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Show HN: HeyFromTheFuture – Advice people wish they had at your age (heyfromthefuture.com)
355 points by ryry on Jan 14, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 167 comments

I like the idea, some thoughts..

Every year seems a little much? Maybe at young age, but 21/22/23 doesn't really make that much of a difference, or even 40/45

The advice should be written for the perspective of the reader not the writer:

"Hey 13 year old, don't stop learning how to play piano"

How would that help a 13 year old? Something like "Hey 13 year old, I stopped playing the piano at your age and now I'm regretting it very much. I often dream how well I could play if I didn't stop and I also could teach my kids"

Obviously you do not control the text. A short description with tips would maybe help.

I would add to the primer text that you should be sincere, it’s already got a lot of less than helpful stuff in it...

“Don’t go bald, bald people aren’t happy.”

I'm pretty much bald, and have been tending that way since my mid twenties. Early thirties now. I'm plenty happy.

If you feel like your happiness is dependent on your having hair, then you should probably really ask yourself why.

If you feel like having less hair makes you less attractive, then I can tell you I've had loads of hair and now none of it, and I've met women that love or hate both.

Own it.

A few of my friends started going bald in their early 20s... whoops

There aer treatments for hair loss that can slow but not reverse progression of baldness. "Don't go bald" is actionable.

Treatments that can have seriously adverse side effects for some individuals or simply not work at all for others. Furthermore, most of the treatments do exactly what you said: they slow the progression, not halt it. It's not so black and white, unfortunately.

"Don't care about going bald" is even better.

Or "don't tie your self worth or happiness to your appearance," to be more general.

Yes, and I’m trying to call China now, but apparently the Chinese food delivery guy found a friend...

Maybe the advice should have been posted for 20 year olds and not 34 year olds. It’s still not helpful as is.

There are also surgical robots (Restoration Robotics) that do hair transplants without leaving ugly scars.

Hey thanks for the feedback - really appreciate it.

I struggled with the idea of creating a page for every age. I eventually settled on the idea that people could take the platform anywhere they wanted to, whether it was passing generic advice along, or sending themselves a very specific message at a specific time in their life. That being said, it's kind of cool to see the ages that mean the most to people.

I like your idea with the short description - do you mind if I quote your example?

I really like having a different page for each individual age. This separation distinguishes your site from the countless blog posts that pass on advice "to those in their 20s and 30s" or "to those who are still young". In my eyes, these pieces are often far too general. By this, I mean the following:

Thinking back on my life so far, the years 19, 20, and 22 were quite unique with respect to my then-current circumstances/knowledge/abilities (even though I was in the same undergrad program and had roughly the same job during these years).

If I had the opportunity, I would give 19-year-old me very different advice than 20-year-old me! 19-year-old me really needed it! And don't even get me started on the advice 22-year-old me needed.

Adding some pages that aggregate the advice submitted to similar ages (20s, teens, 18-35, choose your favorite grouping) wouldn't be bad for those who are interested, but I think taking the focus away from individual ages would minimize something quite neat that you've done here.

This is my experience too.

Other commenters mentioned that people grow at different rates, but there's nothing stopping you from looking at the advice for ages around you

But what if someone develops a little faster? By the time they're 19, it might be too late!

Maybe instead of having one sub-page for each age group, why not transform the landing page into a chronological list of the five highest-voted entries for every age group, so we can seamlessly scroll from 20 to 21 to 22 etc. This allow for a much nicer reading experience with less clicks :o)

That's not a bad idea, thanks for the advice!

Another idea- if you get enough data, it’d be interesting to see who is up voting at what age. The advice I wanted to hear at age 18 is not what I’d give at twice that age.

yes sure, go ahead


Yeah, I would like to see some context added to each piece of advice:

- Piece of advice

- Written by a {person's age}-year-old

- Background on how that advice affected them to this point in their life.

Otherwise, it kind of reads like a generic motivational quote.

I disagree. Having a targeted age makes the platform feel more relatable to where I am in life as opposed to general advice that can be applied to a whole age group.

Cultivating remaining flexibly young minded and and open minded is far more accurate than age. Closemindedness and fear exists at each age group.

On the other hand, age might be used as a way to self identify a spot in the site. As children we are raised by age and grade to measure where we are, should be and headed. It's a form of subtle conditioning we do not have a choice in until it begins to wear off in one's 20's or 30's.

Yeah, it would be nice to be able to click an age and drag through other ages, or even a ctrl+click type of selection to get a bulk list of advice.

Nice idea, but who is to say the future advice is any good? The TNG episode http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Tapestry_(episode) is a poignant counterpoint to the idea that your hindsight perspective is always best.

It is shocking how much of this advice assumes that the world will be a similar place even a few years from now.

There is a constant set of themes, for each of the years I scanned but especially my age which is 23, to travel, invest for the future, and start businesses and I am increasingly skeptical of each.

I am just starting out, and I am here because I used to think that my future involved travel and startups, but recent news has made it clear to me that travel is one of the human obsessions that is destroying this world and that the future will not happen: http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2017/07/climate-change-earth-...

My advice, for all age groups, is to enjoy what you have now and don't have kids- the world even 10-20 years from now isn't one worth living in.

