This 1997 Glamour article has become a popular web chain letter, usually titled “Maya Angelou’s Best Poem Ever.” Glamour contributor Pamela Redmond Satran is flattered, but she wrote the list, updating it in 2005.
By Pamela Redmond Satran
By 30, you should have:
1One old boyfriend you can imagine going back to and one who reminds you of how far you’ve come.
2A decent piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in your family.
3Something perfect to wear if the employer or man of your dreams wants to see you in an hour.
4A purse, a suitcase and an umbrella you’re not ashamed to be seen carrying.
5A youth you’re content to move beyond.
6A past juicy enough that you’re looking forward to retelling it in your old age.
7The realization that you are actually going to have an old age—and some money set aside to help fund it.
8An e-mail address, a voice mailbox and a bank account—all of which nobody has access to but you.
9A résumé that is not even the slightest bit padded.
10One friend who always makes you laugh and one who lets you cry.
11A set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill and a black lace bra.
12Something ridiculously expensive that you bought for yourself, just because you deserve it.
13The belief that you deserve it.
14A skin-care regimen, an exercise routine and a plan for dealing with those few other facets of life that don’t get better after 30.
15A solid start on a satisfying career, a satisfying relationship and all those other facets of life that do get better.
By 30, you should know:
1How to fall in love without losing yourself.
2How you feel about having kids.
3How to quit a job, break up with a man and confront a friend without ruining the friendship.
4When to try harder and when to walk away.
5How to kiss in a way that communicates perfectly what you would and wouldn’t like to happen next.
6The names of: the secretary of state, your great-grandmother and the best tailor in town.
7How to live alone, even if you don’t like to.
8How to take control of your own birthday.
9That you can’t change the length of your calves, the width of your hips or the nature of your parents.
10That your childhood may not have been perfect, but it’s over.
11What you would and wouldn’t do for money or love.
12That nobody gets away with smoking, drinking, doing drugs or not flossing for very long.
13Who you can trust, who you can’t and why you shouldn’t take it personally.
14Not to apologize for something that isn’t your fault.
15Why they say life begins at 30.
4 years ago