Please Stop Telling 30-Somethings What To Do (An Open Letter to Kallie Provencher at RantChic)

Today I read an article posted by a friend on Facebook. The article (and I use the term loosely, it was really more of a slideshow with a couple of fragmented mandates beneath each photo) was actually from late last year. I knew I had seen it before.

It was titled 24 Things Women Should Stop Wearing After Age 30. It reminded me of another article I had seen posted on Facebook recently: 10 TV Shows Women Over 30 Need To Stop Watching.

Both made me equally nauseated, only worsened when I started looking into these  glad-handed slide shows to see they were both thrown together by the same person.

Kallie Provencher at RantChic.

24 Things Women Should Stop Wearing After Age 30 was the one that really got to me. In it, she says we should all stop wearing graphic t-shirts, and trade old sneakers for upscale tennis clogs. In fact, she even goes on to say that if we can’t afford nicer things, we should all be evaluating our lives as 30 year olds.

Tell us more about this magical world where money grows on trees and everyone stops having a personality of their own, Kallie.

It doesn’t stop there. This leading authority on what women over 30 should be doing and, in most cases, not doing, has also recently written:

20 Pictures Women Over 30 Need To Stop Posting

15 Status Updates Women Over 30 Need To Stop Posting On Social Media

10 Games Women Over 30 Need To Stop Playing

There may be more, but I couldn’t stand to go past there.

Because I decided to write her a letter.

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Dear Kallie Provencher at RantChic,

You’ve garnered quite a bit of viral-ability lately. In recent months, perhaps because my peers and I are for the most part in our 30s, I’ve seen your posts on RantChic shared again and again. And again. Except when it’s shared, it’s typically with a comment like “this article makes me so mad!”

It’s a shame that your popularity is growing because people despise what you say so much.

I’m writing today to open a dialogue with you. That dialogue is about how you seem to think you are the authority on how people over 30 should behave.

I don’t know much about you. I don’t even know if you’re over 30 (wouldn’t that be ironic). And while I could make several assumptions based on the articles you’ve written, I’ll stick to just one: you seem to hate women in their 30s.

Let me see if I can break down that assumption for you vis-à-vis the Kallie Provencher School of Blog Writing…

3 Signs That Kallie Provencher At RantChic Hates Women In Their 30s

Living life to its fullest, relishing in the things you enjoy, and sharing with those you love are things Kallie Provencher at RantChic hates. Therefore, women in their 30s should stop doing all of that and just die already.

#3 Kallie Provencher Wants You To Be More Mature

So much so that every article Kallie writes about things women in their 30s should stop doing already start with a few sentences about maturity. Bask in her sage wisdom. Women should be eating at more mature places, shopping at more mature stores, and acting more mature in their relationships.

Move over Forever 21, graphic t-shirts, and old tennis shoes, Kallie Provencher insists we all shop at Dress Barn and Lane Bryant, and wear nothing but nice, floral, below-the-knee pinafores until the day we die.

#2 Kallie Provencher Wants You To Stop Enjoying Life

Stop watching television shows you enjoy, like Dancing With the Stars and Days Of Our Lives. Days Of Our Lives may be a soap opera, and soap operas are usually reserved for older women; but it’s immature to take pleasure in gossipy kind of stuff like that.

And we all know how Kallie Provencher feels about immaturity.

If you must go on living after you turn 30, for the love of God – don’t enjoy it and share it with others. DO NOT share vacation photos, and NEVER talk about how proud you are of your clean house or your pregnant belly.

Kallie Provencher doesn’t care. About any of it.

#1 Kallie Provencher Wants You To Come To Terms With The Fact That 30 Is The End

A lot of people have a more positive outlook on life. Like people that enjoy their lives well into their 80s and 90s; people that hold onto their youth as long as possible; and pretty much the general population regardless of their age or gender.

Except, of course, for Kallie Provencher.

Kallie understands that you used to play games, but you’d better cut that shit out now. You’re getting older. Holding out for the right man, or setting your standards high and playing a little hard to get is something 20 year olds do. Better to settle and start being easy in hopes it will land you a man before you become a crazy cat lady. It’s time to act desperate here, ladies.

