50 Things Every Woman Should Do in Her Lifetime from 50 Things Every Woman Should Do in Her Lifetime

50 Things Every Woman Should Do in Her Lifetime

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50 Things Every Woman Should Do in Her Lifetime

What do you want to accomplish before you die? No doubt the answer to this question is different for almost every woman in America. Some women aspire to start businesses or be on television. Other women aspire to raise successful children or give back to a charitable cause. Now more than in decades past, women have access to the full range of life experiences. That’s why you won’t find outdated must-do’s for women, like “get married” and “have children” on this list — though those are amazing experiences, many people consider them optional now. Of course, there are many things about women’s experiences that could still improve — but why not make the best of what we’ve got?

You’re obviously free to figure out your own bucket list. But these experiences were chosen because of the positive effects they can have on your life. Some are rewarding because of the thrill, such as riding a motorcycle or staying out till dawn. Others are rewarding because they’ll bring you more value from your relationships. And there are items on this list that are just likely to make you feel fantastic.

There are a few experiences on popular bucket lists that are kind of niche — skydiving, for instance, or trying a kickboxing class. You won’t find these on this list. Some people might live for those experiences, while others could really do without. This list is more focused on universal experiences — ones that we think everyone should get at least once. These bucket list items are rewarding and relatively accessible, though some are a little pricey. But every woman should try to experience these 50 unforgettable things.

Build a Piece of Furniture

Build a Piece of Furniture

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It might not be fun. But accomplishing the task of building your very own piece of furniture is so worth it. Just picture yourself, standing triumphantly beside your new set of drawers, hammer in hand. Now that’s victory. And hey, even if it sucks, you’ll probably appreciate that piece of furniture like no other.

Travel Alone

Travel Alone

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This is one millennial cliché that’s actually as great as people say it is. You get to travel your way. Your destination, your itinerary, and on your time. It’s OK to be a little selfish every once in a while! Plus, nothing helps you find yourself like complete self-imposed isolation — but don’t worry. You’re bound to meet all kinds of interesting people along the way. Not sure where to go? These destinations are ideal for first-time solo travelers.

Find Exercise You Enjoy

Find Exercise You Enjoy

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In addition to all the physical health benefits you’ll get from it, your mental and emotional health can improve, too. But that might not be true if you’re miserably slaving away on an elliptical or doing some other exercise you hate. Life is short. Don’t waste it in self-punishment. There are all kinds of enjoyable ways to stay active — try swimming, joining a sports team, or going for more walks. You just need to try things out to see what’s right for you!

Go Skinny Dipping

Go Skinny Dipping

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However cliché it sounds, it’s true: You only live once. Don’t let this experience slip by! It’s like anything in life you’re scared of. You can either tiptoe on the shore or dive in headfirst.

Call a Senator

Call a Senator

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Pick up the phone! Your voice really can make a difference. And calling makes more of an impact than an email or a letter because it shows you’re committed. Politics impact your life — whether you like it or not. But you have a better shot at having a say in what happens if you take action. The contact information for current senators can be found on the Senate website. A legislative representative will answer the phone and write down exactly the concern you called about.

Volunteer for a Cause You Believe In

Volunteer for a Cause You Believe In

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Speaking of making a difference, volunteering is one of the best ways to do so. Do you believe in animal rights? Volunteer at a shelter! Do you believe in education equity? Become a volunteer tutor! Volunteering for a cause can be incredibly rewarding for you, as well as the people you’re helping. If you’ve found the right cause, you’ll feel uplifted and purposeful — and you might even meet some like-minded people while you’re at it!

Make Peace With Your Body

Make Peace With Your Body

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Like it or not, this is the body you’re stuck with. And before you try to “fix” your body with a diet or workout plan, keep in mind that studies show trying to change your body won’t make you feel any better about how it looks. So why not decide to just feel great about how you look right now? Make peace with your body and learn to treat it with care, regardless of how others may judge your appearance. These simple steps to body acceptance are a great place to start!

Do Something Rebellious

Do Something Rebellious

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Just because your parents, your boss, or your best friend doesn’t think something is a good idea doesn’t mean they’re right. Defy expectations every once in a while. Trust your instincts. Get the tattoo, recklessly spend on that plane ticket (or responsibly use these money-saving hacks), get a nose piercing. Be a rebel.

