Two weeks from now I will turn 30. Even though this could be described as a meaningless number derived from an arbitrary calendar system that we, as humans, invented, it still feels like a significant milestone. It seems like this is a moment for me to take stock of my life, and think about what I want to do with the rest of it.
Some days I look back at my life so far, and see only the things I have not yet done, not yet experienced, not yet accomplished. I fear not having done enough, not taking enough risks, and most of all, remaining the same person that I was ten years ago.
And yet, when I sit down and think about the things I've done over the past ten years, it might be more that I give myself credit for. I have travelled to over 20 different countries in 5 different continents. I have learned (and forgotten) how to speak Portuguese, and learned how to say thank you in Mandarin. I have gone diving in the Red Sea, I have eaten a home-cooked meal in Japan, I have been strapped to a hangglider above Rio de Janeiro. I have loved and lost. I've seen dolphins, sea turtles, sea horses, elephants, lions, giraffes and many more animals in the wild. I have practiced Capoeira, danced Forró, learned how to rock climb. I have sailed a sailboat to several Greek islands as well as off the coast of Maine. I have earned a bachelor's degree, taught myself how to write software, worked for an agency, managed to make a living as a freelancer, and worked from the other side of the world.
When I look at it that way it doesn't feel like I've accomplished or experienced too little. I am also definitely not the same person I was ten years ago, and I can not conceivably say that I've been sitting still this whole time.
It also shows me something else though, which is that I am happiest when I keep challenging myself and force myself to take risks. I need to keep reminding myself to every now and then step out of my comfort zone and do something new, something unexpected. As scary as this sometimes seems, it has always brought me something positive.
My most recent adventure, a month long trip to Taipei with Hacker Paradise, has reminded me of the importance of this, and inspired me to keep making audacious plans for the future. Travel, and meeting new people, is one of those things which gives me the perspective to appreciate what I have, while at the same time opening up new possibilities, and unlocking sides of me that were previously hidden.
Knowing all of this, I can't wait to get started on the next ten years of my life. As long as I keep breaking down personal barriers, travelling to new places, trying new things, and meeting new people, I'm sure it will only get better.