Age Just Doesn't Matter

Age Just Doesn't Matter
Photo by Jeremy Perkins / Unsplash

I remember reading this Sam Altman post almost a decade ago about important lessons he learnt before turning 30. At the time 30 seemed like such a significant number. The end of youth. A moment where you're accumulated wisdom and your experiences would be so vast you could share life lessons like these.

And now I've turned 30, it doesn't feel quite so significant.

Stumbling upon another article by a 30 year old listening his life lessons triggered this post. My first reaction was to roll my eyes and think what does a 30 year old think he's figured out about life. Then I remembered how I felt when reading that Sam Altman post and how much my perspective of this age had changed.

Looking back on my 20 year old self I've definitely changed a lot. I was insanely ambitious with the grandest dreams and I've definitely fallen short of a lot of them so far but I've still done a lot. My life now is a lot like the life I wanted then. But within the parameters that a decade realistically allows. My grand dreams from then are still valid but now I don't feel the pressure to have had it all done before I'm a wrinkly old man at 30.

I prioritised life experiences a lot in the latter half of the decade than I did before. As a teen and early twenty something I was obsessed with being successful. I feared failing and being ordinary. I believed I had to deny myself enough good, enough happiness, to accomplish my goals. I believed good work, good art, required sacrifices.

That obsession did get me success. Aiming so high allowed me to do things people from where I'm from don't often do. But it didn't make me happy, only in fleeting moments.

But money is important. The freedom it gives you is continuously undervalued by those who've always known it. Making enough money to not have to worry about bills. To be able to help my family. To take risks. That's given me so much freedom. It removed so much stress. And it allowed me to reevaluate those beliefs.

Now that I'm 30 I do feel a bit wiser. But the biggest lesson I've learnt is that 30 isn't significant. Age itself rarely is. Your timeline will always be different to others and there's no age you'll get to where you can't do something.

I'd like to end my next decade somewhere unimagined too. Probably failing at some lofty goals but succeeding at things I haven't even thought of yet. I want to look back at this post and think why did I even think 30 was worth writing about.

And then go on with the next day as usual because nothing's changed. You're not going to wake up a new person the next day. You're goals and dreams aren't going to change. Life isn't suddenly going to make sense.

It's just another tick of the clock and all that matters is what you do in each one.