Learn to Say No

Learn to Say No

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It’s easy to get caught up in saying yes to everything. But doing so can leave you feeling overworked, resentful, and tired. Stop being a people pleaser — it’s OK to say no to people! Before agreeing to do something, make sure your reasoning is solid. Are there consequences to saying no? What good is coming from this decision? Do you realistically have the bandwidth to accomplish the task you’re agreeing to?

Give a Speech

Give a Speech

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Make a big presentation at work. Give a toast at your friend’s wedding. Whatever the scenario, a little public speaking never hurt anybody! And you just might feel fantastic when you’re done.

Write a Personal Essay or Blog

Write a Personal Essay or Blog

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Get your thoughts and feelings out there. You never know who could benefit from reading them! Plus, writing can be hugely therapeutic. Even if you don’t think you’re any good at it, why not give it a try? You might find you really enjoy it — or find that it’s rewarding to share your story.

Ask for a Promotion

Ask for a Promotion

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Good things don’t always come to those who wait. Sometimes, you have to ask for what you want. Women don’t ask for promotions or raises as often as men do — partly because they’re socialized not to think they’re allowed. Don’t sell yourself short! Read “Lean In” or something to psych yourself up if you need to. But your instincts are probably correct: You deserve that promotion.

Forgive Your Parents

Forgive Your Parents

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No parent-child relationship is perfect — and some are messier than others. But no matter your relationship with your parents, take a look at the things about them that make you angry and decide whether you’re ready to forgive. Reestablishing a relationship with the parental figures in your life can end up resulting in a really valuable relationship. And forgiving whatever it is your parents did wrong can help you savor the time you have left with them while they’re still around.

Find a Job You Like

Find a Job You Like

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There are few things more fulfilling than an enjoyable career. How many hours of your lifetime do you spend at work? More than you think. Make as many of those hours enjoyable as you can. Plus, if you’re pursuing a career you like, it’s more likely that you’ll work alongside individuals with similar passions. You’ll be privy to more intellectually stimulating conversations and likely make better friends with your coworkers.

Quit a Job You Hate

Quit a Job You Hate

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The prospect of being unemployed is scary; but if you’re stuck in a job you hate, there’s a point when you should really just quit (so long as you have some money saved to keep you afloat while you seek other employment). If you were still at that job, sitting at that desk, for another year of your life, how would you feel? If the answer is “miserable,” start looking elsewhere. Sometimes, that means taking a leap of faith and quitting your current job before another option arises. Life is too short to waste time being miserable!

Eat Alone at a Restaurant

Eat Alone at a Restaurant

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It might feel awkward at first. All of our social instincts tell us that you need company to eat a nice restaurant meal. But stick with it and give it a shot! Take yourself to eat wherever sounds good. Bring a couple of things to do with you — besides your cell phone. You might find that the experience is actually really great. (Believe it or not, you’re pretty great company.)

Eat Whatever You Want

Eat Whatever You Want

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You know what sounds like the worst thing ever? Turning 80 years old and refusing to eat birthday cake because it has too many carbs. You have other, more important things to spend your time on! Like your hobbies, your loved ones, your passions… Think of how much time throughout your life you’ve wasted on dieting. Don’t waste another second.

Make a Grand Gesture for Someone You Care About

Make a Grand Gesture for Someone You Care About

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Large displays of affection or appreciation can be nerve-wracking. What if you spend hours planning something and it doesn’t go well? But you should try it — put yourself out there! More likely is that the person you care about will be able to tell how much thought and effort you put into the gesture and appreciate the heck out of it.

See a Therapist

See a Therapist

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It’s time to shove the stigma of mental health aside. Everyone — yes, everyone — could benefit from seeing the right therapist. It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you or that your life is a mess. It just means you’re taking some time to take care of yourself mentally and emotionally, as well as physically. Mental health is just as important! And who knows? You might have the chance to talk through some shifts in perspective that could end up really helping you.

Speak Up for Yourself

Speak Up for Yourself

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If something’s bugging you, speak up. Many women hold back for fear of offending people or being too confrontational. But you might find people aren’t as offended as you’d think. And staying silent is often interpreted as approval. By not speaking up when things get to you, you’re actually giving the message that those things are OK! You’re allowed to have opinions and you’re allowed to defend yourself. Change is much less likely to happen if you don’t ask for it.

