#57 - On Timelines, Turning 30, & Why The BEST of my LIFE is Still AHEAD of Me

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Today is a big day. Because today, I TURN 30! And I know that our culture has a lot of opinions about turning 30 and all sorts of other birthday milestones. If I listened to everyone around me, this would've been one of the most depressing birthdays of my life. I would have found all the new ways that my body was hurting, I would look at my life and all the things that I didn't have that I thought I would...it would've been AWFUL!

But I don't see 30 that way. I never have. Maybe because I felt so lost in my 20s. But, seemingly no matter who I talked to, my excitement for my 30s was not something that many people shared. By a lot of perspectives, I wasn't on track. I was failing at achieving the timeline of what I "should" have by my 30th birthday. But whose timeline is that? Who is telling me that's what I SHOULD want?!

In today's episode, I'm going to dig into that. I'm going to question those timelines, question the cultural perspective on turning 30 and I'm going to share something that maybe a lot of people won't agree with...that my BEST YEARS are STILL AHEAD of me. And that having that perspective is a CHOICE! You can CHOOSE to come from that perspective.

So, if you're staring down a milestone birthday and dreading it, if you're feeling like you're not where you "should" be in your life according to the timelines, if you're feeling like you "should" have kids, buy a house, get married or any other timeline markers, this is the episode for you!


  • My 30th birthday and what everyone is telling me I should feel about…

  • The societal obsession on timelines and how you can fight against it

  • Why these milestone birthdays can be so polarizing and why I disagree

  • Why the BEST of my LIFE is STILL AHEAD of me and how you can choose to feel the same way!

Resources in this episode:

30% off Birthday Discount Code is…. THISIS30 **Note: Coupon is valid from 5/14/2019 at 6:00am PST to 5/20/2019 at 11:59PM PST

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Check out my brand-new free e-book on the “Top 10 tips to Take Back Your Life” here


00:00 [inaudible]

00:12 Hey everyone and welcome to the growth tribe podcast. Where we're all about growing ourselves to create lives we f'ing love on our terms. I'm Ellyn and I'm a former biomedical researcher turned coach who fell in love with personal growth when it empowered me to transform my health, quit my PhD, travel the world and start my own business. But don't get me wrong, I'm still figuring my shit out too, and I am so pumped to share what I'm learning along the way. We've got amazing interviews, big stories, tricks and no-bullshit action steps that we can all learn from. So with that, welcome to this episode of The Growth Tribe.

00:53 Today's episode is brought to you by transformational one on one coaching. If you've never tried coaching before, this is the way to start. One on one coaching is perfect for that person who knows that they've done all they can on their own and need something that's going to help them go to the next level. That's where one on one coaching can help. If that sounds like something that you'd be into had to coach ellen.com/one on one dash coaching. With that, let's get to the show.

01:27 Hey friends and welcome! Welcome! Welcome back to the growth tribe podcast. Today's a really big day, you guys. Today, as you may have guessed from the title, today's my 30th birthday and I don't know what your perspective is on aging, on turning 30...I don't even know how old you are, but this is a big day, right? There's a lot in our culture about turning 30 what it means and everybody's got their opinions about it, right?

02:00 Like I've had so many people tell me essentially how I should feel about turning 30. Tou know, uh, it's a benchmark that damn near everybody in my life has told me I should dread. That my body is going to start to break and my health's going to go to shit and that there's nothing to look forward to after you turn 30 and well, to put it bluntly, I don't feel that way at all. And I really want to spend today, which is meant to be usually an interview day, but because it's my 30th birthday, I'm doing what I want and you guys get to hear me talk because this is something that's very, very dear to my heart. This idea of timelines, how people approach certain birthday milestones in their life and why so often so many of us come from a perspective of thinking that our best years of our lives are behind us.

