I was at Taco Mac with some friends the other day and when the waiter came over to get our orders, one of the guys I was with asked to see his Brewneversity list. For those of you unfamiliar with the way that Taco Mac glorifies it's massive beer selection, Brewneversity is like a membership to Taco Mac where you're graded not on beer consumption, but beer variety.
To my knowledge there is no diploma at the end of your beer quest, only milestones along the way. The real value lies in the length of your scroll and the reaction it gets from those around you. When the waiter returned to the table he had printed out my friend's list of sampled beers and it was easily over 200 lines long. I've got to admit, as silly as it sounds, I got a little jealous.
That's when mixed emotions began to set in. My first thought was to open a Brewneversity membership of my own, but I was immediately confronted with the thought that I'd missed out on all the delicions (read: expensive) beverages that I'd had up to this point. How much lost money and time have I accrued through not starting my list sooner? It's not like I hadn't had the chance - I used to go to Taco Mac all the time.
Then I thought about having to go back and re-drink beers that I didn't even like that much just to build up the length of my list. It's like I know too much now and the "gambled and lost" mentality won't get me through a difficult to swallow pour.
Finally I came to the conclusion that it's been too much time and the window had passed. I decided that the scroll wasn't worth the effort. All these thoughts manifested in a matter of seconds, as thoughts do, and so I commented excitedly on my friend's scroll and moved on with life.
Later that night I had a crippling thought.
It's a scary thought to have as a man in his 30s. Your 20s are a decade of exploration, trial and error, and growth. The consequences seem much smaller and your capacity to learn and achieve appears endless. But then something changes mentally. I've talked to enough guys who feel the same way for me to believe there's some scientific reasoning behind it.
Your 30s are where you hunker down and plow through the path you've set yourself on in your 20s. You can't change careers now, your resume needs more time. You can't pick up another hobby, you have no free time as it is. You can't take a risk because you've got a family now and it just isn't responsible.
This thought rolled around in my head for days and days before finally I saw something that made me think differently. And this is going to sound odd, but it was just a random image I saw while scrolling through /r/gamedev as I do from time to time when I wish I had followed my childhood dream of developing video games.
I searched and searched but couldn't find the original image so for the sake of breaking up this wall of text I threw two stock images together in an attempt to recreate it.
It's all about perspective, and it's silly to think that a concept that simple needed to be slammed into my head one more time for it to make sense.
At my day job I'm the guy on the left more often than not. Working with developers who are much further along than I am can really shed light on just how far there is to go and how much there is to learn and it can truly be overwhelming. But the more I can teach myself to take the approach that I had in my 20s of "look at all there is to learn!" the better off I'll be.
This goes for every area of life that seems like too much at first. Want to get into remodeling your home but think it's overwhelming and expensive? Watch a video and buy one tool. Start small and take baby steps. Want to develop a video game? Download a game engine and work through a few tutorials in your free time when you would've been zoning out on TV instead. It isn't hard in theory, but the practice of motivating yourself to believe that your life isn't over and you always have more to learn will give you a more interesting life story and do nothing but add value to your life.
So did I go back and get a Brewneversity membership after this motivational meme related epiphany? Nah, it's really not worth it to me. But it did shed light on so many other things that are.