Loni and her husband, Mike, went to graduate school with Brian in Newcastle and they have stayed close ever since. I met them early on in our relationship and knew if Brian had friends like them then he was a keeper. They are just really solid humans. I’ve enjoyed developing my own relationship with Loni the past few years. She’s warm, incredibly thoughtful and has a dry and funny sense of humor that comes out in the most unexpected moments and always gets a laugh out of me. She also loves birding which I find beyond endearing. I just love that she is who she is. She’s quirky in the most beautiful ways. She’s one of those people who you want to be around because you some how feel better for it. She’s a rare bird and I am so grateful to call her a friend.
What would your 30 something self tell your 20 something self if you could?
The sky is not falling. You don’t have to have it all figured out. In fact, it’s best that you NOT have it all figured out because, frankly, you can’t possibly have all the pieces to your puzzle at 20-something. Your life will not always be pleasant, but it will be yours, so enjoy it all as part of the process. You know who you are and you will be okay. Promise.
See also: Calm the F down.
What do you wish you took more seriously in your 20’s?
Not a damned thing. If there’s ever a time in one’s life to drift along aimlessly and make a muck of it, it’s your 20s. I think sometimes we push ourselves too hard when, really, we’re still babies, especially in our early 20s. Why the hurry to grow up?
What do you wish you took less seriously in your 20’s?
All of it. It’s only at 32 that I see just how absolutely unkind I’ve been to myself, especially in my 20s. Newsflash, Lon: You are not perfect and that’s a very good thing. You never had to please anyone but yourself.
Favorite memory from your 20’s?
There are so many! The big ones: Studying abroad in England for a year, serving with AmeriCorps right out of college, moving to Los Angeles sight unseen, and meeting and falling in love with my husband. The “little” ones: Holding a baby sloth in Costa Rica, ditching work to go with my friends to a Cher concert (it really did change our lives!), and pounding the pavement for the Obama campaign in 2008 (and again in 2012).
In your early 20’s where did you think you would be (work, live, etc…) by 30?
I honestly didn’t think that far ahead of me in my early 20s. I suppose I wanted to have an adventure – to travel, fall in love a time or two, work in a creative industry, and live in a big, lively city, far away from the small town I grew up in. I think I knew I wanted to do something “outside of the box,” but I wasn’t sure what that looked like.
And where were you by 30? What did your life look like?
It’s surprising to me to see that I’ve basically done all of the things I wanted to, despite not having a clear plan. I’ve done some traveling (though not as much as I’d like!), I’m married to one of the good ones, I have a master’s degree in Museum Studies and have worked in positions I find really interesting, and I live in Los Angeles, a vibrant city that increasingly feels like home to me.
Were you ever worried that it wouldn’t all fall into place?
Oh, man, was I ever NOT worried it wouldn’t all fall into place!?
Kate, you once posted a quote on your blog by Georgia O’Keefe which really spoke to me: “I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life – and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.”
That’s me. I’m anxious about my life and my future even as I type this. I know full well that my life’s work is to just let it all go. It would break my heart to look back on my life and realize that fear and worry prevented me from experiencing all the things I have set before me, most of which I can only guess at. Sometimes you just have to jump.
What is the greatest gift about being a woman in your 30’s?
I think my greatest gift is simply that I’m alive. I lost my mother to cancer when she was quite young, only 34, so I don’t say that lightly. We’re alive and we have a choice every single day to give it a go and make of it what we will. Perhaps the biggest gift is having the wisdom to recognize that.
When you look out onto the horizon. What do you hope your life looks like at 40?
I don’t think happiness just sort of happens to you, I believe you have to tend to it like a garden full of stubborn tomatoes. So I hope at 40 I’ve continued to cultivate my happiness. I also hope that, in the words of my grandpa, I’ve played the cards I’m dealt in a way I can be proud of.
Finally, I hope I have a loving, supportive family around me and that, most importantly, they know how much I love and support them. Always.
I trust that the rest of it will work itself out.
What’s a quote/ saying you try to live your life by?
I have two:
Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead. – Louisa May Alcott
Ever since happiness heard your name, it has been running through the streets trying to find you. – Hāfez