Everything wrong with '15 things you must do by 30' lists

by - Saturday, April 29, 2017


"15 things you need to do before turning 30" the headline read.

It's raining on a Saturday morning, at a time I'd normally go for my beach run. Lying in bed and scrolling through my Facebook feed, the article catches my eye. I'm 25 years old, so tell me Internet, what should I know by the next five years?

I scanned my eyes down the points, raising my eyebrow at many of the bullet point titles. "Discover yourself", "Don't diet", "Find your style", "Future-proof your career", "Plan your uterus".

Plan your uterus? Are you kidding me?

That was a sample of some of those bullet points. I never usually take these lists to heart, but I never expected that some of these lists, in particular, depressingly suggest you have to have life aced by the big 30.

1. I don't expect anyone discovers themselves by thirty
There was a great quote I read while walking through Thames with my parents;

'It's not a journey to discover yourself. It's a journey to create yourself'.

If you've "discovered yourself" already - I assume you've finished with life. To be living without ambition and that need to learn, you're merely existing. And what is admirable about just existing? Being uncertain is part of life, keep discovering.

2. There's a difference between a "diet" and being stupid with food choices
I'm not going to lie - I've dieted before. I've tried cutting processed foods before and stopped eating excess sugar for a month. I've been on a strict vegetarian-based diet in the past which messed up my body a bit (though I did lose weight.)

But I feel there's nothing wrong with the right sort of "diet" - provided it's not like 'one head of lettuce and a handful of almonds for snacks' sort of things. Just be smart about it like an adult should be. Diet knowing what your body needs to be healthy.

3. You'll forever be finding your style, whether you're 30 or not.
Your style, like fashion, changes like seasons do.

Five years ago, my style was preppy dresses and headbands. There was the time I wore purple tights with combat boots and black dresses. I've been through a button-up shirt phase, gone through a heavy cardigan-wearing phase (I cardi occasionally now), and up until three years ago, I thought full-length skirts made me look fat and short. Even my hairstyle now I'm still finding ways I can change it.

Just when I think I've "found my style" I get experimental with other looks - and that's how fashion is.

4. There's no definite way to future-proof your career
Even though I work in the digital sphere, I can't even guarantee that five years from now, my job will be "future-proof" from bright digital-savvy youths, let alone the "robots" they mention.

Their article highlights on being "strong on flexibility" and growing "soft skills" like "being considerate, helpful and a great communicator". Quite frankly, that's just being a good human being.

But they are right in saying to be "strong of flexibility". Because five years from now, there will be new job titles you would have never thought to have existed. A person whose job is being a "social media expert"? Highly doubt people five to ten years ago thought that could be a respectable career.

5. And there is no way to "plan your uterus"
Contraceptive methods are 99.9% effective. So there's still that 0.01%. Life happens, literally.

And on the flip side, you can't always guarantee a pregnancy when you decide to. Your head may have plans, but your body could say otherwise.

But can we just say how bizarre of a sentence "plan your uterus" is?


[photo: taken accidentally by my friend Sara in Melbourne - because sometimes the best things in life can be unplanned]

Note: I don't take anything of the article in question personally, nor do I accuse the original list of being ignorant or writing badly. This is just an alternative perspective with my points just as refutable as theirs.

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