Apply to Your Dream Job

Apply to Your Dream Job

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Even if you’re not qualified. People get jobs they’re underqualified for all the time. You truly have nothing to lose — and just think of how much there is to gain! You could land the job you’ve been dreaming of.

Learn to Make Her Favorite Dish

Learn to Make Her Favorite Dish

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Food tastes better when you’re proud to have prepared it yourself. Do you love risotto? Plan a night to yourself to learn to cook it. You might find it’s easier than you think — and that your favorite meal could actually come from your own kitchen.

Learn Another Language

Learn Another Language

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New language, new perspective. Learning a language is easier than ever these days with free apps like Duolingo and the internet’s reservoir of language tools. Just think of all the new people you can communicate with and places you’ll want to travel!

Thank a Female Role Model

Thank a Female Role Model

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The influential female role model in your life probably doesn’t get told enough how much of a difference she makes. Who in your life has made an impact on you? Given you confidence, helped you find your way… It could be a teacher, your mom, a good friend, or someone you’ve never even met. Take a minute from your day to tell her how much she means to you. A little appreciation goes a long way!

Do Something You Never Thought Possible

Do Something You Never Thought Possible

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Prove your doubts wrong. Tackle a challenge you never dreamed you’d accomplish — and see it through till the end. Write a book. Run a marathon. Doesn’t matter what it is, so long as you think it’s extraordinary. Because you are extraordinary!

Live Alone

Live Alone

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Is it you or your roommate who’s really messy? Only one way to find out: Live alone for a while. But that’s not all you’ll discover about yourself. With the freedom to do and decorate and live literally however you want, you’ll find out what lifestyle truly works for you. Plus, you can hang out naked. Watch what you want on TV. Take your time to do the dishes. What a life.

Fall In Love

Fall In Love

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They say fairytales aren’t real, but finding at least one love in a lifetime is an essential experience. Finding comfort and happiness with another person can help you to become a better woman. We’re not saying you have to get married or fall in love forever, because heartbreak is an important part of life too.

Make Valuable Friendships

Make Valuable Friendships

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The Beatles said it best: You get by with a little help from your friends. Value quality over quantity when it comes to friendships and you’ll end up with some of the most rewarding relationships of your life.

Learn How to Budget

Learn How to Budget

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No one said all of these would be fun. But budgeting is super useful, and a necessary skill if you’re going to be a #strongindependentwoman. Try doing things a week at a time. There are free apps now that will calculate your spending for you. Find out how much you’re spending on food, how much you have left for bills, how much of your budget it going towards alcohol… The results might surprise you.

Take a Class in Something New

Take a Class in Something New

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It could be anything! Take a dance class, try a poetry seminar, or learn a new language. These classes can be relatively cheap and can be a great way to meet new people! These life-changing courses, for instance, are completely free.

Take a Mental Health Day

Take a Mental Health Day

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What, you can take a sick day when you have a stuffy nose, but an existential crisis doesn’t warrant a day at home? Mental health is just as valid as physical health. It’s important to take care of both! Call in sick and indulge in a little self-care. Bake a batch of cookies, draw yourself a bath, or walk around your neighborhood for a while.

Go Out Without Makeup

Go Out Without Makeup

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It can be fun wearing makeup every now and then, but sometimes it’s a real chore. Don’t let the patriarchy bully you into getting dolled up every time you have to leave the house. Try it once and see what happens — go out without any makeup. You might be surprised to see that it makes literally no difference in your day-to-day or how people treat you. And if it does, those people suck anyway.

End a Toxic Relationship

End a Toxic Relationship

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Life is too short to spend it with people who bring you down. It’s not easy to cut the cord, but you’ll be relieved once you do. You’ll free up more space in your life for people who make you feel amazing instead!

Be Single for a While

Be Single for a While

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Get to know yourself. Learn to enjoy your own company. Doing so could actually make you a better partner in future relationships.

Get Rid of Negative Influences

Get Rid of Negative Influences

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Things you don’t have time for: Friends who bring out the worst in you and influences that do nothing but hold you back. Cleanse your life of naysayers and social media that makes you feel like trash. You’re not trash. You’re wonderful. Get rid of anything and anyone that doesn’t make you feel that way.

