advice black womanhood happiness
30 Things Every Grown Ass Woman Needs to Have, Know, and Learn By 3010/31/2014
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos by Diana Veiga As a 33 year old woman, I’m still learning about mysel...
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos
by Diana Veiga
As a 33 year old woman, I’m still learning about myself, womanhood, and how to live my best life. When I turned 30, I did so with the typical trepidation, but also a joy that I was shedding my twenties and entering a new decade. I was wiser and more confident than ever before. I went into my thirties knowing more about myself, what I liked, and what (and who) I could live without. So, here’s a list about 30 things every grown ass woman needs to have, know, and learn by 30.
- A signature dish – It’s important to have that one meal that you can really cook, that you know will be good every time, and that you can take to potlucks and other events and wow people. Experiment with some dishes, find one that works, and perfect it so that it’s great every time.
- A signature scent – Sure, you can try different oils and perfumes, but you need to have a go to scent, one that you know is right for you and your body chemistry. The one that makes the men say, “damnnn you smell good” and the women ask, “what are you wearing?” But you know you’re not telling them.
- A little black dress – No matter your size, every woman needs a little black dress. The one that fits you just right and hugs all of your curves perfectly. The one that commands attention in a room and stops traffic. Get it tailored if need be. This one needs to be a show stopper.
- Your correct bra size – By 30, the girls might need a little extra support so make sure those things are sitting nice and right. Visit a lingerie store and get a proper fitting so you know your bra size and the best bras for your size and shape. Your girls will thank you.
- Proper undergarments – Our grannies knew what they were doing with those garters and slips. Proper undergarments can smooth things out – all those rumples and ripples – so that you look magnificent in your clothes. Learn about underpinnings, those foundation garments, that will help set off the right outfit.
- Your body shape and how to dress it – We are all different shapes and sizes and we don’t all have the “perfect” body. That’s ok. Just know your body type and what looks best in it. Do you have the right body type to rock an A-line or a pencil skirt? What’s the best way to accentuate your best assets? And you do have them. Find out and then rock out.
- How to Cook – Don’t learn how to cook for a man. Learn how to cook for yourself. You have to eat, right? Ordering and going out is quite expensive. Save those coins and either sit at the feet of your mama or an elder who can cook, take a cooking class, watch some cooking shows, or ask a friend. Learn how to do the basics and have several go-to meals that you’re able to prepare.
- What the f*ck you drink – Don’t be one of those chicks at the bar who’s hemming and hawing because she doesn’t know what she wants to drink. In the same way you need a signature dish, you need a signature drink – something you can order wherever you are and know that you’ll enjoy it. Whether it’s wine, a cocktail, or a shot of something – figure out what flavors you like and stick with it when you’re out and about so you won’t be disappointed.
- Home Economic Basics – Keeping a tidy home, having basic sewing skills, all those things our mamas and grandmamas probably learned in home economics class. Yes, I know, I know it’s not 1952. But some of these things are still necessary. Similar to cooking, don’t do it for a man. Do it for yourself. Do you want to live in chaos? Do you want to walk around with missing buttons? No. Learn how to do these things for yourself and for your home so that you can be happy when you walk through those doors.
- Car Maintenance – Now, whether you want to learn how to change a tire is up to you, I prefer using my AAA, however you should know some car basics. How to check your oil, refill basic fluids, and fill a tire with air. These are simple things you can and should learn how to do. Also, know to check for certain things like if your tire is losing pressure, if your car is overheating, when you need your next oil change. Get regular car maintenance and ask questions.
- A savings account – You already know this. If you’re a grown woman then you need to have a savings account – multiple if possible. You definitely need emergency fund (should be at least 8 months of your living expenses) so that you will be able to survive for a while if something terrible happens. If you need help, find a reputable financial planner/adviser who can help you budget and save the money you need.
- Retirement account – Make sure that you are putting away money for your retirement. If you work for a company that has a retirement fund or plan, make sure you are contributing something, especially if they are matching. But also, check out other options where you can save for your own retirement. Meet with a reputable financial planner/adviser who can help you plan for the future and figure out how much money you should be putting away now so you can live comfortably later.
- Have your taxes in order – Going to jail or getting fined by the IRS is not cute, boo. So, either learn how to do your own taxes or hire a reputable person who can do them for you. In the year leading up to April 15, make sure to keep your records and receipts organized and in order so that everything can be properly accounted for and documented.
- Be active – Preserve that sexy and exercise. Obviously exercise is also necessary not only to maintain your physical shape, but also your physical health. Whether it’s walking, running, Zumba, or another type of workout class- find a physical activity that you love and do it on a regular basis.
- Regular doctor visits – Make sure that you are getting your annual checkups – physical, pap smear, blood work, teeth cleaning, and anything else you need. Preventative care is the best care and routine checkups are necessary because they might catch something before it becomes a problem. Find medical practitioners who you trust, who make you feel comfortable, and who allow you to ask questions. Don’t forget to get a second opinion if necessary.
