On that October 14th in Milan I was sitting on one of the couches in the hall of the hotel where the interviews for the CRP 2015 were about to be held. Around me were dozens of boys and girls wearing rigorous business outfits; on their faces – and on mine, too – elusive and frightened eyes. During the minutes before the call “everybody downstairs, it’s time to start!” I was playing one of my favorite sports, people watching. And watching – some of them fleetingly, and some thorougly – all the people that were sharing with me those nervous moments in that hall, a thought suddenly jumped into my mind: “Am I the eldest here???”
Well, yes, when you are about to turn thirty, sometimes you feel too old to do certain things. And at the same tame you are thinking about that question, you quickly think of the past life and ask yourself “why didn’t I do that before? Maybe six or seven years ago…”
But let’s take this step-by-step…
First came the high school degree, then the university, everyday as a commuter. Bachelor’s degree and then Master’s degree. No Project Erasmus for me. I got a job few days after carrying out my studies, not far from home, a contract for two and a half years that went by just flat, a boring daily routine. Home-work-gym-weekend-home. In a small town located in northern-east of Italy, where factories and fields rule the roost. A place that it’s quite easy to feel too small for you.
And in the meantime I saw people leaving, coming back and leaving again, travelling and telling stories that make you feel admiration and jealousy at once. And I started to think “why not me?”, but every time, ten seconds later, I used to put that thought in the most remote corner of my brain and I went back living my usual life, because “you gotta do what you gotta do”. Work, earn, save money for your future: someday you will have to buy a house, take out a mortgage, maybe you will have kids and then you will have to replace your car with a station wagon, and what about the recession, hard times…
Why in the world, at 24 years old, was it already the time to start sacrificing my life to an hypothetical, standard, but still obscure and undefined italian future? Why, once in a lifetime, couldn’t I live the present time my way? All things considered, we just have one single life, and years that go by are not like those “money back guarantee” products… That’s why, at 27 years old, I decided to do what I’ve been dreaming for a long time: leave and find out what exists overseas.
I think that most of the people that are about to turn thirty and are taking such a decision for the first time have to fight against some kind of discomfort due to the fact that, on the one hand, it’s not uncommon to share the experience with younger people, up to ten years younger (and maybe that young boy/girl will be your boss…) and, on the other hand, you always have to find a smart way to answer the question: “aren’t you too old for that?”.
Nope, you are not too old. Because you have to catch the opportunities only when you’re ready for them, when you understand that the circumstances are telling you “ok, go!”, when you hear a voice deep inside that suggests you “THIS is the right moment”, without looking at the date of birth written on your ID, because we aren’t standard robots manufactured in an assembly-line. We are all different: some people take control of their lives when they’re very young because they already have well-defined projects in their minds, some people would never ever leave their home towns, some other people have millions of projects in their minds but have no possibility to carry them out.
But when you have the chance to give your life a boost and you firmly feel that’s the right opportunity, if your life allows you, do it! Don’t look at the date of birth, just do it!
It’s never too late.