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I would go even further than you and say "have a plan by 25" myself. Why dick around and be a fool for longer than is absolutely necessary? :)

I am all for learning by making painful mistakes, but one should cut the failure iteration cycle as short as possible. Learn the lesson by scraping your knees, not by breaking your legs, is my analogy.

This is good reading for those who, like me, are in their mid-20s: http://tynan.com/youngpeople

I look at my age peers and I am flabbergasted that they seem to spend all their free time on fashion, computer games, going to clubs, Facebook, etc.

I spend basically all my free time reading, engaging in self-improvement activities, and plotting for my eventual world domination (heh).

Sorry for ranting, but this is a topic that is close to my heart :)




I spend basically all my free time reading, engaging in self-improvement activities, and plotting for my eventual world domination (heh).

I'm 46. I spent my twenties doing therapy and reading endless self-help books and so on. It was the right thing for me but I eventually got what I needed from it, ditched all the self help books and began living more. A few thoughts:

It doesn't matter that much what most people around you are doing. It matters much more whether or not you have a handful of people close to you who are on the same page with you. There is only so much time in the day and it takes quite a lot of time to establish and maintain a close relationship. See if you can find somewhere between two and six people whom you get on really well with and quit worrying about what most folks are up to.

Reading self-help books and doing therapy had its place for me but looking back I consider it the slow-mode part of my life. It was something I did when I was too weak/fragile for stronger stuff. If you are up to it, find a mentor, do some traveling, hurl yourself into something new. Bite off more than you can chew and all that.

Your remarks in this thread read like someone who is very bright and hasn't yet figured out how to adequately meet their intellectual needs. This seems to leave bright people with a chronic gnawing hunger for "something more". Reading is a good thing but not necessarily the biggest mental challenge. If you can find some means to get adequate mental challenge/feed your mind what it hungers for, some of these other dissatisfactions may seem to magically disappear (or mitigate).

Some of your complaints (about the weather, vitamin D, etc) imply you aren't getting what you need physically. Work on that. If your physical health is sub-par, it really takes it toll. "A sound mind in a sound body" and all that.

Anyway, I enjoyed your remarks. It's the main reason I am replying. Best of luck with putting your plan together and finding what you need.


Wow! What a quality answer. Thanks so much.

See if you can find somewhere between two and six people whom you get on really well with and quit worrying about what most folks are up to.

I'm blessed in that I have around 4-5 such close friends already. And a few others that could go into that category in the future maybe. Main challenge right now is to find more such people who live in the same place as me.

Reading self-help books and doing therapy had its place for me but looking back I consider it the slow-mode part of my life. It was something I did when I was too weak/fragile for stronger stuff. If you are up to it, find a mentor, do some traveling, hurl yourself into something new. Bite off more than you can chew and all that.

Yes! I totally agree with this. I've been priming myself with endless reading and self-debugging and taking life slow, but now things are speeding up. I'm doing a lot more in practice, but at the same time I have a real hard time doing the kind of meticulous evaluating/notetaking that I used to do before. So I'm definitely in a transition period right now.

Your remarks in this thread read like someone who is very bright and hasn't yet figured out how to adequately meet their intellectual needs.

Wow, thanks. A little about me and my aims: I've been running a magazine for the past 2 years (http://www.interestingtimesmagazine.com) which has taught me a lot of things. I currently work a regular dayjob (writing code) but I can't say I'm really cut out for being a salaryman. Right now my goal is to pick 1 startup idea and go for it (http://ideashower.posterous.com). In the future, I would like to make some music and I also have a few ideas for novels kicking around in my head. So, yeah, I have a lot on my plate that I need to get out and share with the world!

This seems to leave bright people with a chronic gnawing hunger for "something more"

Absolutely! I've always been very existential and unable to see myself enjoying a "standard" life. I'm obsessed with proving to the world that I have what it takes. This is both good (drives me to excel) and bad (makes me come off as an arrogant distanced turd). I spend most of my time vacillating between the kind of philosophical lovecraftian uber-pessimism written about in Thomas Ligotti's "The conspiracy against the human race" and the gung-ho cheesy dopamine-fuelled positive thinking bravado of Anthony Robbins. Learning to just chill and enjoy life is a huge challenge for me.

Anyway, I enjoyed your remarks. It's the main reason I am replying. Best of luck with putting your plan together and finding what you need.

Would you mind if I contacted you? You seem like someone who gets me... :)


Would you mind if I contacted you?

