A New Decade

Posted on August 29, 2009 by


2:15 on a Saturday afternoon is probably as good a time for reflection as any. I’ve just turned 30, and that’s kind of a milestone.

As I see it, my 20’s were my “checklist years”. The decade started out like a scavenger hunt. I had a list of things I wanted to do. Some were big things — “serve a mission”, “finish college”, “travel the world”, etc. — and some were small things like, “get a butterscotch milkshake from the Toiyabe Cafe in Austin, Nevada”.

My 30’s, in contrast, I hope will be a time of focused development. I explored a lot of different fields during my 20’s, so many that I couldn’t reasonably seriously pursue them all. Now I want to prioritize, to identify the areas that have been most rewarding, and cultivate those things.

  • “Live a simple, rural lifestyle” — I used to dream of living self-subsistently on a farm. As a  BYU student, I took a wilderness survival class and even spent a couple weeks with nomads in Mongolia, just to see what it would be like to get away from the world. I’ve discovered that it’s not for me. The simple life is very time-intensive. Modern amenities may make life complicated, but they also make it convenient. My free time is important to me, so I think the dreams of a farmer’s life are behind me now.
  • “Travel the world and live abroad” — One of my great “checklist” items was spending a summer travelling through Asia, from St. Petersburg to Beijing. What has surprised me since then is how rarely I recall having gone on the trip. It’s a fun conversation piece, and I’m proud of having done it, but I don’t feel that traveling the world is going to be a priority in the coming years.
  • “Make dance a part of my life” — I graduated from BYU with a bachelor’s degree in dance. In contrast to my experience with travelling, dance has had a huge effect on me. From getting out of bed in the morning to interacting with people at school and managing projects at work, my dance training continues to inform nearly every aspect of my life.
  • “Spend time with friends and family” — This was just about the most important thing in the world for me over the last decade, and I don’t expect that to change in the coming years. This is the reason the green hill is so important to me.
  • “Be engaged in creative projects” — I enjoy both creating and consuming artistic works, from music to writing to web design and board games. The expressive/creative world is central to who I am, and will certainly be a priority for me in the next decade.

I could lengthen the list, but that’s enough of me for now. How about you — what have you been and done, what has worked out well, and what were the dead ends?