I realize this post may come off as abrasive, but here it goes.

> but recent news has made it clear to me that travel is one of the human obsessions that is destroying this world and that the future will not happen:

If you think that impending climate change (/climate catastrophe) is significantly impacted by the "human obsession" of travel, you are drinking someone else's kool-aid and pulling wool over your eyes as to the real causes (industry greenhouse gas emissions, industry and non-industry energy generation, and agriculture).

>My advice, for all age groups, is to enjoy what you have now and don't have kids-

My advice for all age groups is to take with a massive grain of salt what a 23-year old suggests to you, perhaps going as far as to completely discount any "life advice" given by this demographic. And I'd also suggest to make a decision about having or not having children based on your life circumstances rather than some absurd claim (coming below) that the world sucks.

> the world even 10-20 years from now isn't one worth living in.

We get it; you're a pessimist. People have espoused this same sentiment for decades (actually, centuries or longer).

Fair enough, but tourism is estimated to account for a tenth of global carbon emissions which is not insignificant: https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/tourism-climate-ch...

People have been espousing that we are doomed for decades, but many of them were actually right: we have not meaningfully deviated from the predictions made by the 1972 report The Limits of Growth (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Limits_to_Growth) for example. Reality has continued tracking along with our climate models, which were used to predict doom decades ago. Some doomsday scenarios have a preponderance of evidence that they are happening, and I feel that understanding that is not pessimism but realism.

The thing about pessimism is that it's a very attractive mindset for people who don't like to think all that much, but want to have answers.

It's also the mindset for people who stagnate and adopt a defeatist attitude.

It's also an extremist mindset, that closes itself away from other options and is fueled constantly by more pessimistic thoughts.

It's also a mindset that can quickly lead to depression, due to the constantly negative and skewed perspective of life.

It's also an easy mindset to disguise as "realism". There is no realism in what you've advised, in fact the advice for people to stop reproducing due to a doomsday scenario is perhaps the least realistic thought when it comes to reactions to global warming. The absurdity of such an advice is only explained by the naivety of someone who only now started life (which is accurate).

On the other hand the human life & culture we've developed might not give us a "realistic" means for dealing with the environment and climate change. Reread what you've written and look at it from the perspective of someone concerned about climate change, whose read the reports that we're likely to see effects of it within our lifetimes, and who lives in a world where the response to a progressively worsening disaster is ranges from "not my problem", "don't be so negative", to "what can we do?".

Young people today are born into a world with a considerable amount of inertia leading it to a not so happy place. The evidence points to this not being just pessimism, but a reality they will have to face and deal with in their lifetimes. Rising sea levels, political instability as once habitable and arable land become inhabitable and barren, increasingly sever weather, etc. Pessimism and optimism in this case refers to how severe these problems will be and whether we can either put them off or mitigate the consequences, not whether or not they are happening.

> my age which is 23

My advice to you, as someone who's older than you and used to think exactly like you: climate impact can be an excuse to stay in one's comfort zone. Try to go out of your way to do things you're not comfortable with, or you may come to regret wasting your youth in front of the computer.

Haha, kids are what gives your life purpose. Next time you blink you'll be over the hill and having a great time with your grandchildren! I wasted my youth, don't waste yours. If I could go back to 23!!! :)

There are various ways to travel, not all involve dumping tons of jet fuel in the atmosphere. A German I met used to take a yearly trip to Portugal on bicycle. Hitchhiking also lets you get pretty far while wasting minimal extra fuel.

We're hackers, no? Rather than declaring the goal impossible, why not try to find clever alternative solutions?

You don't sound like you're enjoying anything.

I'm not. I'm still grieving. I think most people when they realize the extent of climate change, soil depletion, and ocean acidification will have to go through some stage of grief before they can accept the future they thought they had is going to be cut short.

Earth has no feelings - it's just a large rock floating in space. It doesn't care about anything or anyone, and it will eventually get destroyed by cosmic fate.

So what's left? People. We are the essence of anything meaningful on earth. Despite our negatives, we've managed to thrive and create meaning. We have a consciousness that transcends our own understanding, and in this we should embrace each other in hope that our future is better.

Perhaps your feeling is that you just don't like people, and need to find positive ways to interact with them so that you can see a brighter future.

My advice for you would be to think longer about these things, 23 is just the right age to think you have all the right answers and everyone else is wrong.

Its a really important hump to get over. When I got out of my undergrad I felt like I owned the world, but a few years later and I felt like I knew nothing.

It just made me try harder, but I think every kid needs to get over that bridge to become a legitimate adult - to be faced with both success and failure, and realize you are only ever at local maxima, there is always another mountain to climb, and you do it to aspire to see more and further.

Instead of grieving for what might have been, how about start working towards what might still be?

The environment has suffered damage, and it is likely to suffer further damage in the short term, but the time to start fixing that is now.

Good grief, you've been completely brainwashed by the media. Grieving? Over dirt?

The climate has always been in a state of flux. For as far back as e.g. ice core records can show, the temperature and weather and atmospheric gas concentrations have gone up and down and all over the place, for millions of years.