Feel free. Contact info in profile. Gotta get ready for the dayjob now. :-)


I don't disagree, and wish I'd had a better plan in place by 25, but culturally in the US, we've had a generation or two that have taken longer to grow up. Kids living with parents until late 20s, harder job market, etc. 25 is great, but for some reason culturally we still accept 25 year olds being flakes.

So.. there's still some acceptable excuses for flitting away your 20s (not really acceptable to me, but I'm not in charge!) but by 35 there's just no good excuse to not have a life plan in place.


Ah, gotcha.

I'm in Sweden, and it's the same here, possibly even worse.

I've been reading self-help materials non-stop for the past 5 years. When I introduce this stuff to people my age they just stare at me like I'm an alien.

They also seem to have no concept of real individuality. Ie in Sweden most everyone my age looks like a bizarre hipster, 'cause that's what the fashion is and deviating is not an option (the most popular blogs here by far are vapid girls posting about their daily outfits).

Combine this with lack of sunshine, ├╝ber-costly alcohol, super-cocky entitled chicks who wear basketball shoes all the time and refuse to smile, high taxes, shitty wages, inbred media, lack of gung-ho disruptive startup people to hang with, a culture of mindless consensus, public transportation which is always delayed, snow which refuses to arrive around Christmas when it's wanted and instead fucks you in February, a PM with doggy-dinner bowl eyes and a main contender who's some kind of mustached character who's very creative with the truth, inferior Christmas food, total surveillance of all Internet/phone traffic, getting your Vitamin D solely from a bottle of pills, annoying Stockholm people who think their Milwaukee-sized hamlet is the world, the gov't wanting to regulate everything, the law of jante, Stalinist gov't liquor stores where they scowl at you for buying alcohol, everyone expecting the gov't to fix everything, people being un-creative and uninterested in my ideas, everyone being dressed like some bizarro ironic lumberjack with Buddy Holly glasses, houses being like the albino rhinoceros in terms of their availability to the common man, all people (including chicks) filling their body with ugly tattoos and piercings and being proud of it, chicks who are more interested in dogs than men, supermarkets where they rape your wallet and then scowl at you for entering their premises, punctuality being more important than actual productivity, being hit on by fiendish cougars ONLY when you go out on the weekends, daring to exist and being scowled at, everyone uncritically relying on "experts" all the time, it being FUCKING COLD, etc, and you have one unhappy itmag :(

Fuck Sweden, give me my Green Card already!

/rant


I think you had better have a day off and perhaps investigate home-brewing.

Seriously, most people have more than one career, I'm on my third. I see no reason why the same should not apply to computer programmers.

Right now, I've slowly begun to realise that I can produce documentation and tutorials that people find useful. This may (or may not) lead to career number four.


I don't think I'm cut out to have a career per se, it's startups or nothing for me: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3283401

Which got quoted on teh Internetz: http://unicornfree.com/2011/fuck-glory-startups-are-one-long...


Hummm, home brewing then. You career is being an employee of a startup? Do you have any side projects between startups?


What I meant to say is that I want to start my own startup in the not so distant future.

Sure, I run a magazine.


You have the entire EU to live in, go move to berlin. I know it will be better weather wise (but not ideal), everyone says how great it is for young people socially, and there is a tech industry growing there. And the rent is cheaper. Go become a startup employee, bootstrap yourself a bit, learn how it is to work in this industry for a while. Many european startups have a more relaxed pace, so you'll still have a life while working in less BS startup land.


I am intrigued, tell me more :)


Apply for jobs in Berlin, interview, get one, move. I've never been to europe otherwise.


"Go move to berlin".

Did that help? ;)


I hear Bolivia is really nice this time of the year...

Fellow Scandinavian here, and that rant sure hit home. Especially the whole hipster mania which is just relentless.

Then again, SAD and a lack of Vitamin D sure doesn't help brighten the day either. But it is nice to see that others also have a bit wider perspective on things.


Where you at in Scandinavia?


Trondheim, Norway.


As a younger guy I could have told you about all the things wrong with my home town in Southern California. A little travel helped me, and I enjoy coming home now. There are good and bad people all over... maybe you are looking in the wrong places?


"I spend basically all my free time reading, engaging in self-improvement activities, and plotting for my eventual world domination (heh)."

While withdrawing and plumbing the depths is an important and valuable experience in itself, it's worth keeping in mind to that all of the reading, self improvement, and self education receive their greatest value from taking that knowledge and living.

A fun evening is an end in itself sometimes. Though, not always! It's about balance.


Tell me about it. I went too far in that direction. Right now I'm trying to learn how to live :)




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