Tag Archives: inspiring women

project 30- alicia

22 Mar

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Alicia, 38

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

Follow your bliss. I was too caught up in making money and following a path to securing an executive position in the fashion/publishing industry. Money isn’t everything and if you are doing something you love then the money will come.

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

Enjoying life, being young and free. Don’t get me wrong, my 20’s were a wild ride but I was so focused on my career that I wasn’t being true to myself. I moved to NYC from San Francisco when I was 22 years old, landed a job at Jane magazine doing marketing and events and was determined to become a power player.

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

I wish I wasn’t so hard on myself after I dropped out of college. I was worried I’d never find a job because I didn’t have a college degree and was nervous about entering the workforce. Thankfully, my Dad constantly reminded me that many successful people never finished college or even high school and went on to do great things.

Favorite memory from your 20’s?

Hands down moving to NYC. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I really grew up and became who I am today because of it. I recently moved to LA after being there for the past 15 years, which is the longest place I’ve ever lived. Now that I’ve been in LA for almost a year now, I realized I’m more of a New Yorker than I thought and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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

I thought I would be married with two, maybe three children. Living in NYC and having a house by the beach.

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

I was not married but in a long-term relationship living in NYC. Traveling a lot both professionally and personally.
I took the leap of faith and started consulting after having a pretty successful career working at various magazines and fashion brands. I was really proud of what I had accomplished up until that point. I worked on some incredible high-profile projects and met some amazing people along the way. To this day, a majority of them are now dear friends.

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

Yes, all the time! I still worry about that now even being 38 years young. I see myself as a work in progress and I always want to challenge myself to do more. Life is a beautiful gift and I never want take it for granted.

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

Discovering the value of self-love. Sure I “liked” myself enough but didn’t realize the importance of loving myself until my long-term relationship ended. I went to Rome by myself after the break-up to have my own Eat, Pray, Love experience and not only did I eat and pray A LOT but I realized how vital it is to love and nurture yourself. This was something I had neglected for so many years.

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

Being happy and at peace with where I’m at in my life. I hope to have children, travel the globe and give back in some way.

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

Follow your bliss. This is my mantra and my daily reminder to push myself to always do more.

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project 30 – liz

18 Jun

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Liz, 40 / be love live

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

Well, let me start off by admitting that I am actually 40, so I’ve made it through my 20s and my 30s. And I am all the better for the amazing, beautiful journey that it has been! I’m going to try to do a little time traveling back to my 30 something year old brain, but just know that everything that I share from here on out is from a 40-year-old perspective. And, this 40-year-old perspective is oh so different from my 30-year-old perspective!

So many people are frightened of hitting the big 3-0. I was not one of them. However, I was freaked out, having a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that I’d soon be leaving my 20s, unable to grasp the idea that I was going to be 30. A real adult, or so I thought. Still, I looked forward to turning 30. I was hoping that it would be “my decade”. And you know what? It totally was! (So far, at least!) In my 30s, I came into myself. I found the courage + strength to live life on my terms. I accepted and loved myself in ways that my 20 something self only dreamed of. I took the time to discover my own path, leaving the pressures and expectations of society behind.

I quit my stable job. Got divorced. Moved to Europe. And embarked on an incredibly freeing journey of learning to live an authentic life.

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

Oh, how i wish I had taken my soul more seriously. I wish that I had listened to my intuition more and let the voices of others fall by the wayside. I have always been drawn to a life propelled and inspired by the inner world of our spirit. In my 20s, my heart and soul were all but screaming at me to just be true to myself, but I kept telling myself that my mystic, hermit ways made me a boring person. But, what I really wanted to do was simply enjoy the magic of being married to my husband, roaming the world together, living simply, having adventures, inspiring others through my words and pictures (not my husband’s dreams, mind you). I didn’t want a typical life – I craved something different. I craved the freedom of a gypsy soul.

But, I just couldn’t live like that. I was nowhere near secure enough to understand the seriousness of living life from your soul. I heard and felt the rumblings from within, but I just couldn’t set myself free quite yet.

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

I wish that I had taken my expectations less seriously. I wanted to make everyone around me happy. I truly believed back then that, if everyone in my life was happy and content, then I would be. And, in some ways I was. Ignorance was bliss.