Despite that, here we are, supposedly at the highest point yet demonstrated of intelligent civilization, our species having overcome all of it--and there are members of said species like yourself, who are acting completely irrationally, against all historical evidence.

If our ancestors thought like you, they'd have all frozen to death in caves, and we wouldn't even exist. "Hey, Ug, baby, wanna start a fire and get it on?" "Nah, I'm grieving cause the wooly mammoth outside sneezed and blew some dirt into the lake. We're all gonna die anyway, so why bother having kids? Might as well go ahead and freeze to death now here in this cave."

Get a hold of yourself, before it's too late for you to make use of the limited years you have on this planet. Tomorrow isn't promised to anyone.

Seriously, now, you might actually be clinically depressed. It's very hard to think rationally or overcome irrational feelings when depressed. You're on the Internet, so google up the signs of clinical depression. If any of them apply to you, go get some help from someone trained to provide it. There's no need to suffer helplessly when we have tools available to help. Do something now, because no one else can truly help you until you decide to start helping yourself.

You know, you're right and I made an appointment with a doctor yesterday evening.

Great, best wishes to you. The best practical advice I can give is, again, that no one can--or will--help you more than you help yourself. Also, look for medium- and long-term patterns. It's easy to be in a short episode and feel like it's permanent. When you recognize that it's okay to feel down for a while, that there are natural ups and downs, and that you will feel better soon, it's easier to handle, and that makes it last a shorter time and raises the "floor" of the experience, so to speak.

If you're giving up on the future already, might as well travel all you want while you can. Why care if we're doomed anyway.

If you're NOT giving up on the future just yet, you'd be much better off maximizing your impact on public policy (from municipal to federal levels) instead of trying to become an inert object.

You can be part of the solution without needless self-imposed extremism.

When I was your age, and extremely worried about climate change, I went to live on an ecovillage with like minded people trying to demonstrate a lower-impact lifestyle.

It was terrific, highly recommended! You might find visiting a few to be a satisfying way to connect with likeminded folks.

The one I lived on was a secular, rural-US community with at the time pretty intense covenants [0] but there are lots, with widely varying beliefs.

[0] http://dancingrabbit.org/

I once reached to Dancing Rabbit as an 18 year old! I was so interested in their concepts and wanted to join, but then I went elsewhere with my life.

> the world even 10-20 years from now isn't one worth living in

Per what subjective measure? There has been torture, famine, genocide, and worse catastrophes for millions of years. I'm not even exclusively talking about human, social constructs. Animals have been weeding each other out for forever. There have been asteroids that nearly strip earth of all life. Would you say those times were not worth living in either?

If so, i think you may want to ask yourself what makes life worth living. Life may be filled with struggle and adversity (and the specifics of how it is so will likely continue to differ), but the beauty of it is that we get to try our damndest to make better and more out of it.

Do not go gentle into that good night~

> the world even 10-20 years from now isn't one worth living in

I heard the same advice 40 years ago. The world today is wonderful. I will be very sorry to leave it.

Part of why you feel so strongly about climate change is that you (us, I guess? I'm only four years older) haven't lived long enough to recognize that, while its a massive challenge to the species, two things:

1. We only ever confront challenge either on the individual or among our peer group. No matter how much you try to collectively call everyone a citizen of the Earth and part of one family your biology prevents you from being empathic to those a few orders of magnitude outside your local self. This means you both cannot wax poetic for the woes of everyone else and you need to recognize 99.99999% of humanity will, optimistically, not give a shit about you.

2. Climate change is the kind of problem with stupidly simple solutions that are just hard to implement and take sacrifice and work to accomplish. In the same way curing many plagues in the era of vaccination was a simple solution - reach herd immunity in a population - with a logistical nightmare to accomplish. People died by the millions in the struggle to make it happens, and millions will die victims of climate change until the broader interests of humanity wake up and force the change necessary to fix the problem, but its not any one persons burden to bear.

We could all be killed tomorrow. by a gamma ray burst from a star in our local cluster going supernova. Or an accidential nuke launch at a dilapidated silo could cause total annihilation of the surface world. Or some alien species an infinite amount of distance from us could execute an experiment that fundamentally alters the constant rules of the universe that redefines what matter is.

We don't know whats coming, we do what we can for ourselves and those around us in our time, and we can't be distracted from what we can do with what we can't do, like alter the minds of billions to suddenly decide to take climate change seriously, or stop violent crime, or end tyranny, or feed everyone. That later is a great example - plenty have wished and prayed for global food security, but it took the efforts of millions of individuals over decades to propagate wells and agricultural practices throughout the third world that have led to recent years being consistent record lows for global thirst, hunger, and extreme poverty. They might have cried about it in their early 20s in the 70s-90s, but they got up and did what they could, and collectively had a major impact on it.

So if you really do care about climate change - and being from HN - there is a huge tech scene around solutions and tools to fight it. Get involved and do something. Don't just complain about it, because that doesn't help anyone.

Interesting concept in this regard - Croatian artist Dalibor Martinis interviewed his future self, asking questions in 1978 and answering in 2010 on national TV.

Has english subtitles.


It's interesting the older one doesn't speak in English.