Find a Favorite Book

Find a Favorite Book

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Step one of this worthwhile pursuit is to read more books. Then do a little self-reflection. Which do you enjoy? Which did you find boring? Books can serve as a useful highway for self-discovery. Plus, people are going to ask you that question a lot. Ice-breakers, first dates, job interviews… Can’t hurt to have an answer ready.

Try an Extreme Sport

Try an Extreme Sport

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What, free-falling through the atmosphere with a parachute strapped to your back doesn’t sound like fun? How would you know until you try?! Add a little thrill to your life. Sign up for an extreme sport and let your adrenaline run wild.

Learn How to Talk to Your Doctors

Learn How to Talk to Your Doctors

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The doctor’s office can be overwhelming as heck — and they have a tendency to make you feel really invalidated. Women especially struggle with talking to their doctors. Women’s issues are often not openly talked about, which can lead patients to either stay silent or be misunderstood. Learn how to be direct at the doctor’s office. Doctors work for you, remember that.

Stay Out Till Dawn

Stay Out Till Dawn

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They say nothing good ever happens after 2 a.m. — and for the most part, that’s probably true. But come on, live a little! On a good night when you have lots of fun things to do, stay out and see where the night takes you. Bonus points if you see a beautiful sunrise. Just make sure you don’t have anywhere important to be the next day.

Make the First Move

Make the First Move

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It’s the 21st century, ladies! You no longer have to sit around and wait for an amiable beau to ask you to dance. Isn’t gender equality cool? Approach that guy or gal at the bar. Flirt a little. Put yourself out there. What do you have to lose?

Learn How to Drink Responsibly

Learn How to Drink Responsibly

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Stumbling home in heels might have been acceptable in college, but there’s an age when it’s not cute anymore. Learn how many shots are too many. Figure out how it feels to have a couple drinks with dinner — like, without getting drunk. Drinking is a useful skill for everything from professional events to first dates.

Learn a Useless Skill

Learn a Useless Skill

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“Useless” meaning with no end goal in mind. Do it for yourself. Take the pressure off completely. Learn to play piano just because. Learn to knit for no reason at all. Take up juggling — which actually makes a great party trick!

Learn How to Handle Rejection

Learn How to Handle Rejection

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Life happens. Rejection happens. If you curl up into a ball of despair every time someone doesn’t like you, you’re never going to get anywhere. You don’t have to let the fear of rejection hold you back. Rejection is an unavoidable human experience; let yourself be uncomfortable, process those emotions, and overcome it. You’ll be stronger for it!

Learn About Social Issues

Learn About Social Issues

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Whether it’s by reading the news on your morning commute or chatting with coworkers about current events, you should be keeping up with modern social issues. These issues affect you; don’t forget, knowledge is power!

Stop Over-Apologizing

Stop Over-Apologizing

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Stop saying sorry already. And before you start, stop saying sorry for saying sorry! Women are constantly apologizing. It’s a self-defeating social habit that’s unfortunately been ingrained since birth. Nip inequality in the bud and break this habit for good. You only really need to say sorry when you’ve done something wrong.

Vote

Vote

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Okay, you should probably do this more than once. Ideally, every time you’re able to after the age of 18. Let your voice be heard — it does make a difference!

Own a Pet

Own a Pet

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Dog person, cat person, fish person — doesn’t matter. Doing a nice deed by giving an animal a home can do more than improve that animal’s life. It can actually make you into a better person. You’ll learn a lot about responsibility and companionship — and your pet will shower you with unconditional love in return!

Get a Drastic Haircut

Get a Drastic Haircut

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It sounds silly. But you’d be surprised how powerful a haircut can be. Just make sure you’re in a relatively stable mental and emotional state before taking the leap. You don’t want a hair-triggered midlife crisis on your hands.

Ride a Motorcycle

Ride a Motorcycle

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Scenic views, the wind in your hair… Sure it’s a little dangerous, but most fun things in life are. Find a road without much traffic if you’re nervous. Oh, and don’t be nervous. That’s the key.

Break the Rules

Break the Rules

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Being an adult is hard. It’s like, you get older and suddenly there are all these rules! Pay your bills on time. Get eight hours of sleep a night. Avoid processed food. Sure, some of these rules are there for a reason. But other etiquette and general life rules are totally outdated. Here are 50 rules you should throw out by the time you turn 50 — or before.