03:00 I always, every single week when I'm doing my weekly review, have a quote that I put on my desk. I've got a cute little like felt letter board thing that I got a few weeks ago. And the last few weeks when I do my weekly review, I have absolutely been loving, picky a quote for the week and having that kind of be my theme for the week. This week as I was looking through quotes, you know, inspirational, motivational 30th birthday quotes. Well, as you might expect, I couldn't find very many. A lot of them were snarky, you know, kind of shitting on ope. You're in your thirties now, you're an old fart, you know, that kind of thing. And it was disheartening, but also kind of frustrating. And I don't remember where he read this, but I read something who somebody was talking about the fact that, you know, why does everybody feel like the best years of their lives are behind them when they're in their thirties and blah, blah, blah.

03:55 And I just had something go through my, my head as I was reading all of these things, if we believe that the best years of our lives are behind us, they will be, you know, it was a quote that I decided I wanted to be the theme of my week and nobody said it. I'm quoting myself, which I dunno, feels kind of narcissistic and egotistical, but I think it's a really, really good point. You know, I think that's part of why maybe we approached turning 30 or turning 40 or maybe you're turning 50 we approach these things wrong because I truly do believe if we believe that the best years of our lives are behind us, then yeah, we're not going to be motivated to make the years that are in front of us the best years of our lives. To make them enjoy a inspirational, you know, where we're going to be, doing things that we always dreamed of. Like we're not going to want to do that if we're coming from the perspective that our best years are behind us.

04:53 So that's really what I want to dig into today is this idea of timelines, some of the timelines that are imposed upon us by society, our family, you know, wherever those pressures are coming from for you. That idea of timelines, that idea of turning 30 and some of these big milestone birthdays in our lives. But really the takeaway being that I truly believe and why I believe this, that the best years of my life are still ahead of me. So let's start by looking at timelines, some of the timelines that we have in our life. You know, I think a lot of the timelines and develop from how we were raised or kind of what we were seeing growing up.

05:33 I know for me, my mom and dad were, they were married by the time they were 30. They had two kids. Um, you know, both of them had very, you know, kind of established careers at that point. Like my dad, his entire career was at one company. He started working there when he graduated from college and he continued working there until he retired. And so my perspective on 30 was very much like you have, you're married, you have a family, you own a house and you're very established in your career. Well, let's take a pause on that timeline and let's look at where I am in my life. I am super not married. I'm very, very single. I definitely don't own a house. I currently live with my parents. I mean, no shame there. I got back from moat. You're five months ago. And frankly rent is it fucking expensive? Where I live. So yes, I live with my parents and I'm not established in my career. In fact, I left my old career to start a new career by all of these benchmarks that I'd set for what, 30 A's and what 30 means. I haven't met any of them, any of them. You know, in fact, I've moved so frequently, like God, I moved every almost two or three years, maybe four years since I was 18 I don't really even have an established friend group where I'm currently living, you know?

06:57 But all of these timelines, these benchmarks for what isn't, is not a great life. You know, a life that I should be living at 30, I am failing, I am failing hard if I were to measure my life in that way. And that was probably one of my biggest fears I had about turning 30 especially now, is that I would fault myself on the timelines and that I wasn't quite meeting them.

07:23 So I really had to take a pause and start to ask myself, you know, where did those timelines come from? Are those timelines even my timelines? Because if I'm being honest, I don't really think they are, you know, maybe they were in my early twenties in my mid twenties and yeah, I feel like a lot of us probably think that way. A lot of us probably had this idyllic picture in our heads of what 30 was going to look like about how our lives were going to progress and the things that we were going to have. I mean, Jesus, I'm a goal setter. I love setting goals. I love painting a picture of what my life could look like. And yeah, my picture was really fucking different than what my life looks like right now. But I at some point had to reassess and I think we all do of what truly are my values, what truly are my priorities?

08:16 And for some of us we don't know. But I think we learn over time. We learn as we invest in ourselves and you know, do that personal growth shit that I always talk about. But we learned what these things are. And I had a big shift in my late twenties of what I really wanted, what the timelines and the things that I valued and wanted in my life really, really were. It's funny because on Friday of this last week I had drinks with a really, really good friend of mine from high school, like one of those people that even if you haven't seen each other and God knows how many years you pick up right where you left off and you were just laughing your ass off. And we were, we were laughing our ass off and being, you know, just probably like our high school selves again over beer and pizza on Friday night and it was wonderful.

