From graduating college to landing your first real job, a lot happens during your 20s. You'll have plenty of laughs, learn a lot, and probably even have some "what in the world was I doing/wearing/thinking?!" moments. While the major accomplishments and hopefully-minor embarrassments may vary from woman to woman, there are several things each should have by the time she turns 30.
1. Money in the bank in case you want to be frivolous
What fun is putting all of your income toward bills? Yes, you need to be responsible, but you should also have some money for when you want to pay yourself. That means splurge on that tropical vacation during the winter or buy the flattering jeans with a price tag that implies the denim is made of gold. I recently bought tickets to a Justin Timberlake concert and it was gratifying to hit the purchase button without hesitation because I knew I'd been saving up for something just like this.
2. A savings account for the future
Yes, you want to be able to have money to spend on something "just because" but you don't want to be living paycheck to paycheck, either. There are plenty of things you'll want to invest in down the road (a car, a house or bigger apartment, a wedding/honeymoon, babies, a doctorate program … The list goes on and on). Skip the occasional Starbucks macchiato if you have to; you'll thank yourself later.
3. Your own tool set (and know how to use it)
When I was in college, my mom gave me a tool set for Christmas. At first I wondered if it would end up being a dust collector on the shelf in my apartment, but I quickly discovered it comes in handy. Now I can hang all my pictures, assemble IKEA furniture, and fix a leaky faucet without having to call anyone. It's like being able to change a tire; you don't ever want to have to do it, but you have the knowledge just in case.
4. Confidence (and pride) in your body
By the time you reach 30, you should've found parts about yourself that you love and know you rock. It doesn't matter if it's your eyes stealing the show when you put on your favorite gold shadow or how your calves look when you step into those strappy black stilettos. Embrace these discoveries. And try not to kick yourself too much about your thighs; they really aren't as big as you think.
5. A story about your youth you're proud to tell
Sure you can regale people with the time you did too many vodka shots in college, but that only gets you so far. Your 20s are a good time to have some good experiences to share with others down the road. Plus, these memories may inspire what comes in the next phase of your life, because you sure aren't done living!
6. A sinfully delicious meal you know how to cook by memory
It seems like almost everyone has memories of their mothers or grandmothers in the kitchen using their hands as measuring tools and never looking at a recipe book. There's something charming and classic about this skill.
7. An ex you can think of fondly but never want to rekindle with
I recently ran into someone I dated seriously in college and all those memories came flooding back. I spent some time resenting his new fiancé but then it hit me; she can have him. That was a big moment for me — realizing you can love someone from your past, but not wanting to be with them anymore. It's the way life should be. Plus, all those former flames lead you to the one that doesn't flicker out.
8. At least one stamp in your passport; more if you can swing it
Your 20s are a time for exploring both personally and geographically. Go somewhere while you aren't tied down to a career and a mortgage. See the world and add these stories to your repertoire. And hey, if you haven't marked this accomplishment off your list yet, refer to number one on this list — have some cash set aside for the next time you discover a good Groupon for heading abroad.
9. Friends outside of social media
At 30, you don't need the shady back-stabbers or all the drama that comes with them. Embrace the life-long friends you know will be there through both the good and bad times and let the others go.
10. An opinion about kids
Even if you're not attached at the moment, you should know by now if you want to add little ones to your life or not. Not only does this help you determine your goals, but it helps with your relationships. If you can't walk through the store without cringing at the sound of a squealing child, you know it's time to say goodbye to the guy who is picking out baby names.
What would you add to this list?