:) The video from 30+ years ago was recorded in Vancouver, in front of a class of English speaking students. His answers on Croatian national TV were broadcasted to a Croatian audience.

This reminds me very much of the video How To Age Gracefully [1].

One thing I think is missing is a "From: a x year old" for each bit of advice. I think the advice to someone in their 20's would be quite different coming from someone in their 30's vs 70's, and that in itself could be very interesting.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sycgL3Qg_Ak 4m40s

Interesting video. Some advice seems person-specific over age-specific, as in, I wouldn't be surprised to hear them give the same advice five years prior or hence.

One area where I think future advice can be most helpful is in preventing hard-to-reverse mistakes. 18F's data release for college completion rates, employment rates, etc in 2012 may have helped people avoid bad decisions[0]. Another example could be increased wariness of using a drug after hearing personal stories of people trying to quit. Using the recently shared visualization of related subreddits[1] and looking at the "/r/askdrugs" graph, one can see Kratom and quittingkratom, phenibut and quitting phenibut, benzodiazapines and quittingbenzos, opiates and quittingopiates.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/College_Scorecard

[1] https://anvaka.github.io/sayit/?query=askdrugs

>One thing I think is missing is a "From: a x year old" for each bit of advice

Each piece of advice has a little person icon with a number next to it. That's the age of the person that gave that advice.

How about upvoting by age group. For example take advice from a 40 yo to a 20 yo, the 20 yos may not upvote but many other 40 yos may upvote the advice.

Would love to see the distribution of up votes. Do 60 yos agree with the advice the 40 yo is giving the 20 yo?

Great idea, this should be organized by decade. Nice idea OP.

> Hey 32 year old, Even if it’s not in your budget, buy yourself a nice (>$20) bottle of wine and toast to your good health :)

Uhmmm, rrrright.

Amazing. I started this 10+ years ago, called WishIKnew. It was a project to learn Rails. I learned Rails, but never launched it.

Glad to see it's real - with curation, I think it could be hugely valuable. I'm 42 and wonder what people who were 50 or 60 would tell me they wished they knew at 42 as I don't have a lot of folks those ages in my life.

Thanks! I wanted to name it something similar but all the good domains were taken, so instead I settled for a veiled The Office reference.

Trying to get contributions from older generations is tough, but would likely provide the best advice. I need to find a few media sources to submit to that target this age group.

Where do old people hangout online? If my mom is any indication, Facebook and email.

I think getting advice is the hook to get people to the site. Once you get some valuable advice, the theory is that some of those people will be inclined to participate.

I'd think about this approach:

1. Seeding this with advice from people you trust. Don't even get them to register - just get the advice and input it yourself

2. Aggregate advice into posts e.g. "Top 10 lessons for peopel in their 40s from the future"

3. Share / pay to promote those posts on Facebook

4. Profit (?)

Things are newer than you perceive. What I mean is, look around at technology. You'll find it looks "already done" but it's not—it should require a second and third look by you to see what you can add. Be strong.

Secondly and related, I'd do a quick study of every single bit of general tech around you as for how long it's been in use. This will open your eyes to what has been and ready for what is coming. Mentally track how long this and that has been in play—you'll be surprised and more importantly, you'll see opportunities. Go!

-Edit- Misread that title and added mine here. ^_^

I clicked on a few ages and saw advice from someone that was the exact age. To me, those are pointless in this context. Maybe restrict posting to posters that are >= 10 years older than the age?

10 years is too much. I'm 26 and am busting my ass to get a good GRE score, because I didn't care about GPA in college because I thought I'd never want to go to grad school. Left a comment for 18 years old to take college seriously.

Hey 26 year old, save yourself the $50,000+ and skip grad school. The work experience you can get instead is far more valuable.

Maybe. Just using 10 as an example. However, in 5 to 10 more years, you may have a clearer view of what you went through and why you made the choices you did. It sounds like you are still going through it and while I may agree with your perspective, I wouldn't put it in the same category of thoughts as those that have had time to marinate on the other side of the events.

Did you agree with the advice?

Doesn't matter

I think age groups would be better than individual years. Is there any advice that applies at 13 but not 14?

I do love the idea of collecting wisdom. The hard part is getting the 14 year olds to believe it!

> Is there any advice that applies at 13 but not 14?

I can think of some advice that is specific to an age. If you're going to apply for an overseas working holiday visa, you want that last chance reminder at age 28 or 29... because once you hit 30 you're no longer eligible.

But I agree in general about age ranges. I like the idea of the user choosing their exact age, but it'd be better if the person giving the advice could choose the range of ages their advice applies to.

I think it might also need some filtering / curation. The current advice at age 64 to "start saving for retirement" is, uhm, probably a bit too late at that point. I think they made a typo in the age fields somewhere.

Huh, I learned something new today:

"Canada and Australia have signed a mutual agreement that allows young Canadians between the ages of 18 and 35 to travel and work in Australia for up to 12 months. (The age limit used to be 30, but it was increased to 35 in 2018)."

