Written by a mature, “older” woman of 30

Ladies, ladies, ladies. Congratulations. You’ve officially graduated from girls & are no longer in your teens. Equal parts terrifying & exciting. Now, there are some important things I think you should know along the way. I know these things because I spent a decade in my 20s. That’s right – an entire ten years. You thought turning 20 was a milestone? Wait until 30, toots. You’ll need all ten of those years between 20 & 30 to prepare. Ready to woman up?

1. Lather your entire body in sunscreen.

ALL OF IT. ALL OF THE TIME. While all those country music songs may imply tanlines are sexy, a new collection of moles on the driver side of your body is not. Ain’t nobody singing about that.

2. Leave the important parts of your beauty regimen to the professionals.

We have come a long way with eyebrow filler, but wax on your face is not for the faint of heart. Also, unless you’re willing to take a bullet for your hair stylist – you’re seeing the wrong person.

3. Reserve student loans for student expenses.

No, a semester’s supply of wine does not count. You’ll need that money for your $400 English book. Don’t worry, though. You can sell it back for $11.50 at the end of term. Then, you’ll have just enough for a bottle of Barefoot & a box of Kleenex. Because WHY $11.50? WHY? Make sure once you finish your education you use a student loan payoff calculator frequently so you know how much you’re owing at all times to make expenditure and living a little “easier”.

4. Stop comparing yourself to other women.

Especially if those women are Southern. Not realistic. They wouldn’t be caught dead only shaving from the knee down. Also, it’s exhausting & simply put: people are just built differently. My thighs touched at a size 4 & certainly touch at a size 10. I’m never going to have a thigh gap like our friends in Hollywood. Or wear corduroys. And that’s fine!

5. It’s never too early to start using anti-aging products.

I’m talking moisturizer, ladies. Apply before/after/during your sunscreen.

a. (Almost) More importantly – Don’t forget your neck. N00b mistake!

6. Embrace your makeupless self.

Those days will not last forever, so savor those crucial extra minutes of sleep. Now, I wouldn’t dream of even taking the garbage out without concealer, mascara, & a dab of lipstick. Also, you’re in your prime & look fantastic. Stop hiding under Kylie’s Holiday Collection.

7. Step away from the phone.

Pictures are fantastic, but not as good as the moments you’ll take in through your own baby blues. And watching this Beyonce concert through your iphone video makes me want to delete this list & fill it with horrible advice.

8. Buying condoms isn’t nearly as embarrassing as asking a security guard at the health department where you can get an STD test.

I know this because it happened to me – there has never been a more embarrassing day of my life. Had I of known back then that you can find a location of a Priority STD testing centre online, I could have saved myself the embarrassment. Then again, I should have just bought the condoms.

9. Piggybacking off of #8: Find a doctor you trust.

Regularly see this doctor. Do not lie to said doctor. She won’t believe your lame hot tub story. & she might even crack jokes to make you feel less mortified about your peeling toenail polish.

10. Parents make great DDs.

I’m not kidding. Calling your mom at 1:30am the night before Thanksgiving might sound ridiculous, but it certainly beats sitting on the floor of a jail cell. You just probably won’t get to hit up a drive thru on your way home.

11. There is no shame in scheduling a makeup tutorial.

That raccoon eye is so 2002. Plus, who the HECK can decide which foundation is actually the right color? Almost every time I buy a new powder, I make those fabulous men at MAC verify this is indeed the shade for me (usually by trying every other product in the store on first). They get paid to tell you secrets & make you look incredible. Why do you think their hair is so big?

12. Nothing good happens after 2 a.m.

Or maybe it’s midnight? I don’t know. I saw this on an episode of “How I Met Your Mother”, & it seemed applicable.

13. Ditch the uncomfortable shoes.

If you can’t take at least a lap around the store without feeling like you could faceplant, a night out in Vegas is not going to work.

14. Return your family’s phone calls.

Call your mom. Call your Great Aunt Mildred. Hell, she probably has an iphone. Send her a text. & don’t even try to use the “I used all my minutes” excuse, either. You will never know the pain of trying to share 100 minutes with your brother before texting was a thing. Oh my gosh. You’ll probably never know the pain of sharing 100 texts with your brother, either. Y’all are spoiled rotten.

15. It’s completely acceptable to “lose” your license in order to take a better photo.

…right? Prepare regardless. Rolling up with your hair in a blob will only set you up for a decade of regret.

16. Your best friend’s ex-boyfriend is strictly off limits.

Probably best if you apply this to your roommate, as well. Even if her last relationship was with Zac Efron. Pick someone else. Anyone else.

17. Your body is actually a temple.

You can’t knock it down, redraw the blueprints, & start over. I mean, you kind of could if you have a trust fund & a great plastic surgeon. But that’s ridiculous & never really turns out that well. Instead, take care of yourself. Consider the long-term impact of the choices you make on spring break. Because you know what’s worse than having a permanent hole in your face at 30? A Phish tattoo. Yeah. I said permanent. Sure, you have the option to go get a laser tattoo removal sydney or basically in any city, thank God for that option. Still, don’t get a drunk tattoo (or a piercing for that matter). At least now we’re no longer under the impression your skin will magically regenerate once you remove your lip ring. No-ho, sister. You’ll see that dimple until the end of days. & don’t get me started on the belly button ring.

18. Don’t try to squeeze 10 pounds of sugar in a 5 pound bag.

Those size 4 jeans are significantly less cute than wearing a size 6 without having a muffin top. You know who doesn’t care what size your jeans are? That babe in your Anatomy Lab.

19. As hard as it can be, listen to those who know (like me. Duh.)

My 20-year-old self was “hip” and well-read, but lacking a whole lot of experience. While it is important to keep the enthusiasm and freshness of being 20, it can be even better to couple that enthusiasm with a little bit of knowledge from those who have gone before you.

20. Be kind to yourself and others.

We’re all just trying to figure it out. Mistakes will be made – by your friends,your family, ande definitely by you (especially if your roommate’s last boyfriend was Zac Efron). Woman up & learn how to forgive.

Your 20’s are such a great years. The awkwardness of high school is finally over. College is worth every cent. This doesn’t give you a free pass to act like a total fool, though. You need to take care of yourself before you wake up one day & look like the Crypt Keeper. I know because this happened to me.

Just kidding. But wrinkles from my blankets certainly stay imprinted on my face a lot longer than they used to. Now is the time to accept who you are & stop second guessing yourself. You can do it and you’ll live to tell about it.

Thank you for reading!

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