31 is a weird age. It's so… normal.
If it wasn't for my girlfriend and my coworkers, I probably wouldn't even have noticed. Just another Thursday trying to get React + D3 2018 wrapped up and perfect.
Of course, React did just announce hooks, so I have to update a bunch of my updates 🤔
But yeah, 31 is weird.
Definitely not a wunderkind anymore. That boat has sailed.
Too old to gripe about never making 30 under 30.
Too old to gripe about anything age/achievement related, really. What's done is done. Never again will I ever hear "Wow, you're so X for your age”.
Got a career, I think, but in your 30’s, you're supposed to. Everyone does.
Got okay income, not spectacular, not terrible. But in your 30’s, that's expected.
Not living hand to mouth, yay! A few years ago, I was. But in your 30’s, that's just normal. No medal. No participation award. No pat on your back.
Yep, definitely too old for anyone to be impressed by what I've achieved in my life.
And yet far too young to complain about old age.
Last year, it was funny. Oh noes I'm THIRTY that's so old I'm ancient omg! Ha ha, chuckle. Oh you.
At 31, nobody thinks that's funny. C'mon kid, you still call your knees left and right. Wait until they're good and bad. Then you can say you're old.
But 31 is old enough. You see those first signs of aging.
Hair's thinning. Can't deny that one anymore. It's thinning.
Reflexes aren't what they used to be. Can't use speed and power in the boxing ring no more. Gotta rely on experience and skill. Punch for punch slugging I get smashed every time.
Sometimes I can still overwhelm less experienced fighters with volleys. But then I'm gassed and they get me.
Getting harder and harder to keep the fat down, too. I tweak MyFitnessPal to fewer and fewer calories and nothing happens. Pounds stay on, body fat percent remains annoyingly constant.
Running hard and fast and far is getting harder, too.
Little things. A second here. A little more effort there. Just a smidge of my body saying, "Hey you're not 25 anymore". If I wasn't training every day, I wouldn't even notice.
But I know my body, and I can tell it's slowing down. Even though I'm in the best shape of my life.
Brain needs more rest than it used to. Nights are getting longer. Mornings are getting earlier. I can't stay up all night hacking away and being productive anymore.
I could. But it's not as productive as it used to be. And I feel it the next day more than I used to.
I could push through. Work through the tiredness and the brain fog and all the mistakes you spend fixing the next two days. But part of 31 is that I'm not sure I want to.
And that's the biggest shame of turning 31. I've lost some of the foolishness. Lost some of the fuck it let's try it. Gained more of the eh I don't know if that's worth the effort.
31 is weird.
Learned something new?
Read more Software Engineering Lessons from Production
I write articles with real insight into the career and skills of a modern software engineer. "Raw and honest from the heart!" as one reader described them. Fueled by lessons learned over 20 years of building production code for side-projects, small businesses, and hyper growth startups. Both successful and not.
Subscribe below 👇
Software Engineering Lessons from Production
Join Swizec's Newsletter and get insightful emails 💌 on mindsets, tactics, and technical skills for your career. Real lessons from building production software. No bullshit.
"Man, love your simple writing! Yours is the only newsletter I open and only blog that I give a fuck to read & scroll till the end. And wow always take away lessons with me. Inspiring! And very relatable. 👌"
Senior Mindset Book
Get promoted, earn a bigger salary, work for top companiesLearn more
Have a burning question that you think I can answer? Hit me up on twitter and I'll do my best.
Who am I and who do I help? I'm Swizec Teller and I turn coders into engineers with "Raw and honest from the heart!" writing. No bullshit. Real insights into the career and skills of a modern software engineer.
Want to become a true senior engineer? Take ownership, have autonomy, and be a force multiplier on your team. The Senior Engineer Mindset ebook can help 👉 swizec.com/senior-mindset. These are the shifts in mindset that unlocked my career.
Curious about Serverless and the modern backend? Check out Serverless Handbook, for frontend engineers 👉 ServerlessHandbook.dev
Want to Stop copy pasting D3 examples and create data visualizations of your own? Learn how to build scalable dataviz React components your whole team can understand with React for Data Visualization
Did someone amazing share this letter with you? Wonderful! You can sign up for my weekly letters for software engineers on their path to greatness, here: swizec.com/blog
By the way, just in case no one has told you it yet today: I love and appreciate you for who you are ❤️