30 Lessons Learned in 30 Years of Life

What a magnificent game we get to play

Niklas Göke
16 min readFeb 18, 2021


Image by the author

Yesterday, I turned 30. When I was 18, I thought by 30, I’d have it made.

My 20s were a long, slow grind of realizing “made” does not exist. “Made” is past tense — but you’re never done! The only finish line is death, and, thankfully, most of us don’t see it until we’re almost there.

Instead of the binary made/not made distinction, I now see life as round-based. You win some, you lose some, and different rounds have different themes. There’s a carefree-childhood season, a teenager-trying-to-understand-society season, an exuberant-20-something season, and so on.

At 30 years old, I’ve only played a few seasons, but each round feels more interesting than the last. If that trend persists, I can’t imagine what one’s 60s or 90s must be like. By that time, you’ve seen so much — and yet, there’ll always be new things to see.

Most seasons last longer than a year, and there’s plenty to talk about with respect to the important, defining decade from 20 to 30 alone, but today, I’d like to do something different: I want to share one thing I’ve learned from each year I’ve been alive.

1. You’ll fall down a lot, but life is about getting back up

You must crawl before you can walk. The first time you try, you’ll fall down. But you’ll get back up. You won’t think. You’ll just do it. It’s natural. Getting up is the only way. There is no alternative. Getting up is what humans do.

This is the first literal lesson most of us learn — and that pattern never changes. In everything you do, you’ll have to crawl before you can walk. You’ll fall down countless times, but it’s not the falls that matter — it’s that, every time, you get back up.

2. Talking solves everything

I watched Planet of the Apes the other day. That movie will give you a new sense of appreciation for our ability to speak. At first, all we’ve got is one-word commands. Hungry! Thirsty! Tired! As we grow up, we get so much more.

My favorite quote from Albus Dumbledore is this: “Words are, in my not so humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source…



Niklas Göke

I write for dreamers, doers, and unbroken optimists. Read my daily blog here: https://nik.art/