On Turning 30

Brandon, obviously drunk, in a Giraffe Costume

I don’t ever want to grow up. Bay to Breakers, San Francisco, 2012

30 is the new 20. That’s what I’m telling myself. I’m embracing my 30’s, excited for a new chapter in my life and looking forward to experiencing the next 6 months of travel. I estimate that I am 33.3% complete with life as far as aging goes, as I expect to live at least 90 years, so it’s kind of comforting to think that I have 2x the length of my life so far left to live on Earth. But I know it’s going to fly by at an exponential rate due to what I call “compounding perspective” – that’s the fact that 1 year is proportionally shorter the older you get. When you’re 5 years old, 1 year feels like eternity as it is 20% of your entire life. When you’re five and expect to live to ninety years old, you have 18x your age yet to live. When you’re 30 years old, 1 year is 3.3% of your life. And for all my 29 year old friends making fun of me being 30, 1 year for a 29 year old is 3.4% of your entire life, a minuscule difference. Of course, my life could accidentally end today on the way to the grocery store and I think it is important to meditate on this fact and really let it sink in – that we are all going to die at some point and there is no guarantee on how long we get to be around. It’s obvious, we all know we are going to die but people are still living like it’s not going to happen. People still spend hours complaining about stupid, trifling B.S.  People still watch the Jersey Shore. Sometimes I want to scream at them that they only get one shot at this life and I just want to make sure that they still want to spend it watching the Jersey Shore. Then I sit down and watch an episode with them and laugh and smile at my monkey brain and remember that I can barely control the things I do even though I am acutely aware of my limited time here and so I forgive everyone all over again. That’s why it is important to meditate on death in order to keep these thoughts fresh in your mind. It puts things in perspective quickly and effectively. These thoughts will give you the courage to do the things that you may be afraid to do, to have the conversations you may be afraid to have. “What man can you show me who places any value on his time, who reckons the worth of each day, who understands that he is dying daily? For we are mistaken when we look forward to death; the major portion of death has already passed. Whatever years be behind us are in death’s hands.” – Seneca, Letters From a Stoic So take advantage of your time on Earth. Your time really is your one finite resource, the stuff your life is made of. Every moment is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity and it’s really inside each moment that you live. You like to plan the future and dwell on the past but it’s your time here right now in this moment that your life is made of. So thank you for spending this time reading these thoughts and connecting with me. It’s truly appreciated.

  • Mary Spallino

    I love this Brandon. Your journey and words demand that I reflect on my own life~ as if I don’t do that enough already! : ) I do ponder my death, often. And the words you quote about “the time we have already spent are in deaths hands” is so true. I get mad at the time I have wasted, but then I also think about times when I have indulged in wasting that time. I think that is good for the soul too. But when we forget about how wonderful our journey is and only think of various destinations we are headed to, we miss so much. So enjoy your journey; ultimately it will be far more interesting than any destination you get to.
    Love you nephew! A. Mary

  • Mary Spallino

    PS ~ Oh to be 30 again!!