your 20s: a time to know and do YOU

I’m in my late twenties now, and this TED talk by Meg Jay hits home. Sure, the first few years out of college were exploration and fun, but now I definitely notice things are starting to settle and get serious as I contemplate a life partner, marriage, children, and finding the kind of financial stability that can sustain the lifestyle I want. As I research deeper into the concept of “pre-conception health” (preparing your body and mind at least a year before pregnancy to ensure a healthy baby), I realize it’s not only a healthy baby we should be thinking about in advance. It’s everything. It’s life.

BUT – I don’t necessarily think that means being rigid or following the path of your family or friends. Planning is for YOU, so you live YOUR life and don’t get stuck in someone else’s.

We twenty-somethings should be thinking about our social support networks, our professional networks, our spouse, repairing family relationships, taking the risks in our career to achieve our greatest dreams NOW, before things get too deep. Before we gather attachments, obligations, dust. Life Partner and I up and gave up our apartment on a whim and went to the Caribbean just because things were getting stale. I’m not a fan of stale. We will remember that trip the rest of our lives. We affirmed our love and need for travel. I left my job to become a doula and freelance researcher and writer. I affirmed that I need space and creativity. I’m hustling and putting more than I should on my credit cards (that part is less advisable) to pay off yoga teacher and healer training on a warm island. Again, travel, creativity, learning. Taking time to love myself up, away from Life Partner and Family and the City. I will not always be able to do these things, and I’m grateful that I’m doing them now, for myself. I’m setting the patterns, the foundation for the rest of my life.

Sometimes this feels selfish. I see so many women without the generous partner and financial freedom I have, without the courage to hop on a plane every chance they get, without the opportunity to leave town because of their children or their job. But they have a different path with different challenges and gifts than mine, and I trust that they will find their way. And as much as sometimes I want to be tied down with some lovely children hanging on my heels, now is not that time for me. I spent my entire adolescence raising my sisters and supporting my mom. Now is my time to be selfish. And this is the legacy I will leave my children: Know yourself. Don’t live anyone else’s life but your own. Do YOU.

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