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Ask HN: Is 24 too late to start life?
18 points by neo_begin on Dec 26, 2015 | hide | past | favorite | 38 comments
I feel like i have failed in life.I have dropped out of college,have no job,no money,no friends except one guy, and 4 months back i had a nasty breakup with my girlfriend of 8 years.Now i am on the verge of being thrown out of my parent's home.I have absolutely zero skills in anything except a little bit of coding.I turned 24 last month and am feeling that its too late and that all doors are closed to me.I have absolutely no reason to live my life.I feel like a total loser. However in some corner of mind,i have a feeling that i can rebuild my life if i put in the required efforts.But in my present state of mind,i am not able to believe it. What you people think i should do in this stage of my life?Is it possible for me to really come out of this and progress in my life?I am really in need of advice.Please guide me.

First of all, forget the "success is taking in a huge salary". In fact, forget the whole BS "winners and losers" american mindset which is not the case in most other parts of the world.

None of your "failures" are that much of a failure or even unique to you.

Dropped out of college? Millions of Americans never even been there.

No job, no money? That can be fixed.

No friends except one guy? How many real friends do you think most people have? You can always meet some new people anyway.

24 and still living at home? Not too uncommon either. In fact in some places in Europe you could be 30 and still living at home, or even worse, 40 and coming BACK to live at home because of the crisis.

First get a job and some apartment. It doesn't have to be your dream job, but should be easy enough to do so you can hone your coding skills further and try to get a coding job. Even McDonalds are nothing to be shamed for.

Oh, and millions of people rebooted their lives after much worse situations, from wars that left them with no family, friends, money AND country, to accidents that cost them their job and life savings to medical bills, to prison...

How can you be successful if you don't make a couple million?

If I could live free and just roam the wilderness and live in the forest, I would totally consider that a successful and happy life. Everybody has a different idea of what success is. To some it's having lots of money, to others it may be being a good parent, and to others it may mean improving other people's lives.

Some people define success as something entirely exclusive of your bank account.

That seems so counterintuitive. I've always thought life was a game and there was a very very clear score kept as your bank account statement.

The more money you have, the more successful you are.

Here, you dropped your "/s"

A coupe ideas for jobs:

1. Work for a gardener/landscaper. I did this for a summer after I had dropped out of college. I worked for the landscaper that took care of my parents house. He was always complaining how hard it was to find good employees and sure enough the only other guy he hired while I was there didn't last more than a month. Fast forward 30 years to today and the landscaper that works on the houses where I live still complains about how hard it is to find good employees.

2. Cannery or commercial fishing work in Alaska. I did this several summers during college (this was back when programming internships, or really any internships, were not as common today). You can work long, hard, hours in peak season but, since you won't be doing anything else, during a good season you can earn a fair amount of cash just by the sheer number of overtime hours worked. If the season is bad then you might not get much work and that is a risk. Besides that, you will certainly meet some interesting people and Alaska is quite beautiful.

You have many avenues these days where you can learn and prove your skills in a variety of fields, not just programming but ever more so if you go that route, but you do have to follow through. When I was your age college was about the only option and I was overall a C student, graduated with a second BS at age 28, but still managed to find jobs and do fairly well.

I've been around where you are. Around the same age, though my circumstances were different - My spouse had a suicide attempt, new bipolar/schizo affective diagnosis, nearly lost all income and had to move back to my parents place. It took some time for me to work out of it and wound up leaving him, but I am ever so happy that I did so. Life isn't perfect now, but much more happy. It isn't too late to start or change life. First things first, take care of your housing. It'll be an uncomfortable talk with your parents. Admit things, regardless of embarassment, and either tell them your plans or admit to your own confusion. This will take some of your worries away. Second, money. Any job will do. Try to do well at it, and find bits you like with it. The reality is that you might not be able to support yourself, by yourself - As in, countless people and their families are in the same situation. It is an unfortunate new reality, and easier on the mind if you view your situation as more normal than not. I oddly wound up with a retail job at a pharmacy and thrived: I'm currently taking language classes (I'm now an immigrant) that have a focus on health care terms so that when I re-job, I'll like it better. Third, give yourself a break. You are still reeling from the breakup, plus the life situations. Friends - I've always struggled to have friends. I tend to have very few, but I get my social needs met between that, any job/school/volunteering and the internet. Get active somehwere, anywhere - to get your mind off things.

