I am only giving this book three stars because part of me feels that it’s the kind of thing one should come across when she’s, say, 25. Also, the problem with books like this, books of advice, is that they are not the same for everyone. And so, without further ado, I give you my own list of things I believe it’s good that I have and know now that I’m 30.
1. The knowledge that life goes on. When I was 25, I thought that my life was destroyed by a hellacious breakup but going through it taught me that life goes on, even when you think it doesn’t. It taught me that I can rely on myself. When forming new relationships, I never think that I will die without someone anymore and this knowledge aided me in my time of grief as well.
2. The ability to live alone. On par with the book. I never thought I could but the one year that I did was actually marvelous.
3. Books. You need books to escape into and books to distract you and books to teach you things.
4. A sense of curiosity. Learn things. Think. Grow. There’s nothing like playing Trivial Pursuit with Google open.
5. A knowledge of what you like and what you don’t like. Obviously, you can’t know everything because you’re still trying new things but I can tell you that I LOVE a lot of things that I thought I would never try at age 25 (sushi, Thai, Indian) and I still hate some stuff that I thought I might acquire a taste for (shrimp).
6. Clothes that speak to who you are. There is nothing quite so comfortable for me as jeans, flip-flops, a tee, and a flannel.
7. Clothes that speak to who you want to be. Every day this week I made a point to dress up just a little and it made me feel glowy and happy. I WANT to be the girl with the big blue beaded necklace.
8. Friends that fit your high and low places. When I am falling apart, I can call on the same people and know that they will be there.
9. A sense of where you have been but the knowledge that the past is the past. You don’t have to be who you have always been or like the things you have always liked but it’s important not to forget how much you dug Limp Bizkit when you were 15 and to enjoy a blast from the past once in a while.
10. A sense of where you want to go. I can tell you the things I want, even though I won’t here, and it’s important that I know that.
11. A firm foot in reality. When I was 25, I would get so blasted that I would experience The Week of Shame, when memories of my Saturday night would roll up on me out of nowhere and I would be super embarrassed. At 30 I try to never, ever lose myself like that. I want to remember it all, even if it includes some embarrassment.
12. A sense of whimsy. I recently bought the cutest fabric for my throw cushions on the couch. Blue with little foxes all dressed up. Why? Because it’s whimsical and it makes me happy and it’s MY couch.
13. Someone you can trust to tell you when you are being an idiot. Mom. Bestie. They will check me when I can’t.
14. The ability to keep your head in your own game. I would say that 50% of the time that I get sad, it’s because I am comparing. I gently remind myself to keep my head in my own game and it always helps. No, I don’t have a 2500 sq ft house on 10 acres but I can clean my whole house in an hour and my payment is a quarter of what it would be.
15. Some things that you positively adore. Last year I pinched my pennies for leather jacket that I love. It cost 10 times what I had been paying for my winter coats but I didn’t care. It was love at first sight and I have never regretted spending the money,
16. The “Never let anyone make you feel bad about driving that car” mentality. When I bought my last car, the newest I had ever owned and a bit whimsical to boot, I felt really bad about it for a while but it made me so happy. My father told me not to let anyone make me feel bad about the things I had and I have tried to live by that ever since. Nobody knows what situation you are in but you.
17. Some firm opinions. I have opinions that I hold onto strongly. I spent years thinking about stuff and formulating my opinions.
18. The willingness to listen to the other side and admit when you are wrong. By the same coin, I never shut out another person’s opinion. As long as the conversation is respectful, I will listen and participate. If you start calling me a “femininazi” or talking about how my candidate is the “anti-Christ,” the conversation is no longer respectful and I will remove myself from it.
19. The ability to walk away from drama. Just like with number 18, if someone is creating drama and trying to pull me in, I just extract myself from it.
20. A few good routines. I work out first thing in the morning. I drink a cup of green or chamomile tea at night and use the time it takes the kettle to get going to brush my teeth and wash my face. These are healthy habits and they are easy for me to follow.
21. Flexibility. Look, sometimes things are not going to go as planned. You’re not going to get everything done. Let it go. Move on. Be flexible.
22. Comfortable shoes. No, seriously. A few years ago, I was running around in the kind of heels that I needed to take a shot of whiskey to handle. They hurt, even if they looked fabulous. Now, I am willing to wear a two inch heel instead of a three because I can run and jump and actually make it through the day without dying or drinking.
23. Music that will make you happy, no matter what. It’s been a tumultuous year here but there are a couple of songs that I can throw on when I’m sobbing and be dancing and singing along by the end.
24. A sense of smell. This is one of those things that is all over the place. You need a perfume that is you, no matter the cost. You also need the ability to sniff out something bad in the fridge or exactly what candle you want.
25. An idea of what your basics are. People are always talking about the basics of building a wardrobe or the basics of every pantry or the basics of every skin care routine. What works for you? Mine are: jeans, cardigans, tanks, dresses, skirts. Pasta, sauce, milk, cheese, bread, eggs, peanut butter. Dove, St. Ives, BB cream, black eyeliner.
26. Someplace sacred. You need to have a place where you can go alone to think about things. Mine is a particular cemetery.
27. A passion. I am lucky. My passion is books. I work with them, relax with them, write on them, listen to them.
28. A sense that you are doing good one way or another. I think that I have a super important job. I think that I do good for people every day. I donate to charities and non profits. I feel good about these things.
29. The knowledge that money isn’t everything. An old ditty that I used to play for piano lessons said, “Money can’t buy everything. Money won’t make you a king.” Don’t get hung up on it.
30. Some solid foundations. Life is crazy but I do have a career and a home and a family, a husband and cats to come home to, friends that I can rely on. The foundation is key.