As Twitter well-wishes for Bey poured out, I couldn’t help but notice that none of the stereotypical angst about turning 30 was thrown her way. Is it because she’s married with a successful career and a kid on the way? Or has the oft-spoken-of frenzy about women leaving their 20s finally died down?
I never had a fear of 30. Two years ago, I was begging to be let in to the Third Tier, desperate to leave behind the immaturity, self-doubt and growing pains that made up most of my twenties.
“I don’t feel old. Matter of fact, I don’t even feel grown,” I wrote on my personal blog the morning of my 30th birthday. ”Don’t feel like I’ve arrived, still got a’ways to go on my path. But I can see the destination. It’s still on a hill, but I’m not looking from the bottom of the valley anymore. I can carve a clear path if I stay focused.”
In honor of that birthday, I made note of a few things women should know by age 30. This is the (partial) list:
*Love is a verb. Having the emotion means absolutely nothing if it’s not followed through with action.
*If he is The One, he will be The One. When you’re forcing it, it’s not working. Stop and look for the Next One.
*Angry does not equal strong, it equals angry. You don’t have to be an angry Black woman to be a strong Black woman.
*Ask for what you want in the bedroom. If you can’t vocalize what you want to him to learn, you shouldn’t be having sex.
*Learn how to treat people with the understanding you would like to receive. You’re not perfect. Neither is anyone else.
* See the world. Go visit other continents and cultures. Learn a greeting in the native language, smile, and say ‘thank you’ in their language.
*Be alone. If you don’t enjoy our own company, how can you expect anyone else to? Start with a movie; try a matinee if you’re paranoid. Then move on to lunch, then dinner, and finally another country alone.
*Learn to trust yourself. A million people will tell you a million stories — some true, some lies. If it sounds like a lie, it usually is. If it sounds true, it might be. Go with what makes sense to you.
*Learn from your mistakes. If you do dumb ish and actually learn from it, your mistake is not in vain. Try not to apologize for the same thing more than once.
*Embrace getting older. There are few things worse than a woman who doesn’t grow old gracefully. If you’re jealous of the young, take solace in that — God willing — young people eventually get old too.
What else should be on the list of what women need to know by 30?
Demetria L. Lucas is the Relationships Editor at ESSENCE and the author of “A Belle in Brooklyn: Your Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life” (Atria) in stores now. Follow her on Twitter at @abelleinbk