Scroll To See More Images
Don’t let Taylor Swift’s anthemic “22” fool you, guys. Not everyone floats through their 20s in a cloud of carefree abandon. Judging from what celebs have said about it, some of the most successful people in this world really trudged through their third decade on Earth.
For most people, this pivotal decade is a period filled with over-drafted bank accounts, romantic misfortune, and general existential uncertainty. In other words, you’re totally not alone in your anxiety to “figure it all out.” Sure, with each passing year, it seems like pop culture icons get younger and younger, which would naturally leave you thinking: “Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Stone, and Lena Dunham are all my age … How’d they manage to make the worst chronological life period their best?”
Even for those who make it big, this is a decade of endless questioning. Who am I? What if people don’t like me? Will I ever learn how to cook rice correctly?
Well, you’re not alone. From Kristen Wiig and Keira Knightley to Anna Faris and Lisa Kudrow, numerous celebrities have gone on record to say this transitional period can be a swift kick in the pants, but that bright horizons lie ahead. Here’s what 10 famous people had to say about their tumultuous 20s, and how things get better. In short: Hang in there, baby.
Consummate role model Amy Poehler told Jeff Garlin on his podcast By The Way, “In your 20s, you’re all about who you don’t want to be. In your 30s, you’re asking yourself who do you want to be. And in your 40s, you realize you just are who you are.”
“Honestly, my early 20s were not much fun. Then after 25, things just got better and better,” Knightley told Glamour. “Maybe you stop caring as much about where you should be going and what other people think—which is all the shit that makes you very unhappy early on … ”
This SNL alum didn’t hit her proverbial stride until her fourth decade. “You kind of think like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m 30,'” she told Access Hollywood, “‘My 20s were the best!’ But 20s are kind of hard. 30s are the best.’”
“It felt like if my 20s were — you know those Reebok Pumps? If my 20s were pumping it, then my 30s were like the release button,” The Masters of Sex actress told Elle Canada, “It was amazing. I’m 32 now, and everything they tell you is true: You just kind of chill out; you become more yourself. It has been a very welcome shift.”
Even happily-married Bell dealt with crummy boyfriends, telling Cosmopolitan back in ’09, “Every woman in her late 20s goes through a period where she just doesn’t believe love is out there anymore, but it is. And I think the minute you stop looking for it is when it comes for you.”
Faris told Deadline, “In my 20s all I wanted was to prove to myself and to whomever that I could be known as a dramatic actress and I think once I hit 30, or somewhere in there, I started to feel like, ‘Oh my God. What am I trying to prove to myself or to this town.’”
Kudrow has been frank about the suck-fest of her twenties, telling TV Guide,”The 20s? My title for that period of my life would be, ‘It was the Worst of Times, It Was the Worst of Times … ‘ Did I mention it was the hardest time of my life?”
In an interview with Yahoo Movies, the “Mad Men” star dished on the advice she’d give her twenty-something self: “Almost everyone says the same thing [to people in their 20s], which is relax, don’t worry. Which I feel like, you should take that advice now, you know what I mean? Because in ten years, you’ll be telling yourself the same thing: Everything works out, it’s okay, whatever’s bothering you in the moment will probably pass, you’ll get through it.”
“When I was in my twenties and thirties, I spent so much time worrying: the next job, the next review, the next blog,” The Emmy-winning Breaking Bad actress told the New York Post, “It really was wasted time. I haven’t stopped worrying, but now I have the ability to say, ‘I’m going to enjoy the time that I have working and that I have with my kids and my family and my friends.'”
Even superhuman mega-moguls like Oprah (YES, OPRAH) dealt with the transitional blues. In an installment of her online video diary, she said, “When I was in my twenties, I was a lost soul. Your twenties are about finding your soul. “