Thoughts at 30
Well, I’ve just moved past a certain day on a calendar which means that I’m no longer allowed to claim to be 20 something years old… damn. It got to me… I mean isn’t 30 the age where you’re supposed to be settled? Just think of all the things I’m missing…
Where’s my steady job?
Where’s my Master’s degree?
Where’s my house in the suburbs?
Where’s that family I was supposed to have by now?
Where’s my cottage to escape too when I just can’t handle the grind?
Where’s the 9 to 5?
Where’s my retirement fund?
Why haven’t the Canucks won the Stanley Cup?
It’s funny though, as I go through the list of all these things that I’m supposed to want, all these things that are supposed to signify that I’m on the right path in life… I find that they aren’t any of the things I truly desire… other than those Canucks… come on, win one damn cup will ya!
Instead I find myself with an alternative list. A list that I never would’ve imagined at the age of 20. A list that, as I look to the age of 35 and 40, I am sure will continue to diverge from the ‘conventional path'; will continue to become much more diverse and will certainly continue to distance itself from what others think I want, think I need.
I traded in the notion of a steady, well paying job for a landscaping stint I do back home for a few months a year and random volunteer positions around the world. Do I have high earnings? Absolutely not… and I don’t want them. Yet my earning potential is increasing dramatically, and I have that funny thing that much of our generation no longer seeks in their work (or even life for that matter)… a sense of meaning.
Always thought I would have this by 30… and I’m sure I’ll go back to school at some point to do it, but the reality is that I only finished my Bachelor’s at 29… But dare I consider myself uneducated? I bin’ learnin’ in da reel world yo! Instead of a Master’s degree, I’ve experienced different cultures, lived on 4 continents, in 9 countries and can speak 5 languages… ya, I’m alright with that trade-off for now.
House in the Suburbs
I have a place to call home, a place to go back to, a place to set up some projects… what more do I need? Don’t get me wrong, I intend to set up more of a home base over the next few years, but at the age of 30, I don’t feel like I’m missing much by not having a mortgage and white picket fence. I’m certainly not keeping up with the Jones, hell, I don’t even know them, are they keeping up with me?!
Still plan on having a family. This is one that I never really thought I would have at 30… Always figured I’d be moving in the direction of a family at the age of 30, so no major pangs here. Plus, I have a girlfriend that I love very much, and a new niece, along with a little bro and sis and am still very connected with my folks and my sis… as well as many of my close friends back home… No, at the moment, family is not something I long for.
Cottage on the Lake
Are you kidding? What would I need to escape from? Instead of feeling like I need a vacation, I live my life in a sort of vacation and seek volunteer positions or work for a sense of meaning, a sense of working towards something. This is certainly something I don’t miss, want or long for.
9 – 5
There’s something settling about security, about routine. And there’s something that you give up in order to get it. Churchill once said, “The country that sacrifices freedom to gain security will lose both and deserve neither” (I think he was paraphrasing Lao Tsu)… at the moment, I feel a bit the same about my life. When kids are in the picture, the idea might be different…. but at the moment, the very flexibility that this lifestyle provides is something that I cannot imagine giving up.
Okay, so all those other things are well and good, but clearly I’m not looking to the future, I’m not looking to my retirement. I’m supposed to start saving, right? It’s my father, a chartered accountant, who always ‘gives my head a shake’ when I start thinking I should be saving for retirement. He points out a few very valid points. 1) You will have higher earnings later in life, 2) If you wait until you retire you’ll have the money to do the things that your body has forgotten, 3) Your earning potential actually increases as you learn languages, experience diversity and figure out what you really want. I basically sum it up like this, live your life. Don’t entirely neglect the future, insure that you have some goals in life and are working towards them, but don’t become a slave to the notion that freedom comes at the age of 65… Freedom is yours if you have the courage to reach for it.
Canucks Winning the Cup
For those of you that don’t know, this is a Hockey reference, proving that I am still very much Canadian in spirit and connected to my roots… This team that I followed ever since I was young has never won, though they did come close over the last few years… They were always holding me back, keeping me in touch with the sport in order to see how well they’re doing… Now, thankfully, they’ve given me the great gift of falling right out of contention and going into a rebuilding phase. They’ve cut me loose by having no chance at all in winning the cup over the next couple of years. They’ve broken my heart and set me free… *cough, cough* okay, it’s not that bad… but still… Come On Guys!
My thoughts at 30 may be different than those of my friends back home, those of my parents and even those of fellow travelers. But who’s to say what’s right and wrong? Everyone has their own path, I hope you can use me as an example… what other people want for you is not necessarily what you want for yourself… Don’t be afraid to go out there and get what you truly want. You’ll never regret taking the chance, and your thoughts at 30 may relate or may totally disagree with mine… but at least they’ll be your own.