So, life in my 20s was a crazy balancing act. I felt the call to live life authentically, to be free to be me; and yet, I didn’t heed the call. Instead I felt self-induced pressure to be more “normal”. I went through roller-coaster periods of feeling blissfully happy with my marriage, my stable job, and my small town life. I even dreamed of starting a family. And then, after some time, the urge to wander + roam the world, the urge to pack it all up and become a desert hermit in order to give my soul the attention that it needed, took over. I teetered back and forth between these two extremes all throughout my 20s, certain that I had to choose one over the other.

Until I hit my 30s. And then, I began to truly listen. And I found, with lots of help from friends, mentors, counselors, and graduate professors, the courage to act. I didn’t have to choose between married life and a monastic, pilgrim’s life. I just had to choose my life.

Favorite memory from your 20’s?

I am going to answer this question stream-of-consciously because I cannot remember a specific memory. Or, rather, I can remember so many different moments.

All of the memories that are coming to mind have a few something in common: they involve travel. Like the time my ex-husband and I drove across the country in our silver Toyota Four Runner, sleeping in the back, exploring the vast, beautiful country from coast to coast. Standing in the Painted Desert, feeling connected to the entire Universe. Dipping my toes in the Pacific Ocean. Waking up on the Oregon coastline. Camping under the mountains in Glacier National Park. Photographing a buffalo in Yellowstone. Driving on two lane roads through barren, sky-filled South Dakota.

I am certain that this trip symbolized the freedom that I was so desperately seeking (not freedom from my life, but freedom from within).

Amazingly, I had the opportunity to make the coast to coast trip again about 5 years ago, when I was 35. This time, on my honeymoon with my Swedish wife. Wink.Wink.

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

In my early 20s, I thought that I would move to Europe and have a job that involved helping others. I desperately wanted to make a difference in the world – I knew that I was here to do that. And, I even more desperately wanted to live in Europe, perhaps even working as a retreat leader for people, while writing books and teaching classes. I could visit bakeries, walk everywhere, and travel the world. I ‘d live with the guy I’d met in Denmark as a young 21-year-old, and I was determined to find anything that would help me get to Denmark to live with him and share the European life that I had been dreaming of. I just knew that, even if it didn’t work out with him (and it didn’t), that I’d still find myself living somewhere different, working as a counselor/teacher/writer. Those were my dreams.

When that relationship ended, I saw my chance to move to Denmark fade away. But, I still felt passionate about travel and other cultures and making a difference. So, I thought I’d be a missionary. But, many people in my life didn’t think that was a safe/smart/good idea, so I decided to set all of those dreams aside and settle down – not at all what I dreamed that I would be doing at 30. But, exactly how I found myself living when I turned 30. Married. Stable job. Happy. Yet restless.

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

As I indicated in the previous question, my life was not the dreamy, romantic adventure I had hoped for. It was a good life, though. And, one that I now understand was necessary in order to do some more soul-searching.

At 30, I had been married for seven years to a good man. We lived in a small town in the mountains of North Carolina, in a beautiful cottage about 5 minutes from the church where I worked as a minister and counselor. I had followed through on my dream to work in a helping profession, and it was a job that allowed me to travel and explore, taking young people and other adults with me. It was beautiful, wonderful work – guiding and mentoring others on their own journey through life. Writing and teaching and sharing very special moments with others. I was honored to have this job that I loved.

Still, I wanted more. I yearned for more. I wanted to go to graduate school. And, perhaps, I wanted a family. And I still wanted to move to some place different to experience another way of life. But, I had no idea how to do any of those things. At 30 I was still dreaming, but not quite ready to let myself fulfill my own dreams.

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

Hell yes. Everything about my 20s felt panicky. Like I had to have “it” all figured out. Like there was some race I was running. Against who, I have no idea. I worked hard to make things happen, things that never did happen either because I got scared of following my heart when others didn’t agree or the stars just weren’t lined up right. But, I absolutely thought that things should be done when I thought they should be done. The 20s was a scary decade. A miscarriage, an unfaithful husband, and the inability to claim the life that I dreamed of made my dreams all feel impossible. So, perhaps the only thing I learned that I could control was deciding to help others – to put everyone else before me. I wanted to control. I was terrified of the unknown.

But, oh how I have learned to live differently in my 30s. I learned to love the unknown.

Life is a process that we create. We are active, and yet we just let it unfold. Most importantly, we must stay true to ourselves. Because, when we tap into our souls and live from them, then the life that unfolds before us may not look at all like what we planned, but is pretty much always way more beautiful + amazing than we ever could have imagined.

