Dear John Letter to My 20’s…

Dearest Twenties,
It’s official. The time has come for us to finally part ways. Our years together have been ones of self-discovery and self-destruction, good times and bad, filled with belly aching laughter and tears aplenty. But it’s time to move on. I’ve outgrown you and need to pursue things that only my Thirties can fully support. In other words, Twenties- It’s not you, it’s me. You’ve been fantastic and I’ll always remember you, but really… I’m just not that into you anymore.

I do, though, remember the beginning like it was yesterday. I thought you were the coolest- providing me with freedom, boatloads of cocktails and the notion that anything was possible. Who was to say what would happen or where we’d go? We spent those first few years finishing out college and then moved to Boston and lived with the most wonderful best friends a girl could have- spending evenings painting our nails, watching movies, pondering clothes and boys and dancing around our apartment with glasses of cheap Merlot in hand. Our first apartment on our own- with no one to answer to but ourselves. Who cares if it was practically falling down and all the other tenants were cab drivers? It was OURS and we loved it. Traversing the decade meant we were to make some big fashion mistakes as well (red pleather snakeskin pants anyone?) and design disasters (I recall painting over old wallpaper because we were too lazy to rip it down and also thinking twinkle lights everywhere were so, so chic). But man, did we have a good time…

We all had jobs that we disliked, but we didn’t know what we wanted to be or do and we had time to feel that way- after all, our time with you had just begun. I sold art and insurance (yup, insurance- and for two years at that), picked out fabrics and lights for other designers, ran errands, cried into my wine glass at night over mean bosses, got fired, got hired, planned events, sang loudly in the car with the windows down driving home just happy to be alive but also sat in bed feeling doomed to never find my REAL calling. I finally quit a job that bored me and took a big risk by trying to do something on my own- a little thing called a blog. Which turned out to be the best decision I ever made in my whole damn life. It started as nothing and has really turned into something. A career. One that makes me totally psyched to wake up in the morning and proud to announce is mine at cocktail parties (because really, it never felt worse than when someone asked me “what I did” when I was not proud of the answer). There is still so much more I want to do- write a novel, paint and become a skilled photographer, throw elegant parties, design more homes or perhaps give it all up and open a bakery, a yoga studio or maybe become a therapist (the crazies make the best ones, so I should be able to knock that sh*t out of the park). I have no idea what I’ll become. I have no idea what I am. All I know is that this is the time to find out and I can’t do that with you, Twenties.

On top of all that heart-pounding confusion that comes with careers, we had a lot to deal with when it came to matters of the actual heart. There was that idiot I managed to latch myself to for five friggin’ years that I finally let go of and never, ever thought of again. Flanking him were those I liked, loved and lusted after. I had my heart broken and felt that pure sense of longing that only unrequited love can inflict. I felt angry, desired, rejected, restless and at peace. So many things for one person to feel, yet we all do every single day. You brought me some really memorable moments too- meeting Andrew (on match.com nonetheless) who made me feel safe and adored, being proposed to (and answering with “go f*ck yourself”- a looooong, very funny story), getting married in the most beautiful wedding ever and now trying to understand what marriage and love all means and how it works in the long term. It’s pure craziness, but pretty damn cool too.

One very important thing you’ve taught me Twenties, is that life is messy. It’s never the way you pictured it would be and it never will be. It might be better or it might be worse- or perhaps just totally, unexpectedly different. You can’t predict how you’ll feel or what will happen tomorrow. I think the most important lesson you showed me, and late in the game at that, is that trying to mold my life using the strict rules and assumptions I set out with will never work and will only create hostility and unhappiness. I learned from you that the “not knowing” is what makes it beautiful and exciting. But with that said, I think the thirties will be the most profound time for me and I think it’s about time I got on with it. Big changes, or maybe just small ones, await and I’m kind of psyched to see where they take me. Even if it does mean I have to pony up for some extra strength anti-wrinkle cream (after all, we did enjoy baking in the sun quite a bit during our time).

But don’t be sad, Twenties. I see girls every day who are looking forward to their time with you. I love seeing the twinkles in their eyes when they think about how you will be the best time of their life. And you might be, but as for me, I think the best is yet to come.

Xoxo,
Erin

79 comments

  1. Happy B-day! I hope you're having a wonderful day. Your letter is making me look forward to my 30's.

  2. Welcome to the club Erin! I have been following your blog for a few months now, and love every bit of it! I see so many similarities of our personalities and design aesthetics laced into your blog and it keeps me coming back for more! I thoroughly enjoyed this letter and thank you for being so open and honest. I too met my husband on match.com and are newlyweds since 3.21.09!