Canadians appear to be a special exception though. If you're Australian, most countries still limit you to age 30 (and Cyprus & South Korea limit you to 25 or younger, apparently):


Groups are a good idea, but my concern is how do I decide what ages fit in each group, could the categorization be different for different cultures

Bang on about the 14 year olds believing it. I rejected any notion that I didn't know everything at that age.

IMO the most valuable sections are always going to be < 19 years old.

Unfortunately, the hard thing is that when you're < 19 years old you don't want to listen to anyone because either you know everything already or they wouldn't understand.

It's a paradox.

I'm 18 lol, super confused and trying to gain something from older people. However, they always seem to say the same thing, and it's mostly just common sense, along the lines of stay in school and work harder. I guess I could say the same about my high school years, but I feel like I've heard the advice on this site a thousand times over.

I could give a lot of concrete advice to my 18 year old self. But, I don't think a lot of the advice I'd give my 18 year old self would apply to much of anyone else. (Get a side part haircut, you'll look better. Your mom wasn't right about a lot but that haircut you got as a five year old worked. Stop wearing baggy hoodies - you look stupid. Wear better fitting jeans and shirts, it'll take some effort to find ones that fit. Fix your acne, go to a dermatologist 3 years ago. etc... It's not all looks related but I needed a lot of help.)

I think that's why you hear so much of "work hard and stay in school." People are trying to be as broad as humanly possible to appeal to as wide of a net as they can.

The real worthwhile advice isn’t as easy as one liners and some things are really hard to make people understand without experience.

Makes me think of that line "If they were right, I'd agree, but it's them you know not me" from Father & Son by Cat Stevens.

"Hey 37 year old, Remember it’s never easier on the other side of the fence no matter how green it is."

Welp, thanks for the inspiration :D

Hey 37 year old, did you remember your age, or did you have to do the maths to work it out?

"sleep around in high-school, the opportunity cost will never be lower so you better get it out of your system while you're young."

Well that certainly flies in the face of everything everyone is told as a kid.

Some feedback:

1. Registration form is too long. Lower the barrier to entry. Maybe only ask for email and username? Or just email with a default username?

2. Try lazy registration so the flow is:

- click advice

- enter advice

- hit submit

- get asked to login/register

Hey thanks for the feedback. The registration form is a pain, I implemented SSO/oAuth with Google a few days ago in the hopes that more people would register.

Email and username is a good call, thanks. I had never thought about that kind of flow before, but that's interesting, encourage people to submit advice, then ask for registration. Think I might do that. Thanks!

Be careful. Soliciting user input and then holding it hostage is a use-hostile dark pattern that angers people.

Better to warn users that they must log in to contribute (why?), and to provide the sign-up and contribution in the same page.

Great site! Was fun reading through. Out of curiosity I skipped to age 81 and saw

> Hey 81 year old, You've got one good year left... maybe

Ouch! That one sucks

It's a poignant reminder that time runs out for all of us.

Yeah many of them are quite silly, I’m not really sure what the value is of the site. I perused several in my age group, and they were just clichés.

Hoping there's a "Hey 15 year old, everything you've learned and are likely to learn in the next several years through TV and popular culture about life and relationships will turn out to be wrong or misleading, but it sure made lots of money!".

"Sorry, It looks like nobody has submitted advice for age 80 yet. Try being the first"

"Try" sounds funny in the context of me being an 80 year old (just testing for the octogenarians who are desperate for advice :) I'm not quite 80)

Haha good point. I'll rewrite this. Thanks!

Conceptually, this is really appealing, though I agree with sibling comments that offering some grouping would ease browsing.

What I’m finding interesting is the metacommentary on what your userbase (which I’m presuming is mostly HN at the moment) looks like. The advice for teens and twenty somethings is wide-ranging and pretty good. Almost everything for folks in their thirties is pithy and reads like it was written by someone younger. (My own bias: haven’t checked past age 40). So, presumably, there’s not as many people commenting retrospectively on their 30’s.

Would be neat to track the delta between a subitter’s actual age and how old they’re willing to advise.

Hey this is a great idea. When I get a free chance I'll see if I can publish a report on it. Thanks!

This is some of the worst advice I’ve ever seen..

For Singularity University I conceived of a similar idea. I called it TimeTraveller.

I am not on my computer but a couple of ideas I had:

1. Match people with similar personalities (measured by the big 5). This idea hypothesizes that similar personalities can help each other.

2. Match people per topic. This idea hypothesizes that experts can help non-experts.

Matching older people with younger people and allowing them to chat regarding their lives can give a time traveller type of effect. Here is someone who's done what you want to do and walked a similar path beforehand already.

Meta-lesson from this site:

Hey X year-old: 90% of advice, like everything else, is bad.

This is all such a bunch of gormless vapid chicken-soup-for-the-soul bullshit. One gets the sense that none of the people giving advice have ever faced real hardship. when the moment comes that you have to make a real choice, the best advice I can think of is to not listen to all these self satisfied blowhards who have never walked in your shoes and think for yourself.

I don't know, I thought "Hey 24 year old, you need systems not goals!" was actually an interesting take.

Of course, none of this is actionable until you apply it to your own life, but I don't think this is meant to be taken as gospel. It's a neat idea, no more no less.

