I turned 32 about a month ago. When I was 18 I thought my life would be over by age 30.
I thought all sorts of things when I was 18. I thought by age 30 I would have figured it all out.
I thought I would have figured life out. I thought I would have figured myself out.
And you know what?
I have no clue about any of the above.
I haven't figured anything out. And probably never will figure everything out. And that's ok. Because once you start to believe that you've figured it all out you'll be hit by a big fat wave and you're going to land flat on your face.
And will probably not get back up again for a while. Simply because you thought you knew it all. You thought you had it all under control. But the truth is you don't have anything under control. We can't control anything, other than ourselves.
No one knows a thing about anything. No one is able to predict or control anything. And realizing this is the secret to it all. To what? To everything...
So here are a few things I thought I'd have figured out by age 30, but I still don't know anything about. Here are a few things I realized...
I thought by now I'd have figured out what I'd be doing tomorrow. Or the day after tomorrow. I thought I'd have figured out what I'd be doing for the rest of my life. But I don't. I don't even know what I'll be doing next year. Or where I'll be living next year. Simply because there are so many opportunities out there. When you're ready to learn new things. When you're willing to work hard AND smart. When you're willing to open your doors, then the entire world will be open to you...
I thought by age 30 I would live in the past because nothing is happening anymore. I thought every day will be the exact same. I thought by age 30 everything would be the same. But boy was I wrong. The truth is that I can barely remember what I did last year. Or the year before. Not because all is the same. But because I keep experimenting and do new things all the time. Most of them don't work out, but that's ok.
Back in the days I thought that once you're in your thirties you'd get everything right. But what I realized for myself is that only when you keep getting it wrong will you some time down the road maybe get it right. Because getting it wrong is part of the process of getting it right. No matter your age. As a matter of fact, now in my thirties I experiment a lot more than in my twenties, so I fail a lot more. People say you've gotta fail in your twenties so that in your thirties you can reap the benefits. I don't know. I think you can fail at any age and reap the benefits later. No matter how old you'll be by then. You just gotta get started.
I thought I'd know everything about relationships by age 30. But I still feel like a 18 year old school boy who doesn't have a clue about how all of this stuff works. And that's ok. Because every school boy has a school girl waiting for him somewhere. And every school girl has her school boy waiting for her somewhere on this planet. You just gotta be patient...
Over the past 7 years I've made money through probably more than 20 different ways. Online and offline. I was paid to teach English. People paid me to give talks. People bought some of my books. People paid me for workshops on sales. And some people even paid for some of my t-shirt designs.
You always have a choice. No matter what people tell you. No matter what your parents, your boss or your passport says. Choice is a conscious decision. And it's all your choice. And if you don't make that choice, someone else will make it for you.
I thought I'd have found my passion by now. But what I realized is that I just don't have one passion. I'm just passionate about experimenting and trying out different things. And then I'll get passionate about some of them. I think I'm passionate about finding my passion. And experimenting about what could be my passion.
I thought I'd know how to win in life by age 30. But I clearly don't.
I thought by age thirty I would have given up on my dreams. I haven't. I still believe that dreams can come true. As long as you're willing to put in the years. And the work.
When people travel they always say “oh, who knows, I'll probably never ever have the chance to come here again.” Here's the truth. If you want to go there again, you'll get there again. Trust me on this one. I've said this so many times. And I've probably been to every place again where I said this. Travel is a choice. Getting out there and exploring the world is a conscious choice. If you never make that choice then you might be right. Then you'll probably never ever come back there again. Then you'll probably never travel as much as you want to.
I thought I would be less childish by now. But I'm starting to realize that this is the only way to go through this world where everybody is wearing a clown mask ready to scare the shit out of you. Because kids forget. And adults never forget. Adults get scared for life...
# being different
I was always a bit different. I always did my thing. In my high school yearbook one of my best friends wrote “he does his thing.” And he was right. But I thought that I'd change. I thought it was a disadvantage. Now I realize that it's an advantage.
I thought by age 30 I'd know how to properly approach women. But I still don't have the slightest idea about how to do it. Luckily, it somehow works out every once in a while.
Is totally overrated.
People always said a job is safety. I believed in it. But it's not. Because that job will probably be gone in a few years. What's real safety is when you know how to make a living without having to rely on someone sending you a paycheck at the end of each month.
I thought by age thirty I'd be wearing grown up clothes. I thought I'd know how to dress. Whatever that means. And for the past few months I've been wearing the exact same two outfits every single day. Both of these outfits together cost less than $100. And half of the outfits include a wife-beater. Or how British people eloquently call it: “a singlet.”
I thought by age thirty I'd appreciate wine. I still don't drink any wine. I don't like it at all. It's the worst thing ever. And I reject it almost every time. Even when women suggested drinking wine I said no in 99 out of 100 times. Not that I was asked to drink wine by 100 women. I wish...
I thought by age thirty I'd just have accepted most of the things in life. But the truth is that I realized that you don't have to accept anything in life if that's not what you want it to be. If that's not how you want something to look like. Or feel like. It's all your choice.
I thought pain was something bad. But pain, failure and mistakes are the beginning of something great. Something new. Something exciting. But it doesn't change the fact that pain is painful. But it's nice to know that there will always be something “next.”
I was convinced that by age 30 I would have learned enough. That I would have paid my dues by then. But I realized that you'll never be able to learn enough. There's always something more exciting out there you could learn. Do you have to? No. But if you're curious about it, then just do it.
I wasn't curious in my twenties or before that. I wasn't interested in anything. Now I'm interested in so many things. Once I started investing in myself instead of investing in things or experiences, I realized that I could do everything I ever wanted to do. That I could learn everything I ever felt like learning. That I could learn and master everything I wanted to. And that made me curious about many things I never thought I'd ever even be interested in.
# out of shape
I was sure that by age 30 I'd be totally out of shape. And I'm now probably better in shape than I ever was before. I probably run around 40km every week. But now that I think about it, my knee hurts a bit. That never happened when I was 18. And my neck. Oh boy, my neck...
I thought I'd be less picky by age 30 about food. But you know what? If I have the choice to eat something I don't like or something I like, I will still only eat the thing I like. Sure, when it's the only thing available, I eat it. But if I have the choice, I make my choice...
Alright. It's getting late now. I have no clue how many things I've already written down. And it doesn't really matter. Because I make my own choices. And my choice is to stop right here and right now.
But let me tell you this.
Just like tomorrow will be.
Just like yesterday was.
As long as you're ready to open and walk through the doors right in front of you.
No matter how scared you might be of what's behind that door.
No matter how much you like it in your small and cozy room.
If you want to “live” the life you want to live you've gotta make choices.
You've gotta walk through a couple of doors every once in a while. Doors you don't know what's behind them.
You've gotta make choices. And walk through doors every once in a while.
No matter how you want your life to look like.
Make choices, act accordingly and then never ever look back again.
But the one thing that's even more important than anything else, than all of the above is this...
It's ok to not know.