09:07 And it was funny because she said something to me that night that I've kind of been processing ever since she said it. Um, she said that I'm the first person she knew in her life that had essentially kind of just said "fuck it" and up and quit. And it's funny because the implication there is that there's going to be other people that are going to do the exact same thing, which is probably true, especially in our generation, but I was kind of thinking about it and did I, did I really say fuck it, you know? Did I really say fuck it? So living a great life or to caring like I still care. I still care what people think. I still care about how I'm showing up in the world. I still care about the quality of my life. I think we're saying fuck it to the way that the generations before us have lived, especially if we've realized that the way they've lived is not for us.

10:02 And you know what? The way they've lived might be exactly what you want, but it has to come from you. It has to come from not from somebody else telling you it's what you should want. It's because it has to align with your values. And really my fuck it was me realizing that the way I was living didn't align with my values that I didn't care about the letters after my name more than I cared about doing work that fulfilled me and that I enjoyed and that really had a meaningful impact on people. I didn't feel that way about the work I was doing. A lot of people in my field did, but I wasn't one of them. That's kind of what I was saying. Fuck it too. And I think that's really the point here is we really have to dig deep and think about are these timelines that we're living according to our, these things that we think that we quote unquote should do with our lives.

10:58 Who's saying that? Who's telling us we should? And if it's some nameless person on some stupid website or you know, you're all of these generations above you who, if we're being honest, only care about us being happy then we've got to check the timeline. And that's kind of what I've had to do. And it's not even really about checking the timeline, it's about recreating the timeline or deciding not to have one whatsoever. That's really kind of the camp, if you will, that I've pivoted into. It's just deciding like maybe that's part of the fuck it. Maybe the fuck it is deciding not to have a timeline whatsoever. That's okay.

11:43 You can not have a game plan. I don't really know if I want to be a homeowner anytime soon. I mean Jesus, I've watched and heard so many people in my life talk about, oh all the yard work, all of the home repairs and I'm kind of sitting over here like, dude, I'm just going to keep renting. Like screw that. I don't want my time to go toward that. So maybe my timeline is not even going to include homeownership and if that's what I decide, guess what? That's what I decide and people can disagree with it. People can think I'm wasting money on rent, which I totally used to be in that camp, so I understand, but maybe that is going to be become, become a new benchmarker of my timeline is a complete absence of homeownership.

12:31 What if I decided I don't want to have kids? You know what? If I decide that maybe having kids and becoming a mom, maybe that's like cringe worthy for some people. But for others it's exactly what they want. Their timeline doesn't include kids, you know, God, we're millennials, many of us aren't even getting married. Right. So what's your timeline? What things does your timeline include and what does it not include or do you come from the camp and the perspective that you don't fuck it. I don't want a timeline. I just want to live my life the best I possibly can. I think all of that's appropriate. And all of that's right. You are allowed to say fuck it to the timeline. You are allowed to decide. You know what if things happen in my life than the time at which they happen is a okay with me.

13:22 I love that meme and in fact I posted it. I don't even know if it's called a meme. No, that one wouldn't be a meme. It's just a quote. God, I'm so out of touch. Um, but there's like that, that graphic on I see on Instagram all the time. That's all about, you know, like if you get your degree went on when you're 30 it's still epic. If you buy your first house when you're 35 or 40 it's still an amazing accomplishment. If you have, you know, start a family or get married when you're 40 45 50 that's amazing. And I'm so happy you found happiness. You know, I love that graphic because it basically says it doesn't matter what timeline you're living according to because guess what? All of these damn accomplishments you're making are still epic. You know, I've had so many people tell me, Oh, you should have gotten your phd, you should have gotten your phd because Dr Ellen is going to impress so many people. And you know what? I still think Dr Ellen sounds awesome. So I'm with you there. But it wasn't worth it to me to sacrifice my twenties to sacrifice my happiness when I was already struggling so much in my twenties to just feel good about myself wasn't worth it to me. If I decide to go back later in my life and get my phd in something else, that's still gonna be an epic accomplishment.