At this stage in the game, Kallie doesn’t want to hear about your new milestones. She doesn’t want to see photographs of your new tattoos. She has no interest in your glitter make up tutorials. She does not want to know the size of your unborn fetus. And the only vacation she actually wants to hear about is your final one, to the funeral home. Which will surely be soon, because life is over. You’re 30 now.

If you’ve done any of this stuff – shared a photo of a delicious meal you are proud to have made, talked about heading out for a much-needed pedicure, or God-forbid, have worn overalls, it’s time to reevaluate your entire life. The only thing you should be focusing on is doing nothing, sharing nothing, and destroying all evidence of your existence prior to this point.

Especially those comfy pajamas you bought at the Victoria’s Secret Pink store on your 29th birthday.

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Sounds terrible when you throw all of it into one place like that, doesn’t it?

I suppose we all shouldn’t be too surprised by the content of your articles and slideshows. Each one is titled negatively. What women in their 30s should stop doing, stop wearing, stop posting. Stop, stop, stop. That seems to be all you want to do, Kallie Provencher: to tell people to stop living.

Well I have a request of something I would like you to stop doing. If you are in your 30s, it’ll fit well – since you seem to believe that at 30 life ceases and some un-effusive robot with no personality or joy for anything takes your place.

Please stop telling 30-somethings what to do. Please stop judging 30-somethings for the way they are.

That’s what kids do.

Your ageist judgments, and grandiose assumptions of what life is supposed to be like as you grow older mean absolutely nothing to anyone but you. If you don’t want to wear glitter make up, short skirts, or old Converse; and you have no interest in catching The Bachelor every night it’s on – then don’t. That’s your choice, just as it’s your choice to post on your social media anything you’d like to post, or to (in your case) not post.

But telling others what to do, and suggesting they are making poor value judgments because they chose to live a certain way at a particular age doesn’t do anything but make you an asshole. In fact, since I’ve turned 30, that’s the most important thing I’ve learned.

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Things I Want To Do Before I’m 40

… JUST KIDDING! I’m not falling into that trap again. That whole “Things I Want To Do Before I’m 30” list I made 10 years ago this Sunday turned out to be a terribly depressing combination of things I failed at and things I never tried.

For those of you that haven’t gotten the memo I put out on the Associated Press (just kidding, again… I may be a blogger but I’m not that much of a narcissist): I’m turning 30 this Sunday. It’s a terribly depressing occasion for this bitch, and before you all start thinking I’m annoying and young and shit, just hear me out. I had this magical list of things I wanted to do before 30 and it wasn’t stuff like “swim with the dolphins” and “discover a cure for influenza,” it was a conglomerate of things I really actually thought and tried to do. Like finish graduate school. Like start a successful teaching career. Like be happily married. Like move the hell out of California.

So I have already been celebrating my birthday for a few days now. I suppose you could consider my epic travels to my sweet home, Chicago to have been something of celebration, but I am meaning in immediate terms when I say “celebrating.” Yesterday I went to lunch with my parents, which was nice (daddy got me drunk by 2 in the afternoon). I got my new Cuisinart Multicooker and a gravy boat that is shaped like a cow and pours the gravy out of its mouth. Today I am baking myself a cake (since no one else is apparently planning on doing so). And there is something else I need to do as I go into my weekend of minimal activities, and that is to light fire to my list of things I want to do before I’m 30.

Graduate school and a successful career in teaching … burn it down

I suppose I should give myself credit for the fact that I have not one, but two Bachelors of Arts degrees from an accredited, private institution. And while I began my graduate degree in Philosophy, leaving the program was a necessity to stop wracking up debt that I wasn’t going to be able to sustain as a result of having limited job opportunities locally where my husband’s job in the film industry is. I really wanted to be done with graduate school and well on my way to a successful career in teaching by now. This defined my life for the better portion of my 20s. For now at least, my graduate degree and a career in teaching is not in the cards for me. I think it’s time to get over this and move on.

