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So here's the thing. As a 29+ year old quickly approaching the BIG 30 (six months to the day), I am faced with the realization that this may hurt. A LOT.
It seems like only a couple of months ago I was in my late teens, "studying" at university, spending most of my evenings, and almost all of my weekends (this was basically Thursday afternoon to Sunday night at this stage) "socializing" with friends.
Basically, beer, beer, write an essay, beer, and occasionally, a couple hours of sleep.
I can vaguely remember thinking at this time that 30 was a lifetime away. I had all the time in the world to take things easy, enjoy myself, and I could make plans later.
Little did I know that, in the blink of an eye, I'd have gone from my carefree student days to the relentless trials and tribulations of full-blown adulthood!
Going further, I was sure that by the time I EVENTUALLY reached 30 I would have done all of the following, and probably a great deal more:-
- Make a Million- This was gonna be easy for sure. I knew exactly what I was gonna do.
- Probably be really famous. Like, REALLY famous. No idea what for, but it was a certainty.
- Be retired! I figured that working for maybe seven to eight years was enough for anyone. I couldn't understand why I would have to do it anymore. Working for the next 40+ years wasn't even a fleeting glimpse on the horizon.
- I'd have traveled the world and "seen things." Probably twice. That's just what people do, isn't it?
Anyway, there were probably a thousand other things that I had expectations of doing and achieving, each likely more naïve and farfetched than the one before.
The interesting part is that, out of the big ones, I have achieved precisely zero. Don't get me wrong, I have traveled a bit, and I'm not too bad off, all things considered. I'm unequivocally not famous, and I figure I am as close to retirement now as I was back then. At least it can seem that way.
So, with 30 peering around the corner, preparing its arsenal to brutally assault me in a variety of unexpected ways, it would be understandable that I might be feeling a bit low, right?
I mean, I haven't achieved anything I thought I would. The "best years" of my life have flitted away without me realizing what was happening and I know that in the grand scheme of things, 30 really isn't that old! Nonetheless, I would be within my rights to feel like a bit of a failure.
So with the big 30 looming, I decided to take stock of things so far, and also have a glance ahead at what the future may hold.
As it turns out, in ten years, with absolutely no planning and a great deal of luck along the way, I have actually managed to fit in quite a lot, especially considering how quickly the time has passed.
Let's take a look. In 120 short months, I have:
- Finished studying at university (Sports Science)
- Started and finished an eight year career in banking (Sports Science, remember!!!!)
- Bought my own home, twice.
- Retrained in remedial massage
- Started three businesses (massage, marketing, therapy. I'm nothing if not inquisitive)
- Begun a career with a mental health charity
- Written a blog bost!!!
- Oh, and not to mention...
- Met my Wife, got married and had a kid (awesome life choice, BTW, supposing you don't actually like sleep)
So again, I may not have achieved any of the things I thought I would, but on reflection, I think this is quite a lot.
The point I'm trying to make here is that even though I had no plan, was very naïve and had, frankly, unachievable, goals—at least with no plan—is that things haven't turned out that bad. In fact, some would say quite well.
Now, I have to say that I have worked hard over the last ten years. I have learned anything and everything I could and have also had a lot of luck along the way.
I can't help thinking if I had spent a bit more time back then planning for my future and having a more realistic views of the world, I may have been a bit further forward on the road to the things I had wanted to achieve.
I suppose the takeaways are that a bit of forward planning could go a long way. Even if you do plan, though, time will pass just as quickly as it always has, and there is no guarantee things will go as you expect.
Making the most of the time you have is key, and even if you don't have a plan of exactly what you want to do or achieve, things can still be okay. Not that I advocate this course of action!
So all I would suggest is that, if you too are quickly approaching a big birthday, or even a not so big one, taking the time to reflect on what you have done, and maybe even plan a bit of what you would like to do. It might help you realize, as it did for me, that getting older doesn't have to be as painful as it might seem.
And if there is nothing positive that you can take from this, remember:
At least there is ALWAYS coffee!!!