I’d like to share with you a letter from a mentor of mine. She’s lived in four countries, speaks two languages fluently and four proficiently. She’s a trained architect, an artist, a published writer, an amazing chef, and a mother. Her sixtieth birthday is around the corner.
She knows I’ve been having a difficult time with my twenties as of late; my parents are both very sick, I’m not sure what I want out of my career, I rapidly feel thirty approaching and I worry that I haven’t accomplished anything (hello, QLC!). With this in mind, she sent me the below e-mail. I hope it offers you all some piece of mind as well while stumbling through your quarter-life crisis, or mid-life crisis, or…
I hope that you’re not seriously stressed by your 30th birthday arriving in more than two years… But in case you are, let me tell you my experience, as I was terrified when I reached 30 that my life was a complete failure. I did not like my job and was nowhere in my career, I was single, had no kids, and my long love relationship of ten years had collapsed two years before over the fact that I desperately wanted children and my companion did not. I thought that all my life was wasted and that I was a good-for-nothing failure. I had not published any books, I did not have any exhibitions; I was just a wannabe, an impostor. So I decided to go to Israel to take a break. I met the man I was married to for ten years, with whom I had two amazing sons. And the rest is history, like they say…
Then, I discovered that 30 is nothing, try 40. And then, try 50. And then… Each time, you realize that time has passed so fast and you are still not doing this or having that, and your life is not perfect.
Well, thank god your life is not perfect! And thank god there are still things you did not accomplish yet, or don’t have, or haven’t enjoyed or experienced. That way, you have something to look forward to in the next years…
You realize that age means nothing. You can do anything in the “right” order or in complete disorder or not do them at all, it does not mean anything. You are not better because you are married, have kids, and an enviable position in a great career at 30, or at 40, or later or not at all.
When you are secure, when you have confidence, you don’t care at what age you do what. The day I made peace with myself over the fact that I was too old to be Mozart, Rimbaud, or James Dean (never mind that they’re men), it did not matter anymore. I could be anything. I did not feel pressure anymore to be anything other than the best person I could and the happiest I could.
I am not telling you all that because I think that I am such a great example, but just because I experienced so much pain regretting time passing when you can’t retain it, feeling too old when actually I was very young, that I would love to spare you that. But I know that you can’t use someone else’s experience, you have to live it yourself. Anyway, you are so young! Enjoy it, it goes very fast, but its only a question of attitude. Your mind can be as young or old as you want.
Love you Nora, you are a beautiful person, stay that way…”
By Nora Resnick