Tuesday, November 18, 2008

On 30

I recently received a forwarded e-mail containing a "poem" attributed to Maya Angelou called 30 Things Every Woman Should Know by 30. I usually delete that forwarded clap-trap immediately, but as the momentous birthday approaches, I decided to see what it had to say. As I read, I became suspicious that this was not in fact the wisdom of Ms. Angelou. Some light Googling revealed that it was actually an article by Pamela Redmond Satran and first published in Glamour magazine. The actual article 30 Things Every Woman Should Have and Know by the Time She's 30 is worth the two minute it takes to read. Some of the items seemed a little cliche or sexist even, but it made me think about what advice I'd give on the subject...

By 30 you (or I...) should be able to:
1. Change your own tire, set up your own home wireless network, do your own taxes, and put together your Ikea entertainment center without having to call a brother, father, or boyfriend.
2. Dine, travel, or see a movie alone without feeling self-conscious.
3. Coherently articulate your position on the political/social/religious issues that are important to you without simply regurgitating what influential people in your life believe.
4. Cook at least one signature dish extremely well and contribute it to family gatherings.
5. Get what you want from a customer service rep without crying or having your mother call for you.

By 30 you (...I) should have:
1. Relationships with people (family, friends, significant others) that you know you can count on.
2. Clothes that are age- and body-appropriate...remember, great style evolves.
3. A 401k, savings account, and checking account that you contribute to more regularly than you withdraw.
4. An new outlet for that creativity, athleticism, or whatever that you haven't had since high school or college.
5. A tentative plan for the future...When someone asks you where you see yourself in 10 years, have an answer, even if that answer changes over time.

By 30 you (...I) should know:
1. The past, good or bad, doesn't define you now. It's what you're doing right now that matters, so don't live in the past.
2. What you're looking for in a job and a relationship so you'll know a good thing when you see it.
3. How to say no gracefully.
4. How to be alone and be completely entertained by your own company.
5. When to trust your gut instincts...which, by the way, is almost always.

By 30 you (definitely I) should try:
1. Living alone.
2. That food you refused to touch when you were a kid.
3. Exercising twice as much as you did before your metabolism turned on you.
4. Reading more books...maybe even some nonfiction ones
5. To make "you" time regardless of how crazy your day is...if you can't give yourself at least 30 uninterrupted minutes a day, who will?

That's just my .02. I'll be honest--I'm more excited than apprehensive about turning 30. Maybe it's true that life begins at 30...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

From the Blogosphere...

There would have been a time when I would have been loathe to admit that my daily intellect is sustained by a large variety of blogs I read regularly, even more than those listed in my blogroll. But I'm not ashamed. The blogosphere had evolved from merely a forum for ignorance (although it has it's fair share of that too) to a place where thoughtful people are exchanging ideas, really talking through ideas with each other. When I don't have the heart to write, their words inspire me to at least compose responses in my head. Lately, I've been immersed in reading (and sometimes tentatively participating in) philosophical discussions of social issues on a former professor's Facebook blog. I've commiserated with women discussing how difficult it is to meet and make friends with other women in your post-college years. I've been hooked on a fiction writing blog where three contributors chronicle the trials and tribulations of their fictional hero.

Today I was inspired by yesterday's post from one of the Glamour.com dating bloggers. Ryan Dodge wrote about what fictional characters he found inspirational. It got me thinking about the fictional heroines who inspired me from childhood and beyond, and what those characteristics meant to me. These are some of my favorites in no particular order...

1. Laura Ingals Wilder (of the Little House books)
2. Cadie Woodlawn (of a book by the same name)
3. Jo March (of Little Women)
4. Nancy Drew (of the old ones more so than the newer ones)
5. Molly (of the American Girl series, which I may or may not have been too old for at the time)
6. Claudia & Stacy (from the BabySitters Club books)
7. Elizabeth (from Sweet Valley High)
8. Elizabeth Bennett (of Pride & Prejudice)
9. Scout Finch (of To Kill a Mockingbird)
10. Edna Pontellier (of the Awakening)
11. Elinor Dashwood (of Sense & Sensibility)
12. Hermione Granger (of the Harry Potter series)
13. Offred (of the Handmaid's Tale)
14. Evie Decker (of Slipping Down Life)
15. Various (usually doomed) Shakespeare characters...Desdemona, Lady MacBeth, Ophelia, etc.

Other than the conflicted heroines of the adult books in the list, I think most of them share the same inspirational quality of independence, creativity, and ambition.

What about you (those of you who read)...Who are your favorites?