Are Your Best Years Behind You? Or Yet to Come?

Sarah Michelle Gellar and iVillagers share what their favorite age has been -- so far

You often hear actresses talk about coming into their own in their 30s. During their 20s, they felt awkward, self-conscious and insecure. You might think that it would get even worse for Hollywood’s glamour set as they enter the decade between youth and midlife. But age and, for many, family life, seems to bring a certain amount of wisdom and perspective to many of them, and with it, a greater enjoyment of life.

At the age of 34, Sarah Michelle Gellar tells CNN that being in her 30s is much better than being in her 20s. “A lot of people say how much more relaxed I am, and it's because I don't take things as seriously. You know, it's not just [about] work [now]. I have a different priority, and I can let things roll off differently. The only thing that makes me mad is if I lose time with my child,” she says.

On iVillage’s Living Your Best Life boards, members shared Gellar’s sentiments that being younger isn’t always better. Even though one might argue that aspiring actresses face more scrutiny than the rest of us, you don’t have to be a starlet to know the discomfort of self-doubt. It rears its ugly head during adolescence and can take years or even decades to disappear, until finally, self-confidence takes root in its place.

Gellar’s interview prompted a discussion among members between the ages of 30 and 59 about which age has been their favorite thus far. The consensus: late 20s to early 30s.

“Twenty-eight was a good age for me. I was very afraid of not making it to that number, because my brother died at the age of 27,” says member krbh2001. After that, her second-favorite age was 33 -- just after she had her first child.

Heyhowdy also voted for her early 30s (32 was her magic number) but she isn’t convinced that her best years are behind her. “I'm holding out hope for a new age,” she says.

I’m amazed that people can even pinpoint the best year of their life. I certainly have times that I look back at with particular fondness. There was the year I moved to San Diego, took a fantastic job and made the long-overdue decision to end a struggling six-year relationship. During that year, my 28th, I felt more freedom and relief than I had in nearly a decade. But how can I compare that to the year I decided to quit my job to pursue writing full-time, which was also the same year that I became engaged? My 20s were more fun, because I avoided difficult issues. My 30s have been more challenging -- but also more rewarding -- because I’m finally sorting through that baggage. So I like to think that each year has been the best in its own way, because it’s helping me build a foundation for an even better and more fulfilling next year.

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