My garden is full of vegetables that I never would have guessed I could grow. There is so much that I am not sure what to do with it all.

Because the acorn falls close to the tree, my son decided he wanted to sell rhubarb at our local farmers market. To be clear, a farmers market looks very different in a community of farmers. It’s very unregulated, and people sell stuff off their trucks. Also, two farms sell heirloom rhubarb, ours and one owned by an Amish family. If you haven’t noticed, the Amish are very good at what they do. They know their customers, and they always have something fun to sell, no matter what’s in season.

My relationship with my customers centers on my ability to always piss off someone, no matter if it’s on my blog or in person. To make up for that, I tied ribbons around the rhubarb. I think the only thing I accomplished was a nice picture.

My son is enterprising, though. And he realized that what people really want is our eggs. (Farm eggs are way better than supermarket eggs — even organic ones.) So he sold those at the market, and we took the rhubarb home.

The farmers market exhausts me. You might think I’d be fun to talk to, but I’m not. I get anxious with unstructured conversation, and also, I feel that I should be friendly to the Amish but I feel awkward and really just want to ask them if they can take my kids in and teach them to speak only when spoken to for a few weeks.

I have other ideas. Like, maybe I want to be a CSA. But by the time I put a box together, and put it in the car for my little brother to drive to New Jersey for my not-as-little brother, I think, I would never want to do this for someone who is not my family.

So, to be honest, the only thing that I have figured out to do with my excess vegetables is have Melissa take photos of them. Here is Swiss chard and radishes.

I told Melissa that we should use Photoshop to insert some goat cheese and then this can be an ad for my new company. Which hopefully I will launch before the turn of the next century.

Then I told Melissa that I need her camera. I want to be good at photographs and I have learned enough about photography to know that my $100 camera is fine for taking photos it knows how to take. But my imagination is wider than that lens. Is that a cliche? I have not read enough about photography to know if I am writing in photography cliches.

This is a rule: If you want to be good at something you need to read a lot about it. (Maybe this is an Asperger-only rule, since Asperger people learn visually.) So if you don’t like reading, think of your own rule. But also, if you don’t like reading, how are you even going to get through this post? Because I’m about to start meandering off topic.

Here is the key to getting unlost when you are in your twenties: Get married or make a lot of money. Don’t tell me I’m shallow. I don’t care. Life is shallow, really, since we have no idea why we’re here.

In your twenties you feel like you need to get settled, and find your place. Some people need to have a special person in their life that they are connected to and making a home with. These people are caretakers and fusers. Other people need to make a lot of money, not because they want a BMW (although many do) but because it’s a way to measure how valuable you are as an adult, to the other adults in the world.

I tell this to Melissa and I tell her she doesn’t need a traditional job because she wants to get married. And when it comes to getting married, men do not value women with careers. Here is the blog post about this with very good research. Also, do not tell me you’re the exception to the rule. I don’t care because no one is the exception to that rule. And anyway, just because you want to have sex with a banker from Goldman Sachs doesn’t mean you want to marry her.

So I tell Melissa she should look for a husband. I keep telling her that the blog was a great dating tool for me. Eventually that will happen for her. (Note to potential city suitors: I think she will be happier in the country.)

By the way, I did not want to be married when I was in my 20s. I wanted to make money. That is fine, too. You need to know yourself.

When you are in your 30s, the thing you need to do to feel not lost is to figure out what you want from kids. You don’t need to want kids. In fact, your life will be happier and more stable if you do not have kids. Fortunately, for the human race, having kids is not a rational decision. So we keep having them and then we spend the next ten years trying to figure out how to be a parent and how not to feel like an imposter. And how to get some semblance of our own life back after the kids take over everything. (Incidentally, here is one of my favorite examples of me in the middle of this absurd struggle. During a live, video interview at BNET, my kids invaded, just seven minutes in.)

Certainly there are people who choose to not have kids. (Note to men: This will hurt your earning power. One of the most notable statistics of corporate life is that men who have kids get more promotions than men with no kids.) If you choose to have no kids you will spend your 30s getting comfortable with the fact that the rest of society will accuse you of being an uncaring, Peter-Pan-syndrome mutant who is too narcissistic to have kids. You will get over this. All women I know who did not have kids have come through their 30s just fine, but they have war stories to tell of the verbal bombs people tossed.