Lots of good advice on this question for Quora [1]: "I am in my late 20s and feel I have wasted a lot of time. Is it too late for me to achieve something worthwhile?".

Tl;dr: no, it's definitely not late. But doing nothing about it won't help. The secret is to start.

[1] https://www.quora.com/I-am-in-my-late-20s-and-feel-I-have-wa...

Pick your headay up. There's lots of great advice here. And if worse comes to worst, if you're in America you can always join the airforce. The threat of danger is less than compared to other branches, you get to see different parts of the world as you change bases, get additional schooling/food/board for free, and you'll be getting paid all the while and get to put almost all of it towards savings since you'll have minimal expenses. Not saying this is the best option or a great option, but it is an option. I have never served, but I have a few friends that say it's the best experience.

You're smart, healthy, and 24 years old? There are a lot of older "successful people" that would trade everything they have to be you.

Motivation is based on momentum. You're at a standstill now, so you'll have to build up that momentum. Start off with small challenges (sleep, exercise, diet, or whatever) and then take on your big goals once you've got some speed.

You may also find Steve Jobs' speech helpful, as a reminder that even people like him were just as confused at times.


look, on a productivity level, everyone else is right: you're barely past the beginning of your life. I went through an almost total reset of my life for a couple of years after the first dotcom implosion, and I can tell you that its absolutely likely that you'll come out of it just fine. I've dropped out of college (twice!), gone through a list of terrible relationships, shitty jobs, great jobs, less great jobs, better relationships, had a kid, gotten divorced, and now getting married again and on top of my career (and have been for awhile).

But that's not really what you have to worry about right now. What's most clear to me looking at your post is that your language indicates a very deep depression, and until that's under some semblance of control or treatment you're likely to continue feeling helpless in your life. I hate it when people try to diagnose each other on HN, so I don't want to go further down that line, other than to say you really need to find a doctor or counselor who can help you in a concrete way. The rest of us here are just going to be making recommendations in a vacuum. Only someone you're actually connected with in the physical world can effectively help you get through this. But the takeaway from the rest of us is that a lot of us have been through similar and come out ok and even great.

I hope things get better for you.

Your life expectancy is about 80 so, unless you waste your health, you can expect to be around for a few more years. Even if you come to the conclusion that you wasted 5-10 years, that's only a tiny fraction. Learn from your failures, grow, get better at living a life worth living.

1. 24 is not too late. I didn't get much done in my 20s. 2. With all due respect to the girlfriend of 8 years, you are probably better off breaking up now. Marrying the high school sweetheart has a low probability of success. 3. Get a job. I would suggest starting to take classes at a community college to see what interests you. 4. Make sure that you get exercise and sunlight. 5. If you have the time, volunteer. Cook or serve at a soup kitchen, tutor, it hardly matters. You will be doing something useful for people who are worse off.

Hello my brother .. I am 27 , trust meee I know what you are talking ... I dont have any saving , no friends expect one .. I have only two things left in life .. to build something because of which people know me and earning enough money to gift my mom any fucking thing on the planet whenever I want .. I knowwww how you are feeling trust me ! ... If you want to get together and build some thing together I am ready ! .. but you yourself will have to find a MOTIVE ! .. for which you will fight .. no amount of consoling session here on HN will help

How can i get in touch with you?

The only thing holding you back is you. Your life isn't going to change unless you're motivated externally (fear, anxiety) or internally (hope). Which one is better? Figure out what you're good at and double down on it. Excise the negative influences in your life. Get out of your comfort zone, you won't grow doing the same old things. Focus on the future, don't dwell on the past.

1. Please stay safe.

2. Please call your close friend and get his/her advice.

3. Yes, of course, you can emerge from this and progress in life. We all feel unaccomplished in our 20s, but relative to the rest of our careers... we are.

