I'm no fan of telling grown women what to do. That's part of the point of being an adult: you can eat ice cream for breakfast, own 12 cats, travel to India without telling anybody, the world's your oyster. But there are certain things that no serious, mature woman should hear in her head, whether she's intent on getting the CEO job by 40 or going to Burning Man with neon plastic in her hair. There's stuff that needs to be put aside, adjusted, or brought into the equation when you become a grown woman, like letting go of harmful deadbeat friends or partners, putting aside money for the future, going for your dreams, and stopping giving a sh*t about what people think of you. Because who has time for that?!
As Tina Fey puts it so eloquently in Bossypants , one of the best reads for grown-ass women this century, "Do your thing and don't care if you like it." A lot of the stuff you should let go of in your adulthood revolves around this mantra. Youth is often equated with trying to fit in, living for the moment, and being a bit careless about your circumstances and direction. Which is great, but you're a Big Person now, and you need to live your life with intent and passion. Yes, even the bits where you stay home watching the Game Of Thrones box set. Ain't no shame in that game.
Here are 10 things that no mature woman should say to herself. Stop putting stuff off, letting bad crap hang around, or holding yourself back. You're a lady and you're in charge of yourself.
1. "I Don't Need Savings/A Pension Fund"
Yes, even if you've got whopping debt, sometimes saving for the future is a good plan — or at least having some kind of idea about when you might start to be able to put money aside is necessary. Some money gurus advise paying off debt first before starting to compile a nest egg, others want a half-and-half approach, but you, the Grown-Ass Woman earning Actual Money, need to do something about the bit of mature womanhood where you're going to want to potter around yelling at the youth.
2. "I'll Just Give Him/Her One More Chance"
You are a mature woman. You do not have the time or space to give yet another chance to the loser who's broken your heart, hurt you, made your life difficult, or caused you significant drama before. This goes for both toxic friends, family, and partners. The Katy Perry-John Mayer Drama Cycle need not be your style.
3. "I Shouldn't Go For That Job/Promotion"
Confidence is a good part of the mature woman package. As you get more experience, you should also get more evidence of your own abilities and work ethic, and that should be enough to convince you to push yourself forward. Banish thoughts that make you doubt yourself unreasonably, and be brave.
4. "Traveling Can Wait"
Till when? If you're planning to remain single, have an itinerant job forever or avoid kids, then perhaps you may get a more travel-filled life — but for many people, their early adulthood is when serious traveling can happen. And I mean the high-quality sh*t, where you graduate from hostels and cheap tours to hotels, exotic destinations, and ticking off those dream locations. Some trips will take years to plan — safari, anybody? — but take advantage of your relative freedom while you can, I'm begging you.
5. "I Have To Keep Clubbing To Be Cool"
Probably the best part of being a mature woman is not needing to keep up with everybody else any more. You're secure in your identity and what you love, and if that does not include $100 for bottle service and being groped on the floor, you're fine. Do what makes you happy, not what makes you feel "cool": go to the good restaurant rather than the greasy bar, the gig in the basement rather than the mega-club night. Evolve as much as you like.
6. "I've Got No Time To Exercise"
I get this, because I hate exercise and have been trying to trick myself into liking it. But it's a necessity: as you enter adulthood your body needs looking after, and exercise is a way to keep it happy and humming along in a cheerful way, even if the pain doesn't seem worth it. If you want to keep healthy for a good long time, you need to get sweaty. (I know. I'm sorry.)
7. "My Confidence Is Dependent On My Weight"
One of the trickiest parts of mature woman development is breaking the link between self-worth and weight. Some women never manage it, and it's so societally encoded that these thoughts will probably resurface regularly. But it's important to try and break the chain. Your weight has nothing to do with how beautiful and worthwhile you are, you should not exercise just to lose weight, and you can wear whatever you damn well like.
8. "I'll Do The Pap Smear/Breast Exam Later"
Being an adult woman means taking charge of your health in a lot of ways, and this one's probably the easiest: when a doctor starts asking you to do pap smears and breast checks, actually do them. This is not a joke any more. You need to be on top of this stuff, because you've now entered the point in your life where those results seriously matter. On a similar note, if you spent your childhood in the sun, keep monitoring those moles.
9. "I'm Nobody If I Don't Have Kids Or A Relationship"
Nope. If you're part of a societal group that insists on devaluing your choices — whether you've put kids aside to move forward in your career or just don't think you want them — this is not your fault, and not your deal. Your self-worth is not founded in your reproductive choices, just as it's not founded in your career or your relationship. If you want to have children, hopefully one day you'll get there. Don't worry about what anybody else thinks.
10. "Disproving My High School Enemies Is What Matters"
This is the mindset we often carry through college into our twenties, particularly if we experienced a lot of challenges during adolescence. Proving the bullies and naysayers wrong is a powerful motivation, but it's ultimately an empty one: bossing your high school reunion may feel good, but it's not going to give you actual peace. The real stuff of life isn't in making other people envious or "showing them," it's in doing your own thing with conviction and achieving peace of mind. Give that your attention now.
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