In your 40s, you get used to being lost, and it even starts to look interesting. I find that now, more than ever, I trust myself to get unlost, so I don’t mind as much having to tell people I am lost.

But in your 40s you start to worry that you’re finding your way through the wrong maze. Like, you only have a few more decades of life, right? You don’t want to waste them on what other people think is important. I spend most of my worry time making sure I’m worrying about the stuff that I want to worry about.

I think I like worrying about if I need to buy a different camera. The camera Melissa uses is a $4000 one. The oven I want is $9,000. (Black and gold, if you want to buy it for me as a present.) I think, at this point in my life, I spend more time cooking than I do taking pictures. But I think I want it to be the opposite. So maybe I should buy the camera and not the stove. And maybe you can figure out where to spend your worry about being lost by where you choose to spend your money.

Or maybe I should earn enough money to buy both things. And that is why I have such a large readership of people in their 20s. Because I have yet to stop being like them.

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  1. jim
    jim says:

    Two things.

    1. I was excited to read that in your 40s you get used to being lost and find it interesting — because at age 43 that is exactly what has happened to me! It’s like driving down a road you don’t know. What’s around that curve? What happens if I turn left? Let’s find out!

    2. Get as good with your current camera as you can before you buy a new one. And when you buy a new one, trust me, it doesn’t need to cost $4,000. An entry-level DSLR from Canon or Nikon will take you a long, long, long way, and you can buy one for $400-$1000. I have a collection of old cameras I pick up at junk stores and off eBay, and I get great images all the time from the simplest cameras among them. Like so many creative things, the limits the tools/medium put on you actually enhance your creativity if you learn how to work with them.

  2. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    I wonder if in your 50s you realize that there’s no such thing as being unlost.

    I’m in my 20s though, so I’m just speculating. And as a 20-something who’s trying to make a lot of money and get through my 30s without having kids, I appreciate this post a lot.

    • Rebecca Gonzalez
      Rebecca Gonzalez says:

      As one just on the cusp of entering 50’s…I think you are not so much used to being lost as indifferent to it…perhaps, even accepting. You don’t have all the answers and you know things have a way of working out…regardless of the choice. Regrets…you have a few…etc.

      • Rebecca Gonzalez
        Rebecca Gonzalez says:

        Just watched the entire BNET video. Go team. I have muted my phone dozens of times saying, “Shhhh, mommy is on a conference call.”

  3. Tzipporah
    Tzipporah says:

    I’m in my 30s, and the kid thing is easy compared to the spouse thing. And the making-lots-of-money-while-only-working-a-little-bit-thing.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      I see those two things you point out as purely kid related. If you don’t like a spouse, dumping him has relatively little impact if there are no kids. And if you didn’t have kids you could work a lot of hours to earn a lot of money instead of having to do that magical thing (that we all try) of working a lot less and earning a lot more.

      Penelope

      • Tzipporah
        Tzipporah says:

        It’s not always about having a spouse you don’t like. It’s just about the constant compromise and negotiation that come with sharing an entire life with someone. And I can’t boss him around like I do with the kid.

        Also, I don’t want to work a lot and make lots of money. I want to PLAY a lot, and work a little. It’s play because it’s stuff I enjoy and am good at, but that nobody values (except me). The stuff other people value is not as interesting to me, but it pays the bills, so the goal is to do as little of it as possible while still making enough to survive.

  4. Will Marlow
    Will Marlow says:

    Since no one else has pointed this out yet, I’ll point out that a lot of photographers say you should spend at approximately the same amount on your lens as you do on your camera. Which is to say, if you can afford a $4,000 camera, you ought to be able to afford $4,000 worth of lenses. Otherwise, you ought to spend $1,000 on a camera and then $1,000 or $2,000 on a lens. (In all likelihood, you’ll want at least two lenses.) Entry level DSLRs with super high quality lenses can capture pro quality pictures, but amazing camera bodies with mediocre lenses are not going to yield the results you want.

  5. thejayvm
    thejayvm says:

    To generalize your rule and escape your supposed Asperger’s Only Rule trap: In order to be really good at something, you have to learn a lot about it.

    Reading is only one form of learning.

  6. Reba
    Reba says:

    I LOVE YOUR BLOG. It always makes me smile and think and plan on how to change my life for the better. Thank you so much for sharing your journey.

