Skip to main content

What Advice Would You Give Your Younger Self?

An old friend recently reached out to me (and presumably others) and asked us what advice we'd give our younger selves, particularly at ages 20, 30 and 40.


After writing my response to him, I thought it worth posting myself as well. 

The substantive bulk of my response to him follows:

-----

The difficult thing is that I really wouldn't change a thing about who I am, so any call for advice feels a bit like a time-traveler scenario where my advice to a younger self would affect the outcome of my present life, and I'm not sure I'd risk it. My experiences shaped me, including the glaring mistakes, and I wouldn't trade places today with anyone on Earth. But, for the sake of argument, let's assume the Many-Worlds Interpretation of quantum physics here, and thus assume I won't mess my own (present) life up.

Wibbly-Wobbly. Timey-Wimey.

It is also important to note that the question is "What advice would you give your younger self?". The answers below are specific and personal to me and my life's journey, I don't know how useful they may be to anyone who has not been in my specific shoes. However, I imagine the point of asking this of multiple people to distill some sort of Universal Truth from their collective answers. In this regard, I hope you find this helpful.

20's: 
This is the time you should play with better habits. 
Try a little more regimented physical activity. Perhaps marvel at how your body reacts to weight-lifting. Especially here in your twenties, which is pretty much its own performance enhancing drug. Hit the gym more, and the Taco Bell drive-through less. 
Also: you're really good at math, so it wouldn't hurt to save a little bit of cash now. Figure it out. 
Finally, don't believe your own hype. You're not all that impressive, and those people who are impressed with you are usually impressed for the wrong reasons. 

In short, "Discipline is Freedom." Find just a little. 

30's:
Distill life down to its essentials. 
Your 20's were in constant motion, full of performance and consumption and reaction. You carried this need to be "in motion" into your 30's, but you have confused "motion" with "action". Learn to be still. Spend some time with yourself and think beyond the next move on the board. Act more. React less.

Stop wasting time with people, places, or work that don't utterly fascinate you. Eliminate "meh" from your world. Walk the hell away from anything less than Awesome. Life is short, and the only person you have to please is yourself, so accept only Excellence. You have never had any problems demanding it from yourself, so start demanding it from the world as the price of doing business with you. 

Also, you're going to get sick soon, so disabuse yourself of the notion that the health care system works like Star Trek. It doesn't. Bones was right, we're living in the Dark Ages. 

40's: 
Marry Her. :-)

I hope this is what you were looking for. 

Thanks again, it was great to hear from you.

-Eric

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Re-Opening Experiment

We should remind ourselves that, this Memorial Day weekend and the weeks that follow, we are subjects in a grand experiment to see how good we are at social distancing as stay-at-home orders are being slowly lifted. The state's stay-at-home order was never meant to keep you, individually, safe from infection. It was meant to keep hospital's safe from being overwhelmed by too many of us needing them at the same time. In Michigan, the daily new cases of COVID-19 are higher today than they were when we locked down in late March. We are testing whether or not we can open up (with all of our new precautions and protocols) without spiking the rate of spread, but make no mistake: it *is* an experiment, and we *are* the test subjects. Please don't get careless as things start to open up. We need to get our economies back on track, but we are still a long way (and a vaccine away) from being out of the woods. Stay vigilant, folks. Wash your hands. Wear a mask. As has always been the

COVID-19 and the Tools We Need to Re-open Wisely

There's a lot of graphs and stats that the news is throwing at people right now. So much so, that you can get information overload trying to make sense of the statistics that have meaning. To quote my old Econometrics professor, "There are three types of lies: 'Lies', 'Damned Lies', and 'Statistics' ". I should also lead with the caveat that I'm an engineer and data nerd by trade, but I'm not an epidemiologist. I welcome feedback from those who have more experience than I do. The most important question we're trying to answer (at least here in Michigan), is "How are we doing?", and "When can we reopen our economy?". With respect to those questions, here's my take on the most important data, and some caveats about what these data are telling us. The four most cited data in news stories are: Total Number of Cases Daily New Cases. Total Number of Deaths Daily New Deaths This post will talk about #1 and #2