An 18 Year Old’s Reflections on the World

Today I turn 18, a supposedly momentous occasion that marks ones introduction to the “adult” world. This is supposed to be a time of celebration, an acknowledgement that I have completed what used to be considered the basic steps of life, completing my K-12 education and experiencing enough of the world to be trusted with more responsibilities.

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Photo by Jeremy Vessey on Unsplash

Yet as I examine the world and my place in it, I am stricken by the immense sadness that I feel. A sadness perpetuated by the seemingly mess of a world that we live in, a sadness accentuated by the feeling that despite all the progress our world has undergone in the last century, we are still unable to all act like civilized beings.

This is the first in a series of essays on the interesting times we live in, and my experiences in it.

“Entrepreneurship” and Work

I won’t have the arrogance to claim that I’m an entrepreneur in this article. Truth be told, I’m supported by my parents financially, and have never created a business or project that could sustain my basic living needs financially.

Throughout my life, I’ve always been on the competitive side. I’ve see myself alongside my peers battling for social positions in a world where competitiveness is key, and the pressure to be successful at 17, or 16, 15, and even 14 is incessant. Buffeting my senses is the endless drumbeat of Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram full of young entrepreneurs and speakers and those who successes far outshine your own despite their adolescent age. How can I not feel the need to pose, to appear bigger than life, to put my best foot forward and project an image of maturity, security, and skill?

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Photo by Ian Espinosa on Unsplash

I find myself putting in 10 hour days designing and building and debugging and building, week after week, an endless cycle with nothing but a dream at the end of the dark tunnel. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve turned down social events or opportunities to hang out with friends.

Are all these other so called young entrepreneurs the same? Have they also been taken in by the sounds of the sirens calling them to another fate? Or am I alone in the inability to balance the many facets of a complex life. I struggle to come to terms with my inability to continue pushing, to not be as successful as these people I see online.

I’m not guilted by these lost opportunities, I’ve been bred to work. From the time I was young, I was telling myself that I am going to be successful someday and the only thing keeping me from that is dedicated focus on a singular mission.

The impact that this draconian mindset has had on my developing mind has been immense. In an almost masochistic display of effort, I’ve avoided falling into the pleasure traps that plague my generation, such as the addictiveness of social media platforms like TikTok or Instagram, and transferred these feelings into my work.

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Photo by Kevin Ku on Unsplash

How many others have done the same? How many others live the same life I do, inexplicably bound to some workaholic addiction, trained like a lab rat to work their hardest for an unseen objective?

It only makes sense then that this all consuming goal would lead to various forms of posing online, which I’ll be discussing in my next essay on social media for the young “entrepreneur”.

Written by

Passionate about building cool shit. First-year undergrad student studying EECS and Business @ UC Berkeley MET Program and software developer at Carline

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