bus, and Radio City Music Hall. I can’t even…)

I recently came across this article: “30 Epic Places You Absolutely Must Visit Before You’re 30.” The list includes places such as Bhutan, Namibia, the Egyptian Pyramids, Antarctica, and the XS Nightclub in Las Vegas (…?).

Got that, everyone? You absolutely must visit Antarctica before you turn thirty. Otherwise don’t even bother.

Heaven forbid you leave one stone unturned, one lesson unlearned, one skill unmastered, before the clock strikes thirty and you turn into a big ol’ washed-up hag pumpkin.

It’s okay if you’re still workin’ on your night cheese!

Who cares if you haven’t traveled the entire world by age 29? Little known fact – they still stamp your passport if you’re 32.

Who cares if you’re not where you thought you’d be in your career, or if you’re starting a new one entirely? Guess what – you have a good 30 or 40 more years to work that out.

Who cares if you’re not married yet, or not quite ready to have kids? Maybe you thought you’d have a ring on your finger and a cute baby bump at 28; I did too. But if that’s not what life had in store for you, if you’re still searching, if you have your first sweet little baby at 36 instead of 26 – well, you’ll still be just as happy about it then.

Who cares if your skirt’s sometimes wrinkled and you know nothing about wine pairings and you sometimes leave dishes in the sink and burn yourself with the curling iron and eat cheese and crackers for dinner?

It’s not that I don’t think you should be intentional with your life, make goals, and strive for improvement. But thirty’s not a deadline.

Contrary to what these lists suggest, you don’t have to be done. You don’t suddenly have to be the Perfect Version of You. You can still make mistakes and have doubts. You can still feel like a hot mess from time to time. You can still have dreams and plans you’ve yet to achieve.

I think many of us, especially women, are waiting for this one magical moment where we feel like a Very Serious Adult who Has It All Together. Where we’re always poised and confident and effortlessly chic. Friends…I don’t think that day is coming. I actually sort of believe there may be women like that out there, but in the same way I believe there may be aliens out there.

You don’t have to be that woman to turn thirty. You can just be you.

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Hey, you — you’re the worst

I don’t really like Halloween.

There, I said it. I want to. I used to. But now, as an adult, it’s just disappointing. Like, it makes me disappointed in society.

Every year, I can’t help but feel a vague sense of dread, just waiting to see what kind of destruction takes place. And today, the day after Halloween, is when all the lovely details come out.

This is how I feel about Halloween

About twenty cars were vandalized in my neighborhood last night – I’m talking graffiti, slashed tires, broken windows, theft. Just…why? I live in a city, in a neighborhood with people from all walks of life. It’s not crime-free, but it’s far from a scary, violent place. Except on Halloween, I guess.

I did walk away from my car with some trepidation last night, worried that perhaps I’d find it egged or a pumpkin smashed across the hood. I gave people too much credit. Thankfully my car was spared, but many of my neighbors had their day/week/month ruined this morning for no reason at all.

A few miles away, my dad, a man in his sixties, reluctantly answered the door shortly before midnight after relentless knocking and ringing of the doorbell – simply to stop the racket that I’m sure was stressing out both him and our elderly family dog (who has major anxiety). At which point a bunch of jackass teenagers silly-stringed him – a retired man, relaxing alone in his home. Really?

Every year it’s the same thing – teenagers, even adults, smash to pieces jack-o-lanterns lovingly carved by small children. Homes and cars are vandalized. Actual riots break out.

I get that Halloween involves mischief – kids being kids, pulling pranks, a little TP and shaving cream. But it’s not that anymore. Now it’s genuine cruelty and destruction and just makes me wonder what is so wrong in people’s lives. A holiday that should be so fun – for adults too but especially for kids – has just become sinister.

Honestly, what’s next? Breaking into people’s homes and stealing their Thanksgiving turkey? Throwing coal through people’s windows on Christmas Day? Crashing a child’s birthday party and slapping him or her in the face?

To the people who pull this crap: You are high on the list of the worst people in the world. Below terrorists and serial killers – but far above litterers. And you know how I feel about litterers.