27 Things That Women Of Any Age Should RememberJennifer Murphy

I just turned 27. That’s too dangerously close to 30 for my liking. But the woman I want to become doesn’t find the three and the zero scary. She finds them strange shapes that amount to nothing. I don’t want numbers and limits and wrinkles and ex-husbands and failures and what-if-kids to be scary. The world is inherently frightening. But thinking of the woman I could become, a woman of strength, a woman I chose of my own volition, a woman I’ve created, eases my fear. At 27, am I any different than the 8-year-old drama queen obsessed with dress up and make believe? When did things start to change? When I started to become the chubby insecure 9-year-old kid instead of the blonde cutie who received wistful unending stares from the freckled boy in math class? The wistful unending stares slowly died down. My security grew smaller as my body grew bigger. I was hitting womanhood but not nearly in the way I imagined I would.

These insecurities have come and gone through my life and have been appeased through the realization that few of us go without them. And so I made a list, a list I doubt I will ever finish. A list of things I need to do to become the woman I think I’m meant to be. Some of them come easy, others are like a blind trip through a mine field. So here they are. I’m letting myself off the hook for not getting there yet because I still believe I will one day. We’re not the sum of our mistakes, or the things we’ve failed to accomplish yet in our lives, whether we’re teens, twenties, or beyond. We’re not that passing failure or that present doubt. We’re the measure of commitment to take agency against those addictive paradigms that drag us down, replacing them with things that lift us up.

The list (so far):

1.) Take what you want without hurting others.

2.) Be kind, but not always nice.

3.) You are not obligated to talk to strangers, but if they seem sweet, why not?

4.) Always tell your mom you love her too after she says it on the phone, even if you’re grumpy and mumbly.

5.) Try to be patient even though you are incredibly impatient.

6.) Don’t let the looming future control your peace of mind.

7.) Say no when you want to say no. It’s your right.

8.) Be ashamed of the silly things you’ve done in the past, but let yourself off the hook.

9.) It’s okay to have regrets. “No regrets”? No chance. Reflect on your regrets. Turn them into bad poetry.

10.) If it’s written on a fridge magnet, it’s probably BS.

11.) Your grandmother might disagree with you on a hundred fundamentals but she’s still got wisdom coming out of her ears. Take it in.

12.) Your sisters and brother aren’t perfect, and neither are you. It’s okay to love them as much as you can without worrying what you get in return.

13.) Be kinder to your dad. He doesn’t know how to say it but he wants the very best for you. Help him find those words.

14.) Keep a clean and tidy house. It will make you feel better to treat yourself better.

15.) Do something creative every day. You know your potential and you are scared of it. Push past that fear. Surround yourself with inspiration. Accept that you’ll most likely have to make something bad before you can make something good.

16.) Exercise, eat healthy. Your body and mind are all you have. Treat them as such. Try swimming every day, like Little Edie.

17.) Let jealousy flow over you. It’s a useless, poisonous emotion. Push it away as fast as you can.

18.) Stay stylish as you grow old. Revel in the fun things and never let them pass.

19.) Make a home that fills you with warmth.

20.) Don’t lose your sense of humour or your edge. Keep being just a little bit of an asshole.

21.) Be tough.

22.) It’s okay to feel lonely.

23.) It’s okay to wonder why you may never have that core group of inseparable friends that you see on TV.

24.) You make some shitty mistakes, but you’re not a bad person.

25.) Try to be nice to nice people. Phoney chit chat is exhausting but can lead to something really sincere.

26.) Your hero has a hero of their own. We’re all the same. Except old ladies with eyebrow tattoos. They’re a different breed.

27.) Even Kate Middleton poops.

Kathleen Murphy, my grandmother, is my inspiration and a perfect example of strength through aging.

Image via Shutterstock

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  1. I turn 27 this coming year. Thank you for your thoughtful words!

  2. Love this article! won’t be turning 27 until a few years now but it’s creeping up..you’ve made me forget about that, dank!

  3. Thanks for the article and your list is PERFECT! I will turn 27 on Dec.24th, and its a little bit scary and really too close to 30 to my liking too, but unless the world ends on 21st there is no escape, so I will take your list, add few (or many) things of my own and put it in my pocket close to my heart, hold my breath for a while and then jump in to the all unknow things and happenings that the magic “27″ brings! (P.S. #2 is GOOOOOD!)

  4. I just had a frightening conversation with my boss about “managing my career.” I wanted to cry. Then I read #6, now I feel a little better. Thanks so much.

  5. This is fantastic! There are some seriously good ones I make sure to live by each day… however you forgot one… Try to stay positive but realize that sometimes things just suck even in the silver lining!

  6. I love this!

  7. I love this! It made me “tear-up-smile” which is one of the best emotions. It hit close to home and made me feel a little more relaxed. I’m a 22 year old struggling musician in Brooklyn, NY… I needed the hopeful words! Thank you!

  8. I meant #23 not #27

  9. A whole hearted thank-you, i turn 29 in a few weeks and have very much been feeling almost all of what you described. I followed one path in my life and it didn’t work out as I planned, but i saw many in the same path succeed, it has been hard not to be jealous. I have finally come to place where i have realized we all follow our own path and it may not be the path we foretold for ourselves. Most importantly i have learned, WE ALL HAVE TO CONTINUALLY REDEFINE WHAT SUCCESS IS (apparently it isn’t what all those fairy tales and rom-com’s might have us believe sometimes it is just getting your ass out of bed somedays). I also really appreciate #27 too, it has been something I have felt most of my life. I have come to understand that the universe sends me the friends I need, but doesn’t guarantee their life-span. You change so your friendship change with it. Thanks again!

  10. Thanks everyone for your response to my first article! I’m really happy you enjoyed it. :D – Jenn

  11. I just copied that list and saved it on my email. Hopefully I’ll find it when I need it in the future.

  12. This is great, but why restrict it to women? I don’t see anything here that doesn’t also apply to men!

  13. Wonderful article! I love it and it’s all pretty spot on.

  14. I really love your post and especially your list. I also got a list of my own but I guess I’ll add some more from your list. Thank you for this. Inspired here. :)

  15. #27 – Really!?! Okay, I’ll take your word for it. But Princess Diana – never.

    Loved this list. Think I’ll make my own, but I’ll be borrowing a few from yours. Why mess with greatness?

  16. Thank you, Jenn. Today, I needed this words.

  17. Thanks so much for this list! I’m going back to university in two months and I’ve been nervous about my future. I especially like #23

  18. Love #15! Definitely need to take that to heart.

  19. I just turned 26, and have begun feeling the looming pressure of who I should be or what I should be doing by the time I turn 30. I found this article to be wonderful and inspirational, thank you for the wise words.

    • Thanks so much for reading! I’m glad you both enjoyed it! xojk

      Jenn Murphy | 11/18/2012 02:11 pm
  20. LOVED this article! Thank you for writing it. I definitely needed to read it. My life is crazy busy all the time. I’m a full time college student, part time worker, and have a 2 year old daughter, so sometimes I get lost in all of the craziness. Although I’m only 21, I feel like i’m 30 already with all of the responsibilities and work that I do. This reminded me to relax a little and just think about who I want to be and not who everyone expects me to be.