My birthday was the other day, and it cause me to think a lot. I did not slow down much on my 20th or have the sort of existential crisis I saw many of my friends having. This year for some reason, brought on that concern.
I have been thinking a lot about success, and measuring up to a metric. Except, life is not supposed to be measured. It is supposed to be lived. Success is vague and broad. My definition of success might not line up with another individuals definition of success.
An incredible amount of pressure is placed on 20somethings to be successful, so much that seeing an article on the internet about why we should not expect to be successful in our 20s. Success in ones 20s is the exception, not the rule. That being said, I have been looking up people who have moved into the spotlight, as it were, and done important things in the world to see when they first had their breakthrough.
First up on the list is Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson is remembered as our third president. He expanded the country more than any leader before or since with the Louisiana Purchase, he was the mastermind of Lewis and Clark’s voyage of discovery. One of the first incredibly monumental and notable things he did was write the Declaration of Independence. Yet this did not happen until he was 33.
Theodor Geisel, more commonly known as Dr. Seuss, was 33 when his first book was published, and even that was after he shopped it around to a much contended number of publishers. This was not even the mark of his success, just when things started to wind up.
Amy Poehler is marked by many as one of the best actresses on television right now, with the famous Parks & Rec. Yet she started working in various improv groups after college, slowly working her way up, she made it to SNL at age 30.
Albert Einstein changed the way a lot of people look at the world – I am sure his research even impacts how and what I understand about the world, despite not being science-minded. He was 42 when he won the Nobel Prize for Physics. FORTY. TWO.
Bruce Willis worked in television and film for awhile before his 1988 hit Die Hard, which established him as a blockbuster-level actor. Die Hard was expected to just be another film put out to entertain and seems to have quickly become a classic in action cinema, spawning several sequels. Willis was 33 when the first Die Hard was made.
Yeah, sure, there are a ton of people out there who “made it” or impacted the world when they were under 30. But it seems like a normal thing that the twenties are ones waiting years, ones working years. I am learning to be okay with this. I would not want to rush headlong into something that is too much for me, into situations I am unprepared for. So I am using the next few years to wait and to learn.
Who else would you add to this list?