In addition to that, though, after having been out of graduate school for a few years now, I can see how insane grad students are. They don’t eat. They don’t sleep. They look like shit all the time. No offense to my graduate student friends and faithful blog followers, but have any of you considered how much coffee and crap you ingest just to get through the day? I have never felt as healthy and well as I have the last few years, which owe in large part to the fact that I’m out of that grind.

Publish my first novel … up in flames

The novel was a recent goal that I added within the last three years or so since about the same time I left graduate school. It’s a lot of work to write a book, though – more work than I thought it would be. And I don’t just want to write crap, which is why after completing my first draft of the book about nine months ago, I trashed the entire thing and have begun the story concept again. Unlike most of the writers I have met in my community, I am not in it to write some quick and dirty chop shop of a piece of literature. I want to write a good book because I have ideas I think are good and I enjoy the craft of writing. That’s it. I’ll finish the book, but setting up a time table really is unfair to me and the work I’m trying to produce.

Burn up thoughts of a happy marriage

Marriage is an institution, and who in their right mind wants to be institutionalized? I’m not saying I hate my husband. I’m not saying I’m entirely unhappy with my marriage. But the wedding is probably the easiest part of getting married, and we all know how stressful weddings are. In the relatively short period of time my husband and I have been married, we’ve had to deal with a lot of bull shit – mostly in the form of family drama. Hello Kitty Toaster and the gang have made happy times a real challenge, as has the fact that my husband’s job takes up about 95% of his focus and attention. There is a reason California has the highest divorce rate (3 of 4 marriages), and my husband is a Californian to his core.

In spite of all that, fortunately I am smart enough to know that a marriage like mine will actually be the one that lasts. It’s those people that are so infatuated with how happy they are, together we shit rainbows and fly to work on unicorns and all, that when reality sets in that life sucks and there is a lot of crap to deal with every single day of it, everything falls apart. If you can still be together and have some semblance of love despite all the miserable crap around you, that means more than all the “OMG I have the best husband in the world he gets me flowers and candies and wipes my ass every day” Facebook updates.

There is a wall of flames between me and moving out of California

I still have really really really, unrealistically high hopes of moving out of California in the near future (can you guys tell?), but doing it before I turn 30 is unlikely. I mean I’d basically have to pack up all our stuff and just leave tomorrow. While I did actually consider doing that last night, just as I did the night before our vacation to Chicago came to an end a few weeks ago, it’s not happening. I will not be moving out of California before I turn 30. I’m not putting that on a 40s list, though, because I’m pretty sure if I don’t leave California well before 40, I won’t make it that far. (I just can’t stand this place that much.)

On the flip side, I have to say that living in California has given me a lot of fodder to write about, both on my blog and in my book. I consider my life in California to be something of a tragic comedy – hilarious at how absurd it is, tragic for the same exact reason. Just today I was driving in the rain and saw some hillbillies sitting outside in their trucks, two sitting in the cab and one (shirtless and smoking) standing in the truck bed with a large, shiny stick. It was a thunderstorm and as I got closer, I saw that those rednecked weirdos were actually trying to get struck by lightening. Had I not been here – where the majority of our population is made up not of glitz and glam and movie stars, but of descendants of southern hillbillies who came over for work during the Great Depression – I never would have seen that.

What does this all mean, you ask? And why should you care?

Well you shouldn’t. I mean you can and I think it’s awesome that as many people that read my blog do. (In fact, on that note, I’m feeling a little honored by how many people take the time to read and comment on my stupid little blog of bitching and complaining and snarking…)

What it means, though, is that now that I have burned up my list of things to do before I turn 30 (because 30 would have burned it for me just two days from now), I can focus on other things. Like baking myself that cake. Like trying lots of good wines. Like working on my book because I want to. Like reading my long list of books I plan on reading this year. Like finding out if my upstairs neighbors really are running a prostitution house up there (I mean, seriously .. people showering at 2 in the morning, strange men coming in and out at all hours…).

So happy birthday to me. It is my party and I will be crying as all of this stuff melts into flames, but here’s the thing about crying: it always feels so good afterwards. Only when we lament the past can we get on with the future, right?