With the exception of those miserable bastards you see every day at your job (the one you work to afford things like food and shelter) as you get older, you'll do an increasingly better job at filling your life only with the people you want there. Think about everyone with whom you used to spend so much time. Members of the gang who attended all the same parties, but whose company you never enjoyed. Ever. Guess what? By the time you hit 30, they're no longer around. Neither are all those people who did things you don't care about, but felt you were supposed to, like attending professional sporting events or going to foreign films or camping or extreme mountain biking. Whatever it was it doesn't matter. You don't have to do it anymore.
Time is finite and there's never enough of it for the people and things you most enjoy. Something's gotta give. And unless you subject yourself to a high school reunion, all those lesser things and people get lost after a few unreturned emails and phone calls. After all, they're busy too. And maybe you were a drag on their journey to self-actualization. Did you ever think of that? No? Well, that doesn't matter either. They're gone now, and that's fine. I can't promise you money or success, but as you get older, your life starts to resemble your desires in terms of how you spend your free time and with whom you spend it.
I don't know if I should be writing this because it's supposed to be a surprise, but when you turn 30 you get free punch and pie. Every day. Every damn day, the post-30 punch and pie fairy delivers high-caloric treats directly to your home. Isn't that awesome?!
OK, there's no free punch and pie. But, there are still surprises. Teens and college students don't hold a monopoly on being surprised by life and learning. It never ends unless you shut it down. You might have picked a career or started a family. There might be a list of things you will never be -- a professional athlete, Jennifer Connelly's sex slave, David Bowie's songwriting partner -- but each day still bring surprises and the opportunity for change.
I don't even mean you might win the lottery or get bumped up to first class one day and start a torrid love affair with Megan Fox. (Btw, Meg's got nothing on you, Jen!) I just mean small secret rewards. Discovering new passions and talents. New friends and additions to your family. Even learning all the things you already know. Again. That's a big one. I'm continually surprised how I can learn all things I've already known over and over again. Things like: you can't tell people anything they're not ready to hear; everything changes always; and you can never give the readers of the Internet too little credit. But the good news is by the time you hit 30, some of these truths start to sink in. And it may not be punch and pie. It may not be a full head of hair. But it's nice and it saves you a lot of time and grief. And besides, that lottery thing might happen too. Who knows? Certainly, not the guy next to you. Odds are he's not in that three percent.
Check out more from Gladstone in The 6 Best College Majors (For Filling You With Regret) and 6 Images From My Life You Won't Believe Aren't Photoshopped.