First published on Friday the 5th of July, 2019, this piece comes in at number 7 in the top 30 most read Villainesse stories of 2019.
Today, I am 30. I’m not generally hugely reflective, but reaching such an, ahem, advanced age has made me look back over the last few years.
I started Villainesse when I was 25. I had no idea what I was doing, but I decided to take a leap of faith anyway. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I’ve learnt a shitload since then, so I thought I’d share some ancient 30-year-old wisdom. Take anything that speaks to you, and leave the rest.
1. Drinking water between alcoholic beverages is actually an act of DARK AND BEAUTIFUL MAGIC. And essential, because you’re too old to take risks when it comes to hangovers.
2. When you’re sick, don’t go to the gym. Go to bed. You’ll be sick for 4 days rather than 2 weeks. This is a bonus, because being 30, you have SO MUCH SHIT TO DO.
3. Expensive beauty products are mostly bullshit. The $17 bottle of moisturiser you bought at the supermarket will most likely do exactly the same thing the $150 bottle of moisturiser you bought at a department store does. Spend your hard-earned cash on other stuff. Like sparkly shoes. Oh, and groceries and bills, I suppose. If you must.
4. Success isn’t measured by how much money you earn or how many awards you win. It’s measured by how happy you feel about yourself.
5. At some stage, you’ll begin every email with “Sorry for the late reply”. Don’t bother with this. Adulthood is basically apologising for late emails until you die. We’re all in the same boat.
6. Writing down stuff on your to-do list that you’ve already done so you can cross it out anyway is one of life’s joys and can make shitty days less shitty.
7. Loving yourself isn’t rocket science. It’s just going, ‘I’m human, I’m me, there’s some good stuff here, there’s some stuff I’m not super thrilled about, but on the whole I’m happy with the values I have and I’m just going to try to do my best without being ridiculous about it and I’m going to give myself a fucking break every now and then’.
8. Music released after you turn 25 will probably not sound anywhere near as good as music released when you were 22 or younger. Most music released after you turn 28 will likely give you a headache.
9. Learning to love yourself takes time and hard work, but it’s much easier (and cheaper) if you’re able to find happiness within rather than constantly looking for external validation.
10. Home-cooked meals taste way better than Uber Eats.
11. When you change your sheets weekly, life is just better. Also, a shower, clean pjs and clean sheets are basically the pinnacle of life.
12. Babies that looked like misshapen loaves of squishiness that you could kind of appreciate in an abstract sense but wanted nowhere near you, thank-you-very-much, may suddenly start to look like the goddamn cutest things on the planet (even cuter than puppies, would you believe) and this may make your ovaries jangle deep inside your nether regions. This will be as terrifying as it sounds.
13. Your parents will get older. This is also terrifying.
14. Meditation can sometimes be helpful. Turns out it’s not just some Zen airy fairy fad. Who knew?
15. You have the right to say no. Always. To anything and everything.
16. You should exercise the right to say no if something or someone makes you feel uncomfortable.
17. Speaking up for what’s right and rocking the boat won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.
18. Milestones are designed to make you feel bad about yourself. Fuck them. Live your life on your own terms and do everything in your own time.
19. People who make you feel bad about yourself are not worth your time. They have their own shit to deal with and until they conquer their own insecurities, they don’t deserve your energy.
20. If you ever feel like you have to walk on eggshells in a relationship more often than you can just breathe and be yourself, run. That’s not love, it’s emotional abuse.
21. Smart women can end up in abusive relationships. It happens. And you usually don’t see it coming. Listen to your friends and family if they express serious concerns about your relationship. And don’t be too ashamed to ask for help. There’s no shame in breaking free from something that’s dragging you down.
22. If you can afford it, buy a few good quality, classic looking staple pieces. A nice, warm coat. A nice dress you can wear to formal-ish functions. A nice suit. If you buy classic styles, they won’t go out of fashion, and you’ll have them for years. I bought a few investment pieces in my early 20s that I’m still wearing now. They’ll probably still be going strong in my 40s.
23. Fast fashion is reeeeeeeeally bad for the planet. Try to be as mindful as possible when you’re shopping. That goes for homeware too - what’s going to happen to that random pretty trinket you just bought when you’re over it and don’t want it anymore?
24. Attempting dance moves you performed with ease in your teens and early twenties can be like playing Russian Roulette. Honestly. Take it from someone who had to explain to ACC that her latest injury was caused by overenthusiastic head-banging.
25. Make an effort to keep in touch with your friends. People get all busy and shit with jobs and relationships and families, but your good friends are the pillars that will hold your life up when the rest of it is falling apart.
26. Real love is peaceful, nurturing, warming, and joyful. Sure, it’s not all sunshine and lollipops, but you should feel safe, wanted, respected and loved by your significant other. Crazy ups and downs, screaming matches, silent treatment, wild rollercoaster emotions, tearful apologies and broken promises – that’s not love, it’s abuse.
27. If you’re able to, saving money can be quite satisfying. Or at least not wasting it can feel really good.
28. Being friends with people who are older than you is amazing. They offer good advice, and they know how to cook nice food. They also know how to do adult stuff like look after orchids and may even offer to do that for you. Winning!
29. Sometimes friendships end. It can be painful and unsettling, but some friends are in your life for a reason or a season. If a friend isn’t willing to put in the time and work required to maintain a friendship, don’t waste your time propping up a one-sided arrangement. Spend your time and energy on people who give you at least as much love as you give them.
30. Listen to your instincts. If something feels off, it probably is. Don’t ignore your gut. You know yourself bestSupport Villainesse