Last night I read a Houston Chronicle/Cosmo article by reality TV star Lauren Conrad on 29 things every girl needs before she turns thirty. And I threw up in my mouth a little.
Some were practical and smart, like a fire extinguisher. Others, like a cake stand or matching napkins, were depressingly inaccurate. If you want a cake stand, by all means, go buy one. But a necessity? I think not.
It got me all riled up. So in response, here is my list of things you really do need when you turn 30.
1. 401k - Only 30ish more years til retirement, so you better start saving now!
2. Education - Whether it is a college degree, on-the-job training, by 30 you should have the education you need to support yourself. Even if you don't work out of the home, having the ability to if it all goes to shit is really important.
3. OBGYN - For your health, find a doctor you trust and see them regularly. They'll know your medical history and can help you more effectively.
4. Bank account(s) - No more money in your sock drawer. Be a grown up and put it in the bank.
5. Fire safe - Even just a small one for your social security card and similarly important paperwork. You may even stick a few sentimental things in there; ours has the DVD of our wedding photos and our ultrasound pic of Cade.
6. Health insurance - Hopefully with Obamacare we all get some help getting this.
7. Relationship with your parents - As in a good one. Parents or whomever played the "raising" you role. Knowing you as a self-sufficient adult should be their payout for all the times they grounded you, helped with homework, etc.
8. Active activity - One you can actually stick to. Swimming, running, yoga, whatever, you need an active activity to help manage weight, stress and generally be in good health.
9. Life insurance - God forbid something happens, you should have at least enough life insurance to cover the funeral and ideally enough to help your family pay off any major debts like a mortgage.
10. Will - While we're on the topic, you need a will. It should include end-of-life care instructions, and if you have dependents, a plan for their care.
11. Fire extinguisher - I told you, I agree with some of Lauren Conrad's suggestions and this is one. You should really have a fire extinguisher, maybe two.
12. Designated driver - Every time you drink, have a plan to NOT drink and drive. Your date, your friend, Uber, the couch at the place you are drinking. You are too old to risk the safety of yourself and others because of alcohol.
13. Family plan - Not the "husband, 2.5 kids and a dog" kind. But the family planning kind. Want kids right now? Great, you know how to get them! Don't want kids right now? Great, you know how to not get them. Be an active participant in your sexual health and family planning.
14. Sense of self - You probably tried on a lot of different hats in your 20s (and you'll probably keep doing that forever). By 30 you should sorta know who you are or at least be closer to figuring it out, and be COMFORTABLE with it. If you are a working woman, that's wonderful. If you are an incredible wife and mother, that's wonderful. If you are an enthusiastic patriot and community servant, that's wonderful. Just like it's OK to hate cooking, love cooking, really enjoy country music, love sappy chick flicks or hate red wine.
15. Confidence - Right there with your sense of self, the confidence to be that person, to stand up for what you believe in and be a leader in your own way.
Really, Really, Really Good To Have
16. Flashlight - Again, Lauren Conrad wasn't all wrong.
17. Tool set - Again, she did OK on this one.
18. Adult email address - Please say goodbye to HotHon3y@aol.com. You can't apply for a job or mortgage with that. Use your name or initials.
19. Facebook privacy settings - Understand them and put a few in place. Your boss does not need to see you in a bikini. Really.
20. Resume - Especially if you work outside of the home, but even if you don't, a relatively current resume is always smart to have on hand. You never know when you'll need it.
21. Realistic Budget - No matter how much or how little money you have, a budget keeps it in check. You should have one and be reasonably good at sticking to it.
22. Get outta debt plan - Maybe it is to get 100% outta debt or maybe just to pay off your credit cards. Either is great and the less debt you have, the more freedom you will gain.
23. Passport - Fingers crossed you have a really fun reason to use it. But if a last minute need to travel abroad (remember, that includes Mexico and Canada) comes up, you don't want to be caught in the cluster that is often expedited passport requests.
24. Roadside Assistance Plan - Whether its your own two hands, a paid service or a few reliable family/friends, make sure you know how to bail yourself out if the car battery dies or a tire goes flat.
25. Negotiation skills - Very important for salary, car buying, home buying or even just vacation rental. Or having a toddler.
26. BFF - A girlfriend, husband, your mom. At least one person who you love and can share everything with. You deserve someone to celebrate your highs with and help you through the lows.
Nice To Have
27. Wow outfit - one outfit that you feel really good about yourself when wearing. Doesn't matter if it is work, date-night or what. You deserve to have something you feel fabulous in.
28. Comfortable mattress - Another Lauren Conrad win. You spend 1/4-1/3 of your life sleeping. It should be good quality.
29. Boots - Maybe they are cute, but they should definitely be functional for whatever your winters are like. Now if you live in Hawaii, you can probably substitute flip flops here.
30. Kitchen Favorite - Depending on how you most like to use your kitchen, you should have something in your kitchen that you really really love. Cake stand (to each his own), wine glasses, food processor, margarita machine, it doesn't really matter. Eating and drinking are important, let's enjoy them.