Apr 30, 2009
Today is my 30th birthday, and unlike most people who turn 30, I couldn't be more excited about it. This is a day whose arrival I've been anxiously awaiting for about the last 9 years. When you're young and you're hustling to get ahead you find a lot of roadblocks. Usually those roadblocks tend to be people who want to automatically discount you for your age. I can' tell you how many new business meetings I walked into in my early 20s, and just by the look on the potential clients' faces, I knew it would be an uphill battle just to be taken seriously.
Skills and experience aside, the old(er) tend to be ageist towards the young(er), especially when there's an element of surprise as to how far someone has come in so short of an amount of time. While age can certainly create a amount of doubt just based upon practical mathematics, I always fought the "why don't you let my work speak for itself" battle. Luckily, I usually won because in general, I could sell a ketchup popsicle to a woman in white gloves - a skill I've learned from my Dad. Much like it being bittersweet seeing how accepted skateboarding has become based upon battles we've faced with parents, teachers and police just for the right to skate freely - the business world has begun to accept the fact that young people are holding the reins. It's early still, and acceptance and happiness are entirely two different things. I'm proud to say that I came up when a good amount of struggle was needed to be taken seriously. That experience is the fire in my desire to succeed, and it likely will never burn out.
All of that said, I spent my early and mid-twenties being really excited to be thirty. To lose the stigma of "young". To finally not have my age be something to add to the credibility equation.
But then something funny happened. At the end of my mid-twenties, our business really started to hit its stride, and age became a part of the story people loved to tell. Unfortunately, it was usually used as the surprise factor - along with school status. Things like "These guys have built a really great business, but get this... they're twentysomethings* AND they're college dropouts!" Oh, press. Ain't it grand?
*please note that anyone who uses the word "twentysomething" should expect to be punched in the throat.
But I digress. I am excited about being thirty. It's a good number. It sits comfortably between two prime numbers. According to wikipedia, it's a primorial number, as well as the smallest Giuga and Sphenic number. I was going to say that it's both an odd and an even number, but apparently that's just not true at all. Having a girlfriend who's a teacher comes in handy sometimes, but I'd never not share a story - even if it makes the whole "college dropout" thing pretty obvious.
There I go digressing again.
Ultimately, I'm excited for my thirties to be about more effort than luck. Not to say that what has happened with me/us professionally in the last ten years has been a fluke, but it'd be bad for my karma to not recognize and appreciate all the lucky breaks I've had to coincide with my efforts. Part of being young is having the energy to recognize the lucky breaks when they happen, as well as the energy to respond to them with whatever it needs to take full advantage. On all of our parts, the collective knowledge base gained mixed with luck and our earn-while-you-learn attitude has created quite the juggernaut. I simply cannot wait to see where it takes us over the next decade. Hopefully we won't stop getting lucky breaks, but I'd like our experience, knowledge and drive to embody a Harvey Dent attitude as well. "I make my own luck."
The last ten years has been really eventful. I've had many successes and failures, both personally and professionally. I've had extremely happy times as well as extremely sad ones. I've had sickness (though, more than I'd like to have had) and health. It's been fun.
Goodbye twenties, and hello dirty thirties.