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Age is Just a Number

Posted on 20 December 2017

Past. Present. Future.

Growing up, my grandparents used to tell stories of their childhood and how easy we 'youts have it today. I'm quite certain many of you have heard a similar story around walking to school, barefoot, in the snow, uphill, both ways (insert any other slightly ludicrous statements you can think of). I heard stories like this, stories of simpler times and greater sense of community. One thing I always heard about was the value of hard work and loyalty. My grandparent's generation stayed with companies for twenty, thirty, even forty years. They believed that you truly had to work your way up to the top. There was a direct correlation between age and experience.

My parent's generation didn't grow up with quite the same "harsh" conditions that their parents did. They had a bit more freedom overall, college became a lot more prevalent, less military service, and maybe some additional drug use (it was the 70's and 80's after all). This generation became a bit more entrepreneurial. The market was banging and some of these individuals are the pioneers of the modern era. This generation began to move a little farther away from spending a lifetime at a company. Information was starting to spread faster and people were learning more at a younger age. The correlation between age and experience begins to blur a bit.

Arrive now to the millennials, probably the most criticized generation of all time. We grew up with Razor flip phones (RIP the Silver Razor), laptops, social media, and Uber. We are entitled, 'special snowflakes', that think everything should be handed to us.Though I don't think it's far to assign this harshness to anyone, let alone an entire generation of people, it really should be acknowledged that the experience of growing up in the world today is so widely different than has been in the past. Information is so much more readily accessible and available that concepts that previous generations wouldn't learn until later in life through lived experience, is now on the internet. Traveling the world, learning other cultures, and a plethora of other things now happen by the time some people are 25.

This short trip through the decades is not for waste, it is rather the platform to say: age is just a number. Instead of measuring each other or ourselves by the generation we grew up in or the years we have been on this earth, let's measure ourselves by the experiences we have had. This is not to say that those two things aren't generally correlated, but there is way more space for them to be irrespective of each other today.

I have met fifteen year old that have started and run successful six figure companies, twenty year olds that serve as a Board of Trustee members at huge public institutions, and twenty-five year olds that are CEO's of multiple multi-million dollar corporations. I know fifty year olds with the same accolades, but I also know fifty-year olds that have never left the same town or same job their whole lives. 

Don't let age be a hindrance to your dreams. No one ever just sat around waiting to turn thirty to start tackling their goals. I'm not saying that it is easy to start your own company at age fifteen, but it's not easy to start your own company no matter how old you are. Each of us bring to the table unique perspective and life experience. There is nothing to say you can't have your dreams now (with some exceptions, obviously), but why not try and make it happen.

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