Yes, our days are numbered. And we are not guaranteed tomorrow. So, the best thing to do is to just be. To simply be present. Right here. Right now. To give it time. To stay true + open + aware. We are creating our own lives with every single moment. And, everything falls into place in its own time. We can’t understand or predict it, but we can trust and breathe and soak up the life that we live. And, in time, it all makes sense.

My 40-year-old self, tells my 20 something self to relax a bit. And my 40-year-old self tells my 30 something self to keep on discovering and listening and being.

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

For me, the greatest gift of being in my 30s was claiming my life as my own. I learned to listen to my soul and to say “F*ck it!” to the expectations to be anything but who I truly am. And by learning to put being before doing, I found a deep level of inner peace that I had been searching for. From that peace, I took risks. I found courage. I changed my life.

I went to graduate school. I traveled to Europe again. I divorced my ex-husband. I quit my job. I sold my things. I took off to live in Denmark. I fell in love – with a woman. I re-married. I moved to Sweden. I left the church. I began writing. I found myself.

The greatest gift that I received in my 30s was freedom. The freedom to simply be me.

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

As you know by now, I have already crossed over this horizon; but I am a mere 40 something baby, since I just turned 40 a few months ago. I can say that, as a woman in my 30s, I did not have anything specific that I was aiming for by the time I turned 40. I was still coming into my own all the way up until then (and still am now). And I don’t make those kinds of plans anymore. I am much slower and much more in the present moment these days.

Not that I don’t have dreams and goals. Oh yes, I do. And they are out there on my 50 year old horizon. They inspire me and help to keep me aligned to my true self.

In my 40s, I hope to continue to evolve and transform. I hope to find even more peace. And I hope to begin to make a shift from learning (which I did in my thirties) to teaching and guiding. I want to continue to travel and write and photograph. I am currently writing my first book – a memoir that tells my story from my divorce to my 40th year. But my biggest, most practical goal hanging out there in the future is to shift all of this into a business. I’m not a business person at all, but I have to trust that things will unfold as time passes.

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

My blog is titled “be|love|live” because these are the ways that I discovered how to live an authentic life in my 30s, how to be true to who I am and to make a difference in the world. So, I’ll leave you with my three of my favorite quotes:

BE: “At the center of your being, you have the answer. You know who you are and you know what you want.” – Lao Tau

LOVE: “You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you.” – Frederick Buechner

LIVE: “Following your bliss is not self-indulgent, but vital; your whole physical system knows that this is the way to be alive in this world and the way to give to the world the very best that you have to offer. There is a track just waiting for each of us and once on it, doors will open that were not open before and would not open for anyone else.” – Joseph Campbell

My 40-year-old self has learned a lot. And has a lot still to learn. Though I have advice for my 20 something + 30 something selves, I am thankful for how they have led me to exactly where I am right now. Do I wish I had known more back then? Maybe. But, maybe not. Because it’s all part of the beautiful journey of life.

And somewhere along the way I finally listened to my soul. I took one risk after another, afraid of losing it all at one time. But, I listened. And my soul sang for me. And here I am. Just me. There’s no use trying to be anything else. We all have been created to be exactly who we are, the challenge is to find the courage + the strength + the craziness to listen to that inner voice, telling us to just be…. well, us.

connect with the lovely Liz / blog / instagram: @belovelivephotography / facebook: Be Love Live

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project 30 – jessica

4 Jun

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Jessica, 30 / owner of Cotton Rainbow

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

Things happen for a reason. Be patient because when it is right, it will happen.

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

My friendships. I lived my life like a spinning top, moving from one new thing to another. I didn’t really stop to appreciate what was in front of me and really work to make those friendships thrive.

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

Figuring out what was next. I wish I just sat back and enjoyed the ride.

Favorite memory from your 20’s?
Having my daughter Ella. It was the most incredible day of my life. I have never in my life felt more alive.

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

I thought I would be a successful event planner who had it all. I thought I would be married with a few children and be totally financially stable . I would have the perfect work/life balance and have it all!

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

I am exactly where I should be. I turned 30 with my husband Eric and my daughter Ella and my 2 dogs. I am a co-owner of my own business Cotton Rainbow, a children’s gear company. I love being a mom. My road to having a baby was extremely difficult and not one that I would have ever imagined. Looking back, I now realize that it happened for a reason.

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

Absolutely! Doesn’t everyone?

