5 Great Big Questions As We Approach Our 30s
"Dance", said the Sheep Man.
"You gotta dance. As long as the music plays. Don't even think why. Start to think, your feet stop. Your feet stop, we get stuck. We get stuck, you're stuck. So don't pay any mind, no matter how dumb. You gotta keep the step. You gotta limber up. You gotta loosen what you bolted down. You gotta use all you got. We know you're tired, tired and scared. Happens to everyone, okay?"
- Haruki Murakami, Dance Dance Dance
Jennie and I have less than two years before we turn 30. While we don’t normally care for milestones, we see 30 as a major turning point in our lives. From that point on, we’re either going to grow complacent and comfortable and let time just steamroll over us, or we’re going to fight back and try to make every day count.
Because time speeds up intolerably as we age. We’ve already started to feel this living in LA. Our last year felt like a couple of months. Some days seem to go by in seconds.
If there’s one thing about our round the world trip that’s hard to explain to people, it's that neither of us views it as a vacation. Just the opposite - we think it’s when our real work begins.
Because if our twenties are about finding the right questions, our thirties should be about engaging with as many people from as many different backgrounds as possible, and squeezing every last drop out of this orange we call life.
Our thirties should be about finding some answers - before it’s too late.
5 Great Big Questions as We Approach Our 30s
1. How much is enough?
On the surface, this is a boring question about retirement and money, but what we’re trying to get at is: at what point do we stop taking and consuming like it’s some sort of birthright?
Is life really just about experiencing as much pleasure as possible through possessions, experiences, and recognition? If so, then why is Brad Pitt so miserable in this GQ interview?
Personally, we think this is one of the greatest defects of our culture: the assumption that if you’re rich and famous, you have nothing to complain about, as if happiness is some final achievement you unlock and not something you have to work at every single day.
2. Where can we add value?
What can we give back and why should we wait until we’re old and decrepit to do so? We’ll be near the height of our physical powers in our thirties. What better time is there to be taking risks and engaging with the wider world?
I suppose this is why we started this blog together, to lay the foundations for what will eventually lead us to our value proposition. What do we need to work at to be able to add value to the things we care about?
3. How do we stay true to ourselves?
This is a question of integrity - will we have any? It’s easy to say this is what we believe and this is what we’re going to do about it, but none of our convictions mean anything until they’ve been tested.
When the chips are down, are we willing to walk away from a pile of money if it means doing something we don’t believe in? Will we pander and tone things down to be popular? Will I write for Buzzfeed?
Because none of this is worth doing if it’s just pretend.
4. How do we keep things new?
The challenge of looking at our surroundings, the people who live in it, and at our own relationship with a fresh pair of eyes every morning. It’s not always going to be easy and we’re going to have to learn to accept uncertainty - but it’s better than turning stale and being a prisoner of our routines. At least it involves making the choice to live proactively versus fading into autopilot.
5. What kind of people do we want to surround ourselves with? How do we prioritize people?
It can’t just be about us. As two Type A personalities, this is something we’ve been grappling with a lot recently. In LA, Jennie and I lead a very insular and privileged life. We have things we want to do, places we want to go, and everyone else sort of falls by the wayside. We don’t make enough of an effort to listen and empathize with people. We’re too caught up in our own little world.
This is something we have to address NOW versus waiting for our RTW trip to start.
Because if answers are what we’re looking for, we’d better be paying attention.