  7. Brian Brandes
    Brian Brandes says:

    Hey Penelope,

    I always enjoy your posts because they seem very akin to my own thought processes. I think that is vastly more the reason why you relate to 20-year olds, rather than you “are like them.” I think you’d like to believe you’re like “us” (how I loathe to speak for my age group), but truth be told you aren’t. You occupy a different niche, more akin to an older cousin than a peer. You can still process life from our perspective, it’s much more tangible than the stigma of stagnant advice that seemingly resonates from our parents.

    But that tangent aside, I am in one of those situations that doesn’t is met with more eye rolls than anything else, is that I find it difficult to not get lost anymore. I already have the stable career, relationship, and general health. I’ve then tackled any other shortcomings or dysfunctions in my personality. So what the hell do I work on next? Nothing seems to have a pull. The closest thing to decent advice I’ve gotten on this is to pursue “mastery” in something. But that that just adds the bigger question of “what’s worth mastering?” Because without feeling something is truly worth it, it’s hard to be motivated when you ask yourself “why am I doing this?”

    Pursuing such an abstract goal like this is so much more difficult than when you’re simply feeling lost. It’s almost enchanting how the panic-pull desire to restore your life occupies your mind and erases any doubt that what you’re doing is what you should be doing. How I wish it were easy to generate any sort of similar spark to chase after for what feel like non-essential goals.

    It makes me feel like I’m wasting something, like I’ve positioned myself now where I have a springboard of opportunities to overcome and achieve almost anything, if I had the desire to do so. My life is good–no it’s great. And I’m just trying to find a way to give myself enough struggle to cajole me into squeezing it into excellence… Nothing just seems as motivating as the “I’ve got my feet completely off the ground” panic of being lost and trying to craft some scheme to return to relative safety. I’m just worried that otherwise I’ll fall victim to useless complacency otherwise.

    Well, I don’t even know what I’m asking, or what benefit this would be to you or anyone else. But there’s nothing to gain in not pressing “Post Comment,” so here we go…

    • @manifique
      @manifique says:

      Hi Brian,

      I know exactly how you feel, as I am in the same situation. Things are good – great even – but instinctively, I know I’m at the stage where it’s time to take things to the next level. However, in order to do this, you have to really take a look at your desires+strengths and then PICK SOMETHING (or a couple of things) and throw yourself into them, even if it means risk.

      Last year I made that decision and I’ve been slowly developing it this year. Next year, I plan on going full throttle with it.

      -M

    • Irving Podolsky
      Irving Podolsky says:

      Dear Brian,

      I’d like to throw in my suggestion if you don’t mind. And what I’m about to advise needs to be generated by questions wired into your genes. If they are not, then my goal won’t suit you. Or, religious FAITH may quell this pursuit.

      Find out for YOURSELF, through exterior hard evidence and internal personal experiences, the answers to these three questions:

      IS THERE A GOD?
      IS THERE SUCH A THING AS A HUMAN SOUL?
      IS OUR IDENTITY MAINTAINED AFTER SEPARATION FROM THE BODY? Or, is there a Heaven?

      This quest should keep you occupied for a few years…or life times.

      Irv

  8. avant garde designer
    avant garde designer says:

    Melissa’s pictures are nice, but not because she uses a $4000 camera. She could be doing the same thing on less than half that investment in camera and lenses.

    As for being lost, this is such an obsessive topic with younger generations. I say give it up. Stop planning and trying to be in control. Start enjoying the ride and, as Jim said, not knowing what’s around the next bend. I say this because as a 50-yr-old, I’ve seen my plans go awry and the most unexpected things happen. And, believe it or not, everything’s turned out pretty darn good. God’s a good driver.

  9. J. E.
    J. E. says:

    Not sure what to think, but maybe I’m outside of what you’d consider the norm. In my 20s I didn’t get married or make a lot of money. I’m now 31 and I’m still not married (engaged, though) and still not making a lot of money. In fact before becoming engaged and moving in with my fiance I considered moving back in with my parents to save money. My desire to have a life outweighed my desire for a hefty paycheck and still does. Sure I could find a job that pays me a lot more, but there are too many other perks about my current job that keep me where I’m at and I’m fine with that. I’d rather leave work behind at 5 on the dot every day and forget about it (plus no weekend or holiday work) than work crazy hours for a check I don’t get to enjoy. If I had to work all the time, it wouldn’t be worth it and it would affect every other area of my life. At the same time, I’m sure as hell not going to get married or have a kid when I’m not ready just because I think I should follow some time line. That would not only punish me, but also my spouse and child(ren).

