Dear Ms. Franklin:
I was reading the Huffington Post and came across your article, “30 things I hope to do after 30″. I love to read lists like this. I have made some lists like these in my life. Since you are the Senior Lifestyle Editor at the Huffington Post and you are just turning thirty, I was intrigued to see what other things you hope to do AFTER you turn thirty.
After reading your list, I felt like I needed to respond. I am 40ish (cough, cough) and nowhere near as important as you. In fact the likelihood that this letter will even find you is next to zero. I will admit that my responses stem mostly from deep seeded jealousy of your youth, your optimism and your position as Senior Lifestyle Editor for the Huffington Post. Now I can’t respond to everything on your list. Unlike you, I have kids, laundry piling up and a very serious case of ADD.
Here we go…
30 Things I Hope To Do After 301. Write a book. I don’t know if it will be the collection of essays I envisioned or a different type of book entirely. What I do know is that Helen Gurley Brown published “Sex and the Single Girl” at 40.
You and me sister!
2. Travel to Australia and New Zealand.
Been there. Went on a trip claiming I needed to “find myself”. Never “found myself” but the trip was a-ma-zing. Give me a ring on places to stay/things to do/etc.
3. Wear a leather dress. It’s stylish and sexy with a “Do you dare?” quality. It’s also not reserved for 20-somethings and Jennifer Aniston.
Really? Leather? Maybe it’s because I’m 40, but all I can think of is..oy the chafing. You know that line from Steel Magnolias, “It looks like two pigs fighting under a blanket.” Maybe you are tall and gorgeous but for a Jewish girl who is short and curvy, leather ONLY belongs on my feet.
8. Read Dorothy Parker and Flannery O’Connor. I read “The Bell Jar” for the first time last year. [Pauses for gasps.] It was one of those books I knew I should have read before, and I would grow silent when my peers discussed it. Now that I’ve crossed Plath off my list, I’m ready to tackle the other iconic female writers I somehow missed.
I’m pausing, but not because I’m gasping. I’m pausing, because I’m trying to figure out what you’re talking about. Who the hell are your peers? My peers, all college educated, are discussing what Honey Boo Boo was doing on the last episode.
9. Get invited to a Big Event. The White House Correspondents’ dinner or the TIME 100 gala seem most likely, given that they bring together people from multiple industries, including my own, but just putting it out there that I would be absolutely fine with the Oscars.
OMG I’m waiting on my invitation to the White House Correspondence dinner also! Maybe we can sit together? I think it’s more likely is that I will be invited to a Bunco party or one of those screw-your-friends parties like Pampered Chef. Promise to send me pics from the TIME 100 gala.
10. Learn to put on makeup properly. Oh, sure, I do something to my eyes in the morning and there’s a loose powder that gets all over the bathroom sink, but really, I have no idea what I’m doing. I look at myself in the mirror later in the day, and all my work seems to have disappeared. I need to learn some actual techniques.
Psst…little secret – take yourself to Macy’s and go to any make-up counter. They will show you how to “properly” put on eye makeup. BTW – no woman has eye makeup on by the end of the day, unless you are Tammy Faye or a transvestite.
12. Become more financially independent. This is hard to admit, but here goes: I’m not there yet. I pay my rent and my bills, but look in my closet and you’ll see abundant evidence of the help I still get from my family. While I wouldn’t exactly go naked without their support, the specific items in my wardrobe would be different. (Well, not this one.) My parents and grandparents say they would take me shopping regardless of my salary, insisting they get joy out of the experience. But it still bothers me that I am not at a point where I could use my own credit card to buy the things I love.
Sweetie, you are the SENIOR Lifestyles Editor of Huffington Post. It’s not like you are a shift manager at the McDonalds. There is a difference between “help” and “gifts”. What the hell do you love exactly?
13. Have and raise children.
You do realize that most of this list, like all of the trips, are null and void once you have kids? Note my comments to follow.
14. Take a cross-country road trip. Though road trips are usually associated with college, there’s really no age limit. My fiancé has driven across the country twice and has been talking about doing it a third time. Whenever that happens, I plan to join him. I’d like to see the places I’ve only flown over in the past.
You aren’t going anywhere once you have little Isabelle and Jackson. If you do, you will become intimately familiar with every McDonalds along the all American interstate. Bring the hand sanitizer, because the McDonald’s playlands and McNuggets are in your future!
15. Take notes. Even the moments and details we swear we’ll never forget often fade in our memories. By typing things up as they happen, I’ll ensure that I have a record later on, both for myself and for my kids and grandkids.
Trust me, by the time you reach 40, you will be taking notes and leaving notes EVERYWHERE, because if you don’t you won’t be able to find things. It isn’t so that you can “reflect” on your life, it is because without them, you will not be able to find your keys, remember snacks for the soccer game, etc. Some call it early onset Alzheimers.
18. Run a half-marathon in a foreign country. While I will continue to do laps in Central Park, it would be thrilling to take in, say, London or Paris in this way. And I won’t pretend I’m not thinking of victory scones and chocolate croissants.
Unless you are going to strap little Madison and Noah to your back, you aren’t going anywhere once you have kiddos.
19. Learn to edit video. If my 75-year-old great-aunt can join Facebook and get an email account to keep in touch with her grandkids, I don’t think it’s too late for me to learn to make a mash-up or cut a clip. Video is the future. Time to step it up.
zzzz…sorry where was I?
21. Take a trip with my sister. She lives in Los Angeles and I’m in New York, and though our family is close as a whole, she and I get most of our updates about each other from our parents. I’d like to think that we might communicate more directly as we get older (and not just through Facebook and Instagram). Even a short vacation could be a good first step.
Awesome idea. You will remember after a few days why you stopped taking vacations with each other in the first place. My brother and I have taken a few vacations with our parents as adults. We almost always instantly start up our 30 year, ongoing argument of him saying,”Stop telling me what to do,” and I respond, “I’m not telling you what to do.” It’s amazing R&R.
24. Establish a skin-care regimen. My grandmother and I were at Bloomingdale’s last year when a saleswoman referred to her as my mother. I wasn’t surprised: She’s been telling me since I was little how important it is to take care of your skin, advice she got from her mother and follows dutifully. I, on the other hand, don’t really go beyond washing and moisturizing, despite the fact that I should apparently already have a system in place. Oops.
Once you have little Skylar and Jace, your skin care regimen may turn into taking a handful of Johnson and Johnson, soaping up your face while the bath water is running and sticking your face under the faucet.
27. Visit the South of France, the Greek isles and the Amalfi Coast. Do I really need to explain? Have you not seen photos?
Unless you are going to strap Moses and Apple to your back, you may accomplish this in the year 2035.
30. Finally feel like a grown-up.
See you at the White House Correspondents Dinner. I’ll be the one wearing the leather dress.