I’ve just recently turned 37. A younger version of me once thought this was hideously old, but now that I’m here I still feel young, excited about everything, and ready for some of the best parts of my life that are ahead of me. On the other hand, very slowly during your 30s, the hand of father time starts to bend your back ever so slightly. Not so much that you’re actually limited in any way, but just enough that you shake your head every once in awhile wondering what that weird feeling is.
You should listen to that feeling. You won’t want to - you’re still riding the high of invincibility from your 20s and your body can still do all the same things with ease. It’s easier to think about how good you felt ten years ago than how much worse you might feel ten years from now, but one of those is more productive.
If you haven’t already read about it, this year has been a bit of a wakeup call for me. I’ve always been athletic, strong, and able to do basically whatever I wanted. I’ve also abused that privilege for far too long by eating too much of whatever crap food I wanted and ignoring the need for regular doctor visits. Now I actually wish my body wasn’t quite so resilient because I wouldn’t have gotten away with this for quite so long. (I’m sure in a few more years, I’ll be happy about that resilience again.)
So here’s the thing. I am convinced that your 30s are the most important decade of your life. You are now finally, fully an adult, and most of the vestiges of your immature teen and twenties have been shaken off. The habits, practices, and thought patterns you define here will carry you for the rest of your life.
You’re young enough to remember and still own that feeling of invincibility, but you’re old enough to realize mortality and, if you’re smart, start planning for it. I’m planning for it now. I wish I had started at 32 when, looking back, I think I started to feel the very first distinct little markers of age. But I’m doing it now.
37 is still young. I hope to have many decades of productive and joyful work, family, friends and full life. That will only happen if I take care of myself physically and mentally. Now is the time to ensure that my 40s and 50s (and further) don’t feel that much different from now.