    What I did find in my 20s to get me “unlost”, if I ever was lost, was getting involved with the local arts community and volunteering with various arts organizations. Volunteering means zero pay for “work” but I love it and met many friends through it, so it often doesn’t feel like work, but fun. This year I was asked to co chair one of the big events for one organization I volunteer with. It’s overseeing nine committees and over 50 volunteers. Do I get paid? Not one single cent. Am I having a good time? A great time.

    Now in my 30s I’m just now at the stage for getting married. Will we have kids? I don’t know. My fiance is approaching 50 and has never been married and has no children so we’re both getting into this a bit late in life. At this point I feel that you shouldn’t have kids unless you have an overwhelming desire to be a parent. Like they say, no time is ever the perfect time to have a child, but at least have it be something you can’t imagine living without before taking such a big step. I guess what I’m trying to say is there are other outlets than marriage or money to get unlost in your 20s and 30s. For some it could be serving meals to the homeless, others it’s playing in a band or softball team. Things that start out as just a hobby can unexpectedly put you on a path to figuring things out if you’re lost. Even if you’re not “lost” you could find your life taking a turn you never would have sought out otherwise.

    Maybe my difference is I’m HAPPY. In your posts about interesting vs. happy I always felt I’d rather be happy. You’d probably call my happy life boring, but it’s interesting to me. Sometimes in reading about interesting lives, I’d read “interesting” as just another word for drama-filled and stressful. I just think you’ve put limits on what the ways are to becoming unlost. Or like I said, maybe I’m just outside the norm with my happy (boring) life :-)

  10. RickSmithAuthor
    RickSmithAuthor says:

    “But in your 40s you start to worry that you’re finding your way through the wrong maze.”

    Bravo! That about nails it.

    I would say, however, that there is light at the end of the kid tunnel. Ours are 16, 14 and 13, and they have turned into great people – a net positive by a factor of 10. It is quite a long, often painful and arduous recipe, but the result at the end can be incredibly rich.

  11. ace
    ace says:

    With children heading off to college (and a couple finished) I, too, have given the advice you give -you don’t have to do what you love. Wait to date seriously. Get a job that can pay back your college loans. Money is a good thing!
    My two oldest are nurses, starting salaries at $70,000 (includes night differential) and $50,000 in the midwest. They are both in their early 20’s.
    Of course, there is a contingency of people that look at me funny and say – of course, do what you love and the money will follow.
    And I say good luck. It could happen.

  12. Yuse Lajiminmuhip
    Yuse Lajiminmuhip says:

    I am having a hard time seeing why I wouldn’t want to marry a career woman when I get to that stage, maybe I don’t, but I know I will end up doing it. Why? Maybe because most women are career women these days (especially in DC).

    • Career Chick
      Career Chick says:

      I don’t know why men don’t like to marry career women, but as a wife and career woman, I can say that I’m not the easiest wife to have – at least in the traditional sense. I don’t do all the cooking or all the cleaning, dinner isn’t on the table when my husband gets home from work and if one of our kids gets sick it’s not always me who stays home to take care of him. I agree with Penelope that every career person should have a stay-at-home-person. Juggling is a very difficult sport.

  13. Harriet May
    Harriet May says:

    I’m starting to think that I’m quite masculine. I mean, not in an obvious way. I love shoes as much as the next woman (although not shopping, which is why I’m addicted to doing it online– I love having stuff but not the process of going out to get it). I don’t want to get married. At least, not now. So far I’ve never really considered it, or having kids. I told my dad when I was 14 I had no intention of having kids and he didn’t believe me. “How are you going to make friends?” he said. Even then I thought this was sexist, because no one would ask that of a man, since it’s assumed that male relationships are far more workcentric.

    In fact, I spend a lot of time telling my boyfriend I don’t want to marry him (because he keeps asking, not because I’m making a point, although maybe I’m doing that too). But even though he is supportive, it’s very obvious to me that he values his career far more than mine. He is five years older than I am and nine years ahead in his career (he didn’t go to college, which I think is trendy since more women are graduating nowadays and ending up in relationships with less-educated men).

