This is My Life.
I turn 21 in the next few days. Friday was the day I was supposed to graduate from college. Writers live interesting lives, I remember Tucker saying a couple years ago. That’s what I’ve been trying to do since.
It’s funny how stuff comes together. Nature’s inadvertence. How it all lines up. You get lucky. You get fucked. Get so worked up about something and it just fades away. In two or three days, it goes a direction you couldn’t even have even considered. When you space that over a year, the distance you can travel is almost incomprehensible. If you can just have a little faith in yourself and the ability to get lost a little in the present.
I’ve been fired. Twice. Promoted. An Executive. I wouldn’t even want to check public records for my name, who knows what will turn up now. Thought about going back to school. Met some celebrities, cashed a big check. Been humbled, a little. Tried to listen more than I talk – failed. Started to know what I need to be happy.
But if I were a start up, my valuation would just be starting to accelerate. I haven’t turned Pro yet, but I’m starting to know what that means.
Which, by the way, is exactly how I’m starting to look at developing yourself. Like a start up. You are start up. Don’t worry about monetization. Or a safety net or health insurance or an office. Aim for critical mass and pick up support wherever you can. Woo every customer. Find something that no one else does and do it better than they ever can. Invest in yourself. Sweat equity. What are you doing? Do you love it? Start ups run on love. Read the books. Look for the angel investors. Have an exit strategy.
Most of my friends are moving home for the summer. Or they’re graduating and moving home again anyway. Apparently, that’s something to be admired. Fuck That. This is your life. All the tools and opportunities and chances that you’re supposedly waiting for, you can leverage now. And not only will you be rewarded for doing so, but people are desperately hoping that you will.
I’m in so unbelievably above my level that I can’t articulate it, but you know what – it’s working. It’s working so well that I’m having to seriously thinking about learning how to say “no.” Whatever skills I have, there are a lot of people who not only have them too, but in addition to a cadre of others that I will never be able to call mine.
Like I said, this is your life. I can only speak about mine. That’s all I really try to do here. I’ve been extremely lucky to meet people who’ve giving me the freedom to develop myself on their tab. But they’re a different breed of people and they’re only going to invest in you when you make the conscious decision to be different yourself.
So I did it. You should do.
I’ve found one of the best advice I ever heard from someone was be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. I think that those three things can bring a person farther than one might think…Anyway, my two cents.
Heh. Congrats on your successes. We all have our failures. When I was younger, I fucked up just as much as you allude to. It´s hard to keep your mouth shut when you are young. When your young and ambitious, you feel like you have something to prove and one might get pissed if your not taken seriously … I know exactly what you are going through … it will come in time … Do me a favor, though. Make sure to get hammered. I know that´s what everybody else does on their 21st, and I know you are different, but sometimes being drunk can put things into persepctive …. sometimes. As far as the move back into the house thing — it´s not for everybody, and Penelope Trunk and her followers are complete idiots, but for some college students, it is their only option while they get their finances in check. I say take every advantage you can get. But again, not everybody.
Congrats on all your successes.
Do you a favour? Make sure to get hammered? Are you at the right blog, Steve?
Thanks for this post, Ryan.
Well said. When I was around 15 years old I would get this urge every day to run away from the suburbs and go live an interesting life, but I ended up in college 10 minutes away from my house. I’m about to graduate and, save for having about 13K in debt, I’m about to be in a position to hit the road for a couple of years and live like I’ve always wanted. Your posts have kept my dreams at the forefront of my mind, so thanks for the affirmations, they’ve helped tremendously.
After all the grueling work you have put forth, it’s good to see it paying off. Like Ferris I’m a believer of not defining success but what it gives you. Shift the focus not on money but only on experiences and time.
Time becomes the most precious currency you have. Its not to be wasted or in any way abused. From reading your blog regularly, it’s seems like everything you do has a real purpose and inches you closer to whatever it is that you are chasing. I hope you get there some day.
“Arnett describes the period between college and adulthood as, “a self- focused stage where people have the freedom to focus on their own development.” Notice he calls this period of stage in development and not just a transition between two stages.” (From twentysomething)
Isn’t that transition supposed to be college (in the framework that one is deciding to move home after completing college)? Develop yourself, get ready for the real world, etc.? I don’t really understand moving back home, even after reading the arguments.
Thanks for putting everything you’ve written down in perspective, this might be your most important post ever.
Your posts over the past year have been truly inspiring and have me, and a lot of others, believe they can be so much more. Thanks to you I’ve begun reading and have never felt more equipped to deal with the real world (I’ve still got a LONG way to go).
Speaking of being at home, was that you at my parent’s house yesterday Alex?
That it was, that it was.
Ryan, you’re blog is interesting. Sometimes, you promote ideas that spark controversy, and I don’t agree with some of your sentiments, but this time you’re right on the money. I realize how stupid I was in college, wasting time and money on such frivolous things and pursuits. Now that I’ve graduated, it’s expected that I get a summer job or move back home with my parents and then play by the rules. Screw that. I’ve never been as productive or happy as I’ve been now, and more than ever I’m hungry to learn new things. It’s only after realizing the mediocrity of normal life that I’ve started to push myself to higher pursuits, and although I’m a bit old (at least older than you), I’m developing. Congrats on being considered legally an “adult”, now (hopefully) your age will be less of a factor when everyone wonders why you’re where you are.
Happy Birthday man. Keep up your writing and honing your skills. I enjoy every post.
an avid reader
The only thing holding me back from creating my own website is losing my anonymity. As soon as I put my name on a site, I’m open to ALL eyes. I’m afraid of some of the crazies that come along with this, and finding stupid shit I did previously, all over the place.
Did you experience this fear prior to your own site starting? Is there nothing to be afraid of? I believe this is just Resistance, however it makes me stop and question, especially with the fields that I may be going into.
Dumbjock, if your game is solid, the haterz have nothing to seize upon.
Fearing potential criticism is an excuse. If you’ve got some stuff in your background, own it or make it a non-issue with your current work; go on YouTube and look at Eminem’s final rap battle in 8 Mile to see a great example.
Happy birthday dude – keep it up.
Dumb Jock – I run a site where I remain pretty much anonymous. Hate mail comes with the territory. I wouldn’t just start a site just to start one though.
Find a topic you are passionate about, do some research, and go from there.
A thing a friend and I did a few days before last New Year was to jot down on a piece of paper all the important things which we’ve done/happened to us in the last 12 months, and on the other side we put what each of us thinks will achieve in the next 12 months. It’s been almost 6 months now and I’m amazed how, for instance, a simple conversation with a friend over a drink can give life to an idea which puts at least the next 18 months of my life (and potentially a lot more) on an entirely new, exciting track. It’s not the biggest good black swan in my life so far, so to speak, but it’s potential positive consequences are huge.
I’m really interested, what would you say were your big positive black swans?
happy birthday Ryan!
Can’t say that I don’t entirely envy what you’ve achieved in your time, but I’m also very glad that my life turned out the way it did because I chose to live it my way.
You continue to have a great life Ryan!
Sorry I’m late with the comments on this. I’ve been subscribed to your blog for nearly 7 months. Some stuff I agree with. Other stuff I don’t. But, I wanted to thank you for calling out that Penelope Trunk bullshit advice. I also wanted to thank you for consistently delivering pieces that make me go “hmmmm”.
Best wishes for this next chapter of your life.
“I’m in so unbelievably above my level that I can’t articulate it”