Back at the beginning of October, Penelope Trunk wrote a blog post titled, “6 Things to do in your 20s to make your 30s good.” Since I am perpetually worried about my future, this seemed right up my alley. Unfortunately… I am not following most of Penelope’s advice.
- Build a career that enables you to work from home. Penelope says this is so that you can control your life, and as someone who hates to leave the house even to go to a job I really enjoy, I can see her point. But I am not working that hard at this. It is more important to me to have a job where I leave the house (forcing me to put on pants and perhaps shower occasionally) but where I can bike to work (because I love it so). I think it is more important to have a job where I don’t have a regular (read long) commute than that I work exclusively from home.
- Women, freeze your embryos. Penelope says she’d actually prefer that women just have kids sooner because eventually you’re going to have to scale back your job for your family and if you wait, you’ll have to scale back even more (or something?). But really, this advice just seems crazy paranoid. Like, of all the things I should be doing to make my thirties good, worrying about reproduction does not make my top 6.
- Build muscle. I have no arguments against this. I am in better shape than I ever have been before, but Penelope argues that if you work out really hard in your twenties, the muscles will still be there and you can kind of coast in your thirties when you’re busy with kids and work and stuff. I don’t really think this is how it works? And also, I built muscle because I’m using my body. It’s probably the greatest thing you can do all of the time, not just as prep work in your twenties!
- Go visit your siblings. I have not done this, not because it’s bad advice (it might be the best advice on the list) but because my sister and I are both broke. We still keep in touch and I still see her as often as I can and I hope when the money things change that I will see her more.
- Don’t stress about relocation. I am actually following this advice! I don’t stress about relocation at all. But Penelope’s real argument with this point is “you’re going to want to be near family” so do that, I guess? Or do that after you have kids? Also Penelope argues that other people (except family) don’t like your kids (which is why you have to live near family) and this makes me feel sad for her. Because my mom’s friends still seem to love my sister and me, and it was very valuable having different family models growing up. My advice to Penelope might be to find better friends (or be a better one).
- Your twenties are not practice time. It’s your life. I take back what I said about visiting siblings being the best advice on Penelope’s list. This is the best. It’s also the scariest. I know that these years count, it’s not like being in school; these years are not pretend. So all of the things I am not doing right now (not saving, not working fulltime) seem like much bigger risks when I remember that this is not pretend. And then I remember that I love what I’m doing and I love the freedom I’ve taken (at the expense of a paycheck) and I remember that these decisions count too. Life doesn’t start when I take full time work. Life is already happening.