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

I'm about 6 and a half years far from getting to 30 but I'd like to share with you this article I chanced upon on Glamour. I'm sure you've seen this before or read it somewhere and no, it's not written by Maya Angelou.

Oh and I've included my notes, too. 


This 1997 Glamour article has become a popular web chain letter, usually titled “Maya Angelou’s Best Poem Ever.” Glamour contributor Pamela Redmond Satran is flattered, but she wrote the list, updating it in 2005.

February 1, 2007
Pamela Redmond Satran

In May of 1997, I wrote this list. I had passed my thirtieth birthday and wanted to tell younger women about the things I really wished I’d had and known by that important milestone. I guess people agreed with what I had to say, because a few years later the list showed up in my e-mail inbox; a friend had forwarded it to me for my reading pleasure, completely unaware that I was the author. After that, every month or two someone would send it to me and I’d immediately hit “reply all” and type, “Hey, that was me! I wrote that for Glamour.” (After a while, I don’t think anyone believed me.) The list became a phenomenon; posted on hundreds of websites, it was attributed to everyone from Jesse Jackson to Maya Angelou to Hillary Clinton. Someone even published it as an anonymously written book. As I read over these lines now, so many of them still seem worth having and knowing—whether you’re 30 or 22 or 75. Being a little older and a little wiser, I’ve plugged in a few new “shoulds.” By all means, add some of your own.

By 30, you should have: *teeyah's notes in bold.

  1. One old boyfriend you can imagine going back to and one who reminds you of how far you’ve come.[check and check]
  2. A decent piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in your family. [hmm. doubtful. I've never really bought a piece of furniture, not even when I attempted to live alone so no. I've yet to do this.]
  3. Something perfect to wear if the employer or man of your dreams wants to see you in an hour. [Whenever shopping and I see a classic piece, I always say this to myself, to justify the price, hence the too-many LBDs in my closet, as well as suits I've never got around to wearing.]
  4. A purse, a suitcase and an umbrella you’re not ashamed to be seen carrying.[I will never carry something I will be embarrassed of, though I think the author is implying a classic designer bag and an umbrella maybe so yes, I've got that covered.] 
  5. A youth you’re content to move beyond. [Since I am just nearing my last months as a 23 year old, my youth is not yet content to be left, I will learn this as I approach the big 3-0]
  6. A past juicy enough that you’re looking forward to retelling it in your old age.[As early as now, I think I've got that down pat.]
  7. The realization that you are actually going to have an old age—and some money set aside to help fund it.[One of the many lessons my mother taught me is to never be a burden to anyone when I grow old, thus she made me set aside a significant amount of money meant for my retirement.]
  8. An e-mail address, a voice mailbox and a bank account—all of which nobody has access to but you.[I never intend to share my passwords, thankyouverymuch.]
  9. A résumé that is not even the slightest bit padded. [Two pages and that's it.]
  10. One friend who always makes you laugh and one who lets you cry. [Check and check.]
  11. A set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill and a black lace bra.[First and third --- check! I've got to buy a cordless drill though.]
  12. Something ridiculously expensive that you bought for yourself, just because you deserve it.[Yes, yes, yes.]
  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.[Having friends who are past this age made me learn that it's harder to lose pounds as you get older. At this age, it only takes four rice-less meals to lose 3 inches, and yet my friend is on a cracker diet for two months and lost one measly pound. Then again, maybe it's just him.]
  15. A solid start on a satisfying career, a satisfying relationship and all those other facets of life that do get better. [No and no.]

By 30, you should know:
  1. How to fall in love without losing yourself.[ It's possible, but not at all easy.]
  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.[When I quit my previous job, I definitely felt like I was breaking up with a guy. Imagine having dinners with my previous boss, deals and negotiations. 
  4. When to try harder and when to walk away.[Walking away is pretty hard.]
  5. How to kiss in a way that communicates perfectly what you would and wouldn’t like to happen next.
  6. The names of: the secretary of state, your great-grandmother and the best tailor in town.[Yes on the last two!]
  7. How to live alone, even if you don’t like to.[Yes, living alone definitely teaches a lot of lessons.]
  8. How to take control of your own birthday.[How can birthdays be so out of control?]
  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.[It's nothing personal has become my mantra for quite some time.]
  14. Not to apologize for something that isn’t your fault.
  15. Why they say life begins at 30. [Does it, really?]

Do you have a list, too? Share!
*image credit: Glamour