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love now Things were different when I was 25. I was in law school at Columbia. I was there not because I was particularly interested in the law per se, or practicing law one day, but because I loved school and felt law school was a "smart move," a slam-dunk "door opener." Anyway, I was there, in my 3L or final year, and I was happy. I liked law school. I liked my classmates and many of my professors. I found some of the work interesting. I particularly enjoyed Bar Reviews - Thursday nights spent swilling copious amounts of bad wine in sundry Upper West Side bars. Fun times. So hard to believe I will be attending my 10th law school reunion in a matter of weeks. Ah, Time.

Correction: Okay, so this is funny. I actually wasn't in law school at all! Clearly, math is not my strong suit. Anyway, truth is I was in my first year of practicing at a law firm here in New York City. I was a litigation associate. It was a new, shiny, very interesting world. A world I knew would be a temporary stop. A world that ultimately inspired the setting in my first novel Life After Yes.

At 25, I was dating Husband and had been for two years. I remember my 25th birthday very well because I was expecting to get engaged. Believe me, I was not the type to daydream about a proposal or a princess dress, but Husband had asked my parents' permission on a cruise months before and, well, Dad spilled the beans like three minutes later, and well, you could say that getting engaged was on my mind. I was not the only one who thought my birthday might be it. Well, it wasn't. And, in retrospect, I'm happy that Husband waited - exactly one week - and proposed on a quiet night when I was absolutely expecting nothing.

At 25, I was innocent. I had yet to face real heartbreak or loss. Dad was alive and well. I was in this city, in school, surrounded by tons of friends and family and things were pretty simple. I studied enough to do well. I partied. I shopped. Interestingly, I did not think too far ahead. Yes, marriage was on my mind because I was with the man I wanted to marry and I knew there was a ring floating around somewhere, but I did not think about kids or family. (Husband would probably contest this as he swears I made him promise that he'd have three kids in the first two months of our relationship.) Also, at 25, I didn't think too much about life's biggies: Purpose, Meaning, Identity, Existence, etc. I wasn't a totally shallow person, but I also wasn't overly deep.

Here I am almost ten years later. I will turn 35 in October. And I find myself thinking about what advice I might give my 25-year-old self. Admittedly, this is also on my mind because my younger sister is around this age and is currently in that priceless process of figuring out what she wants to do. Anyway, I am thinking about all of this. And I even asked this question on Facebook the other day. And the responses were wonderful. So wonderful that I just had to write this post. See for yourself.

 

what advice would you give your 25-year-old self?

Start doing what you love NOW. (And calm down.)

Be strong. Be confident. Be kind. Be generous.

Get a real estate license. You can still write.

Don't worry.

That boy is going to break your heart so stop chasing he isn't worth it. Learn to travel by yourself because not everyone will be on the same page and you will learn far more about yourself than you ever thought you could. Weed your friend garden. Cut up the credit cards and work your butt off till they are all gone. It's all just stuff anyway. (Those are just a few of the things I would tell my 25 year old self)

Never settle...whether it be a man, a job, a dream!

fb answer

Focus on the now.

Worry less.

Don't give up on your dreams because you're worried about money.

Life gets better after 40. Really.

leave him. leave him now.

Travel. Really think about the career choice you make. Make mistakes. Fail. Volunteer to expand your own world. Read. Journal.

Stop trying to skip to
The last chapter to see how it ends. Life is like a good book. Savor every chapter. You'll get to the ending soon enough.

Keep ALL the hot shoes. Every. Last. Pair.

Travel!

You know what's weird? I'm at a place in my life where I think my 25 year old self could teach ME something (Like how to not care what others think. How to plan less and be fine with that. how to forge ahead blindly into my dreams!)

Career wise, money will follow when you do the thing you want to do and enjoy it. Don't chase money.

Slow down.

Question everything. The people you think are in charge aren't any closer to the truth than you are.

Start writing now Think about where you want to be in 10 years from now and what you want to be doing and always marry for love because to paraphrase Bette Davis and Stephen Stills life is a bumpy ride and you need to love the one you're with.

Keep practicing Ashtanga with the dedication of your 35 year old self. It will keep you calm and grounded for everything to come. Take that trip to India!

That the grass is only greener on the other side because you're not taking care of your own.
When you become a Mother, you'll find out the answer to the question you constantly ask re: your parents: "what's their problem?"
Oh and love your boobs now, cuz once motherhood hits, baby, they're gone! Oh and make your Dad go to the doctor.

Drink less. You'll want to remember all this fun stuff you're doing.

Buy Apple stock.

No boy is worth that much stress. If he doesn't call , let it go... on to the next.

You'll find love. You'll have kids. Now chill out and get a milkshake.

Break up with that loser boyfriend and move to Europe!

Don't..DO NOT...cut your hair no matter how much you loved Winona Ryder's pixie in Reality Bites. Especially don't cut it at the mall.

Do exactly what you have been doing.

Never grow up.

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Who were you at 25? What advice would you give your 25-year-old self? If you are 25-ish, what advice would you give your future self?

Turtle Pond

A Happier Hour with Laura Munson