"Don't buy silk." 20 lessons everyone should learn before their 30th birthday.

In a couple of months, I turn 30. And I'm unravelling. 

There were things I meant to do and places I was meant to go. I meant to become a prodigy and now it's well and truly too late. 

Greta Thunberg is saving the world while I scroll through Facebook marketplace hoping to find second-hand furniture that costs less than $40. Lin-Manuel Miranda was my age when he started to write Hamilton and I meant to write the best theatre production of all time but I also forgot to learn any skills.

But then I remembered the words of our Millennial Messiah, Kylie. Kristen. Jenner. Why the f**k do I know Kylie Jenner's middle name this is literally the problem with my life thus far. 

She said in 2016: "Like, I feel like every year has a new energy, and I feel like this year is really about, like, the year of just realising stuff. And everyone around me, we're all just, like, realising things."

So true, Kylie. 

I, too, have realised some things, and have decided it is time to share the life lessons we should probably all learn before we turn 30. 

1. Don’t buy silk. Or white. And definitely not white silk

You don't know how to wash it. And it won't be different this time, because you're still you, and silk is still silk. You'll put it in the wash and it will come out all course and shrivelled and you'll feel guilty until the day you die. 

On this, you'll notice that on every piece of clothing you buy there's a goddamn tag with goddamn instructions on how to goddamn wash it. Read the tag. And then do what the tag says. Life changing. 

Watch Libby Trickett's advice to her five-year-old self. Post continues below. 

Video via Mamamia.

2. If in doubt, iron it. Furthermore, don’t buy anything that requires ironing

If the thought crosses your mind "maybe I should iron this", then you absolutely need to iron it. Ironing your clothes makes them look at least 25 per cent more expensive. 


If you don't want to iron because every time you try you end up burning a hole in the front or wrestle with the ironing board legs for 15 minutes and get bruises on your shins, then don't buy clothes that require ironing you idiot?? Like just buy cotton or something I don't know?

3. If you’re meant to transfer someone money, do it on the spot


Do it at the restaurant. And make everyone else do it too. In a circle. In silence. And don't make the person who paid repeat their BSB number four times. Just... be faster. 

4. If you feel crap after spending time with someone, phase out the friendship

It’s one thing considering how you feel while you spend time with friends. It’s another how you feel afterwards. 

If you like yourself less after hanging out with someone or a particular group of friends, then stop investing in that relationship. And on that note...

5. Sometimes, you’re not an introvert. You’re just hanging out with sh*t people.

I think a lot of people in their 20s mistake 'bad friends who suck' with 'introversion'. 

I spent years convinced I was an introvert (still sort of am) but in reality I just hadn't found my people. If certain friendships leave you drained, maybe it's not your introversion. It's just... them. 

6. You actually don’t want to be beautiful 

In your teens it's all you want. No one is rewarded for anything more than being beautiful between the ages of about 12 and 20. 

You want to be sort of average. It means people don't just laugh at your jokes because they think you're pretty, which in turn gives you really inconsistent and unobjective feedback, and encourages you to keep making subpar jokes. 

And no one wants that. 

7. The men/women who are most likely to approach you probably aren’t the ones you want to date


The people most likely to approach you in a crowded bar and strike up a conversation are outgoing, fun people, but not necessarily... kind or good people. 

They probably also have very nice faces. See above.

It's the person sitting with a group of friends in the corner who would be mortified to ever approach a woman at the bar that's worth your time. That's why dating apps aren't the devil (you widen your pool) and the best relationships often start out as friendships first. 

Also, the man/woman who's really good at hitting on strangers, in my experience, doesn't stop once they're in a relationship. You know how Maya Angelou says, "When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time"? What that person is telling you is that they know they're good at picking up and they have more confidence than most humans ought to have. That's dangerous. 


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What the FCK is this.

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8. Write the ‘what I want in a partner’ list

OK. This sounds ridiculous but hear me out. 

This advice actually came from former Mamamia Out Loud host, Monique Bowley, who said she wrote a numbered list of all the qualities she was looking for in a partner. It became clear to her that all her past partners didn't match the list. That's why it hadn't worked. 

When I wrote my list, I discovered that the number one thing I actually wanted was someone I knew was a good person. I wanted someone who could make me laugh... wait I'm going to go find it.

OK found it. Here's what it had. 

1. Kind

2. Funny

3. Loves me for who I am (I sound like someone from The Bachelor here but I'd been in lots of relationships where I was clearly trying to be someone else which was... embarrassing... for everyone)


4. Cares what I have to say

5. Attracted to them

6. Fits in with my family

7. Cares and is proud of what I do

8. Smart

9. Interesting

10. Driven

11. Cares about the stuff that matters

12. Loves dogs

Look. Whether or not it was a coincidence, I found someone who matched all of those things in the months after I wrote that list. Which leads me to my next point... 

9. Stop dating your type

I wrote a whole article on this a few years ago

Albert Einstein famously said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.” And when it comes to dating, we’re all f*cking insane.

