Ten years ago today, I met my husband. This milestone made me realize how lucky I am to be in such a great relationship, and also made me feel a little nostalgic. Let's be honest: when you're 24, you generally have a few less responsibilities than when you're 34. But when I really think about it, I am so proud of what I've accomplished in the last ten years, both personally and professionally.
A quick snapshot of me, ten years ago: I had just turned 24, and was living by myself in a tiny studio on Beacon Street (which at the time was my pride and joy, even though it cost me an arm and a leg). I loved being able to sleep in until whenever on weekends, and eat nothing except pita bread and hummus, if the mood struck me. By day, I was working as an executive assistant for a real estate company, trying desperately to prove myself worthy of a promotion to a PR-related role. By night, I ran by the Charles River. I went out with my girlfriends and explored the city. I dated a boy who I met on the T. I dated a boy who was a friend of a friend of a friend. I dated a boy who I met online. I dated a boy who I met at the beach. I dated just about every eligible male in the city of Boston, but was convinced that at 24, I would never find The One. And, I went to yoga class on a weekly basis with the wife of a co-worker. This friend, one fateful night, coerced me into attending dinner with her, her husband, and an unsuspecting (and very handsome) guy.
Fast forward ten years, and you have me at 34. I have an amazing husband, and a beautiful little girl who is my pride and joy. I now am a proud homeowner. I have a master's degree in a field I am passionate about, and a strong professional and personal network. By day, I run the marketing department for a well-respected real estate company. By night, I am too exhausted to do much beyond look cross-eyed at the overflowing laundry baskets and collapse into bed. Sleeping in on weekends means waking up at 7:00. I drink too much caffeine, and depend on a trainer to help me stay in shape, since my hours-long runs along the river are things of the very distant past.
Lack of sleep and free time aside, I feel very lucky and blessed. Still, if I could flash back in time, I'd want to tell my 24-year old self a few key points:
- You will get laid off, multiple times. It is not your fault. You will land on your feet and be progressively happier with each (forced) job change.
- Do NOT dye your own hair. You will regret it.
- Wear sunscreen, for god's sake.
- Your girlfriends will go through major life changes at different times than you do. It's okay.
- Do not buy expensive and/or impractical suits/shoes/handbags with credit cards.
- Fighting with your boyfriend does not mean that you will break up.
- When you move in with your boyfriend, you will need to compromise on certain things. Let him get the red couch; you will grow to like it.
- When you get married, you will have too many houses to visit during the holidays. Make a schedule now.
- When you go to grad school, you will discover that you can juggle more than you ever thought possible.
- When you become a mom, you will discover that your previous juggling act was a cakewalk.
Most of all, I'd like to congratulate that 24-year old girl for knowing the perfect guy when he (finally) appeared, and for having the tenacity and perseverance to build such a great life.
Forty-four year old self...are you listening? If you have any advice for me, I'm all ears.