“Turn 30, 1990 bang you’re dead, what can you do,” the opening to Jonathan Larson’s song, 30/90. This song tells the inner monologue of a man turning 30 and believing his life is over.
Not that he thinks it’s over because he won’t have a happy life anymore, but over because he hasn’t accomplished anything in his career and now he’s too old. Ever feel like that? That life has passed you by, that it’s too late, that you should just give up right now? Looking around, thinking you should have accomplished so much more.
Right now I’m just talking about your career, not when you see your friends buy a house or get married or have kids. That sinking anonymous fear when you compare your meager abilities to the rest of the country, the rest of the world. And this is what I feel at 21, never mind what existential crisis I’ll go through at 30.
I think this is typical of creative people (especially creatively anxious people), to see all the geniuses who came before you or who have surpassed you at age 16. The panic sets in, the vampires in your head tell you that you’ll never amount to anything. Maybe it would be better if you settled for a career with stability and money.
And sometimes you should. Sometimes the right thing to do is put your creative passions on the back burner until you have stable footing in the real world. That’s not sacrificing your dreams and it’s not selling out.
But you always have to come back to that passion, whatever coming back to it looks like. If you want this dream, you’ll make it happen. It won’t pass you by, you won’t be too old. That’s not how life works, first come first serve. This isn’t an ice cream parlor where the good flavors go first. The good flavors keep coming back for those who are willing to work, no matter if you’re 20, 30, 50, 70, 90. I think the world deserves to experience your passion, so don’t give up.