30 things you can only do after your twenties
My friends and I were chatting about when we were in our twenties recently when someone asked if we'd go back and do it all over again. This particular group of older and ever-so-slightly-wiser 30-somethings didn't take long to reach their decision: absolutely no chance.
We quickly concluded that we now know what we want, or rather, what we don't want. Meanwhile, we're less insecure, we earn more and we look better (the latter part may be delusional, however).
According to received wisdom, the 20s is a heady decade of disco-balls and nightclub stamps, while the thirties is the moment the music stops, the lights come on and the bouncers frogmarch you off the dance floor.
It doesn't help that we're subjected to countless '30 Things To Do Before You're 30' bucket lists that feature crazy pursuits like bungee-jumping, skinny-dipping and stage-diving with tedious regularity.
Like every decade, the twenties has its charms. However, the thirties has a lot to offer, too. Without further ado, here are the 30 things that you can look forward to...
1 You can wear a suit without looking like you're on work experience or selling broadband door-to-door.
2 You finally accept that strapless bras, stretch mark creams and rebound relationships simply don't work.
3 You stop buying sale items to 'slim into', just as you realise that your body weight has a set-point.
4 You stop ordering the second cheapest wine on the menu as a matter of course, largely because you can now pronounce the one you want.
5 Brunch becomes your favourite meal and you wonder where Bloody Marys have been your whole life.
6 After years of trial and error, you finally find a foundation that is the same colour as your skin.
7 You can now afford monthly massages. This pleases you greatly.
8 You realise that some nights out can't be resuscitated and learn to call it a day before the inevitable curry chips conclusion.
9 And you finally accept that it is rarely worth bringing strangers back to house parties.
10 Experience teaches you that people make decisions based on who they know rather than what they know, and you learn to spend more time widening your circle than perfecting your CV.
11 You notice that the mean-spirited girls from school age faster and you begin to understand that kindness is the best anti-ageing cream on the market.
12 During shopping expeditions, you become acutely aware of the polyester content of high-street clothes. Non-synthetic fabrics like silk are now your go-to.
13 Blind dates - just say no. You've learned that one the hard way.
14 You start to know yourself and your blindspots. Six-inch heels? Can't wear them. 6am flight? Never going to happen.
15 You realise that your parents don't have the map. Neither did their parents, or their parents...
16 However, they were right about credit cards...
17 You start to understand that all relationships are a mirror and the old "it's not you, it's me" yarn is about as profound as it gets.
18 Friends that aren't nourishing, uplifting or inspiring are culled and you become better at discerning true friendship.
19 Speaking of which, you now walk away from drama and people who are only capable of moaning and whinging.
20 You realise that pretty much all women have cellulite. Yes, even models.
21 And the ferocious self-loathing that spreads like a virus in all-girls schools, gradually, miraculously, begins to diminish.
22 You care less about what people think, largely because you realise that they have other things to think about besides you.
23 One fateful day, you bring the clothes that you bought in a hormonal shopping daze back to the shop and get the money refunded to your card.
24 And you realise that maybe, just maybe, you're in control of money and money is not in control of you.
25 Fad diets no longer compel you to go out and buy 3lbs of chicken breasts and 12 grapefruits. Besides, they don't even work.
26 You've worked out how to look good in a group photo.
27 Living with flatmates becomes emotionally treacherous. On the plus side, living alone becomes financially feasible.
28 You develop the audacity to ask for a "cash discount" and you wonder why you used to turn puce when your parents did the same thing.
29 You realise that all-nighters - whether for work or play - are rarely worth it. Meanwhile, you discover the merits of the "nana nap".
30 Every now and again you reflect on the sheer lunacy of your 20s and realise that you are lucky to still be alive and relatively sane.