4. The fact that you have some coding skill is vastly more than the average person and with a few side projects to show off, it's enough to get a dev job.

5. Build and ship those 1-2 side projects. Shipping builds confidence. And teaches you the unexpected parts.

You could see it in a different light: being that you don't have family to support, no mortgage to pay, given that you're healthy and young you are in a situation that many people would die to get into: you have full and complete liberty. If I were you I would take a year and travel the world. Take local jobs to finance it. This will give you new connections and new perspectives. And no, you're not too old.

In the eastern way there are two paths, the positive and the negative. In the positive you know what you want and strive towards it. In the negative you just do something and keep moving forward until you realize it or realize that it is not what you wanted by which time you have a few other options to pursue. Keep your ears open to reality and stay vigilant for reality to Present you with your path.

You're ONLY 24. I went back to college at 26, got a BS and an MS and have changed paths many times. Get that "no reason to live" nonsense out of your head and get it together. You have many, many years ahead of you. Like others have said, doors are shut only to those that give up. I agree - get a job and practice coding and build up your portfolio.

I have had students in engineering with me that were older than you right now.

Some went into medicine, some worked in shops, but all decided to change their lives at around your age. And it works!

I'm not saying engineering is the only way, I'm saying go talk to people and do interviews and see what college degree will give the skill set and job that you could see yourself doing.

Calm down and put yourself together, find a Minimum Viable Job bettertake something that you are in contact with people.. Like a waiter barista or something it would not be a lot of money bit you will meet people... I your spare time pravtice coding until u sharpen enough to find a internship. Doors are shut only for those who give up

go read http://www.amazon.com/How-Fail-Almost-Everything-Still/dp/15...

This is a book written by Scott Adams of Dilbert fame, he has failed at more things than you can imagine. You are unique, divine. So hang in there. Start off with eating right and exercise to get increase your energy. Then follow your curiosity. You will be surprised what you are capable of. Take a course on Coursera, it could be anything. Then build upon that to propel forward.

It's never too late to do something to improve your life!

6 years ago I stopped as partner in an company that had worn me out to the point where I only was able to work a few hours every day.

Now 6 years later I have 3 employees and is building a exciting new startup.

Nothing is impossible, it just takes time and effort.

It's never to late and definitely not at 24hs. Read some biographies, yes, some people were rich by 19th, but some struggled for years and years not finding their success or happiness until the 40s, 50s, etc.

Do you like coding?

Yes i like coding

If you like and want to pursue programming you need a plan. Your plan should be first achieve competency and then demonstrate it to potential employers.

To achieve competency take some classes--free online, community college, whatever--the basic programming classes are all the same. If you have a solid grasp on fundamentals (loops, functions, arrays), in other words if you can look at a program and trace what it's doing, then you can add value in a company (trust me I've worked with people that somehow don't know how to read code).

Actually getting hired requires demonstrating your competency. This can be frustrating without professional experience, but if you are competent you just need to stick with it and you will eventually get your foot in the door. This might require answering some algorithm questions, like sorting. Awareness of SDLC. A portfolio of some sample project. There is a high a demand for anyone that can code. Your first company can suck (mine did) and pay you below market, but professional experience with be incredibly useful for your skills and for your hireability,

It's not easy, but if you enjoy it I think you can do it.

This was going to be my follow up. To demonstrate competency, you can participate in open source projects. I even got job offers out of my participation.

There are also bootcamp schools that will get you up and running quickly, some even that are free while you are there and they only charge you a percentage of your first year of salary after you finish.

You have time and reason. That's all anything needs. Judgement of others is not important. Measure yourself by what you can do better each day.

I'd like to learn more about your skills and your background. First time I realize HN does not have a private messaging feature.

you can mail me at budgow@gmail.com

At the very least, eat healthy, exercise regularly, and sleep well. Hard to break out of a rut without it.

Been there. You can do this, keep a minimal overhead and lifestyle and only do a few things at once. Focus.

Any recommendation of books/courses that may be helpful to me?

"The Midas Touch", by Donald Trump.


I mean, no, it's not too late, yes, you can start you life :)

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