So, I’m thirty. Now what?
My parents were under thirty when they had me. I was raised within these weird expectation that there’s a life checklist. You study for a degree, it gets you a job, you find a partner, you move together, you get married, you have kids.. you get the drill.
Subconsciously, I’ve tried a few o these things.
I‘ve pushed myself into an university degree. With some effort finished it without missing a beat... well, just missed the ocasional joy of my early twenties. I've worked full time throughout it. I’ve learned that determination and discipline can carry you a long way.
I’ve moved with my partner at an young age. Moving cities together and going under the same roof felt like the right move. Living with a partner at a young is not easy. We faced challenges, we matured and grew further apart. Making space for oneself to grow, experiment, and make mistakes needs to be a priority. That’s how one builds itself.
Work took me to various places. At a young age, I’ve fantasised about it a lot. The first few opportunities where amazing and fun. I met hundreds of folks from different cultures. I made a few friends because of those opportunities. I don’t regret one single trip. Nowadays, I think twice before jumping on a plane for work. Do I really need to disrupt my week for a work day in London, or Dublin, or Barcelona? — Barcelona yeah, let’s go.
I’ve grown as a professional. I’ve worked on many of projects, and helped dozens businesses design better products. I’ve learned what I‘m best at and I’m doubling down on it. I’ve stopped comparing myself to others, there’s space for so many of us to work. I’ve also learned what kind of workspace I need to better perform, so I’ve quitted a few gigs. I’m better now at detecting when people and places are good for me.
I’ve learned that money doesn’t fulfil you as much as I expected. It enables you to remove discomfort from your life — earlier today I’ve paid to skip the line at the airport. The thing is, a higher paying job doesn't necessarily equate to a better life, just an easier one.
Mental health is precious.
I got a dog. A cute dog. The best dog. An ungrateful dog that can’t sing happy birthday. Life is better with a dog. Responsibility towards the wellbeing of something helps you take care of yourself.
I’ve left things behind and watched many plans go sideways.
Where’s that checklist of achievements we all supposed to tick before we are thirty? Is it a fulfilling job, family, a home, marriage? What am I missing from this list?
If thirty is the new twenties, what the hell have I been doing over the last decade?
The plane landed, I didn't finish this one.