07 Jan 2019, the last year of the decade & my 20s
I had just got back from Porto, in my early 20s. It was a hot summer time and started to think “what (should) come next?” Take the road to become a business manager? Pursue my interest to playing drums at a higher level? Or should I let myself to explore different things, getting involved with different organizations and people, developing ideas to make the (my) world a better place to live collectively.
In our 20s, we may not have much to lose after all, right? We may go for the first thing that comes to mind, but I have to admit one thing about me: the process for me to decide among different options is messy and painful. So, I had to do something about it.
Eventually, while walking by a river close to my house, I’ve seen a very nice and shining garden and felt a rush to sit down, grab a notebook, a pen and start writing. And that was what I did. Write down to organize my ideas into concrete insights about what I could and wanted to do.
It was an inspiring afternoon! I must have written around 30 pages, full of ideas, actions to take, people I would like to know and organizations I imagined that it would be so awesome to work for… I was all pumped up just by imagine all the possibilities and options. After a full afternoon immersed in my mind, a full pack of cheetos and a bit more tan, I’ve set some big ideas: engage in public policy, create a local and youth development ngo, start to discover the world (by then my entire world was just around the North of Portugal, and whenever I went to Lisbon or Galicia, in Spain, I felt amazed as if I was going to the moon)
It was one of the first moments I forged my eagerness commitment engage in a bigger thing, but I had to try different things and “see with my own eyes” all those different activities. Maybe it was why I ended up having my first full time job managing an EU funded project on Human Rights and Gender Equality, what I’ve never dream of before…
Up until today, I remember this thoughtful afternoon. Can’t really explain why, but whenever I’m feeling a bit stuck, as I might be right now, without knowing clearly what to do next, I remembered this impacting experience and how great it was actually have lived some of the ideas developed then.
Fast forwarding some years down the road, here I am, beginning the year I’ll turn 30. Oh my “gosh”!!! It has been a hell of a ride. After many different experiences, as founding SPOT – Creative Interface NGO to hep young local artists promote their art, working on the Social Inclusion of elderly people through digital Technologies; taking good and bad decisions, as basically changing what I was doing every two years; feeling excited whenever I met some awesome new friend or very sad for discovering that life as end whenever a close family person passed away (miss you so much grandma…); or finding new passions, such as the one that at one moment turn my life upside down: the European Union, while traveling all around Europe to take part in different Erasmus+ youth exchanges and training courses, and also because I learn the shared values of different european, while having lived in 4 different countries, namely have the unique opportunity to experience the life at the European Parliament, working for a Forbes 500 company in Hungary or doing a Volunteering in the outskirts of Nicosia, capital of Cyprus. I’ve done so much, that it is hard to write them out or even remember them! While writing this, I can humbly say that all of these were unique moments, ones to be grateful for, and I should thank to my old self for having taken that walking by the river 8 years ago 🙂
And what about now? Here I am, on this freezing January morning, feeling a bit stuck but also excited about the idea of having a “new beginning, wondering how should I face 2019, the last year of the decade and my 20s.
Do you think it is time to go back to that afternoon in the garden by the river? Sure, why not? Can’t believe that I’m actually in this situation, already full into adulthood and turning 30. A mix of feelings, scared about the unknown and curious about how the road I’ve decided to start some years ago will lead me to…
To be clear, I’ve always preferred to see myself as the young one, feeling that comfortable feeling of being in the beginning of something, without many responsibilities and still lots of decisions, and their consequences, to take not now but in the future, and their really facing the consequences of them.
Along the way, I’ve also created an expectation about what reaching a certain age should be and feel. When finishing primary school, I imagined how awesome it would be get in the teenager years, playing football with the bigger guys and starting flirting with the ladies. But it wasn’t like that!
Then, I thought turning 18 would be the coolest thing, to get my driver’s license and get a lot more freedom. It wasn’t like that!
When I graduated from college, at 22, I imagine that by the time I turn 30 I would be set for life: a stable corporate job, already sharing a house with the women that makes me awake in the morning feeling the happiest man on earth, and with a motorbike for long ride vacations. It wasn’t like that either!
And what about now, should I still create an expectation how the next decade of my life will be?
On the one hand, my rational side says that it would be wiser to not create that many expectations. Most of them are not met with reality afterwards. On the other hand, my creative side can’t really wait to drawn up new more ideas, possibilities, places to go, people to meet or jobs and tasks to do.
Probably, I can reach a compromise between my two selves and meet in the middle. But, is there a way to figure how to set “creative but real expectations”? It’s very hard to say. What I can say is that, after have enjoyed in my twenties many laughs and crying moments, tried many different things and have fallen and stood up several times, I feel is now the time to get a bit more “serious” in this business of Living a Life.
I know it’s impossible (and don’t want) to shut down my inner-voice that tells me to be kid again, I feel it a quality one can possess, that help me to go through rough times and enjoy little moments more intensely. But what some say it is the “maturity” coming, I want now to stop feeling I am fooling around with me and others, trying many different things but not really committing to nothing.
The next decade of my life will be decisive and I know I’ll have to improve a lot, as a person and as professional. Without fantasying so much about anymore, still, I have to set some expectations, because now it is a bit clear what might be the next steps to meet what I want with what I might be more capable to do and achieve.
And to help me with that, apart from the “world peace”, I am setting some broad ideas that I hope to guide my further decisions: an unbreakable desire to engage in European Affairs, engaging in the public debate; kill my inner feeling of the “incompetence syndrome” by deepening my expertise in valuable and concrete knowledge areas, such as Digital Technologies and Public Policy; keep discovering new cultures, habits and traditions of countries all around the world, especially in the Old Continent, including to add some more living abroad to my backpack; and, as a cell is to a living body, contribute with my energy, hands and intellect to the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
And, up until that 30 years old psychological-barrier arrives and signs the start of a new decade, I’ll try to enjoy the ride and have fun. Not really saying goodbye to my kid, but focusing on the essentials, engage with the people and organizations that really add value to my path to grow as a person and pursue of happiness.
Wish you all a great and creative 2019!
PS: I am aware the lines above may not be the best example of a well written text in English, it might have typos, confusing phrases and not finished thoughts. I apologize for that. Nevertheless, knowing this lack of ability to write is a long standing weaknesses, it is exactly to improve my language and writing skills that one of my 12 Resolutions for 2019 is to write more, a lot more. And this article was the first one. Maybe I went too far, but I set up a goal of writing least an article per week… ups! Let’s see if I can keep up to it!
PS 2: Because it happened in my mid twenties, I would like to honor this year to the people that are no longer among us but are still, and will always be, one of the big sources of my motivation to keep fighting and face adversities with a smile on my face, my maternal grandparents!