14:44 The time at which it happens, doesn't matter. It's the, you know, achieving the epic. It's, it's, you know, hitting that point in your life where you've made that kind of investment in yourself, where you found the love of your life, where you, you know, where you've found your roots and decided to make a home somewhere or maybe you haven't. It doesn't matter what the accomplishment is or when it happens, it doesn't matter. It just matters that it's your authentic choice to make that accomplishment happen, to, to achieve that thing in your life. If it's yours and it belongs to you, that's what matters. Holy Shit, I'm so boxing. We're going to reign that shit back in. But that's really the takeaway from this timeline portion here is that screw timelines, screw people telling you the time at which these things need to happen for you because it doesn't matter. And reflecting on turning 30 that's kind of what I realized is I don't give a fuck about the timeline anymore.

15:45 You know, everybody can tell me, and I do get this from my parents periodically. I love you mom, but you do periodically say this. She'll say "I just don't want you to be lonely later in your life" because I'm single now. Who says I'm going to be lonely? I wrote a song once and one of my favorite lyrics in it is there's a big difference between lonely and alone. If I find the love of my life and get married in my thirties in my forties it's still amazing. Same goes for you. If you find the love of your life, if you find your dream Home, if you finally stumble across the career that you've always wanted and it doesn't happen until your thirties or your forties or your fifties it doesn't matter who fucking cares. The only thing that matters is that it happened.

16:38 The only thing that matters is that you found the love of your life, that you took the trip of a lifetime, that you hiked that hike. You've always wanted to hike, that you lay down roots. It only matters that it happens. If it's important to you, it will, and it doesn't matter if it happens in your 20s or beyond.

16:56 That's the timeline piece. Soapboxing hard. I'm reigning it back in, but there's one more thing I want to talk about before we wrap up today because really I want to reference that quote again. The quote I referenced at the beginning, if we believe that the best years of our lives are behind us, they will be, and again, I'm quoting myself here, but it kills me that I couldn't find one inspirational quote about turning 30 am I the only damn person on this planet? I bet I'm not, but I couldn't find one. And it was sad to me, sad that we have a cultural perspective on turning 30 that is so negative that so many people that felt that 30 turning 30 is the point at which all the best times and memories they have in their life are behind them.

17:45 I don't think that's the case. In fact, I've seen proof of it. You one of my best friends on remote year last year...she's in her forties the best times of her life are sure as shit, not behind her. She's creating more and I think it's so sad to come from that perspective. In fact, I refuse to believe that. Not only because I've seen it play out in my life. I've seen these people who are, yeah, past 30 and living amazing lives. Shocker. I know!

18:13 I've decided that my thirties are going to be fucking fantastic. I don't care what people say. You know, people tell me, "oh, your body starts breaking." Guess what? I blew my knee out when I was 16 my body's been broken for a long time and in fact I'm in better shape than I was when I was in high school. So screw that about my body breaking and if my body breaks, guess what? I'll just rehab it and keep on going like I've been doing my whole life.

18:40 So I mean you can come from the perspective of, "Oh, I have the first ache in my knee or in my ankle or some other joint or my back hurts for the first time in my life." Well, you know, you can do? Do a little work, you know. Rehab that build the strength back up and guess what? You're probably going to be doing the same amazing things you were doing before.

18:59 My mom? She started playing soccer when she was 40. She actually blew her knee out late in her life, but she started playing soccer when she was 40 I have an 85 year old grandma who still downhill skis. The best years of real life do not have to be behind you. The most physically active years of your life do not have to be behind you unless you choose to accept that. And yeah, maybe I have different models in my life for what's possible then you have, you know. Maybe you don't have a mom who started playing soccer when she was 40 and a grandma who downhill skis at 85 maybe you don't have that.

19:31 But I'm sharing that with you because there are examples out there. There are examples out there that you can use to inspire you or you can look at it and say, yeah, that boat, but that can't be me. Well, why can't it be you? Why can't it? Why can't you make the changes now that are going to give you that vitality later? Why not?

