Missed My Moment
Okay, folks! It’s official! I’ve completed my third decade of life. My twenties are all behind me and I have the next ten years (barring any unexpected tragic happenstances) of my thirties to look forward to. I won’t say I feel old—even though I did throw out my back a week before my birthday—both because it’s cliché and because I know there are plenty of 30+ people who will read this and just shake their heads thinking, Oh you dear naïve boy, just you wait. I will say that turning the big 3-0 has got me in a contemplative mood, though.
As much as we’ve seen the social perception of age trending toward a younger view—think “40 is the new 30” and the whole prolonged adolescence putting off adulthood thing—I think there’s still something about that first digit moving from a 2 to a 3 that carries some weight with it. Our twenties are often a time of initial self-discovery, striking out on our own, and trying to establish who we are. It’s a time where there’s plenty of grace for mistakes and learning curves and figuring things out. And I’d argue it’s also a time when the phrase, “I’ve still got plenty of time” is at its most prevalent in our lives.
Once we’re in our thirties, though, I feel like there has historically been this unspoken—or perhaps spoken in some cases—expectation that we ought to have a firmer grasp on our lives—who we are, what we do, etc.
I’m more than willing to admit that this could just be my own perception of how the world works in my limited, primarily American mindset, but I’d be surprised if I were alone here. As the reality of being alive for 30 years sinks in, I can’t help but look back and ask myself things like, “So, what have I really accomplished?” or “Is this where I saw myself being at 30?”
The answers to these kinds of questions vary depending on what angle I reflect on them from, but the short and sweet of it is that my life is playing out vastly different from anything I might have imagined it to be. I was never the kid who had an elaborate plan drawn out for how I wanted my life to go—I frequently vacillated between wanting to be an artist and a paleontologist, and I changed my major in college at least five times—but there were certainly parameters on my imagination I was unaware of that I have exceeded.
For one, I never would have guessed that I would end up visiting Africa, let alone living here for nearly a decade. Working to help and serve vulnerable children hadn’t been on my radar other than it being “pure and faultless” to the Lord. Being a part of a diverse, multi-ethnic, multi-racial family had never really crossed my mind growing up in a very homogenously white area of southwest Michigan. In so many ways, my personal life is something that a younger version of me would not have been able to fathom being a possibility, but one I am incredibly grateful has come to be.
I also never would have anticipated becoming a voice actor at this point in my life. I don’t know where it came from, but by the time I discovered my love for acting, theatre, and that kind of storytelling in high school, I had internalized a belief that I was too old to pursue it as anything more than a hobby. Oh, the illogical logic of adolescence. If there’s one thing I could go back and tell less mature me, it would most definitely be to follow those desires. Be bold. Be confident. Don’t let your own misguided conceptions of what you can and can’t do define how you live your life.
As I sit here now at thirty-years-old and think back on my life up to this point, I realize there were a lot of times I let the belief that I’d “missed my moment” derail me from doing things I would have really loved.
Study acting in university? As if! You should have been taking acting lessons long before now! Missed opportunity.
Write a book? You never studied creative writing. What do you possibly have to offer the literary world that hasn’t already been done a thousand time? Missed opportunity.
Start a career as a voiceover artist at 30? Oh please, that ship sailed a long time ago! You need to find something simple, quiet, and reliable so you can—
Hey! Internal negative Nancy! I think I’ve listened to you quite enough for one lifetime. Why don’t you take a hike!
How many dreams and opportunities do we let slip by the wayside because we’ve convinced ourselves that we’re the old dog incapable of learning new tricks? Why are we so quick to let practicality—a culturally influenced, subjective concept, by the way—stifle creativity? Why are we often so eager to support others in their endeavors but so swift in shutting ours down?
Recently, I was battling a bout of imposter syndrome as I delved deeper into VO. What am I doing? I asked myself. Who do I think I am? I can’t do this now. I’ve already missed my moment. It hit me then and there that was fear trying to run my life. Fear of failure. Fear of doing it “wrong.” Fear of being a fraud. When I a took a moment to breathe, to take a step back and look at the big picture, I didn’t see the stumbling blocks to success, I recognized all the possibilities. I realized that if I’m willing to commit, do the work, continue to learn and grow, I could be doing VO for the next thirty years and beyond if I want to. I haven’t missed my moment because my moment is now, my moment is any and every moment that I choose to say yes to my dreams.
What opportunities have you let pass you by because you felt like you were too old or not good enough? What would it look like for you to give it a shot right now? I spent way too much of my first thirty years dwelling on all the reasons I couldn’t do things. For the next thirty years, I’m taking an “I can, and I will” approach and giving myself the margin to pursue the desires of my heart.
Until next time, friends, keep telling stories.
Voiceover Artist | Storyteller
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