A few days ago I heard an old song on Spotify and it triggered a memory from almost a decade and a half ago, and I was hit with a thought of self-reflection about where I am now in my personal and professional life, and where I thought I should be.
Back when I was in university I took a trip to an out of state concert with friends to watch a band called Switchfoot, and they were touring for their albums Nothing Is Sound and Oh! Gravity which contained many great songs, some of my favourite from them in fact. I was in the crowds among other concert goers, sweaty and singing along to their music at the top of our lungs, cheering them on as they sang hit after hit. In my mind I thought Switchfoot were at their peak then, and as most musicians do, their songs and popularity waned over the years that passed. It just struck me that day, that they were in their mid-thirties at that time, and thriving in their music within those years.
I am now 34, and it made me think that they were where I am now back then in 2006.
That raises the question, have I achieved my prime? Have i peaked already?
Did I achieve what I wanted in life? Am I where I thought I should be?
This applies of course to many other great musicians, inventors, philanthropists and entrepreneurs, we can map their life trajectory and study when they hit their major milestones in life. Then it always comes back to ourselves and as much as I don’t advise to compare their lives with ours, it is inevitable that we will self reflect on our own personal achievements and wonder if we had done enough and achieved enough where we are today.
I am married now with three young kids, with a 9-6 job in engineering. A busy household and an equally busy work schedule keeps me occupied, plus writing on the side and my pursuit to being financially independent.
Another thing to note also is that what is considered to be your prime or peak can also be achievements in personal life such as having a family, being able to stop working to stay at home with the kids due to being financially free, being able to give your parents a paid-for home or take them for an extended overseas holiday, and have it mean as much as it does professionally such as getting to do the project of your dreams in a different country for work, or opening up your own company, or even funding an opening of a new orphanage or shelter for kids.
Truth is, the question scared me a little. Honestly, I felt restless to achieve more by now.
However, what I have gained instead at this age versus me 13 years ago is that I now know what I want in life and what matters to me.
Clarity and knowledge came with age, and along with that, grew frustrations at the conditions of the world, and my own desires for my self, family and society were made known.
My personal goals have been set, and this clarity itself brings me some peace.
I refuse to think that I have peaked or am at my prime, as I choose to believe I can achieve much more.
Why limit myself to a set expectation of hitting my best years and prime at this age range? I believe there are also many examples of others who have hit their prime after their thirties, some after years of struggle, for example, Elon Musk who’s companies Tesla and SpaceX only became profitable later on in his late thirties to forties.
What do you think, when do you expect to be at your ‘prime’? If you are there already, what do you project the rest of your years to be like? Let these questions drive you to achieve your life goals.