Turning 30: My 20s Were Just A Warmup for My 30s

Turning 30 - image by http://www.flickr.com/photos/thewazir/

Although we all know that one year isn’t really all that different from any other, it is important to spend time every now and then reflecting on our lives, including where we’ve been and where we still want to go. Milestones such as turning 30 can provide a good time to do this.

One of the things that’s been on my mind a lot during my 29th year is just how unprepared for life I was in my 20s – but that’s what life is. We face tons of decisions that we aren’t and probably couldn’t be prepared to handle and these decisions affect the direction of our lives. Although I’m sure I will continue to face plenty of decisions I’m still not prepared to face, one of my hopes for my 30s is that I will be able to use much of the wisdom accumulated during my 20s in order to help guide my life even further in the direction I want to see it go.

With little-to-no real long term planning, my 20s have been pretty amazing. Just for my friend SWalters, I want to take a bit to reflect on the amazing things I’ve gotten to experience, in what he delights in calling my CV reiterated. As you indulge my recollections, I encourage you to think about your own as well.

Travel

The travel that I’ve done has probably been one of the most important things in my life, because each trip has helped me see and understand the world in a new way. And I always learn a little bit more about myself as well. I believe travel is an amazing tool for self discovery and growth and something everyone should be so lucky to have the opportunity to do.

  • Photography class in Alaska
  • Various travel throughout the U.S. with friends – Chicago, New York, D.C., etc.
  • Religion class in Jamaica
  • Backpacking Europe
  • Work in Mexico
  • Work in Kenya
  • Motorcycle trip on Route 66 – Mississippi to Las Vegas and back

Work

I’ve done an incredibly wide variety of work over the past 10 years, spanning the fields of business, education, and nonprofit. Through this diverse work, I’ve learned a lot about my own passions and what I hope to accomplish with the rest of my life, and for the first time, I have very solid goals in mind for the future.

  • Designed, coded, and managed an e-commerce site
  • Completed two bachelor degrees and a masters degree
  • Taught college
  • Taught gifted high schoolers
  • Worked for a nonprofit involved with educational technology
  • Published 2 books, one of which became an Amazon.com bestseller
  • Published 4 book chapters and two journal articles
  • Founded Philosophy Matters

Personal

One of the things that stands out for me in my personal life is how much less tumultuous everything seems as I get older. Growing up, every change felt life altering. Now, there’s an understanding that even if things change drastically, life will still go on more or less as it always has. It’s easier to cope. Let me put it this way: relationships were a negative factor in the first half of my 20s. In the second half, they were most definitely a positive. And I couldn’t be happier about where I am now.

My relationships with my friends and family have also gotten better – and more supportive as the years have gone by. I have an amazing array of people in my life and I’m constantly thankful for them.

The other aspect of my personal life is that I finally started to understand fitness, and got my diet and exercise under control, so much so that I’ve done things like a Warrior Dash and a half-marathon. Being able to push yourself physically is an awesome experience and this is something I definitely didn’t fully understand for most of my life.

Looking Forward

Although I know there will always be more obstacles, I believe that I really figured out a lot of important things in my 20s. From my relationships to my health and beyond, I was able to learn enough to establish a layer of stability that has been great. Yes, I’ve made mistakes, but even through those, I have been able to sit back and reflect on what is truly important to me and what I truly want out of my life.

My hope is that this past decade leaves me in a position to make the next decade even better. I have solid goals for my personal life and my work life, and I have a deeper understanding about what truly brings me happiness in this life. As awesome as my 20s were, I’m convinced they were just practice for an even better 30s!

Cheers y’all.

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