The “Oh, Crap, I’m Seriously Getting Old” Freak Out

Gah, I’m turning 28 this year, 2 more years and I’ll be 30.

There might come a day where you’ll randomly remember something that triggers a nervous breakdown level of anxiety because you are almost 30 and legitimately worried because you might be nowhere near as accomplished as you’d like to be.

And being 30-something is like, impossible to imagine considering you still feel 18 – 19 tops. These freak-outs lead to us wanting an immediate, significant change that is often unreasonable. We can’t expect to do a week, month or year’s worth of work in a single day. We can’t expect to generate a legacy overnight. These quarter-life crisis moments of anxiety aren’t necessarily a bad thing; we just have to use them in our favor. 

Think of your dreams, goals and aspirations as a fire. Maybe over time, the raging inferno turned into a puny, candle sized single flame. These freak-outs are a bottle of gasoline. We can gasp at how dim our fire has become, pour all of the flammable liquid on the flame and have it blow up in our face, burning us out, or we can manage that fuel. Use some here, some there, never enough to create a firestorm, just enough to keep the fire burning. People have these moments of panic and feel as if a single, hasty effort is the answer – but a swing for the fence isn’t as likely to work. Consider a balanced attack. A best daily effort until we’ve reached those desired achievements is so much more likely to get us where we want to be, regardless of age. This quote from The Fresh Prince himself, Will Smith, is one that folks can live by:

“You don’t try to build a wall, you don’t set out to build a wall. You don’t say I am going to build the biggest, baddest, greatest wall that has ever been built, you don’t start there. You say I am going to lay this brick as perfectly as a brick can be laid, and you do that every single day, and soon you have a wall.”

That’s what we have to remind ourselves. I had been putting a whole life’s worth of pressure on my mere 27 years of life experience. Nobody should do this, regardless of his or her age. Even at 50, 60 or older — if you’re alive at this very moment, there’s still time to add pages to your story and lay the bricks that build your legacy. There’s no sense in wasting un-promised, valuable time beating ourselves up over what we haven’t done. It makes much more sense to eliminate dwelling and focus on making that effort so that twelve years from now, we’re not saying, “Man, I remember when I was freaking about being __ years old. Now I wish I was that young.” The big picture is that we can’t change what’s passed us by, we can only do our best to be sure we make the most of whatever time we have left.

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