As time progresses, our priorities change and so, therefore, do our actions. There is no stereotypical way to live once you turn a certain age, but there, instead, exist an evolution that comes with maturity (sometimes against our will!).
Here, I suppose, is a non-exhaustive list of things that are definitely different in my life as a result of getting older and, hopefully, wiser:
1. I place far more value on a good night's sleep.
I have needed more sleep than most people my entire life. From an early age I have demonstrated a particular crabby demeanor any time I have not had enough sleep. This never really changed, but from age 18 to about 27 I simply pushed through it and valued fun over sleep.
Around 27 I settled into my 40-hour 9-to-5 job and realized that life was significantly better when I got 7.5-9 hours of sleep a night. Late nights got earlier. Weekday shows in Seattle became less enticing. A 10pm curfew was less a chore and more a pleasure. This has far more to do with waking up for work by 7 every day than my escalating age, but those things tend to correlate.
2. I care about my career.
Upon completion of graduate school, I got into the specific area of career services in higher ed with some sort of mantra that for being in career services I was not particularly career-focused. I never wanted to be the guy that took his job too seriously or put hobbies on the back burner in favor work.
Nothing monumental happened to change this mindset. In short, I kept doing my job, learning more, and gradually realized that I enjoyed the work quite a bit. I have a subscription to Fast Company, follow The Economist and the Wall Street Journal on Twitter, and find a lot of my conversations heading in the direction of careers. This was a natural progression that also came with getting into the work and doing it 40 hours a week. If I didn't like it, I'd probably move on to something else.
3. I want to buy a house.
This is a fairly recent development that I would encourage you to take at face value. When I say I want to buy a house, I mean that as opposed to generally saying that in my life I do not want to buy a house, which has generally been my level of interest in the subject until this year.
My job is feeling good and stable enough to keep me around a few more years and buying a house is generally a sound investment. If you know me at all, you know that I love practical investments, so this should not come as a huge surprise. It's take a while to get over the cost of housing outside of Pittsburgh, but I am realizing now that owning a house comes with stability and a sense of home that I have not had since going off to college 12 years ago.
4. I look forward to marriage.
Anyone who knows me well knows that I've been dating a wonderful girl for 2 years. Anyone who knows me well knows that 2 years is approximately 1 year and 8 months longer than any prior relationship, so yes, we are talking about getting married.
The cool thing is that we have taken time to consider the good and challenging parts of marriage resulting in feeling even better about it. We know it will be great most of the time and challenging other times, but that it will still be good in the challenging times.
More on this in the near future, I'm sure.
5. I have had a nutritious eating and exercise revival to a healthy degree.
When we were in college we ate pretty much whatever we wanted and I didn't gain a pound. I didn't drink until I was 21, so I'm sure that helped, but even once I started added alcohol to my diet the weight and my health never changed. Part of that was because we were young and walked everywhere at Pitt; part of it was because we also hauled up the hill to life weights or play basketball about 5 days a week.
Recently I have gotten back into a 2-3 times a week exercise regimen that I plan to add to with basketball, but my body is getting a bit too weathered to process my old diet. Quality organic meats and cheeses, fresh organic vegetables, and a low amount of carbs make up what appears to be the 2015 diet and I am on board with it. Not only that, I am going through another wave of generally getting interested in cooking and cooking well.
Top Chef certainly helps; although I use about 40% of the ingredients they use on the show and have not heard of about 15% of them!
I could go on, but these things are standing out most. Before I move on from how I have seen change happen, I'd like to share a short list things I am happy to have accomplished by the time I turned 30 and can think of off the top of my head:
1. Recording an album, 2014
2. Traveling to other countries. Jamaica, 2003, and Ecuador, 2008.
3. Driving across the country by myself, 2011.
4. Moving across the country, 2011.
5. Staying 2500 miles from home for more than a year, 2011-Present.
6. Receiving accolades from my peers for my work, 2013ish-Present.
7. Being a near-original member of the Pittsburgh Curling Club, 2002.
8. Proving that I had the work ethic and guts to play high school football for a year, 2000.
9. Enjoying an entire stress-free summer of unemployment before starting my career, 2011.
10. Seeing the Pirates make the playoffs twice, 2013-2014.
11. Seeing a Pirates playoff game in PNC Park, 2013.
12. Seeing the Steelers win two Super Bowls, 2006 and 2009.
13. Seeing the Penguins win the Stanley Cup once, 2009, and sorta twice more, 1991 and 1992.
14. Finishing two degrees from Pitt, BA, 2007, MEd, 2011.
15. Living at the beach for a summer (Ocean City, NJ), 2007.
16. Seeing 7 different ballparks in different cities, Fenway Park, old Yankee Stadium, Citizens Bank Park, Safeco Field, Progressive Field (Jacobs Field), Three Rivers Stadium, PNC Park.