At 31: Right on Time. Right Where I’m Supposed to Be.

By Wednesday, March 19, 2014 6 Permalink 0

golden pocket watch

Over the last few years, I’ve had a lot of angst about my progress in life. I’ll be the first person to tell you that I’m no where near where I thought I’d be when I got out of school. Even if you asked me where I’d be now three years ago, it’d still be different from reality. I’ve ventured down many paths. In the last five years alone, I’ve been an HR Generalist, Recruiter, Career Consultant, Relationship Blogger, Personal Development Blogger, Executive Editor, Website Administrator, and now a Podcaster. Each thing brought me some degree of success (some things still are), whether a new job, writing gig, award, or speaking engagement. But even with all that, I’ve still found myself anxious and, in many cases, bored.

There was always someone knocking it out the park in their craft and seemingly loving what they did. Always someone getting greater accolades in areas where I found myself saying “I could do that too. Probably better. Maybe that would excite me more than some of the stuff I’m doing now.” Someone “winning” while I felt like I was still struggling despite the success I’d had (or am having). So what did I do when I saw people seemingly blowing past me while having the best time ever? I’d change gears and switch focus. It’d be time to pursue a new path that would get me closer to where I wanted to be, somewhere exciting…even though I didn’t quite know where that was. If you the know the feeling, your legs are tired too. It takes a lot to chase someone else’s dream.

I’ve learned a valuable lesson recently though. Well, let me not lie. I’ve been aware of this lesson for a while, but just accepted in the last few days.

I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, which means I’m right on time.

I turned 31 on March 10th. Yes, I’m officially in my 30s. There was (and still is some) angst about that. There’s still pressure to progress, though it’s good pressure. But why am I right on time? Why do I feel better about where I am now compared to previous years?

The majority of the people I see taking off in their fields are 30-35. I’ve also learned that they’ve been dedicated to some version of their craft for at least 3-5 years. In many cases, longer than that. There was no short trip to where they are today. It took years of hard work and mistakes. It took missteps  and realizing where they could make the most impact or offer the most value while remaining happy. At some point, they each had a moment where they got comfortable with themselves and decided, “this is it.”

Coincidentally, I just had a similar realization and it’s nothing new. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for years that’s tapped me on the shoulder multiple times to say, “hey, I’m still here.” I’d think about it for a bit, maybe take some steps toward it, but always end up back at the same place; frustrated and anxious.

Now that I know what the real path looks like, I’m comfortable with it taking some time. I don’t expect success to happen overnight. It’ll be an extension of the current journey, and I already know how the story ends. But I’m going to enjoy the process of getting there. Unknown things will still pop up. Setbacks will be a mainstay. Achievements will reinvigorate me in moments of doubt. Regardless, at the end of the day, I’m right on time. I’m right where I’m supposed to be.

You probably are too.


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  • CWN

    I turn 31 on the 30th. This completely describes my journey thus far (without the many occupations). And the ‘in my 30s’ is still something I’m grappling with. But the realisation that I’m possibly where I should be is still a process I’m struggling to accept. Actually, I know where I call myself out on ‘falling short’. I just need to take it easy on myself. I’m hoping to get there very soon.

    • Rich J.

      Man, I have a whole other post on beating myself up. You just reminded me to revisit it! It’s so easy to do even when we know it’s not good in the long run.

      • CWN

        In the not so distance past I completely encouraged an older friend about some issue he was going through and he listened to me and then asked me why the standards are different for him and for myself. He showed me how the bar for my life is set in the clouds (with no parachute, bungee cord…basically, I’m not allowed to fail) while the one I set for him was lower, and nice and cushy and bouncy. That opened to my eyes to a lot that was wrong with how I go about things. So now I’m better, my bar is flexible, the route to go is not set in stone, and most important, I’m smelling the flowers and skipping in the meadows along the way (I wasn’t doing that).


    I am in my mid twenties and I hear a lot of people saying that 30s are the best years. Hope it’s true !!!
    Comparing yourself to others will steal your joy away, I learnt it the hard way and won’t do it again !!!
    Great article !!!
    Another question: don’t you feel less energetic than in your twenties ?? I only hear positive stuff about thirtysomething but I am sure that there are some drawbacks too, right?

  • Wes

    This really hit the spot, thanks Rich. I’m almost 35 and just starting a new career after pursuing an acting career for the past 11 years. To say that I constantly mope about where my life is currently and where I think I should be is an understatement. It almost renders me immobile and honestly sometimes I feel like I want to cry. Grown man, wanting to cry over what? I think I might have a PHD in feeling sorry for myself and not even know it. Your article helps to remind me that yeah, I’m right where I’m supposed to be and I better get busy enjoying my life and stop regretting the past. Not to mention how blessed I am anyway, relative to so many others around the world. Thanks for your posts.

    • Rich J.

      Glad you found this useful and I definitely feel what you’re saying. Much of my angst has turned to excitement. Especially as of late. Gratitude and Acceptance are big parts of that!