The Big List: 30 at Age 30
"His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy." Yes, that is in fact the beginning to Eminem's Lose Yourself. However, it's also my reaction to anything that even remotely begins to raise my adrenaline, such as walking through the Tenderloin district of San Francisco after midnight, traveling to a country that I don't speak the language of (Which is 95% of the world), driving by a state trooper (Even if I'm going the speed limit), and talking to a girl who I like. But something happened recently. I was standing perched on a hill, just below Mt. Haleakala on the island of Maui, waiting for my palms to get sweaty, my knees week, and my arms heavy. I waited...and waited....and waited. But it never happened. Instead, I ran 25 yards down the mountain until my legs were kicking in the air and I was paragliding 3,000 feet above Maui's upcountry.
"How are you feeling about turning 30?" I can't tell you how many times I got that question leading up to my 30th birthday last month. It seemed to come with the same tone and expression as if I was being asked how I felt on my wedding day or before going into life-altering surgery. You know those types of questions; it often begins with, "Bless your heart." I almost felt like I was being pitied, as if turning a big age was a sign of things to come, like terminal depression. If anything, I was bursting at the seams with excitement to turn 30. I felt much older during my mid-twenties when I was living a very unnatural and uncomfortable suburban life in the south. I feel younger than I ever have. Every year since 27 has built on the last, with each making me feel more alive, more free, and with more permission to live life wide open.
Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don't be sorry. ― Jack Kerouac
It's at this point in life, that some people are either just completing a "30 by 30" list or embarking on a "40 by 40" list. Not one to indulge in social norms, I wanted to undertake something like this, but I wanted to do it on my own terms. So I have. The day after paragliding, I got a tattoo. Just a couple weeks later, I was in the Southwestern U.S., doing a flurry of things I had yet to do, which included experiencing March Madness in Las Vegas, flying a plane, having a meal with a professional competitive eater, driving a muscle car, attending spring training, and going to the men's NCAA West Regional Final. It's not 40 things to complete by 40, but rather 30 things at age 30 (View the entire 30 at 30 List).
This isn't a mid-life (or even quarter-life) crisis. It's not living the dream. It's simply the extension of my motto over the last three years, to quit everything that I don't want to do and that doesn't make sense to me, and do those things that I want to do. It's my passion and something of my purpose in the world - that is, to live a life of want, while inspiring people to feel empowered to do the same. Travel isn't the be-all, end-all for my life, this blog, or this list. It is the means for some of it, but at the end of the day, I want to live a life that is meaningful and one that empowers others to do the same. Traveling for a year, moving across the country, and now this 30 at 30 list have all been means to that end.
Over the next 11 months I'll be documenting my experience with this 30 at 30 list here on my blog, Twitter, and Facebook. Many are in fact travel related, such as visiting a new continent, hopping on a plane for the purpose of going on a date, and attending Oktoberfest. Others are quirky adventures, like catching a fish with a spear, sleeping in a tree, and rappelling down a waterfall. Some are work-related, such as developing a webisode series, reading my byline in an in-flight magazine while in flight, and starting on a non-fiction book transcript. Still others are downright silly and out of the ordinary, such as dressing up as a storm trooper and competing in a cooking contest. The actual list will include much more than 30 items, but the goal will be to do at least 30 things from the list that I've never done. If the first six weeks are any indication, year 30 won't disappoint. I hope that along the way, you can take away some snippets of inspiration as I'm inspired by life, travel, and new experiences. As The Most Interesting Man in the World would say, stay thirsty, my friends (View the 30 at 30 List in its entirety).