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project 30 – erica

8 Jan

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Erica, 34 / from The Simple Chic Brunette 

What would your 30 something self tell your 20 something self if you could?

I would tell myself to enjoy life (every minute of it) go out with friends more often and be more spontaneous. I would also tell myself to travel travel travel even if it’s just to another city 2 hours away or another state. Get out there and explore the world.

What do you wish you took more seriously in your 20’s?

Saving! Start saving earlier as soon you get your first real job.

What do you wish you took less seriously in your 20’s?

I was always a pretty serious young lady and pretty much took everything seriously, so the only thing I wish I would’ve taken less seriously is maybe being less serious about everything

Favorite memory from your 20’s?

I would have to say it was when I graduated with my Bachelors. I worked 30+ hours a week while in college and took 3-4 classes a semester. I graduated a bit later than normal, but I finished and it was all worth it. I have to say working while in college was not easy but it made me responsible and prepared me for my future job. The graduation celebration my parents gave me was also amazing and unforgettable. Hearing others speak kindly about me was such a lovely feeling. It really does pay to keep your mind on the prize and never ever give up.

My other favorite memory from my 20’s is when my hubby proposed to me at the Japanese Garden of the University we both attended and graduated from. It was truly a moment never to forget.

In your early 20’s where did you think you would be (work, live etc) by 30?

I think every young person sees 30 as old until you get there. It’s actually not as old as it seems. I wanted to live somewhere in Southern CA next to the ocean and work in fashion, be married and have a family.

And where were you by 30? What did your life look like?

Well sort of… I worked/work in fashion, I was/am married, I lived in So-Cal, but I didn’t have any kids yet. I don’t think planning your every life move is the way to go I feel taking life one day at a time is a better way to live. This I’ve learned as I got older.

Were you ever worried that it wouldn’t all fall into place?

Of course this is why I’ve tried to let go of all the negative thoughts and the planning and just let life happen.

What is the greatest gift about being a woman in your 30’s?

You are much more knowledgeable and are much more confident in who you are. In your 20’s you’re discovering who you are and in your 30’s you pretty much know who you are, what you like, what you want and therefore you feel wiser and more like a woman.

When you look out onto the horizon. What do you hope your life looks like at 40?

Let’s see I’d like to still be working in fashion, still be married to the love of my life, living in So-Cal and hopefully vacationing with my family of 4 once a year.

What’s a quote/ saying you try to live your life by?

“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.” -Nelson Mandela

I also love the saying “Patience is a virtue” this is so true.

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project 30 – ashley

13 Nov

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Ashley, 36 / from one of my favorite blogs Hither & Thither

What would your 30 something self tell your 20 something self if you could?

Everything has gone very well, so it’s hard to suggest to my younger self to do anything different. But besides a few practical tips (learn Spanish!), and the possibility of fortune-telling (get a job at this upstart called Google!), I would tell myself to intern more during undergraduate and graduate school, to meet more mentors and see what those career ideals really look like in practice. After all, it’s all possible.

Oh, and I’d tell her she’s right: he is the perfect guy.

What do you wish you took more seriously in your 20’s?

Trying on different—practical—hats. Figuring out my career goals.

What do you wish you took less seriously in your 20’s?

I was a graduate student for much of my 20s. I wish I’d taken most things less seriously!

Favorite memory from your 20’s?

Meeting, and then marrying, my longtime love, Aron. Our wedding day was the best day.

In your early 20’s where did you think you would be (work, live etc) by 30?

I always imagined I’d be working in academia. I loved teaching. But by the end of my 20s, I was a book editor in New York. And blogging has been a complete surprise! (A good one.)

And where were you by 30? What did your life look like?

When I turned 30, I had just taken a job as an editorial assistant at a publishing house. It was a scary step: I was essentially starting at the bottom in a new field after years of going toward a different goal. I was newly married and living in a new city, across the country from everyone I’d known. And it was thrilling!

Were you ever worried that it wouldn’t all fall into place?

Of course! And I still do! I feel like I still have a dynamic life ahead. What will I do when my kids are in school? What do I want my career to look like? Is blogging something I should continue to invest my time and effort into? Am I making the choices now that will make me happiest later? It never ends.

What is the greatest gift about being a woman in your 30’s?

So far, my 30s have been the family chapter. It’s hard to think of these years without thinking about how Skyler and Hudson (9 months and 3 1/2 years) have impacted my life. But on a more general level, there is a confidence that 30 brings. Experience brings confidence.

