With my fortieth birthday now less than a month away, I seem to be possessed by a long list of shoulds. Not regrets per se, but more by nows. Things I have convinced myself I should have done, achieved, be. All a lot of self-flagellating nonsense of course, but enough to send a woman on the verge, almost completely over the edge!
Things I haven't done?
Had a meaningless affair with Russell Brand. Been to New York. Wrote my book.
Things I haven't got?
A wedding ring. A second baby. A pair of high heels that don't cripple me.
And finally, by my own estimation, things I am not?
Thin. Successful. Organised.
Damn it, damn it and damn it again! And then just as the oh woe is me's were about to plunge me into all-encompassing doom I came across this darling list of 30 things a women should have by the time she is 30 from writer Pamela Redmond Satran, and though, hey ho, I'm a whole decade late to the party, I was thrilled to discover, as I ticked my way through the list, that life has in fact blessed me with a whole heap of gifts to be proud of... not least a past juicy enough make a great story and the capacity to live alone and even like it...
“A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE …. enough money within her control to move out and rent a place of her own even if she never wants to or needs to… A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE …. something perfect to wear if the employer or date of her dreams wants to see her in an hour… A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE … a youth she’s content to leave behind…. A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE …. a past juicy enough that she’s looking forward to retelling it in her old age…. A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ….. a set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra… A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE …. one friend who always makes her laugh… and one who lets her cry… A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE …. a good piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in her family… A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE …. eight matching plates, wine glasses with stems, and a recipe for a meal that will make her guests feel honored… A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE …. a feeling of control over her destiny… EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW… how to fall in love without losing herself.. EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW… HOW TO QUIT A JOB, BREAK UP WITH A LOVER, AND CONFRONT A FRIEND WITHOUT RUINING THE FRIENDSHIP… EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW… when to try harder… and WHEN TO WALK AWAY… EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW… that she can’t change the length of her calves, the width of her hips, or the nature of her parents.. EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW… that her childhood may not have been perfect…but it’s over… EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW… what she would and wouldn’t do for love or more… EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW… how to live alone… even if she doesn’t like it… EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW… whom she can trust, whom she can’t, and why she shouldn’t take it personally… EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW… where to go… be it to her best friend’s kitchen table… or a charming inn in the woods… when her soul needs soothing… EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW… what she can and can’t accomplish in a day… a month…and a year…”
Just got to add that set of screwdrivers to my birthday wish-list and I'm all done...