An experiment in personal development

What’s over the hill?

with 2 comments

As it seems to happen every year right around this time, a feeling of general restlessness has invaded my life. It may be partially due to summer fever (despite recent schizophrenic weather patterns), or it may have something to do with my quickly approaching 30th birthday. Either way, I feel like I need to start spending more time on introspection and soul-searching. It has been difficult to concentrate on anything lately, and I find myself more prone to distractions than normal. I started 4 books in the past few months, and have trouble getting into any of them, even though they’re all pretty decent. What’s going on?

Yes, I will turn 30 in just over a week. While I try not to think of it as a big deal, in a way it sort of is. It is something of a half-way point, a start of that transitional period between growing up and turning old; an important time in anyone’s life. It’s a time of being an adult. A period, during which most people solidify their careers, form families and plant deep roots. Daunting, isn’t it?

Ironically, these are all the things that I want, and yet they are also the things that slightly scare me. Mainly, because there is an air of finality about them, and I feel that I haven’t yet experienced or experimented enough to know exactly what I need or what I will be happy with for the rest of my life; career or relationship-wise. Or, perhaps I do know and I just haven’t spent enough time or effort pursuing it, because, well… I’m the type of person that usually just goes with the flow and doesn’t like to rock the boat too much. I don’t like change, but sometimes change is imminent and crucial to evolving as an individual.

As I near this transition point, I look back upon the past decade of my life and wonder what I would have done differently. It’s a difficult question, and certainly an important one to ponder. Interestingly, I find that I do not have many regrets.

Despite some pretty dark and intense events that took place, at first glance it seems that my twenties have been relatively laid-back and uneventful. Sure, there were some major life-changing experiences, but I feel that compared to most of my peers, I haven’t had as much life experience as I could or should have. Particularly, in the social, personal and networking arena. My romantic relationships can all be counted on one hand, and my professional career (not including the freelance work) hasn’t really progressed much, beyond the normal turtle-paced financial climb up the soul-less corporate ladder, from which I can’t wait to get off. Things have largely remained status quo. And the thing is – I like status quo. It’s a place where I feel most comfortable. But, it’s also a source of certain insecurities and fears; things that could potentially be damaging.

And yet, I realize that I managed to accomplish and experience quite a lot in that formative period of my life. I graduated from University of Colorado at Boulder and got my Bachelor’s degree when I was 22. It was in Film Studies – a field that I absolutely loved (still do) and which tapped into my lifelong interest in all things creative, visual and artistic. I’ve worked on numerous independent films, TV shows and media projects in various capacities. Less than 6 months out of college, I got a stable full-time job in cable television; a position, that was vaguely related to my major, or at least – the technical aspect of it. When I was 25, I traveled around Europe for almost a month – entirely by myself, which was a huge step out of the shell for me and, in many ways, a life-changing experience in its own right. In the span of two years (24-26, right smack in the middle of my twenties), I met new friends, suffered through the illnesses and the deaths of both of my grandparents, and shortly after – my parents’ divorce; fell in love for the first time, survived the unthinkably tragic end of it; went through a pretty bleak period before finally starting to date again… Looking back at my mid-twenties, perhaps it wasn’t such a laid-back time. It was pretty fucking turbulent. Then, I took up photography as a hobby, which quickly evolved into a more serious pursuit, worked on more freelance video and media projects, traveled some more, found a romantic relationship that lasted more than six months and finally, in the last couple of years felt a little bit more relaxed and at peace with myself… And yet, I still feel that something important is missing.

But maybe, that’s normal. Maybe, we are not meant to be completely satisfied with our lives. Otherwise, what would be the point of living if there was nothing higher to strive for? It is wise to think that I should be happy with what I have, which is probably more than what many others have achieved by this point in their lives. However, it is also much less than the achievements and life experiences of countless other people my age. I know I shouldn’t compare myself with them, because truly – everyone is unique, has different upbringings, talents, lives and paths that they follow. And yet, I can’t help but think that by the time George Lucas was 30, he was already shooting Star Wars and Steven Spielberg had Jaws under his belt. J.D. Salinger was a little over 30 when he wrote Catcher In The Rye, and Salvador Dali painted The Persistence of Memory when he was only 26. I wouldn’t dare to even think of comparing myself to the genius of these artists, but my point is – the late twenties/early thirties is a pivotal period of creative/mental/artistic activity in most people’s lives. There are exceptions, of course, and many don’t find their streak of success until much later in life. But, for the most part, it seems that if you want to make something of yourself, you have to do it when you’re young, or in early adulthood. After that, it gets more difficult, because people’s minds get less flexible; they tend to get stuck in their lives and routines of their jobs, families, social obligations and so on. And, particularly in this fast-paced society driven by consumerism, it becomes difficult to indulge in personal soul-searching, introspection and creativity when most of us need to worry about making rent/mortgage/car payments and supporting our loved ones.

I get into these thoughts from time to time, as I try to look at myself from outside and attempt to comprehend who I really am and where I’m going in life. I have moments of genuine happiness and satisfaction, moments when I feel thankful for everything I have and everything I have accomplished; and then, there are moments of extreme self-doubt, uncertainty and fear that time is going by too fast and that I’m not enjoying and experiencing life as much as I could; that I’m not pursuing more opportunities and spending more time on things that really matter instead of things that are inconsequential and ultimately pointless.

The thing is, I’m not an ambitious person. By nature, I’m mostly well-balanced and fairly passive. So, it’s very easy for me to go with the flow and resist change. But perhaps, sometimes change is important, even for me. And perhaps, in this period of my life, change is imminent. And the way I think I need to deal with it, is to be true to myself. To respect my own feelings and trust my intuition. To try to shed the layers of ambiguity and find some clarity of mind. Only then I will be able to start sculpting myself into the person I want to be.


Written by vadimonkey

July 4, 2009 at 3:54 pm

Posted in Life

2 Responses

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  1. I’m right there with ya, dude. I turn 31 in exactly five weeks, and I’m sorta reeling by how quickly life changes. Lots of thoughts to process.


    July 4, 2009 at 7:00 pm

  2. This is a fascinating thing that happens to us, not only at “earmark” birthdays, but often times randomly throughout our lives. I felt this way at 20, 21, 24, 25, and 26. It will continue to happen throughout all our lives. Some of us jump on the road and move to SC, and some just stay at home. It’s not a bad thing either way. We all handle it differently.


    July 5, 2009 at 4:11 pm

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