When you look out onto the horizon. What do you hope your life looks like at 40?

A bit slower. Right now, the hours in the day are just too few!

What’s a quote/ saying you try to live your life by?

The Golden Rule: Treat others as you’d like to be treated yourself. Even if you don’t always get the reciprocity you’re hoping for, you’ll feel good about yourself—the ultimate reward.

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project 30 – sarah

30 Oct

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Sarah, 30 / from the site Sarah Ann Noel 

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What would your 30 something self tell your 20 something self if you could?

I spent the first half of my twenties really looking forward to my thirties. I spent the second half of my twenties reminiscing the first half. The biggest lesson of my life continues to be be present. I wish that 21-year-old would have been solely focused on all the fun she was having, all of the world she was seeing; and that the later-twenties gal would have begun her “aging” process gracefully. Be present! That’s what I would have said to her at any stage!

What do you wish you took more seriously in your 20’s?

I wish that I had taken my creativity more seriously when I was in my twenties. I was a very calculated, forward-thinking person. Of course, some twenty-somethings can sort of laze through the decade, and I’m glad I didn’t do that. But, as it turns out, I’m pursuing creative endeavors professionally now, and I wish that I would have allowed those tendencies to flourish when I was in the decision-making stages instead of just brushing them off as “hobbies.” On that same note, I wish I would have taken “pace” more seriously. Life moves as life moves, but I was definitely of the notion that I could will things into being by sheer force. It was very tiresome, but then I had more energy I guess. 😉

What do you wish you took less seriously in your 20’s?

So many things! I was laughably serious at the beginning of my twenties, when now, I realize how your twenties are such a delicious in-between. But then, it really felt like THE BEGINNING OF THE REST OF LIFE and every decision I had to make was wrought with drama. I think, at the root of that, was still this desire to please people around me—authority figures, family, friends. So more than anything, I wish I had taken those opinions and perceptions less seriously and really honed in on who I was. I think if I had managed that, I might have had a more relaxed attitude toward a lot of other things.

Favorite memory from your 20’s?

I always joke to Trevor, my husband, that I sometimes feel “frozen” at 21. Despite my high-strung personality, that year in particular was a really monumental one for me. I studied abroad in London, which is definitely a most cherished memory. It was such an experience to see the world, and I met a very dear friend who is still a friend to this day. When I returned to the States, I met my husband, right before college ended! It all felt like a sweep of experience, that whole year—traveling, falling in love so young, graduating from school. It was sort of like this sweet, sweet grace period between childhood and adulthood, and I’m quite nostalgic for that time.

In your early 20’s where did you think you would be (work, live etc) by 30?

I think I still expected to be “career woman” at that point. I’d just shifted to creative journalism studies, and so my attitudes toward a professional life were changing a bit; but I still imagined myself in an office, preferably that of a magazine! I seriously considered moving back to London and making a go of being an ex-pat. I also considered New York, and Chicago too, since it was nearby and special to me and Trevor both. I think I envisioned being in a big city and holding down a job that I was happy to dedicate the hours to. I was pretty certain I would marry Trevor, so I assumed we would be wed before I was 30; and I probably anticipated only beginning to entertain the idea of children as I entered my thirties.

And where were you by 30? What did your life look like?

Surprise! I was a mom, not once, but twice! Trevor and I did marry young (I was about 24), and by 26 I was pregnant with our first daughter, Iris. I really wrestled with what to do professionally because I wasn’t particularly happy with my current job, but I wasn’t sure that I was ready to give up working. I had always wanted to give freelance writing more than a part-time shot, so I left my office job and stayed home with my new baby, working when I could. Mostly, I learned to love being a mom, and then the other pieces of me really started to flourish. At 30, I am actually living in New York, and I’m pursuing writing “full-time.” But first and foremost, I’m a mom of the two most beautiful, bubbly, blonde-headed girls and loving what they’re teaching me every day. It’s a privilege I couldn’t have imagined for myself in my twenties, but one that I’m glad happened when it did. It really paved the way for me to 30.

Were you ever worried that it wouldn’t all fall into place?

All the time! I still worry about it! Sometimes being 30 feels young and fresh and vibrant, like I can do anything. Other days, I feel so stinkin’ old, like I’ve missed my chances at everything! Of course, that’s all ridiculous. My twenties brought on so much change, so much that was different from what I had pictured; but it also ushered in this amazing peace and happiness. I started learning to love the things that “happened” to me way more than the things that I’d “made happen.” So while I still wonder if my goals or dreams will fall into place, I also know that the surprises of life can be even better anyway.