    So what that leaves me with is: I have to work out how to make money. Well, more money. I already know this has a lot to do with how I see myself. Sometimes I think that I’m concerned with “being someone” (masculine), but then I realize how socially awkward I can be, so maybe I’d mess this up. So then I focus instead on “doing something” (feminine). Since I work in elearning, I think I’d eventually like to start an initiative to educate more women globally, and the attitudes towards doing so, which is important not only overseas (as demonstrated by the brutal attack on Rumana Manzur) but also here, where women often still have big hills to climb once they graduate–which they do well, as we know– and get into the workplace. And there are still a lot of assumptions made here about a woman’s role which I’ve learned a lot about from watching 16 & Pregnant.

    So maybe I’m not as masculine as I think (although my ring finger is a whisper longer than my index finger), or maybe I can use it to my advantage. But right now I am lost, too. I am not sure that everything that is holding me back is a shortage of money. But more money never hurts.

  14. Whitney
    Whitney says:

    Is it an either/or thing about getting married and making money in your 20s? I am constantly feeling like a caretaker, but at the same time valuing my weight as an adult by how much spendable income I happen to have on hand. Plus I want to have kids but I don’t. It’s frustrating, to say the least.

    I do know that I’d like to marry my current boyfriend within the next few years, because I love him. And that I’d like to make more money, because I hate my debt. But other than that I don’t know what would make me feel unlost.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      I live in the middle of a large Amish community, so I know a lot about them, first hand. And each community is different – making money from different things.

      …Actually, it’s kind of like the Orthodox Jews and diamonds. Big in NYC and South Africa, yes. But not in Atlanta.

      Penelope

  15. Don B.
    Don B. says:

    In your fifties you get much better at being the exception to every rule so you might be wrong about men. I am only attracted to women with careers. Nice post and great vegetables. I think you are having fun. I think your boys are in a good situation also.

  16. Missy
    Missy says:

    also – use your left over veggies to make green smoothies in the morning. look at that beautiful kale! sigh.

  17. Rachel
    Rachel says:

    Dear Penelope,

    Pedro Almodovar begin his film-making career using only his wild and crazy imagination and a handheld Super 8. Over the years, his career basically exploded and I’m sure he now uses very expensive equipment to make movies that win Oscars, and are very stylistic, complex, and delve into human issues that many other directors shy away from.

    Whenever I lament over the seeming limitations of my 6.2 mega-pixel digital camera and my Storm 2 Blackberry, I think about how inspiring it is when people work within the limitations they are given (or make themselves) and find a way still to excel. I once read a blog about a photographer who challenged himself to take his best pictures with his iPhone. I think you can do the same with your $100 camera! Good luck :)

  18. d-day
    d-day says:

    Penelope, you have been doing lots of writing lately. I have really been enjoying the posts. It’s disconcerting but kind of wonderful to read you crystalizing things going on with me. Your agent nailed it.

    I got married in my 20s and made lots of money by working a lot. Then at 29 I had a kid, realized I was lost, blew the money, and freaked out a bit. Now I’m learning to be lost while being a mother, and I can’t believe how much richer my life is becoming. I know that’s cliche, but I can’t think of a better word for things like making new friends, doing new activities, exploring new hobbies and skills. I wouldn’t have done these in my 20s. I would have said that was because I had no time because I was working all the time, but that’s not really true. Back then, I used my spare time the way I thought “career-oriented” people were supposed to use it. I joined organizations. I stopped seeing friends who didn’t fit into the career. It wasn’t very fulfilling. Now the kid is a convenient excuse to opt out of those things, but it’s just my cover story.

  19. d-day
    d-day says:

    Actually, I didn’t mean to write the above. I intended to comment about the oven. That oven makes me happy to know it exists. The Lafayette Blue and gold–holy cow.

  20. Jasmine
    Jasmine says:

    Penelope,
    I related to this post probably more than any other post you’ve written. You’re spot on with what it feels like to be in one’s 20s. I feel somewhere in between feeling like I have to settle down and also like the only possible path for me is to start being successful and making money to demonstrate accomplishment. Thank you for make me feel understood.

    I also shared an excerpt from your post on my blog.

  21. Paul Hassing
    Paul Hassing says:

    We couldn’t have kids and now the opportunity has passed.

    We feel sorry for those who want kids and can’t have them. But nobody feels sorry for us when we rock up to a first birthday party and are surrounded by a world that’s closed to us.

    So we decide to enjoy the advantages of not having kids. Then those with kids lay guilt trips on us because we we’re enjoying benefits they can’t. We’re happy for their situation, but they’re not happy for ours. They resent it.

