There are a bunch of things that happen pretty much automatically in your life until you hit about age 30. They’re not guaranteed and there are certainly things you can do to actively sabotage them, but for the most part a lot of things just fall into your lap in those years.

You make friends pretty much automatically. You experience new music and other pop culture. You can become healthy/in shape as a “side effect” of just having an even mildly physically-demanding job or reasonably active lifestyle.

As you cross over that threshold, those things can still happen – but they stop being automatic. A lot of your life sort of calcifies, and you end up never really forming deep bonds with new people unless you really try. You can’t just stay in shape without working at it. And, if you’re not careful, you can listen to the same set of songs you liked when you were 22 for the rest of your life.

If any of those things are important to you, you have to put effort into them. (Maybe those things aren’t important to you – but my guess is that something else probably is, and that something also got less automatic when you hit ~30 years old.)

So it is with great awe and wonder that today I used my secret cheat, my special weapon against this effect. Today my oldest daughter and I were building her an art studio in a corner of the house so she could expand on her various creative endeavors, and while we cleaned and built she asked if she could play me “some music that I think you’ll like.”

It was perfect. I liked the music, not just because it was good but also because of the shared experience, the bond. We rocked out to that album together, dancing in the basement while we worked. And now my life is brighter.

Many things are automatic while you’re young. When you’re not – build bonds with people who are, however you can.

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