Productivity After 30 or Reflections On Being Amazing

Turning 30
Hello, Old Man Steve here. Yes, indeed, I’m getting older. I have, in fact, hit the Big 3-0. I have to say, the Big 3-0 was somewhat bigger than I anticipated. I hardly ever even note the passing of my birthdays, but, I don’t know, 30 just seems like a really big number. I remember when I was 18, back in the last millennium, before the internet, before pretty well every group in the world seemed to want to kill pretty well every other group, when Michael Jackson was still black, as I say, I remember thinking that 30 was older than was humanly possible, older than 116, older than Hell. Just really old. Really REALLY old. I thought that if someone were to reach such an extraordinary age that they would likely have a fairly boring existence, what with having to use the walker and the ear horn and all, though I thought it would be fun to get a visit from the Guinness Records people.

Anyway, despite my best efforts at remaining immature, I have aged at approximately 1 year every 12 months, though a couple of years were harder than others and probably counted for more. Interestingly, 30 is not quite as old as I thought when I was younger and the Guinness Records people have shown no interest in talking to me at all. Which brings me to my fundamental problem: My lack of amazingness.

That’s it in a nutshell: I’m just not amazing enough. At least, I’m not as amazing as I thought I would be at the ripe old age of 30. I thought I would be a millionaire or President Of The Known Universe or something good. Instead, here I am, an apparently unamazing man with hair growing out of his ears.

I was discussing the problem a couple days ago with my brother, who is older and therefore theoretically wiser than I and he suggested we find out what famous people and events were connected with my birthday, so we could compare. This, according to Wikipedia, is an abridged list events that happened on February 23:

  • 1660-Charles XI becomes King of Sweden – Well, I’ve never even heard of this guy!
  • 1874-Walter Clopton Wingfield invented lawn tennis – Thanks God for that.
  • 1903-Cuba leases Guantanamo Bay to the U.S. forever – I’m not even going there.
  • 1919-Benito Mussolini founds the Fascist Party In Italy – Great, that was a good move.
  • 1941-Dr. Glenn T. Seaborg produces stable Plutonium – And why isn’t it called Seaborgium? Stand up for yourself man!

O.k., so nothing too good there. We decided to move onto people who were born on February 23, to see if we had more luck, a shortlist of which follows:

  • 1646-Tokugawa Tsunayoshi, Japanese Shogun, abolished dog kennels - Uh huh…
  • 1688-Queen Ulrika Eleonora of Sweden – Oh great, Sweden again...
  • 1874-Konstantin Päts, president of Estonia – I think it goes without saying that I’ve never even heard of this guy.

Well, who the hell are all these people?! What a bunch a jerks! Nothing but jerks on my birthday. Great, that’s just fabulous. A birthday full of jerks. That was what I said. But my brother, Greg, older and wiser as he is, said that it was all relative. Since there wasn’t anybody that exciting born on my birthday, I should be able to shoot right to the top of the list, no problem.

So that has become my mission, to move to the top of the list this year on the basis of being amazing. I can’t write any more, unfortunately, because I’ve only got 10 months left to make the list, so I’d better get started. So until next time, keep your pen on the page and your ear hair neatly trimmed.

Steve Sharam

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Pawn it off

Hi Steve.

I think you're taking this whole amazingness thing too hard. After all, you could abdicate the whole issue by reproducing. Then you can just raise your kids with the expectation of *them* being amazing. That makes you amazing by the commutative property of amazingness.

Speaking from the much riper age of almost 36, and the much tireder viewpoint of 'mother of toddler twins' I've definitely started down that path. The kids will have to be amazing for me, because I'm worn out.


Good point, but

I think I'll need to be a tad more amazing before I have kids. Like, amazing enough to find matching shoes on a regular basis:P

Steve Sharam

Aww Steves,

It's cool, most people never become amazing in their lifetimes. And as it turns out, that's kind of ok. BUT if you want to become amazing, i'm sure you can be.
Secondly; i'm sure that you're amazing to someone, maybe that's enough.


Well, Meghan says that I'm a source of constant amazement. I guess that's something:P

Steve Sharam


I tried telling my wife that I was amazing too. She'll learn one day.

Happy belated birthday. Feb is a good month for them; I turned 34 on the 19th, and my brother turned 49 on YOUR birthday too, on the 23rd. :-)

Welcome to the 30s, dude. I personally feel like there's been a big difference bodily from 28 to 30, and then it goes downhill much faster. My metabolism has slowed waaaay down, I did a powerwalk the other day and got sore, not the next day, but 2 days later, and took not 2 days, but 4 days to heal. Sigh. My wife's 26, she doesn't understand yet. I can't WAIT until she hits 30 {evil grin}.