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

Perspective. I have not been 30 for long (yep, a whole month) but I can honestly say that my 20’s were all about the journey.

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

I envision having another child and my business being super successful. I hope to have multiple people working for Cotton Rainbow. I want the office to be super baby and dog friendly and will allow my employees to have a great work/life balance. I hope to have traveled with Eric and Ella. I am so excited to watch Ella grow, learn and discover the world.

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

“Treat no one lightly and think nothing is useless, for everyone has one’s moment and everything has its place.” – Pirkei Avot

connect with Jessica / instagram @cotton_rainbow / Facebook / twitter /

project 30 – nailah

29 Jan

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Nailah, 30  / Donna & Nailah

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

Everything will fall into place. Stop worrying so much. You’re on the right track! Also, don’t stop working out, your metabolism will slow down.

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

My finances. I wish I was more serious about saving money and not taking on additional debt. I had a good job with lots of benefits at the time but I couldn’t begin to tell you where all of that money went!

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

Myself. I was so hung up on “finding my purpose” and “living my best life” that I probably missed out on opportunities to just have fun. I felt like my life should have been much better at the time. Now I realize that I was at a great place in my life and I wish I had taken a step back and enjoyed it a little more.

Favorite memory from your 20’s?

Oh man, I have a lot. I think my best memory from my 20’s was my wedding. My husband and I had a destination wedding in the Bahamas. It was amazing. We had 30 of our closest family and friends with us and we just had so much fun. When we got engaged, my husband and I promised ourselves that we wouldn’t get carried away in the craziness of a wedding and would instead focus on celebrating our love and having fun. We absolutely succeeded and I wouldn’t change anything.

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

That’s a great question. In my early twenties, I got certified as a life coach and started a life coaching company. I envisioned myself working with coaching clients full-time and still living in Los Angeles with my husband. I was also working on my Master’s in Communication and assumed that I would be teaching at the college level as well.

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

I turned 30 in 2014 and it was a whirlwind of a year! We moved to San Diego, I found out that I was pregnant, and our daughter was born. My life is completely different than I envisioned it but it’s perfect. I was able to quit my job and work for myself full-time but instead of working as a life coach, I now co-own a social media marketing agency. Again, I could have never predicted any of it but when I look back on the past 10 years I can see the path that brought me to where I am now. Of course, during my 20’s I couldn’t see that clear path and I just felt like I was flip-flopping all over the place.

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

Oh absolutely! I was constantly worried that it wouldn’t fall into place. That was my primary stressor in my early and mid-twenties.

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

I hit a point in my late twenties when things clicked into place. I knew who I was, I truly didn’t care what people thought about me and I felt good about what I was doing with my life. The greatest gift about being in my 30’s is the confidence and self-awareness that came with it. There are still things in my life that are uncertain but I have the confidence in myself to know that it will all work out and that it’s much more productive to focus on what I can control instead of constantly worrying about the future.

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

The things that make my life complete now, I couldn’t have dreamed of 10 years ago. I imagine that in 10 years my life will be so different than anything I could think up now. I do hope that I’m still living my life to its fullest and taking advantage of unique opportunities thrown my way. I hope that my business is thriving and still brings me a lot of joy. I hope that I have a happy and healthy little family and that I will be teaching my kid(s) the values of love and laughter, big dreams and hard work. I hope to feel settled and happy with whatever it is that I’m doing.

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

Jump in. Feet first.

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Connect with Nailah / website / twitter @Nailahblades

 

project 30 – christine

22 Jan

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Christine, 30 / Huckle & Goose

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

Oh man. Many things. Ask lots of questions- don’t be afraid to look stupid. Meet lots of people from different walks of life, older, younger – there’s something to be learned from everyone. Don’t settle. Don’t compare. Not following trends is trendier. Decide what you want to be, keep asking those questions, and do a lot of soul-searching until you get there.

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

Not slathering baby oil on myself while sun bathing?

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

I always fall into the trap of taking things seriously. I suppose it’s just the way I am. But in my 20’s I felt like I had to stay on the early twenties path- graduate college, get a job, get married. But there is no defined path. Especially if you’re determined and have a vision for your future. I could’ve given myself permission to trek off the beaten path a bit.

What is your favorite memory from your 20’s?

I have three- marrying an amazing man and welcoming my two sweet gremlins into this world. I can’t imagine life without them.

