A Real 30-Something Response to Huff Post’s “25 Things a Woman Should Have by Her 30’s.”

As a woman in her thirties often does, I was perusing the blogs over my morning cup of espresso when I came across an article written by Ada Polla for the Huffington Post, titled “25 Things a Woman Should Have by Her 30’s.” For obvious reasons, I was intrigued and read on. Had I known what was going to be on the list and how it was really going to make me feel, I would have finished my espresso and started drinking wine instead.

The list did not make me feel bad about myself, rather I felt baffled and perhaps some morning wine would have brought me um… some clarity? I kept thinking, “Do most women in their 30’s have most of the 25 items mentioned on the list?” Out of 25, I had 11.5. I gave myself half points for having part of something such as, “the ability to write a thank you note,” but not owning any stationary to do it on. (Does a drawer full of scratch paper count as stationary?)

I write a blog about the 30-something female experience and I scored less than fifty percent on what a 30-something woman should have, and on a deeper level, according to Ada Polla, be! Upon further study of the list, I noticed that I had most of the internal and psychological attributes mentioned. For example, I have “The ability to flirt, elegantly, yet convincingly,” but I don’t have “A handbag from an iconic French or Italian design house.” I have “The confidence to say no. At work. In bed. And everywhere in between,” but I don’t have “Eye cream that you use religiously twice a day.”


Being a woman in most societies in the world is difficult enough without the added pressures of living up to unrealistic expectations, propagated by lists that give the same value to “A family you love,” and “A signature fragrance.” Ada Polla would have done more justice to her 30-something sisters by making two lists: one that celebrated the emotional and psychological maturity of 30-somethings, and one that recommended the material possessions and beauty regimes that make her in particular, feel fabulous at 30. By removing the word “Should” from the title of her list and replacing it with something more positive like “Aspire,” she would have empowered her readers, rather than confounding them.

Ada Polla’s list of “25 Things a Woman Should Have by Her 30’s.”

1. A passport (the more stamps the better).
2. The ability to flirt, elegantly, yet convincingly.
3. A great aesthetician to turn to for brows, other waxing needs, a facial, a massage.
4. A fail-safe skin care and makeup routine for day, and one for evening.
5. A signature fragrance.
6. A form of physical exercise you are passionate about.
7. A friend who can count on you as her "get out of jail" card.
8. A set of champagne glasses and a champagne you know you love.
9. A handbag from an iconic French or Italian design house.
10. A set of pearl or diamond stud earrings that makes you feel elegant and put together no matter the tears in your jeans.
11. A pair of jeans you know you look great in (with or without tears).
12. A garter-belt, and the confidence to wear it.
13. The ability to write the perfect thank-you note (and the stationery that goes with it).
14. Eye cream that you use religiously twice a day.
15. Something on your wall that is neither a poster nor a family photograph.
16. The ability to forgive (others, but yourself first).
17. A family you love.
18. The confidence to ask for what pleases you in bed.
19. The confidence to say no. At work. In bed. And everywhere in between.
20. A savings account and a retirement fund.
21. A local bar that will always find you a seat (because you go there often and tip well).
22. A restaurant you can take clients out to lunch that will always give you excellent service and act like they know you (again, because you go there often and tip well).
23. A set of stilettos that will give you confidence no matter the day you have had (and that you can walk in).
24. A person whose happiness you put above your own.
25. A bucket list.

By: W. Castellanos-Wolf 

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