When I was 23, I scored my first adult-level job. I was easily the youngest in the company, rolling in to work hungover on random Tuesday mornings, drinking coffee because it’s what everyone else was doing, and spending every moment outside my 9-to-5 singing karaoke, flirting with waiters, playing co-ed softball, laying by my apartment pool, talking on the phone debating who was the best guy for Carrie or who was going to win American Idol (and actually having the time to watch the show to prove my case), going out for dinners, meeting up for happy hours, and buying round after round after round…because I had a job and I had friends and, amazingly enough, I had the time and the means to enjoy them both.
At this first job, I remember having a conversation with my pregnant co-worker. She was in her mid-to-late 30s at the time and was due with her third child. I kind of admired her because she was living what I envisioned my life to be someday: a reliable yet flexible job, a kind and devoted husband, a spunky and kind-hearted persona, and three kids. She seemed to manage it all, yet still had time to run and travel and have a good time. One day by the water cooler, she was telling me about her life and the busyness that had enveloped it. I don’t remember her specific examples, but what I took away from the conversation was this:
“Your 20s are for you. Your 30s are for your family. Your 40s are for your friends.” [Read more…]