Some thoughts on turning 30:
Well today is the big day… yep I’m officially 30. It’s odd how officially entering into a new decade of age makes you feel suddenly older, even though in reality I am just a day older than I was yesterday, because we each are continually traveling upon the path towards, “that undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns” (Shakespeare-Hamlet).
I’ve noticed over the past few years that time seems to be speeding up. When I was in my early 20′s making plans for a few years down the road, or pushing something off for another year, didn’t seem like that big of a deal. However, I have become more acutely aware of the math, where our son John who was born in July will be 18 when I’m 48, and that if we wait a few more years to have another child it would mean that I will be in my 50′s by the time he or she will be 18 and moved out of the house, or where even buying a new house on a 30 year note would mean that I’d be in my 60′s when I pay it off! (unless I make extra payments off course).
Turning 30 is also an odd feeling for me because in all likelihood I’m not 1/2 way to retirement (unless I win the lottery), but I’ve almost definitely lived over a 1/3 of my life. Also, while in the past few years I’ve been acutely aware of the need to live in the now and enjoy life since we never know when we may die tragically or unexpectedly from something like a heart-attack or a traffic accident, it is odd to run the math and know that even if I avoid unexpected endings and health issues, I’ve already consumed at least a 1/3 of my life’s gas tank.
However, I am lucky in that I’ve lived a pretty good life thus far, and I’ve checked a lot of my goals and to-do’s off: I have a wonderful family with a beautiful wife and two sons, and amazing friends. I’ve accomplished the goal going to law school and I’m now a practicing attorney, I’m a published author with a book, and over 30 print magazine and journal articles in addition to numerous web articles (not including this blog), which is astounding because I used loath writing in high school and college, much to the dismay of my mother who taught English for over 30 years.
So I have a lot of things to be thankful and grateful for, and here are my 10 reflections and tips on turning 30 (In no particular order).
1. Surround yourself with good friends- I can’t stress this enough. Surrounding yourself with good friends will help you stay positive when times get rough, and they will be there when it is time to celebrate the good times.
2. Find a creative outlet- I think this is essential for helping you channel your feelings and thoughts, which will help you to stay balanced, and work through various thoughts and emotions. As I said, I used to hate writing; however, when I stopped thinking of writing as a chore or an assignment for work or school, and started using it as a creative and expressive outlet, my perspective changed, and I couldn’t imagine hanging up my keyboard.
3. Believe in Yourself- Put yourself out there and stop being afraid of rejection. Many of the achievements that I’m the most proud of have began with more than a little self-doubt. However, I have always tried to accomplish whatever I’ve put my mind to, and the first step is believing that you actually CAN accomplish anything you put your mind to.
4. Be Yourself- Don’t try to be somebody else, or try to be someone that somebody else wants or expects. We are each unique people, and if you are going to be truly happy you must simply be yourself, and work to be the best person you can be.
“Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken”. – Oscar Wilde
5. Be Open Minded- Strive to be open to ideas, concepts, and viewpoints that you may be initially opposed to or uncomfortable with. By being open minded you open yourself up to a world of possibilities and truths that you would otherwise miss.
6. Constantly explore- Don’t be afraid to explore not only the world around you, but yourself. Beauty surrounds us, and is within us, we only need to explore and appreciate it.
7. Just Do It- Set goals and adopt a “just do it” attitude. Life is short, so make the most of it. If you want to do something, or if you have a goal, instead of sitting around thinking about it and eventually putting hopes and dreams on a shelf to gather dust, start working on achieving them… right now.
8. Take a Birds-Eye Perspective of Things- I have often found that taking a step back in order to take a birds-eye view of my life, events, goal progress, etc., is extremely useful in taking my own thoughts and emotions out of the equation, which helps to look at things more objectively. If you wouldn’t approve of or appreciate something if someone else were doing it, you shouldn’t do it either.
9. Cut-Out the Negative- Again, life is short. As I have gotten older I have lost tolerance for negative people and things in my life. While I am all about trying to help others and rectify situations, at a certain point you have to cut loose negative people and things from your life.
10. Live Your Legacy- Once again, life is short. In addition to living a happy life, I really strive to live the kind of life that will leave a positive legacy for my children, and those that know me. I think this is really the glue that holds most of this list and my current path together for me. Keeping in mind that everyday is an opportunity to live and leave a legacy for my children helps me seek out and explore the world, set and achieve goals, and be the best person and father I can be.