On the brink of turning 34, I can easily look back and see the difference between cultivating friendships at the age of 33 versus the age of 23. Although friendships are still possible, they rarely happen with the carefree ease and forgiveness that the teenage and mid 20’s years offered.
I find that the younger the crowd, the less tension involved- the less hang-ups. You know, no real pressure, yet with all the opportunity to create a long-lasting friendship with uninhibited depths of connections.
Nowadays, it’s virtually impossible to connect with someone who is able to comfortably act through the essence of his or her character. Statistically, the Mid 30-year-olds compose a generation of folks who have largely been married and/or divorced, have at least one child, and a gang of random baggage accumulated from our own paths of life and experiences.
Nevertheless, for many of us in the Mid 30's this is the age that: our Grandparents pass away, we watch our own parents get old, we find ourselves raising children of our own and overall learn the possibilities of life and death. The list goes on… For myself the Mid 30's phase has sparked a motivation to “up my game” in all areas--especially me as a father to my 8-year-old son.
For me, parenthood reminds me of what it was like to be my son’s age—whatever age he’s going through. Additionally, the wisdom of years I have on him combined with the almost 9 years of experience that he has, has a way of grounding myself in the “now.” It’s almost like I can see how easy it is to mold a young child into an adult.
For us in our Mid 30’s, this is our mission. It might not directly deal with children, nonetheless, it is our duty to persevere though the good and bad in life and still exude the courageous essence of our beings in order to keep the young and old around us optimistic and uninhibited in their growth as well.
To be more specific, I know a lot of 30 year-olds that have been there, done it, and ain’t going to do it again as far as any relationship again. But it’s my belief that God did not put us here to be lonely. So another assignment of our duty is to do what we can to be loving and loved. For starters, re-integrate “Love” into our everyday vocabulary.
Why? Because we are in our Mid 30’s and much like Hip-Hop, we gotta show them how to do it.
Without going into extreme detail, we know who we are. We watched Jordan retire after 6 Championships. We took the day off to watch the Million Man March. We witnessed OJ “not guilty,” and we —or either know somebody who—got something free from the Rodney King Riots. We associate Stevie Wonder with vinyl records. Blah, blah, blah... And don’t tell the world, but we were bumping Madonna and Boy George in the 80's!
My only concern with us Mid 30 somethings is that we continue to embrace life like we did as youth. Sure, it’s inevitable that we will develop some issues, patterns, and find ourselves in interesting situations. But we still have the ability to manifest our visions of success in all the areas of life.
If anything, this is just a energy bar and paper cup filled with Gator-aide from a random spectator cheering you on as you run that marathon: Life.
Put on your Nikes and Love: Just do it!