Because I have an early birthday, I’ve always felt slightly ahead of the curve. I was first among my friends to get a driver’s licence. I was one of the first in my grade to be able to legitimately grow facial hair. I hit legal drinking age before most of my peers.
But over time, the natural advantages of being a few months older began to wear off. I started out grade eight in the upper-half of height, but by the time graduation came around, I was on the shorter side. I didn’t make the cut for sports teams. Everything started to even out.
Still, I had some momentum in the realm of grades, and I continued to do well in university and through graduation. I was able to go directly from my BA into an internship and a couple of short-term contracts that would get me into my current career. I had a stable, long-term relationship and we bought a house together. I was in adulthood.
Three years ago I wrote a post outlining some of the things I’d managed to achieve by age twenty-five. Now I’m in the same situation as pretty much everyone else my age and older. I’ve got a job, I’ve got a life, and I’m trying to live it as best I can. My birthday no longer puts me artificially ahead in the race. In fact, there is no race. There are no grades or sports teams or age limits. I can’t compartmentalize my life into four-month periods where I pass the test and move on, I can’t change jobs every year and expect any sort of fulfillment, and I definitely can’t use my age as any indication of how well I’m doing.
It’s not super-hard, but it’s challenging. You have to set different sorts of goals and figure out not just where you want to be a few months from now, but a decade from now, fifty years from now. I can’t expect a major jump in my income. I don’t expect to move. It’s not about getting a new job, it’s about doing the same job slightly better every single day.
It’s been a three-year transition period, but today I can say this: I’m no longer preparing for the rest of my life. I’m in it.
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