Some people make really bad decisions when thinking for themselves, though; I've met a few.

It might be worth trying to find advice from people who have actually faced real hardship rather than trying to wing it all on one's own.

It seems to me that you are blowing things out of proportion. It's not supposed to an accumulation of the world's greatest wisdom.

Badly needs quality control.

This has great potential! Every now and then I learn something new that I wish somebody would have taught me when I was younger. Simple tricks that make life easier.

Not going to go into things that I think could be improved right now but just leave this as encouragement to develop this further as it can really be useful to the world! Well done on getting the idea shipped!

For many popular advises I know quite sure that my response would have been "meh". Yeah it would have been nice to be able to play the guitar now, but 13 y/o me will tell 36 y/o me: "Screw you, I have more fun things to do, learn it yourself you lazy old man. By the way, what is stopping you from doing that anyway??"

Nice idea. But I feel like most things people wish they knew at a younger age aren't the sort of thing you can learn by reading a line of text. Most are behavioural things that you really have to experience.

Like you can't just say "be more confident" to someone. Or "do more exercise". Or "don't go into debt". No shit.

The only pieces of advice available for 60 and 64 are unhelpful - they both talk about starting to save for retirement.

I'm sure that the idea is that these things will fall off the bottom if the site gets more popular, but pretty much by definition, there will be less advice at the older end, so there will be less to push off the rubbish.

Isn't one of the problems though that people in the younger age brackets don't tend to listen to older people? I remember in University I was a mentor, and my mentees would usually be blaise about most things. Only when they were seniors would they panic about job prospects.

The voting system is interesting.

How can anyone judge whether the information is good for an age group higher than their own, or even for their own age? I would have expected that you can only vote on advice for ages younger than yourself, much the same as giving the advice

> Hey 35 year old, be aware of spent your half life

Don't need my coffee, found my morning anxiety!

I beg to differ with that statement.

I'd say life doesn't really begin until you're on your own, so around 18 for me, but I'd really say that life picked up around the late 20s, early 30s. So, at 37, if I look at everything that I've done in the last 10 years, and now knowing what I want to do, I've still got three lives to live.

Life begins as soon as you can make conscious choices in what to think about. Things that look like adulthood to us used to start at about 10-12.

Maturity, focus, concentration, self confidence all ebb and flow with time and aren't guaranteed to be monotonic. Civilization allows us to do great things, but it also enables the individual to be a weaker total person while being particularly skilled in one area.

> Civilization allows us to do great things, but it also enables the individual to be a weaker total person while being particularly skilled in one area.

Is that actually the case? I feel like a hunter/gatherer society isn't particularly well rounded - it's just a couple of skills that one lives or dies on. I wouldn't say that a caveman was well rounded, instead they were just ignorant of everything outside of "find something to eat and kill, then mate with something else".

> but I'd really say that life picked up around the late 20s, early 30s. So, at 37, if I look at everything that I've done in the last 10 years, and now knowing what I want to do, I've still got three lives to live.

Absolutely. Since I've turned 30 I've gotten married, found my career, and bought a house. I've really only figured out life in the last 5 years or so. I've got many lifetimes to live as well.

Oh man, too accurate. Why were these words exactly what I needed to hear?

Good site, thanks for the help.

“Do not become bald” is the only English-language advice at 34 years old. Helpful.

The spelling and grammar of some of the “hey x year old!” copy is not that great.

“Hey 34 year old, do not become bald. Let's face it, bald people aren't happy.”

Well that was sure worth my time spent on the website. I’m not sure how I will best incorporate this advice into my life.

> I’m not sure how I will best incorporate this advice into my life.

Don't go bald.

Realise that the advice is nonsense and baldness has no meaningful impact on your life. Go bald and be happy.

So the advice is don't listen people who post on HeyFromTheFuture? It doesn't surprise me but it's self defeating.

Genuine advice is often coloured by a person's own bias and experience, and if another takes it without taking that into consideration, they will be misled by the same faults.

In this case, the advice about baldness is a joke based on a negative stereotype for baldness, and not genuine advice at all. The default response in this post appears to be along the lines of preventing or reversing hair loss, showing support for the stereotype, and that people are taking the content at least a little bit seriously. I'm just here to say this particular piece of 'advice' is misleading at best and harmful at worst. Baldness will only affect your happiness if you let it.

People who wish they lived their life differently when they were younger, are the same people who when they are older will realize their younger now self should have given different advice.

It would be interesting if the upvotes have age statistics, e.g. of the upvotes for this advice to 30 year old, 15 are from 35 year old, 20 from 43 years old, etc

Cool idea!

Looking through it, I'm not sure I like the ability to post to your current age though. It doesn't read like worthy advice to me.

Honestly one of the coolest site ideas I've seen in a long time. I'll be checking back.

It's a fun and interesting idea. Would definitely like to see how it'll evolve further.

Wow, the HN filter ignored my advice completely, refusing to post my comment. It was a shorter version of engaging more in the recreational form of reproductive activity, while your body is in its prime.

And don't waste decades thinking you're not that smart.

Some people have prodigious technical skills. They'll use absolutely all of their abilities to try to lift the truck off the baby, and the wall of equations they produce while failing will make you feel like you don't belong.

