Last weekend I went on a midnight walk from my Orcas Island hotel room. Down at the nearby marina, I listened to saltwater lap the wooden dock and rigging gently knock against sailboat masts. Suddenly a leathery shape glided from beneath my feet and out through the water.
Spotted, with touches of light brown and cream, I recognized the sea lion. It swam and played near me for twenty minutes. The time was so peaceful and intimate. It reminded me that I haven’t depleted my life’s allocation of magic moments.
As I write this, I’ve been 30 years old for about a day. Turning thirty is no more significant than turning 29, just like passing one mileage marker on a road trip isn’t any more significant than passing the one prior. But it is more symbolic. It’s the difference between passing the mileage marker that says, “Welcome to Oregon” and “Rest Area: 52 miles.”
What does it mean to be thirty in a culture (and industry) that covets youth so dearly? Am I too old to have good startup ideas? Too old to put in the startup hours? Too old to inspire and change the world around me? I don’t think so. But I do have a plan to guard against it.
It’s simply this: Do the crazy thing.
In any situation, when posed any question, what would be the crazy choice? Try that one. You will meet amazing people. And these people keep you young, curious, and strong.
For me doing the crazy thing meant leaving some great people and great teams. It meant traveling on last minute notice to places I’d never been to stay with people I’d never met. It meant thinking I could start a company, believing in myself despite all of my flaws, weaknesses, and simple adequateness.
Doing the crazy thing may ultimately end in my untimely destruction (there have been a few close calls), but so far it has never done me wrong. It delivers the moments of magic, danger, and adventure that keep life from becoming a boring slog, a routine. It’s a gift that, on my birthday, I’d like to give to everyone else.
Take it. Try it out. Let me know how it goes.