1. Enough confidence to no longer feel the need to justify what she eats, who she dates or what she wears, not only to other people, but to herself.
2. The goal of a bank account with a few months’ living expenses in it, if she doesn’t have that already. Just in case.
3. Only the phone numbers, Facebook friends, weekend plans, and roommates she actually wants.
4. A best friend who is like a sister.
5. A space of her own.
6. A good idea of what she needs in a romantic relationship, not just what she wants, or what she thinks she needs, and the willingness to explore different people and other ideas to find what exactly that is.
7. A closet of what she considers to be her “staples,” and among these things, something to wear to an interview, funeral, wedding, impromptu Friday night drink at a casual bar and dream date if ever someone were to call out of the blue.
8. The tact and grace to ask for a raise, a promotion, a change in a relationship or a date with someone she’s into.
9. The faith that she deserves those things.
10. A favorite coffee order, go-to restaurant for when friends visit from out of town, hairstyle that takes less than five minutes in the morning, “thank you” cards in her desk drawer, the print copy of her favorite book, and bedding that she is proud to show off.
11. A hobby that has nothing to do with drinking, shopping or somebody else.
12. The recipes for a number of easy meals memorized.
13. The desire and discipline to actually cook for herself. (Just herself.)
14. A trip she tells awesome stories about and a trip she has awesome plans for.
15. A sense that she’s let go of resenting other women for what they do or don’t have over her.
16. Enough of a healthy relationship with her body that her contentment no longer hinges on comparison, or what her partner would think.
17. At least one date in her memory with the kind of partner who wouldn’t care about those things anyway.
18. Forgiveness if she’s dated men who haven’t quite matured as quickly as women tend to in their early 20s.
19. The knowledge of what she wants in bed and the confidence to ask for it without feeling uncomfortable.
20. A drill, a non-stick pan, a credit card line nobody else has access to, a bra that she was measured for at the store and working knowledge of how to change a tire, unclog a pipe, make an investment and find shoes on the extra 40% rack.
21. A relationship with her mother, even if it’s the decision that their relationship will be at least functioning, if not familial.
22. A passport, a sturdy piece of luggage, and the ability to pack the essentials at a moment’s notice should she be offered the chance to get away for a weekend, a week, or a whole new life.
23. The following emergency kit: Tylenol/Advil, eyedrops, a tampon, hand sanitizer, a fresh pair of underwear, a travel sized toothbrush, hydrocolloid bandages for blisters, $20 cash, a condom, and Plan B.
24. Forgiveness for who she was.
25. An idea of who she wants to be.