There's a difference between chemistry and compatibility.

Chemistry is that instant connection you get - not necessarily because they're right for you, but because they're familiar. You've dated them, or that type of person, before. 

A friend said to me once that what you want is the kind of love that gets stronger everyday. At the time, I had no idea what she was talking about.

But you get that from dating someone you're compatible with.

What we think we want and what we actually need are often two different things. And I know which one makes you happier.

Listen to this week's episode of Mamamia Out Loud, where I discuss my very important life advice. Post continues below. 

10. Your back hurts because you sit like an idiot

You need to sort that out. I don't know how. I still sit like an idiot. 

In addition, just about everyone has bad knees. I read once they're a design flaw in the human body. So are our necks. 

11. Don’t spend money on sunglasses. You’ll sit on them

The more expensive, the sooner you'll sit on them. 

12. Literally no one cares why you’re late

Hush now. You're late and people are impatient with you. The least you can do is not take them through the story of where you tried to park and the exact street that gave you three red lights. 


13. During your 20s you’ll come back to who you were at 5

I have a theory that everyone knows exactly who they are at five years old. If you ever wrote down what you wanted to be when you grew up, buried in that is a part of you who still exists. Then, you spend the next 15 years of your life having your natural disposition socialised out of you. You're punished for being unfocussed, and people make fun of you, and you get crap marks in a subject you thought you were good at, and you're told that whatever you desperately wanted to do is untenable. 

So you do what you're supposed to and then you find yourself in your early twenties weirdly... unhappy. 

Your twenties are well spent if you manage to rediscover that five-year-old who got excited about things and lost themselves in activities. 

Everyday I hope to get closer to who I was at five. Minus the missing teeth. I'll keep my current teeth. 

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Feeling ALMOST emotional today. This funny looking girl (me, it’s me) used to sit in the back kitchen and write stories. By stories I mean she just rewrote The Titanic which was already a story but she didn’t understand plagiarism yet and that’s okay. When people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up I said a book writer because I always forgot the word ‘author’. Anyway, today I submitted the first draft of my book and little me would be stoked about that and then ask if one of the characters is named Leonardo DiCaprio. Sweetie. No. There are no sinking ships or icebergs. I know this is only step one and I’ll get lots of edits and have to write it again and again but to get those 80,000 words down on a page feels like a real milestone. For people asking... it’s a book about love stories that end in heartbreak. It’s non-fiction, true stories, meets fiction, so written creatively. Sort of like (hopefully) Three Women meets Normal People. I’m sure it will evolve a lot in the editing process, but it’s for anyone, of any gender or age or sexual orientation, who has ever experienced a broken heart. Side note: This picture is old AF and has paint or nail polish on it.

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14. Find the thing that makes you feel most like yourself, and do that

Relatedly, ask yourself: What am I doing when I feel the most like myself? 

There are certain things - often creative things - where you don't feel like you're performing. 


15. All of us spend too much time on our phones and none of us know what to do about it

This isn't 'advice' as much as like a general acknowledgment we all need to make. Publicly. 

16. People who exercise are dicks because exercise makes you feel good and then you tell everyone how good you feel

I stole this from my sister Clare who wrote for Mamamia"It was last Saturday morning, as I was telling my mum about my fitness goals (kill me), that I could no longer deny it.

I've become the dick.

And I know why.

Exercise makes you a dick.

It makes you a dick because it makes you feel really... good.

My back doesn't get sore anymore. My posture is semi-improving. I'm getting more flexible and I feel like I'm investing in my own health or well being... or something.

I understand why people who are into fitness are so bloody annoying about it. Because the goddamn exercise is making them absurdly happy and enthusiastic and motivated. And they want to share that... gift. With others. And it's the worst."

17. If a hairdresser f**ks up your hair, do not smile, say thank you, and then pay them a ridiculous amount of money. Say something

You're allowed to do the whole go-home-and-cry-to-your-mum thing at 18, but by 30, you don't have the time nor the patience to have someone make your hair look stupid and then charge you for it. 

The thing is, most hairdressers are actually happy to fix it and would rather you say something than post about it on social media and call them out. 

Feedback is a gift bla bla bla...

18. Feedback from people you trust is an act of generosity

Not from people who slide into your Instagram DMs and say you look like a rat. That is not an act of generosity. 

But the person at work who bothers to correct you, or a friend who suggests an improvement, is doing something incredibly generous. There is very little in it for the person actually giving you the feedback, because with it comes a moment of discomfort. Say "thank you" and you'll get more of it. Become defensive and you'll get less of it. And that's the point at which you'll stop getting better. 

19. You shouldn't be tired all the time. Get a blood test

Your life starts to feel very small when you lack energy. Don't just accept feeling sh*tty. Go to the doctor and get it sorted. 

20. Stop spending your holidays feeling sh*t about your body 

This seems like a nice idea even though I don't know how to do it. Hoping to learn in my 30s. 

What lessons do you think you should learn by your 30th birthday? Let us know in the comments below...