30 Things to Do Before You’re 30
Most of us were deprived of something as children, whether due to negligence, accident, or just ignorance. Many of us decide to have children so we can give them the things we missed, but we often forget that our younger selves still live inside of us. Even as adults, we continue to desperately reach out to the same people that deprived us as children for some sort of fulfillment, only to be disappointed once again. It was only recently that I realized that once you become an adult, it’s your responsibility to protect and nurture the child within you.
My grandmother raised my mom with the believe that you must be loved and financially supported by a man in order to be fulfilled as a woman – and she passed that token of advice onto me. I started dating at age 13 to appease my family, as well as to fill the hole in my heart that was created by the absence of a father and growing up in severe poverty. I became a “serial monogamist”, dating one man after another, until I found a real jewel who proposed to me a week before my college graduation. He then accumulated $15,000 worth of credit card debt in my name (which, ironically, included the purchase of my engagement ring). He promptly took off to father a child with another woman, but not after completely destroying my self-esteem.
Around August of 2005, in the middle of the abuse, debt, and near-hysteria, my good friend Lynn handed me a glass of wine and instructed me to make a list of 30 things I wanted to do before I turned 30. That way, I could focus my energy on positive goals that would nurture the damaged little Stephanie inside me, rather than just focus on the obvious necessity to pay off debt. Although 30 seemed a long way down the road, I rolled my eyes at her and created the list to appease my friend.
Lo and behold, as a result of this list and Lynn’s unwavering friendship, the last few year have been the best years of my life. I’ve come a long way from being that shy girl in the back of the classroom, reading Anne Rice vampire novels and hoping that some prince charming would sweep me off my feet while disregarding my social anxiety, stutter, and goofy glasses.
I encourage you to put down that trashy romance novel make the same type of list – 20 things to do before you’re 20, 40 things to do before you’re 40, etc. If that “round number” is around the corner for you, then make a smaller more manageable list – just for fun! And if you feel guilty about any of this for a second, remember, this is not for you – it’s for the child inside you. Treat her as if she was a real person.
And in case you’re curious, here’s mine:
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