19:52 It's your choice. It is your choice to decide if you're going to be, you know, physically broken from now until you die. That's your choice. Yes, sometimes we're dealt a bad hand. I haven't been able to play my favorite sports since I was in my early twenties because I had to decide, you know what? I need to find a new love because my body can't handle this anymore. There will be sacrifices you have to make. There might be things you have to give up, but guess what? There's always new things out there for you to try. I cannot wait to try rock climbing. In fact, if any of my friends here this and they're like, I want to go with you, dude, text me like asap because I really want to try! I feel like I've just felt like I have no clue what I'm doing or don't even know where to go, so it just keeps getting back burnered. But like that's something I've always wanted to try, especially since giving up soccer!

20:44 I want to find a new love. I want find a new, you know, the sport to do. That's kind of why I've taken such an interest in hiking and overnight hiking and camping and stuff like that. It's fun! Oh my God, is it fun! And it doesn't beat up my knee, especially when I've trekking poles, which, hey, I just got for my birthday, you know, it's so fun. I found a new thing to love. I found a new thing to channel all of this crazy energy into which also I should note that if I'm talking really fast, I am drinking my preworkout right now. So if this is just like Ellyn on steroids energized! I'm really sorry, maybe I won't do this again.

21:22 But you can find a new place to channel your physical energy. You can find new things to do even if you had to give up the things that you did when you were younger. There are so many different things we can do with our bodies on this planet. There's so many hiking, rollerblading, horseback riding, um, you know, skating. Um, actually I've always really wanted to like start getting into skating a little bit more because that's a gliding sport and it's easier on your knees. So I've thought about trying that. There are all these things you can do. You just have to find them. You have to be willing to look and to try. So that's like the physical perspective. Everybody who says, oh, your body starts breaking. You know, maybe it does. Maybe I'll have a new, you know, pain that comes up later this week and all of a sudden I'm going to be like, Oh shit, I'm 30 I'm breaking. Or I can just kind of be like, "meh, same old, same old. How do I deal with this and how do I move forward?" It's a choice, right? That mindset is a choice.

22:19 What about everything else? You know, everything else that where we believe that the best years of our lives, you behind us. Like what about that? Like what stories are you filling that with? Is it about your, the best trips you've ever been on? I don't know about you, but I plan on making a lot more money in my future than I did in my twenties so those trips are going to get even better.

22:42 Maybe it's, you know, the carefree times that you're going to have, oh my gosh friend. You can have so many carefree times now. Still get a mini trampoline and go jump on it like a 10 year old and you're going to feel super carefree. Yeah. I still am obsessed with my mini trampoline! You know, set up some yard games in your backyard and invite some friends over and just have a barbecue and act like kids again! You know, if we start to think of all these times that we've had in our past that we're never going to have again, who says you can't? Go create them. If you start thinking about all of these times in your past, you know,...football games in high school and going to high school dances, how can you have them again? Find a way. Maybe that's what we're lacking is the resourcefulness of how can I create these moments and these opportunities in my life. My Girl Keisha always says, and if you haven't checked out her podcasts, go do it. I know I'm plugging her podcast in the middle of mine. I'm such a Weirdo. Um, but she always says it's not a lack of resources. It's a lack of resourcefulness. And I think the same thing applies here.

23:50 How can you create the best years of your life? How can you do that? Doesn't matter what age you are. What does that look like for you? What does that feel like for you? In the same way you can recreate your timeline or decide not to have one altogether...You can recreate and figure out what do I need to do to make the next 10 years of my life the best 10 years of my life!

24:19 If anything, and I think this is the thing I really, really want to leave you with today, I refuse to believe that the best years of my life are behind me. That is a choice and a decision that I have made and it's a decision you can make to.

24:35 I choose to believe that because I think from here things can only get better. Not because I'm shitting on my twenties but my twenties were hard. I struggled through my twenties. The vast majority of the last decade, I had no idea who I was. I had no idea what I wanted, what I wanted to do, who I wanted to be. I was so externally influenced. I was listening so hard to what everybody else was telling me to do and what's a want that I had no clue what I truly wanted. And that's not the case anymore.

