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Richard Bacon: Why Your 30s Are Your Most Important Decade
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Telegraph.com

Broadcaster and radio personality Richard Bacon is no stranger to change. After a 20-year career presenting British television and radio, last year the 40-year old moved to Los Angeles for a job with ABC News and to begin working on new projects.

This change, Bacon tells me, was prompted by the imminence of his 40th birthday. And now the broadcaster, who believes that your thirties are one of the most important decades of your life, has teamed up with The Huffington Post to create a streaming series in which he speaks to politicians, sportspeople and fellow broadcasters about their individual experiences of these ten significant years.

 “Your thirties are the one,” says Bacon. “The friends that you make in your thirties, the path your career takes, whether or not you decide to have children – many of these big decisions that set the course for the rest of your life tend to be taken when you’re in your thirties.

“Ten years ago,” continues the broadcaster, “when I turned thirty, I threw everything out. I ended a relationship and started a new one, I sold my house, I changed my agent and I changed my job. And they were the key pillars – other than friends and family – of my life. And I think making those changes was something to do with turning 30.”

Bacon believes that over the course of the last few generations, the way most people structure their lives has changed.

Ten years ago, when I turned thirty, I threw everything out.
Richard Bacon

 “A generation or two ago,” says Bacon, “decisions like this were made in your twenties. But that was when people changed jobs less and got married younger. Now, we all approach life differently.

“And that was what made me think that doing the series was such an interesting idea. I wanted to see how other people have navigated this incredibly consequential decade. And I was surprised. I found that most of the people I talked to were actually very reflective – that they actually do plot and plan and take it more seriously that I realised – or remember!”

The new 12-part series, 30 Something with Richard Bacon, sees the broadcaster engage personalities such as Reggie Yates, Rufus Hound and MP Stella Creasy in discussions about subjects such as family, jobs and social expectations.

“I think quite a few of the people I spoke to saw the decade as a ticking clock,” says Bacon, “and that was probably the most pronounced with sportspeople. In a way, sportspeople are outliers, but they’re quite good at illustrating the point in a dramatic fashion. Because, in sport, you retire at the age at which most people’s careers are flourishing.

“And that’s what I spoke to Jamie Carragher and David Haye about – their careers ending. Their daily routines of fitness, their entire ways of life very suddenly coming to an end. But, when talking to the others, I found that there’s a version of this that happens to almost everybody. It’s obviously not forced upon you in the same way that it is with sportspeople, but I found that most people will make some really dramatic change to their life in their thirties. Almost everybody.”

So what would Bacon consider a ‘dramatic change’?

“It could be one of many things,” answers the broadcaster. “Buying the house, making the big career decision, having children. Because the older you get, the harder all of these things become. You can’t make a big change in your forties now that you’ve got several children and they’re in school, now you’ve got to pay for double the amount of plane tickets to go on holiday and pay a mortgage, can you?”

Bacon, who has a young family himself, tells me that his choice to move to the United States was a decision consciously made to coincide with the end of his thirties.

“There’s something in me,” he says, “I have a need to toss things out every few years, to throw things in the air. I guess I’m driven by a sense of adventure in my life and I don’t want to find myself stuck in the same place doing the same thing forever.

“And that’s what I spoke to Jamie Carragher and David Haye about – their careers ending. Their daily routines of fitness, their entire ways of life very suddenly coming to an end. But, when talking to the others, I found that there’s a version of this that happens to almost everybody. It’s obviously not forced upon you in the same way that it is with sportspeople, but I found that most people will make some really dramatic change to their life in their thirties. Almost everybody.”

So what would Bacon consider a ‘dramatic change’?

“It could be one of many things,” answers the broadcaster. “Buying the house, making the big career decision, having children. Because the older you get, the harder all of these things become. You can’t make a big change in your forties now that you’ve got several children and they’re in school, now you’ve got to pay for double the amount of plane tickets to go on holiday and pay a mortgage, can you?”

Bacon, who has a young family himself, tells me that his choice to move to the United States was a decision consciously made to coincide with the end of his thirties.

“There’s something in me,” he says, “I have a need to toss things out every few years, to throw things in the air. I guess I’m driven by a sense of adventure in my life and I don’t want to find myself stuck in the same place doing the same thing forever.

“It’s funny, they’re all kind of in a similar position – be that Lauren Laverne or David Haye or Henry Holland, where they all give you the sense that they’re trying to work out whether or not to make a big jump, a big next step – and none of them are entirely sure. People talk a lot about risks, and we’re encouraged to take risks, but it’s very tricky when you reach your forties to take risks. So that’s why I think your thirties are such an important decade.”

 

So what advice would the broadcaster give to his 30-year old self if he could pass on some words of wisdom from ten years down the line?

“I guess I’d just say that your thirties are when you make all the big decisions that will change and influence the rest of your life. And also – and this goes for everyone I spoke to – your thirties will feel like a much better decade than your twenties, and while this might only be in hindsight, it’s true. Your thirties are the one – they are most consequential decade of your life, and the decade when your path is set, so make your decisions carefully!”

HuffPost UK’s new Original series ‘30 Something With Richard Bacon’ is now available on The Huffington Post UK

 



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