Portrait of a Thirtysomething- Kari Bentley-Quinn

We’re so happy to have Kari Bentley-Quinn as our next featured guest in our new Portrait of a Thirtysomething series! Portrait of a Thirtysomething asks our invited guests (in their 30s) questions about their lives and what this decade means to them.

Kari Bentley Quinn is an absolutely amazing playwright and we co-founded the theater company, Mission to (dit)Mars together along with two other wonderful cofounders. Kari and I met a few years ago through another theater group, Packawallop Productions, and have been friends ever since! Jane and I are thrilled to have her here!

Enjoy her beautiful interview below, and be sure to check out her website and say hi!  http://www.karibentleyquinn.com/

Kari Bentley Quinn

“The challenge is “how do I live as happy and fulfilled a life as possible?” At the end of the day, the person I most have to answer to is myself. I can’t live for anyone else – my husband, my family, my friends – I have to be a whole person. And I think that’s hard sometimes, but it becomes more necessary.”

Name/Age/Location:
 
Kari Bentley-Quinn/ 33/ Astoria/Woodside border, in the amazing borough of Queens (Woodstoria?)
 
Occupation: 
Playwright/Executive Assistant (proud hybrid for ten years strong!)
 
What’s the accomplishment you’re most proud of in your 30s so far? 
It has to be the fact that I went back to grad school after nearly ten years out of undergrad. I am getting my MFA in Playwriting from Hunter College, and I graduate in May, which I can hardly believe. It was an absolutely terrifying thing to do, but I did it! Well, almost. Still have a few things left to do. But I am 90% of the way there. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done – mentally, physically, emotionally, creatively. I did it while working a full time job. I don’t know if I would have been able to do this in my 20s when I was less sure of myself. I also got an agent last year, so that was really nice. And I’ve had two productions!
What do you NOT miss about your 20s? 
I think just the crushing uncertainty and working so hard to have people take you seriously. The 20s are the time you’re supposed to be making a lot of mistakes, but is also the time when you become a full blown adult. Trying to reconcile the fact that you’re still young and inexperienced with making good enough decisions that your future won’t be a wreck is tough. There were a lot of wonderful things about my 20s. But there were a lot of scary and bad things, too. I would say that my early 20s were actually quite awful. My mid to late 20s, less so.
 
Looking back, what shouldn’t you haven’t been afraid of in your 20s? 
Being a failure. Not making everyone happy. Money stuff. What people thought of me. Being fat. Not working hard enough. Getting older in general. What my future was going to be like. I spent a lot of my 20s freaking out about stuff that 1. was impossible to know the end result of and 2. didn’t matter one bit. I am a huge Type A perfectionist and I think it held me back more than it moved me forward!
Any surprises about what your 30s are like? 
Yes – which is that I kind of love being in my 30s! I feel much more confident and assured in professional situations. I think I’m a way better writer and just more capable in basically every aspect of my life. I have a strong marriage and absolutely amazing friends. I also like that its totally okay to stay home on Friday night when you’re in your thirties. I have learned to value my downtime, to fiercely protect it, and to say no. Learning to say no has been super important.
 
What do you find most challenging about this decade? 
While in some ways I am much better than my 20s, I find that I have less stamina and way less bullshit tolerance. I also found a WHITE hair on my head (thanks grad school!), and while I don’t like to think of myself as a vain person, seeing the fine lines start to appear is a little humbling. I also think its tough for women to age. Youth and attractiveness are so overemphasized for young women, and as much as we all like to think we’re above it, the messaging we have received is really damaging. I really hope that we stop that in future generations.
I also am just more aware of my mortality in general. I don’t know if that’s bad – but the challenge is “how do I live as happy and fulfilled a life as possible?” At the end of the day, the person I most have to answer to is myself. I can’t live for anyone else – my husband, my family, my friends – I have to be a whole person. And I think that’s hard sometimes, but it becomes more necessary.
 
What are you most looking forward to? Be it tonight, next month or ten years from now.
 
More travel, more love, more laughter, more time off, less giving of fucks about dumb stuff. I think I’ve made good choices. At least I hope I have!
 
What would you like to hear more about regarding the thirties. What articles would you like to read?
 
I’d love to read more about the challenges women face professionally as they get older. I think these struggles change and continue as we age and as our lives change.
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One response

  1. I would be interested in knowing where someone gets the inspiration in choosing a career as a playwright? Was it a special teacher, a family member, a good friend, an author ….

    Like

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