Advice to my 20 old self

I recently turned 30 and wanted to take a step back and reflect. This post is my summary up of things that I figured out on this journey so far

Time

Time is one of the crucial things that you need to understand in your 20’s. Understanding the weightage of timing will help you prioritize things in your life. Your time is very limited. Be judicious about the things that you spend time on.

You’ll learn a lot by doing, than sitting on the fence. You’ll fail, but that is necessary to gather first hand experiences. Any worthy pursuits lies outside of work-life balance and your comfort zone. Choose the one that has positive impact on your life.

There won’t be an ideal time for anything. Just get started with things and go with the flow. Ship the first cut, before perfecting. Release, when things are good enough. Iteration > Perfection

Use time to your advantage. Pay for things and save time. Avoid things that don’t fit in into your grand scheme of things.

Money

There is no correlation between how much you know and how much you get paid. Just like your career, you need to take care of your financials. Financial planning is more than avoiding taxes. Insurance is not an investment. Have an adequate health insurance cover in addition to the one that your employer provides. Planned debt is not a bad thing. Contingency fund needs to be at least 3 months of your salary.

Relationships

Maintenance is hard. More so in relationship than in software.

Talk to real people. You need to break your introvert mold. Don’t label people good or bad. Listen without judging them. Everything depends on the context. No one is pure evil or absolute altruist. Different people have different views. Empathizing people is the first step towards understanding them. Trust people by default, unless they give you reason not to.

Be explicitly clear in explaining what you want the listener to understand. Writing seem to work for you, write more.

Pick values over idol. If you need help, ask without holding back. Accept favors, when offered.

Life

You’ll discover your own meaning for love, success-failure and happiness. In the due process, you’ll make a ton of mistakes. It’s okay. Don’t be hard on yourself. Only through that experience, your mindset will change. Be prepared to shoulder responsibilities, handle stress and deal with depression, all at the same time.

Science can be understood but it can’t give you hope. You need HOPE to survive in testing times. Also, you seriously need to acquire some people and survival skills besides your primary.

Take tons of photos without questioning, make memories. It is the only means to port you the state of mind then. Celebrate little things. After every major event in life. Take time to pause and reflect. Document things in journal. Write more year-in-reviews.

Travel, your money will return, your time won’t. Travel often and travel unplanned. Plan places, but not events. Expose yourself completely without holding back. Read widely about subjects. Read classics. It is through the reading and traveling you’ll explore yourself more.

Be an enthusiast. Try out new things. Embrace life with both the hands open. Be more involved in this thing called life.

Career

Family > career. The career is necessary to provide means for the life but not the end. Understand this and allocate your limited time appropriately.

Being a generalist is far more rewarding than going in depth beyond a certain point. Learn to Sell. Never feel bad about promoting yourself. Do things in public.

You’ll figure out what you are good at(hopefully it is 😜) quickly. Don’t overlook it. Charge more for it. The only way to know what is the right amount for you, is by constantly visiting the market place or checking with your peers. Remember, the value is in eyes for the beholder.

Any big decision will take 3-5 years to pay off. unlearning is just as important as learning

As they say it, I guess 20’s are for discovering how the world works. I am excited to know what the next decade could teach me.