30 Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30

Love this. Perfect for a Monday morning pick-me-up. This article is from Glamour Magazine in 1997, written by Pamela Redmond. Even though it is 17 years old (oh man, that just aged me) it has some really good points that I feel are still relevant to today.

I realize that coming into your 30s, and the lessons you should learn are the same from years before, and possibly longer.

By 30, you should have:

1. One old boyfriend you can imagine going back to and one who reminds you of how far you’ve come.
2. A decent piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in your family.
3. Something perfect to wear if the employer or man of your dreams wants to see you in an hour.
4. A purse, a suitcase and an umbrella you’re not ashamed to be seen carrying.
5. A youth you’re content to move beyond.
6. A past juicy enough that you’re looking forward to retelling it in your old age.
7. The realization that you are actually going to have an old age—and some money set aside to help fund it.
8. An e-mail address, a voice mailbox and a bank account—all of which nobody has access to but you.
9. A résumé that is not even the slightest bit padded.
10. One friend who always makes you laugh and one who lets you cry.
11. A set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill and a black lace bra.
12. Something ridiculously expensive that you bought for yourself, just because you deserve it.
13. The belief that you deserve it.
14. A skin-care regimen, an exercise routine and a plan for dealing with those few other facets of life that don’t get better after 30.
15. A solid start on a satisfying career, a satisfying relationship and all those other facets of life that do get better.

By 30, you should know:

1. How to fall in love without losing yourself.
2. How you feel about having kids.
3. How to quit a job, break up with a man and confront a friend without ruining the friendship.
4. When to try harder and when to walk away.
5. How to kiss in a way that communicates perfectly what you would and wouldn’t like to happen next.e350a97914a9cb1874de8ea1c093bfd9
6. The names of: the secretary of state, your great-grandmother and the best tailor in town.
7. How to live alone, even if you don’t like to.
8. How to take control of your own birthday.
9. That you can’t change the length of your calves, the width of your hips or the nature of your parents.
10. That your childhood may not have been perfect, but it’s over.
11. What you would and wouldn’t do for money or love.
12. That nobody gets away with smoking, drinking, doing drugs or not flossing for very long.
13. Who you can trust, who you can’t and why you shouldn’t take it personally.
14. Not to apologize for something that isn’t your fault.
15. Why they say life begins at 30.


  1. says

    Love this! I feel like I’ve seen this somewhere, and it MIGHT have been that magazine article you referenced. LOL. Thank you for the twitter follow, which led me to your blog!

  2. says

    This is why I love your site! :) You make everyone realize how awesome 30 is! You’re young enough to have fun and wise enough to not be stupid! lol hahaha I love this! :)

  3. Anonymous says

    I would love to add a couple to the list of things you should know by the time you’re 30:
    16. That lists of vapid requirements of what you should do/know by the time you are a certain age are pointless and irrelevant.
    17. That there is joy in irony.

  4. says

    It is actually a myth that Maya Angelou created this list, but she has publicly stated that she is flattered to have been given credit for such a great list for women.

  5. says

    Hi Jamie,

    Don’t be scared. I get it. But, I’ve gotta tell you, and I think all my readers can agree that 30 is fabulous. I hope you find some of my posts useful.

    Happy early birthday!

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