“I wish someone had told me” is a series of posts that feed into our inquisitive nature at CN&CO. Each week we hear from someone in our network about something interesting or surprising that’s recently happened or occurred to them – or lessons they learnt. These blogs are a way to pay it forward and form part of CN&CO’s belief that the world can be a better place – and we all have a responsibility to make it so. This week’s post is by Rob. It’s about life.

What musings could a not-yet-30 year old pontificate on the topic that hasn’t been said before by someone smarter, wiser, and more experienced in life?

Well, not much really. Sorry to disappoint but let’s be honest – most of life’s lessons seem to only be available to our understanding the further down the line we go. And the further I find myself heading down that road the more I discover that I am less certain that there is any one right way of doing anything. When you learn or experience something new, it opens up a whole universe of further opportunities that you didn’t know previously existed.

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” – the wise Dr. Seuss

This leads to the point that the older I get the less I am certain that life has to happen in a specific way. The typical narrative growing up was go to school, graduate, if you are fortunate enough attend a university do it, get a job, get married, start a family, work for 40 years then retire and bask in the glory of a life well lived. Except that none of those things are guaranteed for anyone really. Getting an education is important but the process of learning shouldn’t end at a predetermined age. When I see someone’s business card and it has the qualification that the person obtained I always wonder if they have done anything since then – perhaps your business card should have the most recent qualification you obtained rather than something 15 years prior. How much more interesting would it be to engage with a financial planner who recently completed a short course in fine art? Or a publisher recently completed a CPR course? The administration aside of having to reprint business cards when you do something new, there are no shortage of courses to be completed these days so the options are endless. (On that note I am not a fan of business cards in general but that is topic for another day).

Linked to the above idea is not getting “stuck” in an area that you think you should never deviate from – why can’t a financial planner learn more about fine art – or a lawyer become a scuba diving instructor – or a dancer become a doctor and the list goes on. Everyone seems to think society dictates how you should live your life, or where you should “be” at a certain age but honestly who cares? At my age my brother was already married and owned a house. My father was married, owned a house and had one child. In contrast none of those descriptors can be applied to me, and they are really just that: descriptors which are incomplete in capturing the image of a person.

I have friends who got married five years ago, some who will get married five years from now and some who will probably never marry. Some will stay in their hometown, some will leave the country and never come back. Some will use their degree, some won’t, some never had the opportunity to get one, some will become academics, some will become artisans, some will be successful (a measure which is different for everyone) and some will become whatever they want to. There will be highs, lows, moments of pure happiness, excruciating agony, melodrama, easy contentedness and every other emotion under the sun. That is the point. There is no one road map on how to live life. No one knows 100% that the path they tread will lead them to where they think they want to go. All we can do is keep moving forward and enjoy all the experiences along the way.

Now read: I wish someone had told me I’d always be up to try new things