I sat in my office earlier today listening to Pandora when Brad Paisley’s “Letter to Me” came on (I’m from Texas give me a break). It’s basically a song about the advice the older Brad Paisley would give to his 17 year old self. This made me think of you. A blank canvas.You’re very forward-thinking which is impressive for a 17 year old. I applaud you, sir – stay in this group and you’re going to be absolutely unstoppable by the time you’ve finished your education.
Having just turned 24, I realize that I have very little time left in the 18-24 young adult age bracket. Which is a good thing because almost everyone in this age range is completely fucking retarded. Nevertheless, I’ve started to reminisce on the last several years. Regrets, successes, failures, what could I have done differently? Here’s my subjective recap and general observations of life since senior year of high school:
Senior year: Early on this year prudent, forward-thinking kids will be applying to colleges, writing essays for scholarships, perhaps taking their SAT, etc. Being a first generation college student with VV little financial backing from my parents, this was my life for the first 3 or so months of my senior year – I researched every scholarship I was eligible for and wrote essays, filled in applications. Hustled until I had filled out maybe 20 applications with essays. I think I ended up getting about 1/2 of my total college tuition/fees paid for through that effort. After that it was on to finding work – which I found as a waiter at an Italian restaurant. Started in October 2007 and worked every weekend until it was time to go to college the next August. In hindsight I’m glad that I worked so hard because it kept me out of trouble (i.e. didn’t hang out with kids who were going nowhere with their lives which was the only social circle I had access to at the time). I suppose that I could have cultivated my social skills during that time but it was too risky to hang out with that crowd and have their mannerisms rub off on me. Also cultivated a work-ethic that would serve me very well in college. Made a little $ on the side. I studied a lot after being accepted to Texas A&M which doesn’t make sense to me now. I wish I would have used that time spent studying to build a practical skillset or infiltrate a social circle. Of course I had no idea how to do that at the time, nor did I play any sports which was extremely detrimental to my social life.
My general thoughts about high school are this: The environment is artificial. Most kids don’t have any real responsibility, hence it’s easy to not care, goof off, and have fun. Those kids are rewarded with easy pussy (because we’ve all learned here at IC that girls want excitement over anything else especially between the ages of 15-25) and therefore a modicum of social prestige. Perfect. The only thing is that they’re not positioning themselves to have the best lifestyle possible later in life like you are TJ. Their lifestyle and personality is built around the assumption that they won’t have real responsibility anytime soon. These kids will have fun until about 25 at which point they notice that women are starting to place more value on finding a man with upward potential and means (yourself at this age). Unfortunately for them, it’s likely that their choice in lifestyle and lack foresight has landed them a job that will almost certainly require less skill (less $) and provide less upward mobility than what the forward-thinking kids like yourself who busted their ass will be doing by that age. This is why you should wait to get married because you’ll have so much more options the older you get. Every day that you work and cultivate your skills is a day in which you appreciate in the dating marketplace. Personality, money, and power are to a woman as a tight body, pretty face, and sweet personality are to a man. Personality/money/power take time to cultivate, which is why older men (who’ve had the foresight to cultivate these things) have more options. In my opinion, a man marrying at 25 is like a woman marrying at 15. The 25 year old guy has just started to build leverage in the marketplace, exactly like the 15 year old girl’s body and social skills have started to develop. End rant.
College: My Goal statement was this – graduate engineering school cum laude in 4 years with no student loan debt. Anything that didn’t serve my goal statement could go pound sand. Complete tunnel vision. BIG mistake. Of course engineering school isn’t a joke, especially if you want to graduate in 4 years. For me, this meant sacrificing my social life because I valued sleep and grades more than I cared about people. I achieved that goal, but to the detriment of building relationships and having awesome memories. Also never took the time to learn about who I was or what I was passionate about. I could only tell you what I did. What I was going to be – an engineer. i was extremely proud of that.
Thoughts about college: Texas A&M is the most conservative school in the US so my college experience will likely be different than yours. Being a dork didn’t help either. Can’t give much perspective on the social aspects of college. Maybe some of the other guys can chime in.
Regrets: Not finding out who I am at an earlier age, what my personality is. Valuing money at the expense of having more memories and more/better relationships. Would have been cool to have at least one hot girlfriend but not gonna mull over it. Not learning social skills – totally avoiding the social realm of life when it was easiest to participate in.
Successes: Financially independent at 21. No student loans. Not getting sucked into a broke-dick crowd for too long (was careful about who I hung around) therefore avoiding negative mannerisms, attitudes any further than what I inherited from my mom/dad. No addictions. First-generation college student graduating cum laude from engineering which was a huge confidence booster. Paid 20% down on a house in an upscale neighborhood at 22 (median resident age is 49) Excellent credit. Awesome industry. Position of authority in career. Acquired a very particular skill-set that can be used to make money on the side as an alternative investment to the stock market. Have kept up fitness and laidd a great foundation for health moving forward
Post-grad: 22-23: Still trying to adjust but all I can say is it’s harder to meet people outside of work. I had several buddies get married after college and they completely fell off the face of the planet. It has been a challenging time for me seeing as how I moved to a city different than where I grew up. REALLY glad I found this group because otherwise the loneliness would have settled in and I would be on my way to marrying a sassy, needy, overbearing 6 right now.
My viewpoint is that these are your years to build a foundation.Take care of your health. Start taking 10% of whatever you’re earning by working for the IC Guys and invest in a retirement account or investment idea of some sort. Identify the kids that are going somewhere in life and make friends with them. Mind you they may not be the coolest kids but that’s okay, you’ll be able to bring them up to speed. Maintain those relationships.
Bust your ass, lay a solid foundation and I have no doubt you’ll have married your dream woman, retired, and have a social network of all-stars by the time you’re 35.