I just turned 30, like just now, and without the privilege of using my 20s as an excuse, I knew that questions about planning a family, owning various symbols of thirty-something success and transitioning into the American definition of ‘adulthood’ would undoubtedly emerge. As a pre-emptive strike, here are 5 things to remind me (and you) that the 30s are meant for more than stability and asset-building.
Beauty Is What You Choose It To Be
Maybe you’ll be one of those people who botoxes away wrinkles, counts every calorie and spends an hour on the treadmill. Or maybe you’ll let yourself go, brushing a head full of grey hair while appreciating the power of buying those new jeans that are a couple of sizes bigger than your last jeans. Whether you choose the treadmill or your favorite deli that serves that amazing pastrami, whether you get addicted to face-lift or you rebrand the wrinkle, choose what beauty means to you and don’t let anyone tell you that choice makes you vain or shallow or lazy or weird.
Make New Friends
You’ve been blessed with an amazing group of friends, but keep going out there and meeting new people. Resist the urge to become insular because new friends can show you that there’s more than one way to approach life. New friends can take you to new places, introduce you to new ideas, and even help you see a part of yourself you never thought existed. You say that you want to continue to grow and change – new friends are the perfect foil for that. And you’ll be surprised how they’ll make your old friendships stronger.
Invest In Experience
Think back on your life – what item you bought has been with you for longer than five years? That BCBG dress is now in the back of your closet. That Satyapaul saree in your parents’ closet. You donated your last year’s winter coat. You changed laptops, upgraded your phone. That big screen TV you bought is now obsolete. But that trip you took with your family to San Francisco where you held the video camera and provided running commentary on the trip – it is embedded in your memory, you carry it with you everywhere; it is now part of you. Experiences, especially when shared, have the power to not just stay with you forever, but to continue to change and evolve and speak to you in new ways. Forget things – plan trips, eat good food, drink great wine, and whenever possible, share the moment with a loved one.
Life Is Not A Checklist
You’re at an age now where you will start to question whether your life is ‘functional.’ Do you own a home? And a car? And some stocks in something? Do you have enough savings? Are you adding assets? When these questions come up, ask yourself why you’re asking yourself this – do you even know what an asset is? Don’t plan your life out like a tight screenplay. Don’t think that it’s going to have just the right amount of practical decisions mixed with adventure and fun. Instead of evaluating life, live it, and let the stars chart your path.
Keep Your Passion Alive
You’re lucky – you know what you want to do and though it interferes sometimes with things that people associate with being a responsible adult (ie. home, car, babies), know that there is no single driving force for your life more fruitful than a passion for something. It will continue to light up not just your own existence, but also those around you. The road less taken won’t guarantee that you will end up famous and rich, but it will ensure that you will lead, not follow. And if you continue to walk to the tune of your own song, you will never walk alone. Because those that dare are also the ones who inspire.
So what do you love about being 30?