The obligatory I-am-getting-older post

posted 11 August 2011

Few people, when they are fifteen, have any idea what they want to do with their lives. A lot of people, when they're eighteen years old, don't know what it is they want to study at college -- it's a momentous decision that shapes the rest of your life; how could you possibly make it without knowing what it's really about? After college, the same sort of fear paralyzes people: what do I do now? What sort of job do I want? Where do I want to live? At all these stages, overwhelmed, some make bad choices, while others luck out.

I'm not one of those people. Through a fantastically unlikely combination of timing and aptitude, I was born at pretty much exactly the right time to be present for the popularization of the Internet and the birth of the web, the medium by which I am endlessly fascinated and to which I am perfectly suited.

At age fifteen, before I even had Internet access at home, I was building my first web page. After a few days of that I was pretty clear that this was what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing: combining technical know-how with creative self-expression to create what are (to greatly varying degrees) works of art that function and interact with the user. As a talkative geek, I believe there's no profession better than web development for me.

So there was none of this existential angst for me. Choice of degree at university? Obvious. Choice of first job out of college? Easy. Also second, third, and fourth. Opportunity to move to San Francisco? A no-brainer. Startups? Clearly the way to go. In stark contrast to the utterly typical uncertainty of my private life, my professional path has always been clear and my choices, if not easy, then simple. This is both very unusual and incredibly lucky, facts I'm very aware of and for which I am always grateful.

Today (well, yesterday) I turned twenty-nine, a fact that's pretty startling to me, as I'm pretty sure I only just left Trinidad yesterday. But I'm doing exactly what I want to do, in exactly the right place to be doing it, almost exactly as I pictured a decade and a half ago. And on top of that giant mound of luck I have the company of wonderful friends and the support, even from far away, of a loving family.

Everyone should be so lucky.

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