Speed limit: 30

What’s the deal with turning 30? It’s as though we hit a speed bump after it. 

When I was 18 years old, just leaving the psychological storm that was high school and embarking into a world of unknowns, questions, answers and frustrations, age 30 seemed so far, that many of my dreams could possibly come true before then. Now that I’m reaching said age, I realize many of them have, just not the way we imagine them.

A friend once told me, perhaps out of humor, that we had to be millionaires before thirty. If not, we wouldn’t be anything in life. The problem was, and is, that he wasn’t the only thinking this way. Entire societies think this way.

The good, the bad and the ugly

I read an article a few weeks ago that said: the 30 under 30 who are moving the world in 2015. Ironically, most of these people had a great and managed to get funding for the great idea. Then, the business grew and, at the moment, it seems to be a tiny but stable empire. Others simply began a great advertising campaign for massive funding for their ideas. Just years, even months, later their projects boomed and soared into multi-million gold pots.

That’s great! It really is! But it tends to diverge our focus from reality. At least, the way the media projects these young entrepreneurs only “simplifies” the idea of obtaining fortune. It seems as though hard work isn’t really delved into the lives of these young millionaires. You see them smile, you see them elegantly dressed and some aided by the wonders of photoshop.

But, what about the stress? Why not photograph after hours of failed programming or their reactions when they realize tomorrow’s edition did not quite turn out the way they hoped? How many hours did they invest? Is the project turning profit or will the investment soon faze out, overcome by the cost of operation?

Doug Menuez-Imagine if you will
Doug Menuez-Imagine if you will

“Backstage before a press briefing, Newton team members Michael Tchao, Nazila Alasti, and Susan Schuman discover that all eight of the prototype Newtons they brought to demonstrate are dead.

How many of the “30 under 30” from 2012, or even 2014, are still with their successful projects? Starts ups live and die, it’s in their genes.

Then there are celebrities. Ah, the world of illusion! Many young stars use their “talent” (or lack there of) to reach insurmountable levels of wealth and seeming success. The idea that one individual can be a millionaire for doing nothing isn’t really new, but it doesn’t mean we all get have the same luck.

The worst is when you see people blow out fortunes. I guess the term easy come, easy go, does apply to real life.

Aging is forbidden

I ran into an acquaintance from my first years in Engineering. (Ten years ago, by the way). He’s now an engineer in Mercedes Benz, in Germany. So, he’s doing what he likes, he’s living in a beautiful country and wakes up with motivation every day. Plus he earns an engineer’s salary–very satisfying, this is–so, isn’t he successful? And he’s just begun! If he would have been hired at a younger age, perhaps his lack of maturity could have backfired on him.

Yet no one talks about this, or the many other cases of successful individuals that have cemented their years of formation and, at or after 30, are exploiting the roots of their effort.

It’s as though, if you obtained success after the magic 3-0, it doesn’t count. It sometimes feels as if: you had to do it, you were meant to. Those that obtain before you, they were faster. Well, faster isn’t always better.

The “afterlife

Seldom do we see articles about successful people under 40, except in areas such as writing and arts, this because people become more adept at fine-tuning their creations as time progresses, or at least they should. Just check out this chart indicating when some of the most renowned writers achieved their most famous or breakout novel. Few are within the speed limit, and more are leaning actually towards the other end (ehem, the 40-ish barrier).

And this can be applied to many other activities, professions and careers. Maybe we could eliminate all professional sports, but the fact is that 30 is not the new 20, 30 is 30. You’ve gone through the chaotic and often disheartening reality of “what do I want to do with my life?” and realized that probably you had no idea what you wanted to do at 18. At 18 you just wanted to have fun.

Then, after college, you probably worked. Then you probably said: “huh, this isn’t exactly what I wanted. Reality isn’t that cool.” If you didn’t, then you are a very fortunate individual. To be happy with what you do everyday is a blessing, nothing less, and many people don’t recognize that. And being happy is not necessarily a hefty paycheck or a luxury car, rather peace of mind and satisfaction.

But it you did, by this moment, you were probably 25. You decided to make a change. It’s round two. And how old are you? 28, 29, 30? Then, why is that being thirty is wrong?

I’m 29 and I’m beginning to feel very good about how my life is going. I have friends who found their sanctum at age 17 and other at age 40. Many of the people I know have established their knowledge, their goals and their rhythm at 30. Or even past that.

So disheartening yourself just because you read that some kid is a millionaire by 10 is completely useless. Use the success of others as inspiration–younger and older–rather than envy, and realize that your potential, and failure, can only be defined by how and when you tackle the hits you get, no matter whether it’s an early hit or one that comes so late, you didn’t see it coming. No one else is going to do it for you.

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Author: Bernardo Montes de Oca

Journalism. Writing. Life. Periodismo. Escritura. Vida.

3 thoughts on “Speed limit: 30”

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