A couple of days ago I turned 26 (yes that’s right, yet another belated blog entry).

Unlike previous birthdays, 26 seems to have grabbed me as a major milestone. The jump from 25 to 26 seems much larger than the one year increase would have you believe. Part of this may be my current situation (are you noting a theme running through my entries of late…?), and partly as I am now on the wrong side of 20, and approaching 30 fast!

Something Jon said to me a couple of weeks ago has festered in my mind the last couple of days. He said that we grow up most between the ages of 16 and 26. When I look back at all I have learnt, accomplished and gained during this time, I can see why.

Respect for my family

My relationship with my brother is one that should last my entire life, and how this has changed is a reflection of how much we have both grown up in the last 10 years.

For much of my life I have lived under the same roof as him, shared the same journeys to the same schools, ate the same meals, and shared in the same experiences every young family has. Now of course, this set-up is totally different, and is likely to remain so.

My brother now lives in London, whilst I am soon to depart for life in another country. The gap that has grown between us physically, has actually meant we are now much closer on a personal level. We now can talk to each other, have sensible conversations, give each other advice, and respect each others opinions. Given we used to fight (or more precisely, I got sat on a lot) is pretty cool, and I feel privileged to have a sibling, and it’s worth remembering that not everyone does.

The relationship with my parents may also have matured, but of course in years to come that will change considerably too, and the roles likely to be reversed. I’m not sure it has changed a great deal however over this period.

Lasting friendships

Had I not moved when I was 12, I may have been able to say this much earlier, but I can now lay claim to friendships that have lasted for 10 years or more, and many which have lasted at least half that time too. I will continue to meet new people, and make new friends, but they will be added to a nucleus of great friends I already have. Unlike when I was 16, I can now list 4 or 5 people who I could talk to about anything (and vice-versa). What a great asset to have in ones life.

Knowledge and Responsibilities

There is of course a long list of things I am able to do now which I couldn’t when I was 16. I can drive, vote, drink etc. I have discovered a trade, earned the qualifications, and begun gaining experience of how to succeed in it. I have travelled around the world, and have a greater understanding of my responsibilities to it.

But as I list these skills, it is telling that I feel still I have so much more to learn. Unlike when you are 16, I tend to think that the older you get, the more you realise how much you don’t actually know.

I could be a better driver, I could learn more about politics and about how the world works. My trade revolves around such an organic, ever evolving industry, that to stop learning is to become irrelevant. Being a designer first and foremost, hopefully gives me some longevity, but again, this is only guaranteed if you have a desire to continue learning. How I organise myself, manage time and interact with other people… there is still a lot of experience to be gained.

In essence, I guess the last 10 years have been about laying a solid foundation for the future. That future is now.


6 responses so far. Go on, add yours!

 Gravatar#1 On August 19, 2006 4:19 PM, Jonathan Aquino said...

Timeless ideas--love it.

 Gravatar#2 On August 20, 2006 11:02 PM, Lewis Burden said...

Firstly - Belated birthday wishes.
Secondly - Apologies for not making the other night.
Thirdly - Sunday is the day I like to think as the day where the whole week is wrapped up and gives you chance to take stock. This weekend has been abit hectic and not really had the chance to do that until about an hour ago. Reading this post has topped it all off, and drawn a neat line under it all.

It makes my own journey to this number not seem so bad at all!

 Gravatar#3 On August 22, 2006 12:18 PM, Jon Roobottom said...

Hmmm... I may want to revise my previous statement that you do most of your growing up between the ages of 16 - 26. Yeah, it's true, we've grown up a lot, and I can look back at the mistakes I've made and not for the life of me know how I managed to do them...

But I think it's very much to the individual, I know of people 30's, 40's who make mistakes, who do very selfish things to people who're vastly inexperienced in life compared to them. The phrase "they should know better" rings very true. So I would say that some people never learn.

 Gravatar#4 On August 22, 2006 12:37 PM, Paul said...

...and of course we will all (continue to) make mistakes regardless of our age and how much 'wisdom' we gain.

I think this underlines perhaps the conclusion I came to, that between the ages of 16 and 26, we lay the foundations. We are given new responsibilities (we are allowed onto the roads, into the pubs and into the voting booths), we have to learn to live on our own and take care of ourselves, and we get the qualifications and basic understandings of a trade that can support that. But these are just the basics, and perhaps the much harder stuff is still to come.

And, yes you're right, it is very much down to the individual.

 Gravatar#5 On August 26, 2006 3:58 PM, mike robertson said...

Lloydy; excellent website; hell of a lot of interesting stuff on here; didnt know you had been to Rome; I went there back in March for the marathon; absolutely loved it; probably more than you judging by your comments; but I think it was quite a bit cooler at that time, and for me all the historic monuments were outstanding... still, ended up with blood blisters under 5 toes; just got over those recently, so time to do another marathon; doing Dublin at end of October.

Love the photos taken every mile; Im going to try that trick; you know I left a voicemail for you yesterday; is there any chance of you designing an html email for me to get sponsorship for the marathon; in aid of Crisis homeless charity... be great if you could; sounds like you had a good birthday; when are you back off to the States?

On the subject of learning; I think you carry on learning just as much after your 20s; maybe alot of people dont though; I think alot of people get comfortable with their position and stop looking around, but Im learning more now than I ever have.... especially working for a company like Cisco!


 Gravatar#6 On September 1, 2006 4:54 AM, Stephanie said...

Wow, belated happy birthday! Well, for me, every year is a milestone. You just don't know what to expect but still you anticipate for something, which is usually big. Just enjoy being 26. :) It only comes once in life.

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This entry was written on 19 Aug 2006, 1:23 PM and is filled under .