They say that the time spend in college is the crucial period of life where people form as a person. We may say that change is the only constant and that a person keeps on evolving until the end of his or her life. But still – some basic principles and views of life are developed and grounded in this delicate period.
People tend to look back over their shoulder and contemplate about their past, present and future. This might feel a bit confusing or even depressing, but it shouldn’t. Actually, taking some alone time to analyze where you are, to look deeper into your previous mistakes and decisions is one of the recipes for happiness, according to an ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus. And he was a very wise man indeed.
Soul-searching before 30 – one important question: Am I where I want to be? (and if not, am I on the right track to get there?)
There is not much philosophy to it. People have a tendency to overthink, which prevents them from taking control and actually enjoying themselves.
Of course, there are no age limits when it comes to fully realizing who you are at the moment and who you want to become. You can get a sudden epiphany that you want to be a surgeon in your 12 year of life and you actually stick to your decision and become great at it, and equally so – you may realize that you don’t really like being a lawyer and then decide to open your own gallery when you’re 68.
But by the time you’re 30, you should get a pretty good sense of whether or not you are pleased with what you’ve accomplished so far. And if you are not happy with yourself (or happy in general) – you should have some idea of steps you need to take in order to reach satisfaction in life. Try to build a clearer direction in life. It is all about creating yourself. If you pause for a minute to try and see what’s stopping you, it may be a shock to find out that the answer is – you and you alone! People tend to overlook themselves when trying to define what’s standing in their way. When it comes to making plans, setting deadlines for yourself is a two-edged sword: it’s a good thing to set goals, because that will keep you focused and determined; but, on the other hand, life is too unpredictable
Wisdom doesn’t necessarily come with age, but it most certainly comes with being more open to new experiences, it comes with becoming a bolder, more involved and many-sided person. So if you don’t know what exactly you are doing with your life, that’s okay. Just try stepping out of your comfort zone and you may find that pieces of puzzle will come together naturally, by itself. You may also want to explore some alternative views on life, like the Taoism wu wei. It will make you feel better, trust me.
The most important (and difficult) thing is to keep balance. You should find inner harmony, have direction in life, set goals and challenge yourself, but never forget to occasionally just go with the flow. There is no universal recipe, you have to figure it out on your own. The true answer will come to you through the actual act of living.
Rainer Maria Rilke, a bohemian poet and novelist from Austria, had a really good point there: he said we should love the questions themselves, perceive them like locked rooms or books that are written in foreign languages. You have to live your questions, experiencing everything. You have to be patient, and then gradually, you will find yourself experiencing the answer.
By the age of 30, you should have a good sense of your identity. The good news is – you can always change your mind. You are in charge, you are the one and only captain of the ship, so you have a sacred responsibility to define the course. And that is an amazing fact and also something to be grateful about.