    Happy Birthday – Cheers!

    Vanessa

  3. What a lovely way to leave a decade and say hello big time to your future. In a few months I will be 60. The years between 30 and 60 go by so quickly. As someone said, "In the time it takes to reach down and pull up your pantyhose, you look in the mirror and your hair's turned gray." Fill these years with great memories. Have no fear. Enjoy the life you have created for yourself.

  4. Erin, you made my morning when I read this earlier today. I'm going on 21 and have just one year left of my undergrad, and feel like I don't know which end is up. It's comforting to know that you – and many of the other commenters – have been in that place, and as far as I can tell from reading your blog every day, you're getting lots out of life. Thanks for being an inspiration… Happy Birthday!

  5. Your letter made my day. It seems you live with such passion. I hope you go out and show your Twenties how it's really done.

    Happy Birthday and the best of luck!

  6. Happy Birthday and welcome to your '30s club…it's a great place to be :) You're a fantastic writer.

  7. Happy Birthday Erin! My sister Vanessa introduced me to your blog recently and I'm so happy for it! Your style both written and design are truly refreshing and inspiring! I'm right behind you leaving the roaring 20s in the dust and eagerly anticipating the fabulous 30s!

  8. what a beautiful letter. this is really lovely. and it's so true–life is never what you expected. xoxo joanna

  9. i'm 22 and i've thought that, since day 1, "this is it". this will be the best time of my life, so i need to live it up now before i hit my 30s and it's all down hill. but after reading your letter, i now feel like i actually have something to look forward to. thanks!

  10. Thank you SO MUCH everyone for your kind, sweet words! I am so glad you liked this little letter! :) You guys are the best.
    xoxo,
    E

  11. Adorable! Happy Belated Birthday, you have so much to look forward to. Wishing you all the best and thanks for sharing that very touching and insightful letter. XO S

  12. So well done — you've summed it up perfectly, Erin.

    PS – We had twinkle lights, too. And hot water that lasted only 5 minutes.

  13. First, in response to your tag- you are not old!

    Second, thank you, thank you, thank you!

    I LOVED this post. I found it comforting and it made me smile throughout. I feel better about turning 25. I had set lots of goals for myself "by the time I'm 25…" None of them happend but many weren't authentic. Do I really want to publish a play? No. hahaha. I feel better knowing that there's plenty of time to explore and make my way through my goal list. In the meantime though, life has been unexpected and surprising. I can't help but think "if you try sometime, you might find, you get what you need."

  14. This one is for Betsy, Erin's mom, I loved your comment. It brought tears to my eyes. Very good to know!

  15. Erin,
    I am a frequent reader of your blog….I just wanted to let you know that I loved your latest posting. I am 28 and my husband just turned 29 and we had both been dreading the BIG 30, but after reading your post I feel so much better about it. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on it. Bravo! You're right! The best it yet to come!

  16. Well said! You are an inspiration to me. And I LOVE YOUR BLOG! I read it everyday!! Happy Birthday!!!

  17. This was one COOL letter. Loved this. Firey and thought provoking. You are wise beyond your years, Erin. But don't look anywhere near 30!

    We'll do a late champagne celebratory toast at the beach.

    Happy Birthday!!!!

    xoxo
    Seleta

  18. This is great! Also, as a woman in my 20s, I found some parts of it that ring true with me and comfort in your witty reflections! Rock on Erin, your blog is fantastic!

  19. The girls over at Pretty Bourgeouis sent this letter my way since I just turned 30 last week and it's AMAZING! What a great outlook.

    Hope your 30's are even better than you imagine!

  20. First, happy belated birthday. Second, this is the best thing I've read on any blog in a long time!

    We're always told that life never turns out as we plan, but for some reason we all think that never applies to us (at least I know I did). I'm 24 and toss and turn at night under the pressure to figure out what I want to "do." It's nice to see that yourself and so many others are in the same boat.

    I wish you the best in your 30's!

  21. What a GREAT post!!!

    I am a mid twenties gal just graduated college with my BA for Interior Design and I have yet to find a design job. I am not giving up though!

    Your blog is such an I N S P I R A T I O N!!

    Happy 30th Birthday, have an amazing trip to PARIS!

  22. I loved your article – it was just so nicely written! I felt like I could relate on so many levels and from what I can tell, a lot of other people felt the same way!

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