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Monday, April 30, 2012

Em's list of what every woman should have and know by 30.

This has to be the toughest thing I have ever promised to do.

After posting Glamour magazine's 30 things a woman should have and know by the time she is 30 and openly mocking it I have found it quite difficult to compile my own list.

I wanted it to have reflective value for you all, to be applicable to your situation - to encourage you to aspire to more than just a black lacy bra and a cordless power drill (which was on Glamour's list.)

I wanted to create a list that you could print out and stick on your fridge. Something you could email around to your girlfriends, Mothers and Sistas.

The first thing that popped into my head was that you should own a mobile phone that doesn't involve prepaid credit, unless of course you are a drug dealer. Alas, that was no better than Glamour suggesting you must have an e-mail address and bank account in your own name.

I sat staring at my computer screen looking for inspiration. By the hammer of Thor! You "should" definitely know the National anthem (even the 2nd bit that no-one knows) by the time you are 30!
No Em, I said (a lot of self talk goes on around my house), how often are women going to call on that bit of information? That isn't going to make a difference in their lives.

After some pacing, dusting, lint inspecting and dog grooming it finally dawned on me..

The list is pointless. The list serves none of you any purpose, no I am not trying to get out of writing it but every time I came up with something it was either superficial, consumerist or would cause anxiety and that is the last thing I wish to do.

You are doomed to fail if you chose to follow a list printed by an American magazine in 1997.

The thing is, who am I to tell YOU what YOU should HAVE and KNOW by the time YOU are 30? Who is ANYONE to do such a thing?  It's the use of the word "should" that offends me most. Unless the person using it has achieved absolute spiritual and emotional enlightenment and can give you the one true answer then I don't want to hear it.

At the risk of sounding like someone who wears a lot of corduroy and owns a beige skivvy we are all on our own path.

As luck would have it I am married to a professional coach, and this is his thing. So I asked Scotty what I should impart onto you all and he suggested I offer some questions. So here we go (These are my words, his language is far more professional.):

1.How well is worrying about the following, serving you?

Generally being perfect.

If you notice yourself worrying, that's ok just try one of the following. Can you change yourself or the situation? Can you exit the situation or is there a way to accept it?

2. Guilt - This is obviously linked to worrying. Guilt does nothing for anyone, it traps you and causes suffering. Either act or accept the reality and let it go.

3. Have you figured out what is really important to you? What are your values? -  (I pushed him on this. Coming up with your values is no easy task. He fought me and said there are many ways, I bullied him into telling me one.)

Think of one of your peak experiences, write it down using great detail and as many senses as possible - i.e. what you heard, felt, thought, saw, the mood, were you alone? With family? Were you giving to others? Was it expensive?  Re-create the richness of the experience as much as possible. Read back through it and try to exact the deeper factors that made it so good for you. Bang -VALUES! Scotty says aim for 5. He also says it's helpful to know which ones you'd drop off if you had to take it to 3 values and what your number 1 value would be.

4. Make good stuff happen. Look for easy wins, but also think about what you ultimately want. For most women it's happiness. So do things that make you happy. Go deep here ladies. I mean it, not just shoe shopping but experiences that align with your values. The satisfaction will be deeper and longer, I promise.

I know we may have drifted into wankerville but the bottom line is stop worrying and start living.


By the way, I suck at all of the above and I live with a dude who does it for a job. It's not easy but when you all achieve oneness I will claim a small part of your victory..

I hope this helped.

Em x


Debyl1 said...

Love this Em for whatever age woman.Will give it to my 18year old daughter to look over.She has just started uni and is trying to find herself.
Thankyou for giving such great things to think about.xx

Elisa {with grace and eve} said...

Love it. I like the questions, and the lack of a list.

Anonymous said...

Please thank your husband for me. I turned 40 this year, just had my first baby. Never has it felt so important for me to have a 'manifesto' of sorts, something I can look to/read to keep me focused. These tips have got me started on articulating my values, beliefs, needs, wants.