That doesn’t sound right. He’s in his 30’s. Should I care? I don’t 100% care. I care about 20%. I don’t consider myself a classic adult in the traditional sense but I think I’m up for the challenge. I’ve been pondering what I want my 30’s to look like, what my 20’s have looked like and what the next 50-60 years may hold. Someone recently asked me what I’m proud of accomplishing the last thirty years. They asked for two things. My first answer was making a life outside of Canada and exploring frontiers previously unseen by this long eyelashed writer. My second? I couldn’t think of one. Going to school wasn’t a major struggle and tons of people do it so I don’t go to bed at night proud of it. Millions of people have saved lives, created jobs, raised kids, and invented products that help people with their everyday lives and countless other things to be proud of. How do you create a life that you are proud of?
A few years ago, I had a good friend, let’s call him Kenora, who jokingly but not so jokingly called me selfish. I was somewhat offended but possibly didn’t realize why I was offended because he was certainly right. I don’t think it’s a stretch to think that Bert is looking out for Bert. I recently read a blog post about someone that was giving advice and sharing experiences about moving abroad and how it effects relationships with your friends and family. The post noted that while exploring and experiencing new things is a wonderful opportunity, it undoubtedly is a selfish choice. You do it for you. I didn’t move away to make someone else’s life better or enhance anyone else’s reality but my own. I haven’t gone to a developing country to help them with clean drinking water or improve their housing situation. I was just listening to a podcast with Tony Robbins and he said he wasn’t sure why he was struggling with his business and he realized that he was focusing on “me” instead of “we”. He now serves over a hundred million meals a year. My 30’s need to be more “we” instead of “me” centred.
Another major thinking point in my brain has been wanting to find someone to travel and share these memories with. While it’s fun to think that I haven’t met this person yet and what that will be like, if I could take a pill to never contemplate this subject again, I would take it. I believe not only myself but most people need to live their lives like nobody is going to enter their life and save them. A stranger right now can’t make me happy. While having a wife and family might alleviate some of my issues/problems, I can only imagine new worries would consume my day-to-day thinking. My dream would be to come back to Canada, meet someone then see what happens and work out something that involves travel, semi normal living with an eye on eventually having cute kids who know things. However, I think these thoughts need to take a backseat to being a better Bert, being healthy, making cash money and helping other people in any way I can. I tell my students to be specific all the time so what does it mean to be a better Bert? A few words come to mind but if I had to pick a word to allow me to improve the next 10 years, it would be organization. I can’t live the next 30 years the way I’ve prepared, thought and executed my previous 30. I’m almost 30 and just a few days ago, I went to the train station to buy my train ticked to Gdansk and I have zero idea where it is and had to buy a new one. One of my students mentioned that I’m not as organized as their teacher last year and I have sticky notes on my computer that would make someone with OCD completely lose hope in humanity. It’s shocking to me that I moved to Thailand and had relatively few hiccups.
One piece of advice that has stuck with me recently when people are asked to give advice on what they would tell their 30 year old self was Jamie Foxx saying that 40 comes quicker than you think. I can see how 40 could sneak up on someone then you are ten years from 50 and I can’t be losing my Math Makes Sense book or water bottle at 50. I just can’t. My game plan is to make a list each day, spend at least 5 minutes organizing my room, not be in a rush and think things through, think of ways things can go wrong then avoid those things, put important papers in a certain spot, grading work when the kids finish it and having a more positive attitude towards being a little more type A.
The next week is Green School which is a 5 day field trip in a Polish forest where the students are learning mostly in Polish and I’m there more as a chaperone than an educator. Am I thrilled about turning 30 in a forest with no internet with 100+ kids? Not necessarily but life tends to go that way at times and I haven’t been lacking in the pre-birthday Bert presents and might have one or two in mind for my first weekend as a 30 year old so clear skies ahead. My brother and his wife celebrated their 5th wedding anniversary this past Saturday so that means it has been five years since I boarded my flight to Bangkok. Here’s to the next 5 years that are hopefully filled with travel, silly stories, love and helpfulness.
“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t want for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.”