In I <3 the Huckabees, existential detective Vivian Jaffe (Lily Tomlin) is interviewing Albert (Jason Schwartzman) about his life. Albert wants to explore some coincidental meetings with an African guy, Vivian is interested in everything else. She asks Albert, "Have you ever transcended space and time?" Albert responds immediately and frequently - "Yes. No. Uh, time, not space... No, I don't know what you're talking about."
I'm 30. And if existing on this pale blue dot for three decades isn't transcending space and time, I don't know what is.
But being 30 today feels a helluva lot like being 29 yesterday. This is no surprise. Deepak Chopra articulated the cycle on The Tony Robbins Podcast - "It's estimated, for example, that we have 60,000 thoughts a day. That's not surprising. The disconcerting thing is that most people 95% of the thoughts they have today are the ones they had yesterday. So we become bundles of conditioned reflexes and responses constantly being triggered by people and circumstance into very predictable biochemical outcomes, behavioral outcomes, and ultimately physical outcomes."
I'd prefer to see it differently. Your birthday is a chance to celebrate, to recognize and appreciate a brand new year existing in this life. And celebrating a new decade, that's extra special.
Sometimes you need that jolt. Futurist and philosopher Jason Silva calls it cleansing our perception. Whatever it takes to shake off the familiar certainty that we've been here or done that. We've seen so much. We think we know how stories end. And as youth begins to burn off, it can get worse. We need to stimulate ourselves with novelty and hunt down the "ever-present rapture of the now". We need to remember that everything is still awesome.
Looking back, so much happened in my twenties. Before California, I bounced around every year between Brooklyn, Queens, South Plainfield, and Lyndhurst. At age 20, I hated people who drank, and now grabbing a beer with friends is one of my favorite things to do. I discovered life-changing books, like How to Win Friends and Influence People and The Four Hour Work Week. I began my professional life. I started a blog and wrote for years. I had the chance to see America, Ireland, Amsterdam, and Iceland up close. My family grew bigger. I fell in and out of love.
Looking forward, it's easy to just want more. More money, more friends, more time. Author Ryan Holiday writes about this problem in his latest book, Ego is the Enemy - "If you don’t know how much you need, the default easily becomes: more." Just by existing, more is possible, but what is the need? I believe connecting with the experience is what matters most.
The doors are closed on my twenties. That's okay. There are limits. But this is only the beginning of a brand new trip.
What can I say? Let's go.