I was on the chair lift at a local ski resort the other day with a complete stranger. We were enjoying the beautiful Sierra sunshine and snow-covered mountains while we were engaged in conversation about life, where we have been, and where we plan to go.
Sitting on that chairlift, I began to explain my current living situation, that I was unsure what I wanted to do with my business degree and all the “mistakes” that I felt I have made in the last few years. That’s when the gentleman started to give me some advice.
He shared with me his belief that people in their twenties shouldn’t know what they want to do or how to do it, and instead they should make mistakes and learn from them. By age 30, he said, people should have had enough time to make mistakes and turn them into advantages and lessons.
At age 40,you should have a plan.
A lot of you may be reading this and saying, “yeah, my life did NOT turn out like that.” That’s alright, we all march to our own drum and have our own paths that we follow; it doesn’t make you any less of a great human being. I personally just thought that his view on life made what I think to be my quarter-life crises seem more like an experience.
I find error in his beliefs with the fact that we face challenges and decisions in all stages of our lives. Sometimes people find their path early in life and have everything planned out, only to find that it is destroyed later. I don’t think there is any age that is “right” for making mistakes or having your life together. Part of what makes life enjoyable is the little unexpected turns and twists, the hardships, and the triumphs.
I took his advice with a grain of salt, maybe just seeing it as something to work towards and not be disappointed about now. I am sure that I will have more challenges, and who knows if I will ever know what I want to “do with my life” by the time I am in my thirties. I understand that it could all change in a moment as well. All I can promise is that I will be stronger, and have more life experience. I will take each mistake as a learning experience and appreciate all turns; for in the end, I am the only person responsible for my destination.