One of the great challenges for women turning 30 is the feeling of being somewhat accomplished but still not feeling like it’s enough. And this feeling of "enough" is hard for me to express but in my opinion may be the single most important thing to understanding women over 30. "Enough" is not quantifiable by money, degrees, shoe collections, or babies (in no particular order) -- it’s something bigger.
Let me use a football metaphor to explain: Reaching 30 for women is like a diehard fan reaching the end of the second quarter at a really good football game. You can stay and double down for the second half, or you can go home at half time. For women, you start to see two clear paths: one to career and one to family. Only when I turned 30, and my professional and personal life started to really develop, did I give much thought to how exactly I was going to do it all: have a job, a husband, children, and my sanity. I don’t have an answer for that, but I think I’m like most women in that I didn’t really think about the specifics until I turned 30.
So, on the eve of my 31st birthday, I’ve taken it upon myself to compile a list of the top five things never to say to a woman nearing thirty. Enjoy!
No.5 "Ah, the big 3-0!"
Turning 30 is a milestone for women for absolutely no good reason. It’s like April 15th for taxes -- a seemingly arbitrary date that makes you take stock of all that you have, all that you’ve done, all that you are, and all you hope to be. It’s serious stuff and, candidly, super annoying.
No.4 "Women are like fine wine..."
Any silly jokes or comparisons to fine wine are outlawed. Turning this age isn’t the same as 21; you don’t feel cool. In fact, any comparisons to fine wine and women like Angelina Jolie who are "still hot in their 30s" simply don’t work. Not only is she, and other celebrities like her, super-human, but most of them have already been married (at least once) and probably have enough kids to field a basketball team.
No.3 "So, is that your biological clock I hear ticking?"
Just do yourself a favor and don’t mention the biological clock. Women will tell you they aren’t thinking about it, but I’m here to tell you they are. Every single woman (married/single/gay/straight) has "the talk" with our doctors. We’re either ignoring it or obsessing over it -- or a combination of both. Since babies are on the brain, it’s a good idea not to nervously ask, "So, did you think you’d be married by now?" Save your breath -- the answer is yes. I was in complete denial that I even wanted to get engaged until my now-fiancé teased me about it, and I got all huffy and exasperated. I was lucky he had already bought the ring!
No.2 "You should really start taking care of yourself."
Don’t suddenly tell us we should really start taking care of ourselves, like somehow eating poorly at 29 was acceptable because we were so young, but now that we’re 30 our metabolism is going to hell and our dark circles will actually stay put. We do know how to take care of ourselves -- we’ve made it to 30, haven’t we? Enough said.
No.1 "Aren’t you too old for that?"
Over the past year, I’ve discovered there are very few things a 29-year-old can do that a 30-year-old can’t. One thing that comes to mind is a 30-year-old can’t blame her naiveté for bad decisions with men, career or fashion, as we once did in our 20s. For example, turning 30 made me strangely suspect of short skirts. I suddenly started to analyze what hem lengths are appropriate in my "old" age. But reflecting back, I don’t miss anything about my 20s. Not even the shortest of skirts. The bad jobs, bad dates, bad apartments, the never-ending hustle to pave a way in a career defined my 20s, and all of that seemed glamorous for about 2.5 seconds.