- A will and estate planning instructions – It seems grim to think about death, but it’s important that you have a will and any other instructions regarding your last wishes for your family (and friends) should something tragic happen to you. This is especially true if you are single. It’s not about how much money you have, it’s about making sure that you have listed beneficiaries and updated contacts regarding your health needs should you be unable to make a decision. But most importantly, make sure that the right people know they are being listed as points of contact and where they can find your important documents (keep it in a safe place in your home) if needed.
- How to say no – Oprah likes to say that ‘no is a complete sentence.’ Learn how to say no to things that drain you or you don’t have time for or just don’t want to do. Practice saying it in the mirror if you have to, but you need to learn how to say no. Full stop. And then stand by your ‘no’ and don’t feel guilty or bad about saying it. You can say ‘no.’ It’s allowed, it’s healthy, and it’s absolutely necessary for your sanity.
- How to forgive – Whether it’s an ex, a friend, your father, somebody has probably done you wrong at some point in your life. Learn how to forgive them for the hurt they caused you. Not for them, but for yourself. Letting go of a grudge and releasing anger can and will only benefit your life and well-being. See a counselor or therapist if you need to, someone who can help you move past the pain.
- How to walk away – Learn how to walk away from things that hurt you or do you know good. Whether it’s a man, a friend, or a job – if it’s holding you down or back, abusing or mistreating you, not bringing you joy or helping you be a better person – then choose you and walk away.
- A hobby – Do something outside of work, outside of yourself that enhances your life. It can be photography, traveling, volunteering, but it should be something extra and outside of your daily grind and routine. Not only does having a hobby make you a more interesting and well-rounded person, but it tends to be what brings you joy, what makes you smile, what makes your soul glad. When you’re happy then it impacts all parts of your world.
- How to be alone – Having friends, family, and a companion are all wonderful things, but you have to learn how to be alone with yourself. Learn how to enjoy your own company. Go to the movies alone or have a meal alone (without bringing something to read as a crutch) and be one with your solitude. Be one with your thoughts, ideas, and dreams. This will allow you to go deeper with yourself and learn to be comfortable with yourself.
- Enjoy a solo vacation – Once you’ve mastered enjoying how to be alone then take a solo vacation. Yes, by yourself. Plan a trip, maybe someplace you always wanted to visit – and go there. Once you’re there, get out and meet new people whether it’s on the beach, at the hotel bar, or while sightseeing. This is an opportunity for you to do exactly what you want to do without having to check in with anyone. Of course, while on vacay, check in with a loved one frequently so they know your whereabouts and that you’re ok.
- A passport – The world is your oyster so go see it. Have a current passport so that you can jet out of the country at a moment’s notice. When you have a passport at the ready, you are more likely to be down to have some adventures. Get thee a passport and travel!
- How to make yourself orgasm – How can someone else please you if you don’t know how to pleasure yourself? Explore and learn your own body – whether with your fingers or a battery operated toy (your choice!) and what you enjoy. This will not only make you more secure with yourself, but will also allow you to fully express your needs and desires with your partner.
- How to flirt – Bat those eyelashes. Give an Eartha Kitt purr. Perfect that wink. Know how to do that up and down stare down of a man and then look away, but that still has him walking over. Flirting is a lost art, but once you get it down not only can it get you dates, but also free oil changes. I kid, I kid. Kind of. Work on your flirting technique and make sure it complements your natural personality.
- How to be comfortable in your own skin and with your own sexuality – I would never tell you what sexual acts you should and shouldn’t perform. That’s between you and your partner. However, make sure that you are comfortable with your body and perhaps willing to have some sexual adventures with a partner you trust and who respects you.
- How to de-stress – Whether it’s prayer, meditation, yoga, or reading a book, learn what you need to de-stress and unwind. Have a de-stressing routine (daily prayer or meditation) that you practice that will help you maintain your sanity and allow you to find your peace and center.
- Be civically engaged – Currently, Black women are a powerful voting bloc. Be active during the election season. Vote in every election. Know your local officials. Attend and participate in community meetings. Learn about important bills, policies, and ballot initiatives. Do your research and ask questions. Be engaged and aware about local, state and federal politics.
- A good set of homegirls – By 30, you should have your ride or die chicks, your day one homies, the ones who will have your back at all times, but will also tell you about yourself when necessary. Cultivate this friendship and be there for them in the same way you would want them to be there for you.
- How to love – In learning how to forgive, we have to learn how to love. Love ourselves. Love our partners. Love our family. Love our friends. Love strangers. Love those who are hard to love. It’s not easy, it makes us more vulnerable, it’s scary, but opening your heart is worth the risk.
What would you add?
Diana Veiga is a Spelman woman, a DC resident, and a freelance writer. Of course, she’s also on Twitter.