Don't confuse this with intelligence. It's not. The best answers are simple.

> the recreational form of reproductive activity

Aren't there at least two, the key distinction being the necessity of including other people?

Hmm actually my younger self was already familiar with half of this set. I'm guessing you are talking about the other half.

I love the idea, I guess the form will change when there will be more content.

The idea here is very cool, but was disappointed by the execution. A lot of the advice given is really simplistic. I'd like to see (1) more deep, meaningful advice (2) from smart, successful people (ex: Warren Buffet).

* Warren Buffett’s List of 14 Must-Read Books || https://www.warrenbuffett.com/warren-buffetts-list-of-14-mus...

I like it, but I would add moderation on the comments.

34 is a rough year.

Hahah, I looked at it and went "uhhh, I'll try not to, I guess?"

Hey Nineteen That's 'Retha Franklin

This one is unkowningly funny:

Hey 26 year old, these are your prime earning years, make sure you're saving as much as you can

Why do you think so?

Its the opposite lens of most the other advice. The others look at the mid 20s as a time to have fun, quit jobs you don't like, etc. This advice is purely fiscal - you earn in a prime position to earn money, so maximize that value while you can. All the advice agrees the mid 20s is a prime, but 80% is prime for fun/living while this one is prime for money.

Still good advice, just a funny juxtaposition.

Also that's only true for a narrow subset of people working in "rockstar" industries where the career decline is sharp after 30. Footballers, pop stars, models, some programmers. Everyone else expects to make more as they get older. Some industries (e.g. acturaries, medical) have really long qualification processes so you will only reach full pay after 30.

It might be "peak savings opportunity because you don't have a family", but that's not at all the same thing.

Hoo boy that's a lot of over-privileged suggestions right there. "hi, millennial who is working full time to make rent, now is the time to start your business!", "Why not take your family around the world?"

It's a nice idea and the site works pretty well on mobile, but it sort of grinds my gears.

Actually all of these things are more achievable than you think. I have a relative who has a family of 5 (as in two adults and three young kids) and they've managed to travel the world the past several years on a high school teacher's salary.

It's all about your priorities/tradeoffs and how much work you're willing to put into it. They lead a very no-frills budget-restricted life, keep very minimal possessions, put effort into finding overseas teaching jobs in low cost-of-living areas, finding dirt-cheap travel deals, and honestly I think the kids getting all this early travel and cultural exposure is probably a big net win (vs e.g. prioritizing things like buying them the latest video game consoles and fashionable clothing, etc).

You could say the same for starting most small businesses. There are loans available to get up and running if you have a solid business plan and don't have awful/ruined credit, and many viable businesses can be "pay my bills" profitable fairly quickly. You won't make as much excess cash as getting on the corporate treadmill and doing well, at least not earlier on, but you do reap the rewards of being your own boss and learning a suite of skills that's much rarer, and over time even the small business world can eventually become quite lucrative if you want it to be.

>It's all about your priorities/tradeoffs and how much work you're willing to put into it. They lead a very no-frills budget-restricted life, keep very minimal possessions, put effort into finding overseas teaching jobs in low cost-of-living areas, finding dirt-cheap travel deals...

So how is their retirement plans coming along?

>...and honestly I think the kids getting all this early travel and cultural exposure is probably a big net win (vs e.g. prioritizing things like buying them the latest video game consoles and fashionable clothing, etc).

That seems to be a loaded assumption. I've known people who spent their entire childhood traveling, and rather than culturally rich they just couldn't fit into any culture - they were inappropriate and had difficulty functioning in a North American lifestyle due to having a mish mash of wordly exposure which has proven to be pretty career limiting. They can tell neat stories about their time in South America, but can't figure out why people don't want to hear outright that their ideas are dumb. There's this assumption that the more you travel the more well rounded you'll be, but you've just been you in more places, doesn't mean you'll be a better person.

Optimizing life for retirement seems like the single most backward strategy one could have. I don't even mean that in some sort of counter-cultural way - it just seems deeply irrational.

> Optimizing life for retirement seems like the single most backward strategy one could have.

I'm not suggesting optimizing for retirement, but I am advocating being aware of it. Choosing to make financial choices where only today is considered seems irrational as well, considering that tomorrow can and will come.

Unless you're on track to retire in your 40's.

One does not have to retire to a first world country. Seriously, why would you even want to retire to USA? Health care, which old people tend to use, is stupid expensive.

>Seriously, why would you even want to retire to USA?

Family. Literally everyone wants to retire near their family, kids, and grandkids.

I'm Canadian, so I have no desire to retire to a place with awful health care. How does health care in second/third world countries work? Are you instantly granted all rights to health care if you retire to another nation?

>> are you instantly granted all rights to health care if you retire to another nation?

Yes, those rights being the sole right to purchase health care. Which can be very good if you have money and doesn't exist if you do not.

> Yes, those rights being the sole right to purchase health care.

But do all nations actually have that?

As you get older, and your time becomes short, you're not going to want to retire to some completely foreign place you've never lived in. You will want to be close to people that matter to you, and enjoy the comfort of familiar things. Exploring new things becomes less appealing as you age. Exploration is for the youth.

