A few years ago I wrote a 30 before 30 list – a list of 30 things I wanted to achieve before I turned the big 3-0. And guess what? I’m a few weeks off that significant milestone and I haven’t ticked most of them off.
But it’s ok because The Grown-Ass Women’s Club* is here to inform you that it’s time to celebrate those smaller, lesser acknowledged accomplishments. Bought a salad instead of a burger because it’s healthier? Go you! Paid your bills on time? Welcome to adulthood! You’ve earned yourself a badge (yes, there are badges. Adults deserve badges).
It’s time to start rewarding ourselves for being fully fledged grown-ass women. With that I give you my alternative 30 before 30, featuring the badges I’ve earned over the last few years:
Work and money
1. Survived getting the axe – my job role was removed from the staff structure just after I started my maternity leave but when I returned to work nine months later I had a role that better suited my new family life.
2. Paid my bills – yep, they get paid alright. And there’s just about enough left over for food. Sigh.
Love and sexuality
3. Peed on a stick – several times. And it’s the longest two minutes of your life.
4. Played well with others – I’ve always been the planner of my social group but I know when to step back and stop being a bossy bitch. I think/hope.
5. I’m a good gift giver – people have been brought to tears. Is that something to be proud of?
6. Sent heartwarming cards – such a good way to let someone know you’re there when they need you.
7. Hosted a fun party – we’ve moved house a lot, so we’ve had a lot of housewarmings…
8. Listened – something changes when you become a parent and you suddenly start questioning everything. Seeking and offering advice becomes commonplace and sometimes all it takes is for someone to listen and nod to reassure you that you’re not alone.
9. Vented with my gal pal – over coffee and cake with the little ones or with cocktails on the rare occasion that we get to leave them at home. An important part of Mum Life.
10. I’m a great friend – If you’re grieving, I’ll send you flowers. If your boyfriend is being a dick I’ll take you out to Happy Hour. If it’s been weeks since we last saw each other it’ll feel like it was yesterday. Yeah, I’m pretty cool.
11. Pretended to be happy for someone else – My miscarriage was the worst thing that has ever happened to me and seeing people announce their pregnancies on Facebook in the time between that miscarriage and finding out I was pregnant again was so hard.
12. Went to the gynecologist – I always make an appointment as soon as my smear test is due. Sure it’s not the most pleasant thing in the world but it’s better than the potential alternative.
13. Got my first wrinkle – My face moves differently than it used to but there are certainly more grey hairs than wrinkles!
14. Lived with my significant other – five homes in five years. Beat that! Actually don’t. Moving house sucks!
15. Cleaned out my closet – I admitted defeated when the final stone or so of baby weight stayed put and got rid of everything that was too small and made me sad to look at.
16. Took care of someone else – my mum was a massive help after my C-section, coming over daily to help with Jenson, clean the house and help me wash and change. And when she had ulcerated chicken pox and couldn’t use her hands (yep, that’s a thing. Just don’t ask to see her pictures!) I moved in for a few days to help. Plus, y’know, I take care of my kid every day. Where’s that badge?
17. Listened to a loved one’s reports – I have an elderly aunt who doesn’t understand the joy of silence and tells me the same stories week after week. But I sit and listen because I’m a good person. And maybe space out a little bit…
18. Expressed my personal style – sure, I don’t exactly have an eccentric sense of style but I do have a sort of capsule wardrobe and I like what I like. Although I did wear a custom comic print dress to a work do once.
19. Enjoyed pleasures without guilt – no, not that kind of pleasure. We’re talking about ditching the term ‘guilty pleasure’ and embracing our love of 80s teen movies and 90s pop. Just me?
20. Declined an invitation – I’m the least sociable person at work and 99% of the time don’t hang with my colleagues after work. I don’t drive and it takes at least 90 minutes to travel each way, plus I have a kid to get home to. Such a grown up!
21. Spoiled myself every so often – whether it’s a cider after the kid has gone to bed, sneaking a whole chocolate bar to myself or buying some sexy new stationery that I totally don’t need, I know how to treat myself!
Expanding your horizons
22. Went abroad – OK, so the only time I’ve been abroad was on a school trip but it totally counts.
23. Showed goodwill to others – I’ve bought a Big Issue, given someone a spare pack of tissues and even helped a young mum clean up her baby’s vomit on the bus. Seriously, where’s my badge?
24. Voted – I can’t stand it when someone says they’re not voting cos nothing’s gonna change and blah blah blah. What if everyone had that attitude? As long as you’re voting for what you believe in that’s a start.
25. Finished what I started – sure, I might not achieve all of my yearly goals and I’m still working on that screenplay but if I’m really set on something I’ll get it done. A few months ago I finally spruced up this here blog and I’m really proud of it *smug face*
Dealing with life’s tough moments
26. Waited patiently in line – I am one of the least patient people you’ll ever meet but I can put a smile on my face and dial down the huffs when waiting in line at the bank or if a doctor is running late – but only because it’s not their fault.
27. Was gracious when asked rude questions – when you’re pregnant and unmarried people like to ask if your pregnancy was planned. Actually, Barbara, my child was very much planned and wanted thank you very much.
28. Handled extreme weather – Well, as extreme as it gets in these parts. I’ve waited for many a late bus during pissing down rain and freezing winds. I’ve also had redirected train journeys because of storms and taken most of the day to get from Bristol to Penzance.
29. Took care of my mental health – Having dealt with depression before, I’m pretty good at recognising signs of burnout and the need to take a break. That’s why I started my weekly self-care posts.
30. Was cool about Valentine’s Day – It’s just another day, right? I mean, if you go out for dinner the restaurants are all packed and where’s the fun in that?
What are your not-so-big life achievements? Are you proud to be a grown-ass woman?
*I was sent a copy of The Grown-Ass Women’s Club for review purposes and all thoughts are my own.