25:13 You know, my late twenties brought me so freaking much clarity. And my clients will tell you, I say all the time, clarity breeds confidence. It's why I teach clarity and why consider clarity coaching to be so much of what I do is because clarity is one of the most liberating, empowering, exhilarating emotions you can feel! Its confidence inducing. And you know that confidence that I've gotten from creating so much clarity in my life, oh my God, I cannot even tell you I am so damn pumped to carry that forward into this next decade.

25:51 You know, it's like, oh my God and, and maybe this is part of what makes me excited about turning 30 is that movie 13 going on 30. It's like Jennifer Garner in that movie--30 flirty and fry and thriving.

26:04 If I have anything to say about this next decade, that's exactly how it's going to be--thriving. This next decade is going to be epic. It's going to build upon the last decade. It's going to be better, not worse because I'm more capable. I'm more capable now than I was in my twenties not less. And that right there is making me so damn ready for the future that I have in front of me.

26:33 You can make that choice to no matter where you're at in your life, you know, no matter if you're in your mid twenties, your early twenties and you're looking back going, "oh my God, what the Hell am I doing?" You can make the choice to say I'm more capable than I was last year. I have more skills, I have more knowledge, I have more than the lessons and I can apply that shit to my future. You can make that choice right now. And once you do and once you embody that shit with every fiber of your being, you can take that forward into the rest of your life! And you can decide at whatever age you are, no matter what timelines you've been applying to yourself until now, you can decide in this moment that the best years of your life are ahead of you.

27:20 That's the decision that I've made going into my thirties from this day until you know, 10 years from now and I'm moving into my forties--my thirties are going to be epic. They're going to be the best years of my life so far and when I get to my forties I can guarantee you you're going to be hearing another thing just like this from me. Because I will never ever approach my future life with, "oh, the best years of my life are behind me" because I am making the decision right now that that will never be the case.

27:55 Because every single time I will always be more capable. I will always have more clarity in who I am and what I want and I will carry that shit forward into my future. I hope there was some kernel in here that you really resonated with. I hope that I didn't ramble too much. I know I soap boxed hard, but this is something that I'm so passionate about because people have been telling me for the last year while I was on remote year, even before that, "Oh, it's all downhill once you're 30" and you know what, as you know now, I refuse to believe that.

28:28 Screw the timelines. I'm turning 30 and I am pumped for it and I don't think there's any damn thing anybody can say that will make me less excited than I am now because I'm taking all of the stuff that I've learned, all of the clarity that I've gotten about who I am and that shit is going to make my thirties absolutely epic. The best years of my life are still ahead of me and you know what? The best years of your life are still ahead of you as well. Thank you so much for listening to this episode. Thank you so much for you know, some of you have sent me so much love, I've gotten some birthday shout out. Thank you so much for all of that. I appreciate all of you and I want to thank you as always for being a part of the growth tribe!

29:15 But we're not done yet. Before we wrap up today's episode, I have a present for you. It's my 30th as you know, but I don't want to be the only person getting a present today and I wanted to extend to all of you a 30% off discount code for everything and anything on my website, one on one coaching, our monthly membership the academy as well as my online program. If you have been interested in any of these programs. All you need to do is head to coach.com/podcast. Click on today's episode and the you will find a discount code for 30% off at the bottom of the webpage. Like I said, I want to extend the birthday celebrations to you. This discount code will be available for the next week. It will be expiring on May 20th! So if this has been something you've been interested in, if you've been wondering about the academy, you've been wondering about one on one coaching, go ahead and head over to coachellyn.com/podcast and take advantage of that 30% off discount code because obviously I want to celebrate with you or this birthday extravaganza.

30:30 I appreciate you all so much. Thank you for the love. Thank you for listening and as always, thank you so freaking much for being a part of the growth tribe.

30:39 Love you guys. See you next time.

Ellyn SchinkeComment