When I was 23 I picked up a book on the bargain rack in Barnes and Noble and flipped through it. It had various lists and pieces of advice. On each page it listed every year of your life and gave one piece of advice for that year. 22: Graduate from College. I was a year behind, but not bad. 24: Waste this year. Ok, already caught up. (I don’t remember the real order, but i think this may have been the book.)
I flipped to 25 and it read, “Change the world.” It seemed a tall order for a 20-something, but then it listed all the amazing people who had changed the world at 25. (Granted most of them didn’t live to be older than 40.) The list made me feel a little guilty, but more than that, the book as a whole (joke that it was) reinforced the idea that each year of my life had the potential to be hugely significant, even if I stayed in the same job, or same town, or same school; each year could mean something.
I’ve spent the second half of my twenties thinking about 20-somethings, talking about 20-somethings, working with and for 20-somethings and falling more and more deeply in love with the possibility of this decade. It’s not magic, it’s not the center of a life, but the 20s are significant, hugely significant, and how we spend them defines us in powerful ways.
I guess, in summation, you don’t have to change the world, but you should always be letting the world change you, one year at a time. So, here‘s to thirty and who we’ve become.