    And so we keep to ourselves, pretty much. And give thanks for each other, our home and our dogs.

    • KateNonymous
      KateNonymous says:

      I’m sorry you get that attitude from people, Paul, although it’s all too common. I have a baby and love parenthood, but I totally get why it’s not for everyone. Enjoy the life you have–even better if it’s the one you wanted anyhow!

  22. Irving Podolsky
    Irving Podolsky says:

    Lost – unlost, lost – unlost.

    I think, if you’re living a life to it’s fullest potential, falling out of the comfort zone is necessary for pushing past your limits. It’s something you have to do when old options/solutions/choices don’t work anymore. And sure, being “totally lost” is scary and sometimes depressing, and NOT something I ask for. But I don’t avoid it either. Because, having made the transition, my confidence is stronger. And I’m wiser.

    Irv

  23. Mark
    Mark says:

    Not that I’m necessarily disagreeing with you, but I find women in careers and actually doing something, much more interesting and attractive, in the way necessary to sustain a relationship.

  24. Kathryn C
    Kathryn C says:

    “men don’t value women with careers.” Sadly, this is true. When I’m on a date I sometimes pretend like I’m not interested in my career to see if they’ll like me better, and they do, and then I ditch them. They like the focus on them, not on my career. Shocker. So I’m researching freezing my eggs because I like working and making money, for now. Yes, so I’m in a bit of a pickle with the kids thing (I’m 34). I live in LA and taking Dr. names if anyone has any. I’m serious.

    Side Note, I’m trying to keep myself out of the search engines so I don’t get dooced (due to my blog). If I send you a note with my last name could I trouble you to take it out of one of the earlier posts I commented on? I will send you the link so you know which one. Thank you!

  25. pfj
    pfj says:

    Perhaps when you say “unlost” you mean “knows pretty much where she is going, and what she is supposed to be doing” ? Doing, as in life’s work.

    If so, I can tell you one good thing about getting old. By the time you’re 60 or 70 either you will have done that thing already. Or more likely, you’ll be in the long-term and very satisfying process of doing that thing. And all of the other stuff that you tried, while trying to get to that point, all of that stuff is way back there on the riverbank of time.

    Being old can mean being a lot smarter, from accumulated knowledge and mistakes, and also a lot more purposeful at moving through life. Knowing what is not wanted. Not buying huge amounts of excess.

    Except I think there are some lame, clueless old people too. But the best ones . . . well, there are mitigating factors about getting old. In many ways it’s better than being young.

  26. Michael Strickland
    Michael Strickland says:

    Melissa’s 5GIII is about $2100. With 24-105L, and 70-200L professional lenses, it would be a little over $4 grand.

    “buy a clarinet and you own a clarinet. Buy a camera and you are a photographer!”

    “It is the Indian more than the arrow!”

  27. downfromtheledge
    downfromtheledge says:

    I’m 31 and was just having the “don’t want kids” conversation with a fellow 33-y/o female co-worker today. The married-with-childrens are full of judgment and superiority, all the while despising their lives and plotting their divorces.

    There’re enough people screwing up kids in this world.

    I fully agree that no man wants a woman more ambitious than he. And no woman really does, either, because it often turns into a parent-child relationship. As a woman, you’re guaranteed to always be too much this, not enough that.

  28. Davers 6
    Davers 6 says:

    PS – I truly mean the above in the most affectionate way possible, NOT hostile or hateful. But please do disabuse yourself of any delusions of normalcy. You don’t do ‘normal’ very well at all.

  29. Marie
    Marie says:

    “Oh No!” is exactly what I was thinking as I read every bold faced line on how to get unlost.

    That’s because I don’t want to get married, make a lot of money OR have kids!!!

    Either I’m doomed or crazy for thinking I can get unlost in my 20’s by continuing to live with my boyfriend without getting married, make decent money (not A LOT) between the two of us and keep being okay with never having to change a dirty diaper.

  30. Tyson Crosbie
    Tyson Crosbie says:

    I’m still very much lost at 33. But I don’t think you need a $4000 camera to make compelling images. If you want I’ll come out to the farm and show you. :)

    Really I just want to hang out with Melissa and bend her ear about all these ‘rules’ you seem to have.
    haha.

