As a society, I think we’re getting a lot better at accepting various versions of success at any age, yet it seems we are still hardwired to see 30 as a deadline for the bulk of our exploration to finish. In my coaching practice I see how this kind of thinking can negatively affect our decision-making process – by slowing it down, stalling it completely, or causing us to settle for good enough.
I used to believe that adulthood would really kick in when I turned thirty. I thought I could run wild in my twenties, exploring and trying on different hats. Then, at the exact moment I turned thirty, it would all stop and I would transform into a well-adjusted, perfectly content adult. Yes, the Cinderella and fairy tale motifs run deep, don’t they?
And it’s not just me. My clients and friends all agree that 30 is a cut off for the fun we have in our twenties and it’s time to get serious about life. We have to make our decisions more carefully because they tend to have lasting effects and can affect a lot more people.
A while ago I conduced a survey. I asked 158 people various questions and one of them was, “Did you have a ‘by 30’ bucket list?”
Sixty-five percent said they did have a list. For some it wasn’t a physical list, but they had an idea about several things they wanted to accomplish before they turned thirty. When probing a little deeper I found that for many this wasn’t a goal, it was a cut off. In other words, more than a few people in the world believe that after thirty, there are just some things that are no longer possible to achieve. Interestingly, it’s exactly this type of thinking that inspires my work.
Who says 30 is a cut off?
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to probe further into what was on the lists, but I can take a stab since my clients tell me similar things almost every day. It seems like travelling is a big one that people think will cease after thirty. Sure, I’ve seen families grow and vacations become more family-oriented and closer to home, but mom and dad can also let go of some control and guilt too and leave the kids with someone for a couple of weeks while they see Brazil, can’t they? What are friends and grandparents for?
Also, career decisions are often made carefully and end up being a safer option that seems good for the family at the time. But, in the long-run, if mom or dad are unhappy and unfulfilled, where does that leave everyone else?
And who says that 30 is a deadline? Who says you have to have a house, kids and a certain amount of money in the bank to be a successful thirtysomething? Don’t let the ’30 under 30′ lists scare you. There are so many examples of people finding their stride after 30.
I’ve published it before, but let me do it again…
- Julia child was 36 before she even tasted decadent food!
- J.K. Rowling was 32 when Harry Potter was published.
- Danny Glover’s first role was at 33.
- Rodney Dangerfield didn’t catch a big break until 46.
- Harrison Ford was a carpenter until his mid-thirties when he starred in Star Wars.
…and the list goes on!
Success can come at any age and it can be whatever you make it. What we have to grasp is that it’s all a process and wherever you are in the process is great. You’re exactly where you are supposed to be. So when it comes to making decisions for you, your future and family’s future, remember that there is always time to go after passion and not settle for what you think you’re supposed to want or have. You will be better for it and be setting a better example for everyone around you if you believe in yourself.
So, the moral of the Cinderella story is:
Decide with the mindset that age is nothing and nothing is impossible.
NOT The End 🙂
Having trouble making the right decisions for you and your family?
Get in touch at email@example.com for private success coaching or go to
ashewoodward.com for more information.
feature photo from karapearson.com