Who do you turn to for guidance, a boost of motivation, or some perspective?
As I approach a new decade of my life, I turn to my friends and the people around me.
My level 2 pathways project asked me to reflect on the importance of mentorship, and although my friendships aren’t mentorships, they have provided similar benefits in my life. Below is the speech I wrote about turning thirty.
Thirty. Last week, I turned thirty. I’ve been here, alive, for thirty years.
I need to wrap my brain around the number thirty because it seems somehow more significant than 29. It’s like I’ve reached a checkpoint, and now, suddenly, there are new expectations for me to meet in the next decade of my life.
Of course, I know, age is just a number, and I know, life is a journey we take at our own pace. For this reason, I am grateful to have friends and acquaintances at various points in their life-journey to give me guidance, motivation, and perspective.
Some of my friends are ahead of me in their life-journey. These are the friends I turn to for guidance.
As my 30th birthday approached, I conducted a survey. I asked my older friends, “What there is to look forward to? How should I make the most of my 30s?”
“There’s much to look forward to,” said my friend John. “For one, socializing at 30-plus tends to be less awkward. By this time, people better understand themselves and other people. They have a better sense of who they are; they are confident and comfortable just being themselves.”
“To make the most of your 30s,” my friend Kyle said, “take time to reflect. This is the time to align your actions with your values.
“Reflect on what you value and what kind of person you want to be. Reflect on experiences and situations that helped you, what worked, and strategically seek out more of that.
“By your 30s, you have enough life experience to know how things work, and what it takes to make things happen. This is the time to start applying your real-world knowledge so that you can be more effective, and balance this with a healthy sense of self.”
Some of my friends are around the same place as me in their life-journey. These are the friends who help motivate me.
Just as Kyle suggested, I have been trying to better align my actions with my values. For instance, I care about living an eco-friendly lifestyle; and so does my friend, Cedric. I’ve wanted to learn how to compost for a while, but I never got around to researching it.
I told Cedric about my goal, and he recommended a local workshop on composting. That was enough push to get me started: I signed up; I learned the basics, and now I have a small compost pile in my backyard.
I also care about clearing the clutter that I’ve accumulated in my 30 years; so does my friend Cynlie. We both grew up in families that collected tupperware and bought multiples of items just because they were on sale. We both want to curb our hoarding tendencies and let go of our possessions.
The pandemic gave us the opportunity to buckle down. We linked each other to Youtube videos on minimalism. We read Marie Kondo. We discussed Fumio Sasake’s book Goodbye, Things. Together we shared our process, celebrated our progress, and laughed at our setbacks.
The friends and acquaintances who are younger than me in experience give me perspective. I didn’t feel like I was thirty until I talked to someone in his early 20s.
He was the waiter who served our table at dinner one night. He looked young and nervous. He fumbled and dropped his pen. He gave a little bow after taking our orders. My friend and I couldn’t help but smile, because we remember what it was like.
He told us that he was in community college and planning to transfer to a four-year college. At the same time he wasn’t sure if he should transfer because he didn’t know what he wanted to study, or what career he wanted to pursue.
When I heard this, I felt a fondness only an older person can feel towards a younger person. It must be some form of nostalgia for your former self. And, as older people tend to do, I felt compelled to give this younger person my sage advice based on my own personal experience.
I told him, don’t worry. Just continue to explore your interests and take classes. You will figure it out. Trust me, I did. I’m thirty.
To Whom to Turn
Whether you need guidance, motivation, or perspective, you can turn to the people in your life. Seek guidance from people who’ve been through what you’re going through. Find motivation from people who are working towards the same goals as you. And gain perspective from people who are going through something you went through before.
Here at Toastmasters we have a diverse group in age, profession, and life-experience. I think we can turn to each other for some guidance, motivation, and perspective in our life journeys.
–To hear more speeches, check out our next Toastmasters meeting!
written by Sarah Tang, SAA of Women L.E.A.D. Toastmasters