With technology and society moving so quickly, it’s no wonder your life probably looks nothing like your parents’ did at your age. Back in their day, 30 usually meant having a family of your own, or finding the job you’d keep until you retired. For us, turning 30 can look like starting your own family, choosing a new career, summoning a jackal-headed being to do your most unspeakable bidding, going back to school, or a million other things in between. But here are a few skills that we can all agree make the transition into the next phase of life a bit smoother.
1. Know which fork to use with which course at dinner. This may sound like “outdated” advice, but basic traditional table manners can get you far on business lunches (not to mention dinners with a new boyfriend or girlfriend’s parents).
2. Understand that the only way to really lose weight is through hard work at the gym—not through crash diets, unhealthy supplements, or blood pacts made with strange men who smell of burnt gasoline and screaming.
Those other methods will give you a quick fix, but they won’t help you keep the pounds off in the long-term.
3. Have one signature meal that you can whip up to impress dates, new friends, and others. Even if it’s the only meal you know how to cook, or is made out of a meat whose source is too terrible to contemplate, your guests don’t have to know!
4. Check the facts on your 401K, Roth IRA, or other long-term savings account. Not only will it provide you with peace of mind, but you may even discover a whole new talent for finance.
5. Get a real bed, not a futon. It’s better for your back and gives your bedroom a more sophisticated look–and besides, you deserve it! Make sure to pick up a box spring, too. They extend the life of the mattress, and no one ever thinks to look inside one of those until it is far, far too late.
6. Ignore the quiet (but persistent) scratching noise outside your bedroom window that begins at 3am most nights.
7. Properly format a resume. In today’s job market, a surprise job offer (or surprise staff redundancy) can call for an up-to-date resume at a moment’s notice—when it happens, you’ll be glad you were prepared!
8. Make your own annual sacrifice to He Who Darts Among the Shadows, Silently Waiting. You’re not a kid any more—you can’t just wait for your parents to include you in their fiery offering. In fact, some states may not even permit you to participate in your parents’ ceremony after you turn 26.
9. Know what colors and styles of clothes look flattering on you, instead of just following the trends. Part of growing up is accepting and learning to love your so-called “physical flaws” (even if they only become apparent in the silvery light of the full moon).
10. Keep ignoring that scratching at your bedroom window, which now seems to start earlier and earlier each night. I am sure that it is nothing.
11. Stop the hearts of your enemies, using only the hateful brute force of your mind. If you do it correctly, it’ll look like a heart attack, no one will be the wiser, and you’ll finally have that cubicle to yourself at work! Wait a few days before you take down all of Karen’s dumb pictures of her family, though, so it doesn’t look suspicious or anything.
12. Fix a flat tire by yourself.
13. Fight a flat tire by yourself.
14. Squeeze all the air from a flat tire, and then bury its limp rubber body in a corn field on a moonless night by yourself. There, there. It’s done now.
15. Save money regularly from each paycheck—even if you can only afford a very small amount.
16. Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.
17. Drink like a grown-up—that means one glass of water for every alcoholic beverage consumed, no chugging, and no dancing on any tables.
18. Skin and de-bone a fully-grown…um…a deer. Yes, that’s right, that’s exactly what I meant. A deer.
19. Pick out an appropriate leather shoe (with proper arch support), rather than just fall back on your grubby old pair of Converse.
20. Create a basic golem from simple cleaning products found around the house.
21. Take a compliment. Don’t fight it, don’t deny it, just accept it with a gracious “thank you.”
22. Have a route charted out for a quick retreat to your secret dome deep beneath the Pacific pole of inaccessibility, for when the President finally finds out about your plan to steal the Pope’s brain.
24. Know how to say a gentle but firm “no” to friends who try to set you up on blind dates, never return clothes that they borrow, or have come to believe that they have the power to stop you with the herbs, relics, and so-called “enchanted powders” they have purchased off the internet.
25. Know how to resist the pressure of salespeople at the make up counter or hair salon. Sure, all that attention is great—but don’t get so caught up in it that you end up going way over your budget.
26. Throw a sophisticated dinner party with multiple courses, garden fresh veggies for salad, and good conversation that your friends will all enjoy.
27. Wait, I can’t get the door open. It’s not…Katie, are these doors locked from the outside?
28. Katie, we’re your friends! You’ve got the wrong people! We’re not the ones who squealed to the High Counsel about the prime minister’s stolen baby! I didn’t know anything about that! Katie, you’ve got the wrong people!
29. Agghhkjl! Blahaghahajhh! Bproooougggjjjhhhhh!..blarrrrrrrble
30. Have two go-to wines that you can always order and enjoy at restaurants — one red, one white — so you’re always prepared.