An Epiphany About Work, Life, and Getting Older

By Carlos Portocarrero

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I was walking back from getting a hair cut the other day and I was thinking about how clueless I was when I was younger. By younger I mean when I was 20. Even when I was 25 I feel like I was pretty “out of it.” (I’m 30 now, by the way).

Anyway, this is normal. We look back on our younger self and think “wow, look how clueless I was back then compared to now.”

We learn things, pick up new skills, understand how other things work, etc. This is the nature of life.

Nothing shocking about any of it.

But then it hit me: I’m still probably very clueless/ignorant about a LOT of things—I just don’t see it yet because I haven’t been enlightened on everything (otherwise I’d be living on a mountain somewhere). When I’m 40, I’ll look back on today and say “Wow, you really had no idea back then did you?”

This thought made me appreciate the cycle of life and how we can benefit from a small exercise.

Here’s what I did: I asked my current, partially enlightened self one simple question: what advice would you give the 20-year-old Carlos based on what you now know at age 30? What’s the one thing you feel strongly about that you are convinced would’ve been great advice from 20 to 30?

I walked and walked, and thought and thought.

It’s not an easy question, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t come up with an answer I’m pretty proud of. It boils down to five words:

Make things you’re proud of.

That’s it. Whether it’s a website about personal finance, short stories about whatever, or software applications people use on their phones—it doesn’t matter. The key is to create new things that you’ll be proud of when you look back.

Creating things takes time, and it’s often hard to put in the time when you know you’re not going get any satisfaction from it for years and years. But now that I’m older and can look back, I can see how satisfying something like this site has been.

So that’s my advice to the young(er) people out there. And to the older people too.

Make things you’re proud of.

One Response to “An Epiphany About Work, Life, and Getting Older”

  • Evan Says:

    What is that saying? Youth is wasted on the Young!

    Another good piece of advice I would give 20 year old Evan (30 too) would be everything you echos later on. If I spent less on drinks in my 20s I would have that much more now! If I wasn’t so lazy in my 20s I would be in better shape now etc etc

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