What is the greatest gift about being a woman in your 30’s?

I think the best gift is simply a bit of perspective. At 30, we are still so young, with so much to look forward to, so much to learn. But I also feel a bit removed from the hyperactive worry that I feel saturated my twenties. I’ve learned that life has sloping patterns, places that feel up, places that feel down; and I’ve learned that time never feels consistent either—sometimes life moves so slowly, sometimes you just blink and parts are over. While I haven’t mastered being present, my thirties are reminding me of the importance of it. The twenties I lived in the future, mostly, sometimes in the past; and I want my thirties to be about living in my thirties, realizing that everything that has happened is a collective part of who I am now, so that’s what really matters.

When you look out onto the horizon. What do you hope your life looks like at 40?

I hope to age with grace. I’ve surprised myself by not being good at that so far—I had always aspired to, and therefore assumed, that I would. I want to be less consumed with what’s changing on my body or how life feels different from what I pictured, and really just be where I am. So I hope that by 40, I’m just a more peaceful, content version of myself, like that these realizations and desires will mature throughout my thirties to yield someone who truly appreciates life for what it is. By my forties, I want to really be a role model of that for my girls, since they’ll be entering the years of decision-making and figuring out who they are.

What’s a quote/ saying you try to live your life by?

I am a lover of words, and so it’s hard for me to pick just one quote. I grew up in the church. As I’ve grown, my faith has grown and changed, but it has remained an important part of who I am. There is a verse in Colossians (1:17) that says, “He is before all things; and in him all things hold together.” I like the idea of things “meant to be.” I think a lot of us rely on that, whether we believe in a god or not. And so while I always want to be working toward a goal, and while I’ll never stop dreaming, I also like believing there is a plan and my life is following that, even if sometimes I get it wrong. Certainly my life is the picture of the unexpected and surprises; but as I’ve learned to appreciate that rather than fight against it, it sort of makes this verse (and the mentality!) make perfect sense. Whenever I feel out of control, I like to remind myself of these words.

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project 30 – raluca

16 Oct

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Raluca, 36 / from the fabulous blog  What Would Gwyneth Do 

What would your 30 something self tell your 20 something self if you could?

Worry less. Have more fun. You have lots of time to worry, now is the time to live life a little more. Experiment and experience. You don’t HAVE to have your perfect career/perfect man/perfect home at 23. If you find it by then, great. If not, use this time to keep looking and trying new things.

What do you wish you took more seriously in your 20’s?

Saving for a rainy day. My husband and I look back at our 20s and how little we put away in savings – until late in the decade when we got pregnant with our first – and wish we had saved more and splurged (a little) less. You don’t need to put away ALL your money at that age (see my point above about having FUN!), but get a start on some savings so that your 30s – and all the expenses that can come with them – aren’t such a rude awakening.

What do you wish you took less seriously in your 20’s?

My physical appearance. I wish I could have embraced it with the confidence that comes in your 30s because it was definitely worth embracing! I was too busy picking myself apart to appreciate what I had. It’s harder work in your 30s with a slowing metabolism, post-baby body and early signs of aging, but oddly enough, I have the confidence now that I should have had then.

Favorite memory from your 20’s?

Too many to count. I moved to Los Angeles from Montreal and embarked on a whole new life, which was a brave move for me at that time. I got married and had my first baby in my 20s, so those were amazing milestones. And building my career in that decade was fun, too. I grew a lot, learned a lot and experienced a lot of amazing things.

In your early 20’s where did you think you would be (work, live etc) by 30?

Sort of right where I am. Married to my college sweetheart, with kids. We are in the suburbs which I have always been on the fence about (no pun intended, but it’s a white picket fence, if you’re wondering)…I thought I might end up back in a city. I also work for myself, which I didn’t necessarily picture in my 20s. I was moving up the corporate ladder at the time but taking a detour and starting my own business was definitely the right move for me in my 30s.

And where were you by 30? What did your life look like?

It was starting to fall into place nicely, though of course I didn’t recognize it at the time. I am 36 now so your perspective can change a lot – for the better – in six years. I was married at 26, I had my daughter when I was 29 and started my own consulting business when I was 30. I was working from home and trying to figure out the working mother juggle, which felt very stressful at the time. I definitely had more insecurities and fears than I do now. And it was all wasted energy…of course, now that I look back on it, that is.

Were you ever worried that it wouldn’t all fall into place?

