1. How to have a really good time by yourself. If you’re given an afternoon of solitude, knowing how to fill it with things that bring you joy is important. Whether it’s hiking, reading a good book, a bubble bath, or booking a massage, having a few go-to things that you love can help you recover and make the most of free time.
2. How to ask for alone-time. Recognizing when you’re overwhelmed and stressed out is hard enough, but having the courage to ask for space to rejuvenate can be doubly challenging.
3. How to ask for support. Sometimes we can’t do it alone. Hopefully by 30, when you need help, you know how to ask for it.
4. When to jump in feet-first. When life hands you an opportunity, can you recognize it and grab hold with everything you have?
5. When to walk away. We’ve all been burned by a life situation. Sometimes it’s worth sticking around to see what happens or pick up the pieces, and sometimes it’s not.
6. When and how to stand up for yourself. This one’s tricky, because it’s easy to miss in the moment. To be honest, I’ll be doing good if I master this one by 40.
7. When to let things go. My mom’s favorite saying is “Sometimes you have to pick your battles.” So true.
8. What you want your career to look like. Your 20’s are all about figuring this out. By 30, hopefully you’re together enough to make it happen.
9. What things you need in a town/city/metropolis to be happy. For me, it’s a good library with inter-library loan, nice walking streets, within driving distance of a medium-sized city, and little traffic. I’m a simple girl. What kinds of things do you need to meet your minimum threshold for contentment?
10. Who you can rely on when things go to hell.
11. How you would survive a zombie apocalypse. After watching countless episodes of The Walking Dead, I’m beginning to form strategies. It’s never too early to start planning.
12. How to make at least one delicious meal. And how to modify it for vegetarian/gluten-free/whatever other dietary restrictions your friends have. You can definitely survive on carry-out, but this is a life-skill that everyone should master.
13. How to make someone feel valued. Life is full of give and take, but knowing how to make another person feel appreciated will take you far in life and in your personal relationships.
14. How to make something decadent, gooey, and delicious. Because people will love you.
15. How to exercise without over-doing it, and how to work this into your life on a regular basis. Aging sucks. But it sucks so much less if you work out, because you’ll lose less muscle mass and bone density, and you’ll have a longer, healthier life expectancy. It’s hard, but it’s really, really important.
16. The importance of flossing daily.
17. How to tell when someone is giving you bad advice.
18. How to get lost in something you love doing. Music. Painting. Wood carving. Shoveling snow. Reading.
19. How to get over a bad break-up. I know a few people who are lucky and found their soul mates in high school, but for the rest of us, this one is important.
20. How to clean your house top-to-bottom. Even if your spouse does this, by 30, you should know how to as well.
21. How to live within (or below) your means.
22. How to pay off debt. Car loans. Morgage. Even those pesky student loans. Getting yourself out of debt can be the biggest gift you give yourself.
23. How to apologize.
24. How to take care of a pet. Or, if you have one already, a child.
25. The importance of health insurance.
26. How to not sound arrogant or offensive. It always bugs me when I hear people who’s sense of their abilities is not in touch with reality. Check yourself. By 30, there’s no excuse.
27. How to size someone up when you meet them. Red flags, people. Watch for them. Also, don’t assume because someone is quiet that they’re stupid. I get this a lot, and I don’t know why people make that assumption.
28. How to work really, really hard for what you want. Whether in a career, relationship, or hobby. Persistence is key.
29. How to turn a bad day around.
30. How to love yourself even when you mess up.