When I was 18, I had a plan, however cliché, for how my life would go. I would meet my husband-to-be in college, and soon after graduation, we would get married, buy a house with a white-picket fence and have 2.5 kids – all by the time I was 25.
Fast-forward to 25-year-old me, without a husband, without the white-picket fence, and without kids, and not nothappy about it. My life plan then was starkly different: I was all about a career in magazines, and wanted to be the next Jane Pratt, if not work for her.
Now that I’m 33, I’m married (though still without a white-picket fence or kids) and work as the editor of a web startup.
I’m not that far removed from my 20s, yet it seems so long ago, and I can’t even believe I was the person I was when I was 18. The point is, if I’ve learned anything in my 33 years on this planet, it’s that life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. If I could, that’s exactly what I would tell my 25-year-old self: Relax. Don’t try to figure everything out, because things don’t always work out they way you planned. And that’s not a bad thing.
In fact, that’s a common question asked during our Office Hours chats here at Levo, and I always find the responses incredibly insightful. Some are hopeful, others are tinged with regret, but they always make me wonder about life and how it leads us all in such different directions.
And so with that in mind and the New Year right around the corner, I thought I’d ask some of my fellow 30-somethings what they would tell their 25-year-old selves, and pass that on to you in an effort to provide some year-end advice for 2013. Here’s what they had to say. (And who knows? When I’m 40, I could have a completely different outlook on life – though probably still not a life plan.)
What 30-Somethings Know
“I’d tell my 25-year-old self to protect her hearing better during all those late nights in clubs and at concerts. Left me with tinnitus, which will never go away.” – Iris S.
“Don’t undervalue yourself when negotiating salary — you are worth every penny and then some!” – Lauren O.
“Appreciate your parents, grandparents. Enjoy time with them while they’re active and healthy. Travel often. Forgive easily.” – Rachel G.
“Love your body! In five or 10 years, you’d kill to get this one back.” – Debbie S.