And then I turned 30…and then I stopped growing

I was reading this article today about how it’s hard to make friends after you leave school.

Well yeah, in school you are surrounded by people around your age, going through the same challenges at the same time. Friends and dates are being handed to you on a silver platter.

But that’s not the real world, that’s the bubble world of school!

It may be harder to make friends when you enter the so-called real world, but it’s essential to make friends throughout your life, unless you plan on never changing! If I never changed past the age of say, 18, I’d still be getting thrills from throwing watermelons out of my 3rd story window, doing “donuts” in empty parking lots, and mastering “Ultima IV” on my Apple IIc computer (ok I’m sure they have it for the Mac now).

This machine was probably responsible for taking about a point off my college GPA

I did like this quote from the article:

“In fact, when you have more self-knowledge, the quality of the friendships you make (or renew) later in life can be richer than the happenstance ones from your school years, even if these friendships do take more effort to cultivate.”

But so many people become stagnant. They follow the rules of society and stop learning new things after about 30. And they do what they think they “should” do, so everyone approves and no one gets upset.

Ok, no problem but I’m going against that trend….here are 5 reasons why you absolutely must keep growing your whole life- learning, meeting new friends, seeing new places, acquiring new skills:

1. If you’re not growing, you’re dying. Growing is a natural state (well maybe not a growing belly!). Growth feels right. We all have a need to accomplish and contribute. This becomes limited if you sink into the couch at age 30 and never get up.

2. It’s hard to get excited about someone else who has stopped growing. If you’re not growing, you’re becoming boring! Therefore, you will have fewer dates, and/or your spouse will grow less attracted to you by day. The one thing that keeps a relationship fun and interesting is the desire to improve!

3. You will be 40 one day. And then 50. And then 60… Do you think at any of those points you should just stop doing what you want to do? “Well, I’m 40 now so I guess I need to have a house with a mortgage and a big screen TV where I keep up with all the latest TV shows.” Why would you do that? There’s a whole world out there that is actually quite interesting, live and in 3D!

4. You will lose your mind. Literally. If you’re not challenging it, your mind will start to deteriorate. How fun is that? Sure, it sounds impossible when you’re 30…but without a challenge and striving for continual improvement in at least some area, you’re setting yourself up for disaster later….just like the what the sedentary lifestyle will do to your body.

5. We need to create memories. Most people aren’t looking back on their lives wishing they worked more, or sat in front of the TV more. It’s the experiences, and the people that make the most interesting memories. It’s the adventure, the stupid things and even the mistakes that make life great.

I started thinking about this when I was traveling last year, at age 40, throughout Southeast Asia. Most people I met along the way were in their 20’s and 30’s, the majority being in their 20’s. Why? It’s just as enjoyable or more so to travel the world when you are old(er) and wise, than when you’re young and dumb.

The point is…growth is a must, change is inevitable, and life is too short to smother your true desires & goals with the sludge of other people’s wishes for your own life. Things don’t even start to get good until at least 30! Embrace it and be thankful you’re not as dumb as you were the year before.

“You’re only young once”
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Kevin Koskella

Kevin is a podcaster and writer on living free, despite the crazy world we live in. Kevin travels full time and explores the world and how to achieve and maximize freedom in life.

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