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

I studied (and liked) finance in college, but quickly found that I was not fond of it in the working world. I felt stuck and discouraged at that point, convinced I made a grave mistake, and lost the vision for my future for a few years. At 24 I got married and we moved from Chicago to Washington DC. It was such a breath of fresh air and the change of scenery I needed. Though I was still working in finance, I began to search for other careers that would strike a chord, but nothing (except for briefly considering architecture school). It was around this time that I started blogging and began a small paper design business to sort through all of this and have a creative outlet. But it became pretty clear that if I ever  wanted to experience professional fulfillment, I’d just have to do my own thing. So at 25, I began to envision being a 30- something in DC with a business I built from the ground up that would somehow make a difference.

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

First I’ll say my 30th birthday was a little over a month ago, so I’m a complete freshman in this league of experienced, wise 30-somethings. But honored to be in such company. Where am I now…well, that do-my-own thing dream that was really blurry at 25, is now a startup called Huckle & Goose that I launched (alongside my sister-in-law) with just months to spare before 30. It’s surreal typing that out.

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

I think I was more worried I’d find something I loved but never take the leap. I did though. And some days are incredible, some are not, but there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing.

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

I’m just at the start of this new decade, but I can already sense there’s more freedom to be more of myself maybe, more honest.

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

I hope that I choose respond with grace and optimism to all the challenges that come with this new decade and by 40 I’ll be the best version of myself yet.

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

Make your vision so clear that your fears become irrelevant.

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connect with Christine

Huckle & Goose / twitter / facebook / instagram @inklemonade @hucklegoose

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project 30 – gillian

15 Jan

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Gillian, 32

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

There is magic in the seemingly mundane, everyday stuff. All you have to do is look for it. Stop thinking about your life, and start living it. Show up. Be where you are. Keep an open mind, and look for the good in yourself and others. Let each situation be what it is instead of what you think it should be .The answers to your questions are far less complicated than you think.

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

Cultivating self-love and self-respect. Looking inward instead of outside myself for validation and praise.

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

What others thought about me. Or rather, what I thought others thought about me.

Favorite memory from your 20’s?

The first memory that comes to mind is the afternoon my younger brother, Jake, told me and my two other younger brothers, Luke and Henry, that he was going to propose to his long time girlfriend, Vanessa. It was a gorgeous day, and we were sitting in the grass outside of LACMA. I remember feeling so happy that Jake had found such a wonderful woman to share his life with, excited to finally have a sister on the way, inspired by how much Jake and Vanessa loved and respected each other, and grateful for the special bond I share with my brothers. Their joy is my joy.

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

I thought I would be living in either Boston or New York building my practice as a Psychologist or Social Worker, after having earned a graduate degree in either field.

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

Well, it looked nothing like I’d thought it would. Thirty was actually a pretty tough year. I was working as a pilates instructor and taking classes to finish up earning my BA in Psychology so I could apply to grad school. I felt pretty uninspired during this time. I wasn’t living a life I loved, but I also didn’t know what changes to make or how to make them. I didn’t know it at the time, but acknowledging that changes needed to be made was the first step that set the wheels of change in motion.

I lived in a pretty uncomfortable state of “not-knowing” for a few months until one day in February of 2014 I agreed to help out on a low-bugdet short film that a family friend was directing. The director, Greg LaVoi, was (and is) a very talented and successful Costume Designer, who was spreading his wings and directing a film for the first time. A month later, Greg hired me as a costume assistant on a pilot he was designing. I fell in love with the work almost immediately and Greg became and still is a true mentor. Over the past year, I have worked as a costume assistant on 2 short films, a feature film, a commercial, styled four photoshoots featuring local designers, and I have been the head wardrobe stylist on 2 music videos. It’s been a truly amazing year and I’m so grateful for it.

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

I was more worried about getting in my own way, staying stuck. I found that once I opened myself up to having a new experience, opportunities started to present themselves. Once I realized that I wanted to be a wardrobe stylist, I promised myself that I would say yes to every job no matter how small or how daunting.

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

For me, the greatest gift has been the shift in my perspective. These days, I’m much more focused on being a positive presence in my relationships and in my work. I want to contribute, and I’m willing to make mistakes. First and foremost, I want to continue to learn and grow.

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

I hope to be in a healthy, loving relationship, have a successful career as a wardrobe stylist, and maybe a couple kiddos.

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

It’s as true today as it ever was, he who seeks beauty will find it”– Bill Cunningham

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Connect with the lovely Gillian / website / instagram @gillianfield

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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