What should we have tried by the time we settle down and establish a family? I think there are as many opinions about this as there are people on planet earth. It is very individual from person to person what they feel their children should know or what every person feel they themselves should have accomplished before they settle down. Here are 15 tips on what I think is a good starting point for a young woman. The tips are listed in no particular order and they are all things that have been part of my journey.
1.Open a checking and a savings account.
Some people are better at managing their money than others, but I think it is essential for every woman to have a sense of what it means to have money coming in and money going out on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Money management is often a long learning process and we often have to make many mistakes before we really get it. I know I am still working hard on this, but I am glad my parents started this one early with me.
2. Travel and live abroad for a shorter or longer period of time.
I know this one is very individual, but living abroad and learning about different people, family patterns and a different culture has been life changing for me. Even if this opportunity comes up as just a three week study opportunity or summer camp, this is something I believe every young lady should do.
3. Have had a full-time job.
This point goes along with the point about having a bank account. No matter how any girl’s future may turn out, whether they choose to be a stay at home mom or not, I think every girl should have tried to hold down a full-time job that pays for all the bills. Having had a job teaches you responsibility, money management and having to work with other people.
4. Have lived in her own place either rented or owned.
I almost cringe at a young woman who has not lived on her own before moving in with her husband or significant other. So many little things are discovered while being responsible for your own household. Also, this gives you the possibility to see what it means to have your own place.
5. Have been in at least one serious love relationship.
While I believe that every woman should have lived on their own before settling down, I think it is a good idea to have been through at least one serious relationship and a break-up before you choose your partner in life. I know that for many, this is not ok and that is just fine. But for me it worked. Looking back I could not have imagined having my first serious boyfriend as my life’s partner. I thank God every day that I went through the experience, because it helped find my partner today.
6. Know how to do laundry.
Some people may actually shake their heads at this one, but how can you settle down without knowing how to do your own laundry? To me Laundry involves everything from sorting to folding and ironing to knowing what should be professionally dry cleaned. That is it and that’s that.
7. Learn at least one language other than your native tongue.
This goes right along with the point I made about traveling to another country. Learning how to speak another language opens your mind and brightens your horizon to other cultures and to people from different countries. It challenges you to think and practice and to perfect a skill.
8. Know how to cook a nutritious meal.
Knowing how to cook a basic meal is essential for survival and any young woman needs to know how to do this and needs to also have tried this. Knowing how to cook a nutritious meal is important in order to live a healthy lifestyle.
9. Have participated in some sort of competition.
Whether it is a sports competition, singing or any other kind, having participated in a competition teaches us some things about ourselves that can be very valuable. The experience of either winning or losing is a helpful tool to bring along in other life situations such as relationships or work related situations. It gives us the opportunity to experience ourselves when we are involved in a process that can have either a positive or negative end result.
10. Learn how to ski.
I never in my wildest dreams thought I would learn how to ski, but when I selected Physical Education as one of my major areas of study, Activities in Snow, was one of the areas on the official curriculum. So I learned how to ski both cross country and downhill at the age of 23. Why is this important? Because it is a great way to move and exercise, you learn to use your muscles in a completely different way and you learn a lot about nature while you are at it. And last but not least, it is great fun.
11. Have a makeover or pampering session.
This may seem superficial, but there is something to be said about knowing what makes us feel good especially if we are stressed out. It is ok to want to look great, it is ok to want to be pretty and it is ok to get that pedicure or that facial. Learn to figure out what really makes you feel great and treat yourself to that just every once in a while.
12. Having voted at least once.
I realize that when some people turn 21 and are ready to vote it may be a few years before there is actually an election going on. You might actually have plans of settling down before it is time for you to cast your first vote. Basically what it comes down to for me is that I believe we need to learn something about ourselves and our own voice and opinions before we involve a spouse or significant other in our lives.
13. Have partied with the girlfriends.
When I say having partied with the girlfriends, I don’t mean wild and senseless parties all the time. However, I do think it is important that we have good friends and that we do experience the fun times before we settle down and get serious in a
relationship. If that means going out for a night in town dancing or having a great meal together with friends or watching movies or bowling, then so be it. I could not imagine my life today without having tried to hit the clubs dancing first and doing the silly things we do with our girlfriends. To me that is part of the deal. It is part of growing up.
14. A vacation to at least one dream destination.
For me this trip came as a one week school trip to Rome, Italy during my sophomore year in high school, so it was not quite a vacation, but it was a dream destination. Lucky for me it was it was a week filled with places to see and things to learn. Again, it is about experiencing and learning, but also about fulfilling dreams.
15. Find at least one thing that you are passionate about.
This one is probably one of the most important ones for me. I think that all of the above will help women find a passion. Your passion may evolve or change as you grow and go through life, but I do believe that the seeds are planted in these early years before we settle down as mother and wives.
While there are so many other things that certainly also are just as important as the 15 things I have mentioned above, these are just a few of the things that have contributed to making me the woman I am today.