By Aaron Traister, REDBOOK.
Buzzfeed recently released a listicle of "40 things every self-respecting man over 30 should own," and it really gets to the heart of what being a "self-respecting man" means in terms of expensive material possessions. For instance, I never realized how heavily my lack of a leather wallet, flask (for when I want to drink and pick the kids up from school at the same time!), and decent car has been weighing on my sense of masculinity and self-worth.
I was trying to think about things I would add, but all my stuff - evil clown mask, side saddle, kitten formula, boxing gloves, and turkey baster - felt very specific to my own unique interests. Instead, I dug a little deeper and came up with this list of 10 things every self-respecting man over 30 should really own.
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1. An understanding of what it feels like to get knocked around. It builds empathy and compassion and keeps you humble.
2. An understanding of what it feels like to win. Everyone deserves a couple of personal victories, and hopefully, if you've been knocked down once or twice before, you'll remember to win gratefully and gracefully.
3. A sense of what it feels like to be worried about money. Then, maybe people wouldn't make silly lists that prey on men's insecurities but are really just filled with expensive stuff nobody needs (except duct tape...you always need duct tape).
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4. An evil clown mask. The more I think about it, the more I believe this one is universal. They really come in handy.
5. A healthy respect for the opposite sex. If you're over 30 and still think of men and women as "us and them," you're doing it wrong. There is no "us" without "them" - it's just "we."
6. An ability to handle rejection. Some days you're going to get lucky, and some days you're not. It doesn't mean you have a major character flaw or that the person or people who rejected you are a-holes. Sometimes things don't work out, and you move on with as much grace as you can.
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7. Control. No matter how tempted you are to throw a punch at another parent during a Little League game or a middle school production of Our Town, the ability to resist that urge is what separates us from bears.
8. Compassion and empathy. I think this one is pretty self-explanatory.
9. An intolerance for people who act superior about their taste in music. Once you're over 30, you shouldn't assume that your musical preferences make you better or smarter than anyone else. Some 34-year-olds really like jumping rope to Ellie Goulding, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
10. Pants, shorts, skirts, kilts...basically, we need to cover our junk. We can't walk around with it hanging out-it's not hygienic, and there would be a lot of injuries.
So forget about BuzzFeed's brown leather shoes and double-hinged wine key. If you have the 10 things listed above, you'll be able to look at yourself in the mirror and be okay with what you see. Plus, you'll be a much better husband, father, and friend. Unless you're wearing the clown mask - that's mostly for your own personal enjoyment.
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By Aaron Traister, REDBOOK.