Advice I would give to my 30-year-old self

Story highlights

  • First lady Michelle Obama turned 50 years old on Friday, January 17
  • We asked CNN personalities to impart some wisdom they have learned over 50 years
  • Carol Costello: '90% of me thinks recognizing women turning 50 is a tad sexist'
  • Christiane Amanpour says 50 is the new 20 and that everything gets better with age
With first lady Michelle Obama turning 50, we asked some of our 50-and-older CNN colleagues: "If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your 30-year-old self?"
Here's what they had to say:
Carol Costello
Anchor, "CNN Newsroom"
I wish I could express my honest opinion about articles that deal with the "dreaded 50" -- 90% of me thinks recognizing women turning 50 is a tad sexist. We did not make a big deal when President Obama turned 50. We recognized it, but we did not ask the President if he would consider using botox or if he would stop playing basketball.
Honestly, I don't think about my age until I read some article telling me I'm not dead. Then, I begin bitching about why I must be "sexy" at 50 -- or a cougar who yearns for a man I would have to financially support.
It's funny. Attractive women fight to be taken seriously in their 20s, then yearn to "not be taken seriously" in their 50s. At least that's what all those articles tell me.
With that in mind, what would I tell 30-year-old Carol Costello?
1. OMG EAT! That old adage that you can never be too thin is bogus. And so not fun.
2. Having been fired in my 30s, don't worry. You control your destiny, not them.
3. Marriage actually IS fantastic. Marry that guy Tim Snyder! (And I did.)
Christiane Amanpour
Chief international correspondent and host of "Amanpour"
1. 50 is the new 20.
2. Like a great wine, it just gets better with age -- your friendships, your family and your professional confidence.
3. From 50, work, life, mind and body balance become the essentials.
Paul Begala
Political contributor
Dear 30-year-old Paul:
Writing to you from two decades hence, I gotta tell you: Being 50 is great. Here are some things you should have known at age 30:
1. Politics and public service is the most exciting, fulfilling career imaginable. Stay with it.
2. Even the most exciting, fulfilling career is bulls*** compared to being a father.
3. Just because someone is on the other side of a political fight, that does not make them a bad person. Try harder to find your common humanity, even as you beat their brains out politically.
4. Make sure to answer the phone when the governor of Arkansas calls.
Anthony Bourdain
Host of "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown"
I doubt very much that my 30-year-old self would have listened -- even to my materialized 57-year-old self. But I guess if I could send a message or three, it would go something like this:
1. It gets better. Really.
2. Cocaine is not going to make you happy.
3. But feel free to f*** up as much as you like because, apparently, it will all pay off in the end.
Donna Brazile
Political contributor
1. Your health is your wealth.
2. Living well is aging well, as in eating right and plenty of exercise.
3. And stay positive. Joy cometh in the morning.
Joe Johns
Senior Washington correspondent
1. If you can find three people in your professional life you can rely on and trust to give you advice, counsel and sound judgment, value them.
2. Get rid of the mustache. It will come back to haunt you!
3. Life is not a sprint, it's a marathon.
Richard Quest
International business correspondent and host of "Quest Means Business"
1. Life is a long rat race, not a short sprint. Pace yourself. You will still win if you take a bit longer.
2. Money may not buy happiness, but it buys a very nice misery. Just don't worship it.
3. Your good name is like virginity. Once it's gone, it ain't coming back. Treasure and guard it jealously. When people can say, "He's a good man," it's worth a fortune.