There are dozens of articles and lists that declare boldly “30 Things You Should Do Before You’re 30” or “10 Things You Must Have in Your Apartment When You’re 30.” Pick an age beyond 29 and random activities or things that are commonly thought of as associated with young people, and you’ll get a list of mindless nonsense that is more than stupid, it’s disheartening.
Today isn’t directly about freelancers and their work, but these types of articles are often found on freelance career sites. The authors associate risk taking and making mistakes are expected (and encouraged) to be done before you hit the big 3-0. Because no one over the age of 30 has ever made a mistake or taken a risk. (pause for sarcasm)
Age Is Meaningless
Here’s your daily truth bomb: your age has nothing to do with anything. Now you might be thinking, there are lots of things that I cannot do because of my age. Really? I challenge you to name one thing that is completely out of bounds, that you actually really want to do, but you can’t because you’re too old. Not an activity that you used to do but you don’t now because you have no interest in it, or it doesn’t exist anymore, or something that is often for kids only because they’re small enough to fit (like kid roller coasters). Eating ice cream for breakfast? Reading a kid’s book? Playing with toys? You’re an adult, you can do those things if you want to. It’s the stigma associated with it that stops people from doing things they enjoy. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve bought toys as an adult. I still buy little trinkets that make me smile and decorate my desk with them.
Who Cares What Other People Think?
The biggest problem I have with these lists is they assume you’re a failure if you don’t meet their “by 30” requirements. That your life choices just weren’t good enough and it’s too late now to improve as an adult. But why? Why does this random blogger get to make the rules and this list of requirements? Why the hell do they get to judge you? Another truth bomb: they don’t.
If you didn’t check off everything on their list before 30, and there are things you really want to do, then do them after 30. There is nothing stopping you.
There is no expiration date for passion.
There is no age defining your abilities.
There is no number that will limit your choices.
There is only your enthusiasm and ability to not care what others think while you’re having fun.
I know I wasn’t focused enough to see the big picture in my 20’s. I made mistakes, missed opportunities, and did a lot of stupid self-centered things. Now in my 30’s, I understand and appreciate what I did do even if it wasn’t the complete list. I also appreciate my mistakes as I’ve had time to learn from them. All the bad relationships, the crappy jobs, the all-nighters in college, all the things that got me where I am now. Not some blogger’s definition of me.
If we can take anything from these lists, it’s inspiration. There are activities that I still have on my own to-do list but I’m not limiting it to all get done before I’m 40. There’s a whole world of adventures to be had and I’m going to do them at my own pace. Sorry blogger, but you don’t get to decide for me. Respect your elders.