Someone I went to school with was lamenting the fact that she’ll turn 30 in 18 months, and oh my god, when did she get so old?
To which my reaction is: what the fuck?
Thirty is not old. I’m 28 now. I graduated from uni when I was 22. That’s SIX YEARS. That’s a blip. I’ve had just six short years of thinking for myself and making decisions about my life. All my decisions were made for me before then. Finish school at 16, go to college till you’re 18, go to university until you’re 21, then… then what?
Then you have to start thinking for yourself. Or not. If you don’t, you can just carry on doing what everyone else does. Find a job, get started on the career path, move in with your boyfriend or girlfriend, get married, buy a house, get a dog, have a baby, work work work, retire. Die. Oh shit, did you actually do anything you wanted to do?
If you started thinking for yourself at an early age, I salute you. I sure as hell didn’t. Thinking for yourself is hard. It’s painful. It’s frustrating. Agonising. It’s also liberating and wonderful and I wouldn’t want to be any other way. But now I think about stuff all the time and mostly I’m not sure what any of it means.
So I’ve had just over six years of making decisions for myself. And that? That is fuck all. Fuck. All. But I’ve done stuff. I’ve actively done a lot of stuff that I wanted to do, and when I look back I am amazed that I crammed it all into six years.
I got my first full time job. I saved up to go to the US on my own. I went and worked at a summer camp in New Hampshire for one long, blissful summer. I came home. I fell in love. I moved to the countryside with my love. I fell out of love. I went to Canada, and Alaska, and Ecuador — the Galapagos Island, oh — and Peru. I came home again. My Dad died. I moved to Edinburgh to figure out what the fuck was next. I felt properly independent for the first time, even though I was working another shitty bar job.
After lots of flailing and experimenting, I grabbed onto the idea of starting my own online business so I could live and work anywhere. I sat on it for a while. Eventually I got my shit together and started the business. And now I’m trying to figure that out.
I’ve got big plans and, Jesus Christ, if all that can happen in six short years, I say, Wow, what else is going to happen in this lifetime of mine? How much more do I have to learn? What will I accomplish? What will I become exceptionally good at? Who will I help? Will I be happy?
What will I have done in another six years? By the time I’m 40? 50? 80? I have no idea, but I’m ridiculously excited to find out.
So if you’re turning 30 and think you’re getting old, maybe you’re just letting life pass you by. Following your default path. But it’s up to you. YOU get to choose. It’s your god damn life, after all.
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