Some might say I wasted that decade. Threw my twenties away. They might be right–
— but they might be wrong.
If I could pass on a single life lesson to anyone, it would be this:
Whoever you are, wherever you are, please put aside that time to find yourself.
Because happiness is tricky. Everyone’s searching for the secret to happiness. And, no, I’m not going to reveal the secret to happiness in five hundred words or less. But I do want to share this observation. As I’ve met folk and shared stories, I keep being reminded of this:
It is never a waste to find ourselves.
So what if you don’t have children by thirty? All those women who claim that “they are gonna have children in their twenties, so they can ‘enjoy’ their thirties” are bullshit. Anyone can enjoy themselves at any age, children or no, but they don’t mean that. They mean “I’m going to have children young, so I get the ‘hard’ part of the way out before I’m too old to live life.”
Please. If you think you’re going to be relaxing by 35 after having a child, you better have it at 10, because your child might just be moving out at 25. These days, if you’re lucky. And teenagers? Are not easier than four year olds. Just, for the love of all that is spiritual, trust me on this one. (It’s okay if being a parent young is what you want. Only don’t pretend that your kids turning into teenagers means you get to “relax.” It only gets more involved after that!)
Which means if you want that time for yourselves but also want a family, you damn well better do it in your twenties. Or thirties. Because after you have a child, you never stop being a parent. So that time to yourself? It’s gone.
Of course, you can find yourself after settling down with a spouse, house, and kids.
It’s never too late. It’s just a little easier on everyone if you figure yourself out before you choose that lifetime commitment with your partner and kids. Sure, you can divorce, but that doesn’t mean your partner is out of your life (trust me, I know plenty who dedicated everything they had to that goal and failed).
So take your twenties for you. Make the first steps. Establish the first connections with other people. But make sure you’re taking care of you at the same time.
Don’t wait until you are “ready.” Until you have the job, the house, the kids. After you have all that, it might not matter if you find yourself. You might already have made your bed.