Danielle , 31
What would your 30 something self tell your 20 something self if you could?
TRAVEL as much as you possibly can, go far, be adventurous and expand your consciousness.
LEARN as much as you can, specifically as many languages and sciences as you can, to give you a wide breadth of judgment and communication.
READ as much literature as you can, focusing on the great classics of the world.
TRUST your instincts, do not allow anyone else to shape your world-view.
BE yourself and follow your passions.
What do you wish you took more seriously in your 20’s?
Having fun! Most of my 20s were spent studying (law school, the bar exam, case law as a prosecutor). All of these endeavors were so serious!!! There wasn’t much room for fun or being carefree and just going with the flow. I wish I had realized the value of letting loose at a younger age.
What do you wish you took less seriously in your 20’s?
Appearances. Not just my physical appearance but concerns with overall impressions I was imparting to the outside world. I was obsessed with what other people thought of me…and what a shame that was! It is such a waste of time and energy, and so massively unimportant. From obsessing about whether my shoes matched my outfit, to what car I drove – this constant pressure of keeping up with the Joneses did nothing positive for me.
If there was one thing I could change, I would have the attitude that I have today throughout my 20’s – which is being firmly committed to being true to myself, and who I am no matter what sort of impression it may leave on others.
Favorite memory from your 20’s?
Hands down my favorite memory was my first trip to the African continent when I was 21 years old. I went to many African countries and was changed by the astounding beauty of untouched nature, the wildlife, the people and their slower pace of life. The profundity of it all left a strong impression on me, and shaped my interests moving forward. Today I still commit much time and energy toward wildlife and habitat conservation.
In your early 20’s where did you think you would be (work, live etc.) by 30?
Ha! This is such a great question! The time flies by so quickly and you are 30 before you know it. First and foremost, as a twenty-something I thought people in their 30’s were “old”, in fact I held that belief all the way until my 29th birthday!
Given that I thought 30 year olds were old, I definitely believed that I would be married, with 2 kids, living in a house like the one I grew up in with a pool, and a huge backyard… I remember being 28 and thinking that I still had so much time to create that by 30…
…and then, once I was 30 I stepped back and asked myself if that was what I really wanted.
I took a different course, making some difficult choices – broke an engagement, changed jobs, and started to form the happy life that I live today which has none of the accoutrements that I once believed were so essential.
And where were you by 30? What did your life look like?
At 30, I was finally in a loving relationship with my wonderful fiancée. I had 3 Chihuahuas instead of 2 human kids. I began my course to become a yoga instructor, and truly dedicated myself to the things that mattered to me – traveling, learning new languages, devoting myself to my lifelong passion of painting, and getting involved with volunteering for homeless animals.
Were you ever worried that it wouldn’t all fall into place?
Absolutely yes! And the older I get the more I realize that there is no place to fall – believing there is a “place” is a very immature point of view in my estimation.
You create your life moment by moment, worrying about where you may or may not be in the future does not improve your life today. Your present moment is the only moment that you are assured to live so LIVE it, engage in it, and be happier.
What is the greatest gift about being a woman in your 30’s?
Having the courage to make my life a reflection of who I am.
When you look out onto the horizon. What do you hope your life looks like at 40?
To be honest, I do not have a vision for 40. I do have one goal – I hope that I am leading a fulfilled life at 40.
What’s a quote/ saying you try to live your life by?
I couldn’t narrow it down to 1 quote I live by– so here are 5 quotes that encapsulate my philosophy of life…
“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me?” – Howard Roark, The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.
“A man who dares to waste one hour of life has not discovered the value of life.” – Charles Darwin
“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.” – Albert Einstein
“Necessity is not an established fact, but an interpretation.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” – Anatole France.