When I turned 30 about six months ago, I sat down in the garden at my parents house, looking over the city of Cherbourg, thinking about the earliest memories I could possibly remember. Most of them were in that house. It is easy to feel that you have fallen short of your own expectations of the future; what was then a wild sea of possibilities turned out to be more like swimming a river upstream.
As you get older, it seems that the decisions you make set you on a path that keeps getting narrower. However, not making decisions would mean that you’d stay where you are. I guess it is better to move forward on a narrowing path than to be stagnant. At least, that’s how I saw things. But sitting at that table on that afternoon made me want to revisit this. Maybe I could swim back to the ocean and see if I could explore other rivers. After all, I’m quite free. My parents are healthy and they do not need me at the moment. My sisters are growing our family. I’m happy and also healthy. What could possibly go wrong?
So, after working for fifteen years in the technology industry, I took an afternoon to think about the past, the present and the future. I thought about where humanity could go, and I thought about where I’d like us to go. I’m happy the way my last decade turned out but it felt more like I was safely floating around on a tube rather than making daring decisions that could make me keel over. I wanted to have a goal for the next decade— A star to follow, a core idea that I’d like to invest my time into and see how I could contribute to it. I found a few of them.