  31. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    The video interview segment at BNET that included your kids was hilarious. You should save it to your hard drive with a backup. I think I understand why you like Paul so much – he keeps you on track and focused with your message in a very supportive role. It’s great to work with anybody that can and is willing to jump in and play this role when it’s helpful to the task at hand and all those people participating.
    Good information about the Amish. BTW, did they get their MBA? :)

  32. MM
    MM says:

    You have inspired me to go to the Farmer’s Market in my town this weekend and buy some farm fresh eggs. I buy organic now and it’s already a step up, so I’m excited to take it to the next level. Also, I recently bought some local honey, which is also way better than the organic that I usually buy at the supermarket.

  33. Margaret Goerig
    Margaret Goerig says:

    “But my imagination is wider than that lens.”

    I am not sure you mean that it’s wider so much as you mean that it wants more control, that it’s more selective, that its view of the world is more varied. What Jim said at the top and what others have echoed about not spending four grand is true. Your hundred-dollar camera is a point-and-shoot; right? Just by graduating to an SLR that has interchangeable lenses, you are going to see a huge difference in what you shoot. I’ve always been a Nikon girl but Canon is coming out with some great things and getting a used body on eBay and then spending a little more on just a few name brand, fixed lenses is going to give you a good education in focal length.

    Basically, as I see it, so much of it comes down to depth of field. Once you learn how to control that, you are going to be very pleased. Or so I see it.

  34. Lori
    Lori says:

    I spent my 20s surrounding myself with criminals/addicts because I could give them speeches about getting their shit together (while they pretended to listen & conned money from me) and this made me feel heroic. So far, I’ve spent my 30s getting fired. But I don’t have kids, so I don’t need that much money anyway. Soooo, it all evens out.

  35. Brooke Farmer
    Brooke Farmer says:

    I think I must have done it all backwards.

    I had my son when I was seventeen so I did the 30’s bit throughout my 20’s. Now I am working my way through the 20’s and 40’s part at the same time.

  36. Dale
    Dale says:

    Penny,
    The only thing worse than being lost is the feeling that you are disappointing those around you who matter to you. Being lost usually only matters to those who have people that they care about, who depend upon them in some way.

  37. D
    D says:

    It does not follow from your links that men do not value women with careers. Your links just talk about unhappy results for the women (and thus the men), not whether men value them.

    That said, I do agree that the average man cares less about his spouse’s career than the average woman. Not intellectually, but on the level of attraction.

  38. Carl
    Carl says:

    Melissa has a Canon 1D mark II? I think I saw that mentioned once. You can get a great 5D mk II for a lot less money and probably never use it’s functionality. the comment about the lens quality is spot on, I’ve learned that the hard way.
    Also if you are primarily using images for the web you don’t need a $4000 camera. Trust me.

    If someone doesn’t feel lost during their work life I suspect they aren’t very involved in their work life. Just a thought. And I suspect I’m older!than 75% of your readers.

  39. Heather
    Heather says:

    I’ve spent my 30’s being lost, so I’m excited to find out that by my 40’s I might enjoy this feeling of “what am I doing and where am I going?”

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  41. Mer
    Mer says:

    I just discovered your blog today. Great stuff!
    In my early 50’s now, married for 28 of those years, no kids, great career = great life for me! I never wanted kids, and neither did my hisband. We discussed this before we got married.
    I have found some people resentful of our life. We don’t have to save thousands for college, go to endless kid sporting events, or spend our summers attending graduation open houses. But those folks chose their path, and I have chosen mine. I do not judge, and care little for the judgements of others.
    Thanks for making me think about it though.

  42. MsPotter
    MsPotter says:

    Okay, I am 24 and totally agree. I’m working on the marriage thing (but don’t tell my boyfriend, he will just say you are lying because I keep telling him no when when he asks if I’m ready for the real in public proposal that I know he is cooking up. He did the money thing and figured out that he wants a wife too. Naturally, this works out great for me on both sides =)

    However, the thought pervading my mind after this post is: what the heck does your kitchen look like that that stove would match?! Cause it’s gorgeous and I’m an interior design retard and am just genuinely intrigued by what kind of space that would look natural in.

    See, we all are more shallow than we tell ourselves we are.

  43. Kirsty
    Kirsty says:

    I’m 18 and am already lost. I’m unsure of what the future holds and suffer from anxiety disorders which make me nearly afraid of everything (I am working on being less anxious). I’ve only recently started reading your blogs but they’ve given me a lot of strength to keep working towards the goal of being able to do what I love as a job. I really hope I get there and I also hope that in my 20’s I’m making a lot of money.

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