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30 Things A Woman Should Do Before Turning 30

I didn’t even notice turning 20. That particular occasion was buried deep between getting my undergraduate degree, fighting with my (then) boyfriend, and figuring out how I would ever pay back my student loans.

For most women, turning 30 is somehow a bigger deal. When my mother was 30, she had been married for ten years, and had a nine-year old daughter and a four-year old son.

I found my first gray hair this year. Just one. I kept touching it with my finger, and examining it in the mirror. It was just so… curious!

Given how productive I’ve been in the last few years, it is no wonder. Hell, I’m surprised my whole head is not yet white.

It is my birthday today.


As I reflect on my years of wisdom (ha!), I’d like to present a comprehensive list for aspiring 20-somethings.

30 things a woman should do before turning 30

  1. find a foundation that matches her skin tone perfectly

  2. buy a pair of shoes she cannot afford

  3. chop down a tree

  4. have her heart broken

  5. have her heart broken again

  6. go to Burning Man

  7. go on a roadtrip with girlfriends

  8. be able to tell an ale from a lager (or Merlot from Shiraz)

  9. have a signature dish

  10. own a killer outfit have an outfit that makes her feel sexy

  11. learn to drive standard transmission

  12. travel solo for an extended period of time

  13. have at least one person whom you can call at 2am, and they would come

  14. learn how to tie a tie

  15. try smoking, then never smoke again

  16. start a business

  17. buy her own place (or simply have a room of her own)

  18. make something grow

  19. learn another language

  20. ride a motorcycle (preferably along the shores of Ganges)

  21. own a cashmere sweater

  22. make a difference in someone’s life

  23. go into therapy

  24. have someone bring her coffee in bed

  25. write (bad) poetry

  26. sing karaoke

  27. go skinny dipping

  28. read Little Women… and Jane Eyere… and Gone with The Wind, and Anna Karenina… read

  29. learn how to clean (and jerk, and deadlift, and squat)

  30. climb a mountain (real or otherwise)

Let’s see how I’m doing…

1. find a foundation that matches her skin tone perfectly Found it! Unfortunately, it’s Dior. Take a breath before you check out the price tag.

2. buy a pair of shoes she cannot afford A couple. All Michael Kors. Thank God for Salomon.

3. chop down a tree I know you are not surprised.

4. have her heart broken True story.

5. have her heart broken again One day I will write a memoir…

6. go to Burning Man Not yet. It’s a bit of a logistical nightmare to plan. It takes place in August. Tickets sell out in January (!!!). It’s been on the list for a while, but I have not had a chance to go yet.

7. go on a roadtrip with girlfriends Part hilarious, part ridiculous, part disastrous. Just the way it should be.

8. be able to tell an ale from a lager (or Merlot from Shiraz) My favorite museum has been the Heineken museum in Amsterdam. Enough said.

9. have a signature dish Indian dhal. I’ve even had compliments from my Indian students who were raised on their mothers’ dhal.

10. have an outfit that makes her feel sexy My Salomon running tights. It makes my butt look fantastic. And, yes, I do own a dress. Mostly because Michael Kors shoes do not go well with running tights.

11. learn to drive standard transmission All the cars I’ve owned had three pedals.

12. travel solo for an extended period of time Six months in India. Can’t wait to do that again.

13. have at least one person whom you can call at 2am, and they would come Yep. I’ve called. They came.

14. learn how to tie a tie Not pretty, but functional.

15. try smoking, then never smoke again Ok, maybe not never, but normally not a fan.

16. start a business Done, and done!

17. buy her own place (or simply have a room of her own as per Virginia Woolf) One of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.

18. make something grow I have a pet avocado.

19. learn another language Well, I’m writing in my second language… so yeah.

20. ride a motorcycle (preferably along the shores of Ganges) You better believe it.


21. own a cashmere sweater Yep.

22. make a difference in someone’s life So I’ve been told.

23. go into therapy Simply so I could use the lines: “My shrink says…” and “I’ll have to talk about this with my therapist”.

24. have someone bring her coffee in bed And not just once. And it’s just as amazing every single time.

25. write (bad) poetry Some angry, some even angrier. Usually when I’m in a dark place.

26. sing karaoke Badly. But yes.

27. go skinny dipping There are no pictures. Sorry.

28. read Started reading when I was four. Never stopped.

29. learn how to clean (and jerk, and deadlift, and squat) Oh yes.

30. climb a mountain (real or otherwise) Three peaks in Himalayas.


29 out of 30. Not bad!

And now, if you’ll excuse me… I have a plane to catch.

I’M GOING TO BURNING MAN!

Signing off, Solo

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