33 is old. I’ve completed my bachelor’s degree and my master’s degree. I’ve been working in my chosen field of education for a decade. I’ve lived with roommates and had the opportunity to live alone. I’ve traveled to as many countries as years I’ve been alive. I’ve fallen madly in love and had my heart properly broken. 33 years is enough time to have a lot of experiences.
But 33 is also young. There are lots of things I haven’t done yet. Like write a book, or have a baby, or grow my business, or buy a house. I talked to my mom who, at 57, is a lot younger than many of my friends’ parents, but who’s also had two and a half more decades to live life than I’ve had. And in reflecting on her own life at 33, she could see how far she still had to go before getting to her life as it is now, from having her second daughter, to moving twice, to getting a second master’s degree and building a completely new career.
I think about this a lot as I interview people for When I Was 17. Some of the people I talk to are in the beginning of their careers, and some are at the end. And many people were not settled in their lives at 33, just like I am not yet settled in mine. It’s hard not to look forward and make predictions, to envision the success you’ll have and the feats you’ll have accomplished in the next year or the next decade. But I’m grateful to have been able to take my time in getting to where I am at 33, and I look forward to having new accomplishments to aim toward every decade from now.