I’m not really sure how to write this blog. I mean, I’m not certain what this blog is even supposed to be. As you read this, I am up in Las Vegas with a group of friends, celebrating me and another buddy turning the big 30 (woooo leftover travel points from my corporate days!). Needless to say, I will be having lots of fun and misadventures, but I don’t think that’s what a “turning 30” blog is supposed to be about. Plus I’m writing this on Monday, before any misadventures have occurred, so it’s kind of hard to share stories that have yet to happen.
To be frank, I thought turning 30 would bother me a lot more than it really has. Based on movies, television, and the few friends who have gone before me, I expected to start freaking out and having a mid-life crisis. I mean, I’m leaving my twenties. The last vestige of “youth” officially falls away and I’m considered an adult, a responsible member of society. As much as I love having fun and abhor things like “society” and “responsibility” and “pants” I’m oddly unbothered by this transition though.
My best theory for why this is centers on the fact that I like where I am in life. Crossing the line into 30 doesn’t remind me that life is precious and I’m pissing away my time doing things I hate. I love my job, writing for you wonderful folks, and I’ve reached a point where I can get by doing it. Books are selling well, I have a couple of series that people seem to enjoy, and other companies (like the ones making my audiobooks) are starting to take interest. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still a lot I want to do in my career, and so many more books I want to write, but I never even though I’d make it this far.
In contrast, I was probably trying to drink myself to the grave when I turned 25. Now that was a milestone that I hated. At the time, I was working graveyard shift for a brokerage company. The job itself wasn’t really bad, but the hours were a mother fucker. Nine p.m. to Eight a.m. five nights a week, which led to me developing a weird sleep disorder that made me get to so tired I couldn’t function, sleep for four hours, then wake up and be unable to get back down. I was still grateful for it though, because only six months prior I’d been unemployed after layoffs at my previous job. Even all of that wasn’t so bad, save that there was no path ahead to find hope in. All the jobs I could promote into at that job were equally as uninteresting to me. It looked like a big pallet of bland stretching out before me endlessly. Money was tight, sleep was harsh, and the little joys of life seemed to be slipping away.
Humorously, this birthday might have been my most depressing one, but it also marked the last one before I began one of the biggest adventures of my life. Due to a sudden move I ended up having to leave that job, and in searching for a new one I found what was supposed to be a temp job yet ended up being a life-changing experience. I mean that literally, by the way. The data analysis job I took in late 2010 gave me the chance to travel around, meet amazing people, hone my skills, figure out who I wanted to be as an adult, and most importantly gave me enough financial padding that when it finally ended I was able to take the jump and do writing full-time.
Remember back at the top, when I said that I wasn’t sure what to write about since turning 30 wasn’t really bugging me? Well, I think I figured it out. This blog goes out to all of you passing milestones, whatever they may be, only to realize you abhor where you’re at. No matter how awful the prospects for going forward looks, there’s still hope out there. Life, despite what we all subconsciously believe, is not a narrative. Things don’t always make sense. Coincidences or fortune that no reader would ever accept happen on a regular basis. There are twists and turns none of us could see coming. You’re never as stuck as you think you are.
That said, here is probably the one lesson I’m taking away from my twenties. It’s one I didn’t have going in, and because of that I had to struggle with employment, obesity, and even leaving an auto-immune disease untreated. That lesson is simply this: If you want things to improve, you have to work to change them. As simple as it sounds, I’ve seen so many people in my life, self included, ignore that basic piece of logic time and time again. Friends who are lonely, but refuse to try and meet women or men. Friends who hate their bodies, but don’t go to the gym or watch their diet. People who want to write, direct, or act, yet never actually create anything. Almost everyone I know hates their jobs, and maybe that one is the toughest in a recession, but there are ways to make things better.
I got damn lucky that I was forced to leave my boring job and go on an adventure. Most change in my life hasn’t come as the result of sudden situations; it comes from deciding to change things and seeing it through. That’s the lesson I wish I could go back in time and tell 20-year old Drew, though that little drunken shit probably wouldn’t have listened. It does make me wonder though: what life lesson would 40-year old Drew pass down to me if he had the power. Hopefully it’d be gambling tips for making the most out of this Vegas trip, but I guess I’ll have to turn into him to find out.