Cliché but it has to be said. As a kid, you think your time is endless. As you get older, you suddenly regret not having done what you’ve always dreamed of doing and are now maybe to old to still experience it. Paul Graham recently reflected on his life and gave the following advice:
- Don’t do the things you feel are not worth your time (unless you’re forced to).
- To decide whether you really care about doing something or are only doing it to satisfy other people’s expectations, ask yourself whether you would still care about it in the future.
- Be impatient about what matters. If you really care and have the opportunity to do something, do it. Don’t hesitate, don’t procrastinate.
- Prune regularly and relentlessly.
I’m still young. So far, I have lived by the motto “no regrets” because I want(ed) to make peace with my past self. If I chose my past actions based on my own best estimations/predictions of my future, then logically, I should be okay with what I did. Always. I guess I quickly realised that the “steps” Graham outlined are not always possible to adhere to but that, even if they weren’t, I shouldn’t punish myself for it retroactively.
But this doesn’t necessarily mean that I won’t be bitter about what I have now, right? Otherwise, why would I be here if not to learn how to cope with the choices past me made in good faith?