Turning Thirty In Japan

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My Thirtieth Birthday

Today was my 30th birthday. I woke up and looked in the mirror expected to see wrinkles and a gray goatee…thank God I didn’t. I look the same way I always do, and I feel amazing. I took a moment to go to my quiet, local park and do some Donald Assessment. To be honest, I have mixed feelings about it. Many people get severely depressed when they turn thirty because they haven’t accomplished their goals. Frankly, I’m no different. As an early college student, I thought I had it all figured out. I knew I was going to be this awesome dentist with a stunningly beautiful wife, four amazing kids, earning six-figures a year, living in a big house in a quiet, upscale Georgia neighborhood.

Am I a dentist? Nowhere near. Am I earning six-figures a year? No, I’m barely breaking the five-figure mark as it is. Am I married? I don’t even have a girlfriend. Do I have any kids? Much to my mother’s dismay, not one single bundle of joy (please get married before you have the children, Donald, it will make your life easier). So in many respects I haven’t done a whole lot.

On the other hand, I have almost been in Japan for three full years, and I am so happy that I made the choice to leave my hometown to come here. There have been a fair share of ups and downs, but all in all, Japan has been quite good to me. I’m learning Japanese, taking martial arts abroad (like my father did before me), investing (little by little), saving, and trying to be a bit more social.

What’s the future hold? There is so much for me to consider at this point. Earlier this year, I took the Dental Admissions Test just to see how I would fare. I didn’t pass. After the test was done, I seriously started thinking about whether or not I want to go back to school for four more years of science. I honestly don’t like studying science. There are some cool facts that I’m interested in but I really don’t enjoy it. So, I am thinking of scrapping that entire plan.

Now that my finances are stable once again and I’ve learned a valuable lesson about how NOT to run a business, I really want to get back on the horse. I haven’t decided exactly what kind of business I would like to start, but for some reason (even after all of the crap) I feel EXTREMELY drawn to entrepreneurship. The different stories of struggling businessmen fighting their way back from failure are like real-life superhero stories for me. I will do thorough research and testing in hopes of getting it right this time.

Another major decision is whether or not to make Japan my permanent residence. As the end of my first job draws near, I have been thinking about it almost everyday. The longer I stay here, the less I want to go back home. I often feel like there’s nothing for me to go home to. I didn’t have a lot of close friends (just being honest), my family is pretty much doing their own thing, and jobs were hard to come by. Here in Japan, though, it’s been different, it feels like everything I set my mind to while I’m here bears fruit (not always impressive fruit, but fruit nonetheless). I’ll keep thinking…and…I know I’ll come up with the answer eventually.

I’m really looking forward to my 30s because I’m determined to make more of these years than I did with my twenties.

Thanks for reading,

Donald Ash

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Donald Ash is an ATLien expat who has been living in a Japanese time warp for the last six years. While in aforesaid time warp, he discovered that he absolutely loves writing, blogging, and sharing. Donald is the creator, writer, designer, editor, programmer, and occasional bad artist of thejapanguy.com blog (that's just way too many hats, dude). Wanna know more about this guy? Check out his "What's Your Story" page.
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