Every day. Every single day. Oh, the things I worried about in my 20s. And the funny part is, you think it’s a decade of do or die. Find the perfect career. Marry the perfect man. Find the perfect apartment or home. And then your tastes and goals and priorities shift so much in your 30s that you end up wanting to start all over again anyways! Except the man part, in my case. I don’t even necessarily want the job or home or handbag that I worried about so much back then. I want something entirely different. So I should have stopped worrying so much and enjoyed what I had. My mom, in her 60s, tried to tell me that all the time but I wouldn’t listen. Don’t get me wrong, I had a lot of fun in my 20s, but I do wish I was a little more carefree during that chapter of my life. Responsible and smart, but not so serious. Plenty of time to be serious later in life.

What is the greatest gift about being a woman in your 30’s?

Confidence. Not just physically, but emotionally and mentally. You just come into your own a little more. You’re not driven by trends or expectations, your preferences and approach to life become more authentic and more real because you have more confidence in your choices and your voice and your aesthetic. My older sister always promised me my 30s would be better than my 20s and she was right.

When you look out onto the horizon. What do you hope your life looks like at 40?

The same in some ways, different in others. I think I will keep the husband and kids 😉 But I am still looking to evolve my career, my blog and my writing. There is still a lot to accomplish and look forward to on that front. I also hope to find a “forever home” by 40. We like where we are now but we feel like it’s still not “quite” the perfect space and place for us so we’re open to change. I’d like to feel more settled in that sense by the time I am 40. I have friends who are in that place now – completely 100% content with where they live, their home, their community – and I envy that. I also know that I am a creature of change and there’s a good chance that “100% settled” will just never be my approach to life. So I need to embrace that…and somehow convince my husband to do the same.

What’s a quote/ saying you try to live your life by?

Everything happens for a reason. It’s a cliché quote, but I find it to be invaluable in good times and in bad. It’s all happening for some reason. That reason may not be apparent now, but it will be some day, in some way. And I take great comfort in that.

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project 30 – tobi

18 Sep

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Tobi, 30 / Hunting 4 Bliss

What would your 30 something self tell your 20 something self if you could?

You are just where you need to be. Stop worrying about getting your shit together—it’s a process and this is just one small step of your journey. Be kind to yourself.

What do you wish you took more seriously in your 20’s?

Only one thing, because I was far too serious…I wish I would have taken my bachelor’s degree more seriously. I studied Spanish because I wanted to travel, and I love language, but the degree is almost completely useless to me.

What do you wish you took less seriously in your 20’s?

Literally, everything, from my love life, to myself, to what others thought of me.

Favorite memory from your 20’s?

Traveling with my husband, Matt. My favorite trip was to Uganda, where we drove a 4×4 and camped for three weeks. It was dirty, beautiful, challenging, magical…ah, it was bliss!

In your early 20’s where did you think you would be (work, live etc) by 30?

Honestly, I wasn’t sure. I was studying Spanish and my goal was to teach English abroad. At times I thought I would have a few kids and be staying at home, which seemed more realistic than the adventurous traveling life.

And where were you by 30? What did your life look like?

I feel like I got the best of both worlds. While I haven’t taught English abroad or thrived in a career, I have had the opportunity to continue my education, work, start a family, and to travel. I’m currently married to the best guy in the world, working on a Master’s degree in mental health, doing makeup artistry part time, and growing twin babies (coming in December)! Life is way better than I could’ve imagined in my early twenties.

Were you ever worried that it wouldn’t all fall into place?

As much as I try to fight the fear, I still worry a lot! I wish I didn’t, but it’s sort of in my nature. These days I mostly about finances and finishing school with twins, but somewhere inside I know that it will most definitely fall into place. The key is not trying to control every outcome and accepting the fear and uncertainty.

What is the greatest gift about being a woman in your 30’s?

I’m fairly new to my thirties, so I’m not exactly sure what the greatest gift will be. So far I would have to say that it’s the confidence, grace, and direction that I did not have going in to my twenties.

When you look out onto the horizon. What do you hope your life looks like at 40?

I hope to be healthy, grounded, and at peace with wherever I’m at. If we must get technical, I hope to have my own private counseling practice, working with various feminine issues. I want to be a good wife and mom with well-adjusted kids and a happy hubby.

What’s a quote/ saying you try to live your life by?

I’m such a quote/mantra junkie, so this is hard! I’ve narrowed it down to three.

“Follow your bliss and the Universe will open doors where there were only walls.” ~Joseph Campbell

“Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.” ~Joseph Campbell

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” ~Rumi

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