Today is my 30th birthday. As one might expect, I have used this as an opportunity for reflection. As I ended my 20’s, I made a lot of changes in my life. I married the love of my life. I moved across the country after living within a 300 mile radius for my whole life. And I accepted a new job at a new organization after spending a decade in student organizing for liberty. Each of these was independent but significant, and in combination add up to a new phase in my life.
Looking back on the past 30 years, if I had distill the most important things in life down to three things, they would be this: People, Purpose, and Perseverance.
Surrounding yourself with the right people. I learn this lesson over and over again, sometimes for good reasons and sometimes for bad: people mean everything. If you surround yourself with the right people, you will create a life with them grander than anything you could imagine. If you surround yourself with the wrong people, you will face more obstacles than necessary to lead the life you want. Thankfully, if you are open to engaging others, you will find people who give meaning to your life and to whom you give meaning as well. I have had the great fortune of meeting some amazing individuals in my life. There are too many that I can no longer spend time with (such as my father, my grandparents, and good friends who passed away far too young). But for those that I still can, I have come to understand and appreciate the importance of doing just that. The culmination of this is that every day, I am amazed and thankful that I met and married my wife, Gabrielle, before I turned 30, which means I get to spend so much of my life with her.
Identify your purpose in life. What are you so passionate about that you jump out of bed in the morning excited to work on? Since childhood, I have planned on becoming a scientist, a lawyer, and a philosopher. Without planning on it, I ended up in nonprofit leadership. At some point in the past decade, I realized that my purpose in life was independent of these particular careers: I want to make the world a freer and so more prosperous place. Figuring this out may be the most difficult thing to do in life. Not only are there many things worthy of one’s passion, but to really understand what one is passionate about requires deep consideration, reflection, and thought. This is why education is so important: it provides you with the exposure to the world and analytical tools by which to understand what you encounter to determine what really matters.
If your purpose is the theory, perseverance is the practice. Nothing in life that matters comes easy. It takes hard work and dedication. The allure of the present can distract you from the payoffs of the future. It can lead you to seek shortcuts instead of giving it your all. You will face obstacles. There will be challenges. But if something is worthwhile, then it is worth going through the trials and tribulations in your way. When I look back on my life, the running theme of every success and point of pride has been perseverance.
I lead a life that boggles my mind. I have an amazing wife and great friends, live in an epicenter of excitement, and have turned my passion in life into a career. I am thankful for every day, and am looking forward to the next 30 years worth of excitement.