> So how is their retirement plans coming along?

Someone has been watching too many financial planning commercials. And is assuming life expectancy will continue to outpace retirement age a few decades out.

And struggling with the close-minded back home after travel isn't a good reason not to do it.

>>And struggling with the close-minded back home after travel isn't a good reason not to do it

Why is traveling now considered such an absolute good that it is impossible to criticize it, or to assume that it will automatically make people more open-minded? The parent posters point was that traveling won't make everyone well-adjusted and open-minded. I find it silly to claim that everyone will benefit, there surely must be some people who won't benefit.

Taking the parent's post in good faith, I find it reasonable to conclude that yes, in my experience there are people who, after extensive travel in their youth, experience difficulties adhering to local cultural standards. For a neutral example, I find the American puritanical reaction to sex & nudity frankly stupid, but it would be unwise to ignore these aspects of the culture.

Interesting point; travel does come across as rather unassailable.

By way of analogy: it's fine to take the first job you're offered and work there until you retire. If you took a new job, you'd have to learn new skills and deal with new coworkers, a new work culture. And should you return to your old company after the new one, you might try to incorporate skills, processes, or attitudes from the other place you found beneficial, changes which the old guard may not appreciate (but management should).

> is assuming life expectancy will continue to outpace retirement age a few decades out.

Here's the thing - if you can save enough, you can retire when you want, regardless of retirement age. I don't believe life expectancy will decrease, and I definitely want to be able to enjoy my golden years without working.

Well life expectancy depending on variations is well past 80, especially once you make it into your late 60's and i don't imagine much of the working public wants to be heading into work Monday morning at that age, so yes - it is reasonable to assume life expectancy will outpace retirement for several decades.

> all of these things are more achievable than you think

Perhaps one of them is achievable, but only at the cost of a very high level of focus - and giving up on the others.

Travel is certainly a lot easier to achieve when you're young, and in many places cheaper (e.g. Interrail tickets, which I would recommend to anyone looking to see a lot of countries in a short time)

I think that's the point of the application? This is advice from older people to their younger self, so a lot of it won't resonate with you (your nothing like them). Find the bits that do, and try to gain a bit of perspective from them

At the same time, advice from people who have unrealistic regret at missing out on all the options they didn't pick isn't very helpful. Life is a series of choices. Saying yes to everything is impossible. Good advice is for ideas are short-term sacrifices (at least in perception) for long-term payoff, not for grasping at everything desirable.

Well, first, getting to the point where you can maintain your lifestyle (even a relatively modist one) requires taking on quite a lot of financial and personal risk. Like the kind of risk that may exclude you from being able to buy your own house for the foreseeable future (already a challenge for many), or could drive you to living hand to mouth. The problem is at the average end of the income scale and lifestyle today, risk isn't just this nebulous, financial thing: it's not even an effort in the present risk, or the risk of emotional vulnerability - it's the risk of your next decade or longer being blighted with excess debt and possibly dependence on the state or family or whatever assuming even that you're lucky enough for those things to break your fall. In many places if your personal business fails after you quit your last job, you're voluntarily unemployed so, woops, too bad! Not to mention people who cannot just give up everything because they have dependents and all the rest.

"If there's one thing I wish I could do to improve HN, it would be to detect this sort of middlebrow dismissal algorithmically.

Unsophisticated people read an article like this and think: Gosh, I better eat honey for breakfast! People a little more sophisticated think: Hey, this is anecdotal evidence! Yeah, we know that. But is that the most interesting thing one can say about this article? Is it not at least a source of ideas for things to investigate further?

The problem with the middlebrow dismissal is that it's a magnet for upvotes. The "U R a fag"s get downvoted and end up at the bottom of the page where they cause little trouble. But this sort of comment rises to the top. Things have now gotten to the stage where I flinch slightly as I click on the "comments" link, bracing myself for the dismissive comment I know will be waiting for me at the top of the page."


Could one not argue this comment itself is a middlebrow dismissal? I don't think it makes sense to discredit comments just because they're not positive.

I see where you're coming from, I'm not usually particularly good at farming for upvotes I just commented what was on my mind at the time. I think the solution to this isn't algorithmic, however, it's to say something that is genuinely more interesting than the middle-brow dismissal so that people upvote that instead.

Datapoint: an ex of mine is from a family which did this at the insistence of her mother. Her dad got a job in Bangladesh and that’s how they left Washington DC. They were only there for a few years, but followed it with a few in Paris and a few in Kenya (and in her case, a few in NI and England).

Yes, this adventure started in the mid-90s and lots has changed since then, and yes both parents have degrees; but if you’re going to take your family around the world, it’s not your currrent pay that matters, it’s what you’re offered in the place you’re going to.

Unless, of course, you can keep your current pay by working remote for a Bay Area company and move to Cheapsville, McFlyoverState for a few years and save enough to do whatever you want.

If you can work remotely, then you can save up while exploring the capital cities of any $-poor nation instead of wasting good years in the overlooked areas of a rich one.

Peter Griffin, is that you?

Invest much more aggressively in stocks.

Have more sex?

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