For Elle magazine’s 30th anniversary, Elle.com’s Seth Plattner interviewed Olivia Wilde, who explains why a divorce at 27 freed her to really start living.
Wilde looks up to women in their forties: “I find that most of the women that I really look up to, both women I know personally and women I admire from afar, are in their forties. So now, my thirties seem like this great opportunity to develop the experience and wisdom that will allow me to have an even greater decade in my forties. Thirties feel like a fertile ground. The twenties are for fucking up, that’s what you’re supposed to do, and your thirties are for using the knowledge you gained from said fucking up to make something, to put that experience toward something useful. And then I think your forties are an opportunity to enjoy what you’ve worked for.”
She stopped caring about what people think: “I got a divorce, and I felt like I finally started my career. I started making movies and projects that I just really believed in. I remember a good friend saying to me, now isn’t it relaxing that you don’t have to be perfect? And I thought, that is something that happens for everyone, not just for professionals. At the end of your twenties, you realize you are inherently flawed, and that’s great, and that’s what makes you dynamic. For me, personally, it was around 27 when that kind of return to self took place, of living for myself, not living to keep up expectations. You know, I think you go from living for your parents to your peers, maybe back to your parents, maybe to your employer—You go through all these stages of living for other people, and I think at 30 you say, it’s my life and I live it for me.”
Her one piece of advice to her thirteen-year-old self: “You will live beyond 25. So there’s no reason to rush. Every thirteen-year-old is like, get it all in! Experience everything! I was reading that the brain at four years old acknowledges, for the first time, consequences. That, you know, if I fall off this bed I will hurt myself, and if I cut myself it will hurt… I think the same thing happens at 30. At 30, it’s not a lack of awareness of consequences, but I think it’s another biological, evolutionary shift that allows you to break away from the tribe. And to be yourself. And to live for yourself.”