90% to 30
30, the exciting and formidable age of becoming a grown up, is just around the corner. At age 27 I am 90% of the way there. By then I should manage to have a respectable career, respectable bank account, respectable repertoire of amusing life experiences, a push up bra and a toolbox. But what about just before? Where “should” those of us in our late twenties be?
The beauty of our generation is that the definitions have broadened; the expectations become more second-guessed; the white picket fences more grey. So lads and lasses – take advantage. We are the pioneers of “the twenties”. We are among the first to be gifted a decade with little requirements other than to find ourselves and experience life. So, let’s do our best and do our worst, our sloppiest and our most outrageous. Do it now before babies, mortgages and 401Ks demand otherwise. But let’s do it with a purpose – our own purpose. As my step-mom has told me since we became great friends twenty years ago, “You can do anything you want, but you can’t do everything. So choose wisely.”
For those of you trying to figure out how to spend the remainder of your twenties, here are a few recommendations.
- Fall in Love
With the right person. It’s great. It’s wonderful. It makes all most of the other points pale in comparison. So, you tried it before and it didn’t work out? Congratulations! You’re a human. Try again..and again…and again. Forget the definition of insanity, because when it finally sticks you’ll forget about the past ups, downs and ughs and find yourself immensely, silly-ily happy.
2. Appreciate your Family as Real People
This is why I crossed out “all” in Number 1. Family is there with you always. Love travel. Love experiences. Love you and your friends and even your favorite pair of shoes. But don’t lose sight of that small, special group of people who will be with you ‘til the end (and overlook the clichés in your writing).
Yes, it’s obvious that a travel blogger would say that. I love Travel – and have a real relationship with Travel, complete with shouting matches and drunken words of love. But for now I will try to be as objective as possible (and turns out, as predictable as possible) about why Travel is important. For starters, it kicks your butt. You learn you aren’t as flexible, as open-minded or as intelligent as you thought before you left home. In other words, Big Fish, it takes your small pond and turns it into the ocean. What I have learned from Chummy Chum Travel is that in our world of six billion people there is someone better and someone worse than me at…everything. I am not the greatest. I am not the worst. I am me, only me. While I can work to be a more cultured, sophisticated version of me, me I will ultimately remain. So I’d best embrace the good, forgive the bad and learn to get along with her.
4. Be Successful at Something
Choose what’s important to you and pursue it. You’re not 30 yet, but you will be…and then 40, 50, 60. Be free! Be young! But don’t be careless. Free-spiritedness and preparation are not mutually exclusive. By now you’ve had enough time to learn what you’re good at, and what you’re not. If you’re not sure, start studying. There’s a niche for everyone, even those of you who know no boundaries and don’t believe in titles. That is, there’s a niche available if you’re willing to finally define your talents – and your shortcomings. Learn to do something well. Then do it.
5. Water your Plants
Grow up from your shot glass 21-year-old self and start sharing. Learn that Galileo was wrong about the center of the universe and so was a younger, more self-absorbed you. Some things are quite simply more important. Start recycling. Start volunteering. Start taking in your neighbor’s mail when they’re on vacation. Learn to become a team player – it’ll make for a better party down the road.
Ultimately when you find yourself 90% to 30 it’s an opportunity to see what you’re doing well and where you can improve. It’s a time to find (and make) reasons to be happy and redefine priorities. But also remember that 30 – and 90% to 30- are all just numbers. There’s no medal for Most Accomplished and you are not a class assignment to be completed. Keep evolving. Keep questioning. Keep making mistakes, getting annoyed at yourself for making them, and keep moving on.
Live your 90% as 100% you.