30 days to 30: On Aging, Creativity, and Giving Back

The big Three-Oh inspires shudders from many of us. Whether we feel we are on the right career path, or that we still have a long way to go before we arrive where we want to be, reaching thirty is a milestone marked with the unequivocal end of our youth. As someone who turned thirty last October, I was grappling with existentialist questions about my purpose and calling in the months leading up to my birthday milestone. Recently, a high school friend and inspiring face in emerging independent filmmaking from India, shared 30 important lessons for remaining creative and inspired as we get older, which I find provide a wonderful reminder about how important it is, to stay true to ourselves whilst continuing to give back what we have learned.

Shruti Rya Ganguly is a producer/director with over ten years of media experience. She has produced 4 feature-length movies, numerous short films and video content, which have premiered at Sundance, SXSW, Venice, Telluride, and so on. Shruti is currently a Producer at Conde Nast Entertainment and has had stints as a Senior Producer and Producer at MTV Networks and NYLON Magazine/NYLON TV. She got her MBA and MFA at NYU, at the Stern School of Business and the Tisch School of the Arts, and teaches a Business of Film class at Ringling College and at NYU. She hails from Oman by way of India.

In Shruti’s own words, “When I was turning 30, I took a moment to think about my next step, and here are 30 things I learned and am still trying to learn.” Here is her wonderful list, which you can also find on her blog.

1. Create some type of structure even if you break it

2. Don’t look at your phone during meals

3. Know your worth but don’t let your ego be the final judge

4. Don’t pull out money from your savings account

5. Let yourself be vulnerable in love

6. Lose yourself in more bookstores, museums and parks

7. A good guy isn’t always a good boyfriend

8. Give yourself a new challenge every month or every other month

9. Make your bed every morning

10. “I’m too busy” isn’t a good enough excuse

11. Your mentors may not be in the same business and that’s okay

12. Take on projects not for the money but for the experience

13. Do a few things for free. But keep it to a FEW things!

14. Keep working with the same people

15. Your friends groups may change and that’s okay

16. It’s okay to be alone, and that’s different from being lonely

17. Do something unthinkable (like run a marathon!)

18. Teach, share knowledge 19. Never get too comfortable but you need stability

20. Happiness is within, and therefore within reach

21. Be absolutely honest with yourself about yourself

22. Live within your means, but dream and love without barriers

23. Never lose your sense of wonder (my favorite line from Sophie’s World that I read in high school and always remember)

24. Compete with yourself, not other people

25. Make the time for your teachers and former bosses

26. NYC doesn’t get easy, you just know how to deal with her better

27. Don’t reach out to people only when you need something and always stay in touch

28. Take leftovers to give away

29. Live life in karma points

30. Keep creating and stay creative

When I was turning 31, I looked at this list again and added this:

31. Clear and curate the clutter, re-organize.


2 thoughts on “30 days to 30: On Aging, Creativity, and Giving Back

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