Wow, um...thanks.

Thanks Daniel. Suddenly I feel a whole lot better. Um, perhaps I'll go collapse somewhere...

Steve Sharam

Simply... amazing.

Steve, I am SURE that I speak for everyone when I say that you are, indeed, amazing. There can be no doubt about it. Amazing is the word.

I'm 40, so I ought to know.


Thank you!

THANK you! I've been WAITING for someone to say that. Boy, like pulling teeth, I swear:P

Steve Sharam

My thirties

I just turned 31 on the 14th, and I've got to say that so far my thirties are WAY better than my twenties.

And if you want to feel amazing, take on some volunteer work. It doesn't have to be much, but doing something to help others changes the world a little at a time and feels really great. It's addictive!

Second that !! Amazing Altruism

And if you want to feel amazing, take on some volunteer work.

Jim Henson once said, "My hope is to leave the world a little better for having been there."

I believe he did. I'm working on it as best I can. How 'bout the rest of you folks ?
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

And ...?

I believe everyone "amazes" at their own rate. I know folks who, by your age, had multiple kids, whopping mortgages, mega-buck jobs, et cetera, ad nauseum.

I just passed my half-century mark (Yes, folks, the BIG FIVE-OH !!) and I was a total slacker until my mid-thirties. It took me until then to decide I had had sufficient fun and to "settle down".

Also, as another comment said, "amazing" can be very relative. Personally, I amaze myself frequently. I amaze my kids. And I amaze my wife. So, within my own house I can say withoiut fear of contradiction that I am, in fact, amazing.

Go for it.
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

Numbers only...

Let's see 30 - kids eat solid food about then right? In a mere couple of months I too will be hitting the half century mark. And I'm still not sufficiently organized.

When I turned 30 I thought my career life would change, that employers would take me seriously. I was in academics, and had some idea that faculties thought people in their 20s were 'too young' to hire. I was wrong. Age is irrelevent (except for your doctor's propensity to want to push drugs on you - no not those kind).

There's always someone who's more amazing than you at a younger age. Yes, even if your 29. What did come after 30 is a tendency to compare to my own internal goals rather than compare myself to others. (Not that that makes me look any better ;-)

You've got a point there

Yeah, that's a good point. Maybe I need to find some better comparisons. I've been comparing myself to Alexander The Great and thinking that he accomplished a lot more than me be my age, but, after all, we're in different fields.

Steve Sharam

Be amazing!

I look to my grandmother as a role model. She lived into her 80's and even then said she felt sixteen at heart. She was never old, was more beautiful each passing year. And as a painter I look forward to just hitting my stride by my sixties...

Every life is a miracle, hence you are amazing!
Just ask your mom.



Yeah, maybe...

Yeah, true that, my Mom's been pitching that story for years. Maybe I'll hit my stride late in life too. I didn't make The Top 20 Under 20, nor The Top 30 Under 30. Maybe if I put a push on I can make The Top 90 Under 90. The expectations are lower and you have less competition.

Steve Sharam

This article really got me

This article really got me thinking. I turned 27 in July... and I always thought I would be up to my chin in my art, with a loving husband and a semi-perfect life... In Oct of '06 my 8 year relationship ended... and well, I'm just scratching the surface in the art world.

I've learned to take one day at a time... If I can make a good impression or influence some one's life in a positive way, then I've done good. I may not ever become famous, but at least I'll be happy, right? ((some days are harder than others to remember the one day at a time thing. the whole optimistic outlook thing is sometimes a struggle. Pessimism seems to be easiest recently.))
my artwork

I hear that

Well, I certainly understand about the art world surface scratching. I'm there myself right now. After moving to Vancouver, I budgeted myself an, I thought, conservative 6 months to dominate the West Coast art scene. Apparently my taime table was a bit off. Gotta be realistic about these things:)

Steve Sharam


I believe it is important to:
1) Not bullshit one's self; be honest even if it hurts. If you're slacking, own it and change it no matter how much outside help you need: therapy, coaching & drugs included.

2) Be Contextually Amazing as you see necessary. Do it in your own way.
-Remember, Alexander the Great conquered most of the known world by age 33 and was one of the most brilliant military tacticians in the history of the world. i.e. He (and several others) have us ALL beat!

You don't have to be a SuperHero tomorrow, just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Fall down seven times, get up eight times.

Oh well...

If at first

That's very true. I don't know who said it, but I believe it's true. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. If you still don't succeed, give up. No use being a damned fool about ti!

Alexander The Great did concor most of the known world by age 33, but even he knew when it was time to scale back his operation and die at an early age.

Steve Sharam