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Thoughts on getting older, and post-school life

February 21, 2013

I recently graduated from college and became a “real person”.  I also no longer feel like a teenager.  Here are some initial thoughts on aging and post-school life.  None if this is particularly surprising, though I wonder if it would have been surprising to past me.

  1. The material I learned in college seems like it was mostly useless.  This is worsened by the fact that I learned largely theory, and I suspect it’s much less true in general.  However, I suspect you can learn all the useful things in college in much less expensive settings.  Nevertheless, it seems to me that MIT was plausibly a reasonable use of money.  I met extremely useful people, learned useful non-academic facts, had an excellent time, etc.
  2. Time feels much more valuable.  It’s no longer easy to find people to play sports with, and exercise seems more difficult to find time for.  I’m extremely out of shape compared to myself at the end of summer.  Some of this is me being lazy and some more is me being mentally weak;  I still make significant time for internet derping.  Also, time really does feel like it passes faster than it did when I was a child (a phenomenon many report).
  3. I’ve gotten far less stingy.  In particular, my meals get more and more expensive, on average.  Should money really have been worth that much more to me back then, relative to time and quality of life?   Perhaps I am somewhat over-valuing my time now?   It seems like this shouldn’t happen in general, but always does.  I wonder if something along the lines of Upstart will help mitigate this for high-value students in the future.
  4. I feel in no particular hurry to find a romantic partner, short or long term.  However, some uncertainty about my future values and the fact that many people my age seem to already be locking themselves into what will be long-term relationships makes that timeline feel somewhat shorter.
  5. I’ve become somewhat more selfish, or at least more uncertain about the balance between my altruistic and selfish values.  I still think all the time about how to make the world better, and I’m fairly committed to trying reasonably hard at this, but it seems like I will (continue to) spend a significant amount of time for selfish reasons (though perhaps not money).  I don’t care too much to change this, it seems, despite caring about “saving the world” type things.
  6. As I get older, I become somewhat less contrarian, for several reasons.  There are less things in the world I think are particularly dumb, and more things which I think are difficult to reason clearly about.  In social situations, there seems to be much more value in sticking to the norm than there was in the past.  I don’t regret much of the past though;  When young, being contrarian and weird has far fewer costs.  I also still have a huge affinity towards unusual ideas.
  7. Relatedly, I prefer to think of myself as a fox rather than a hedgehog, though realistically, it is not too true; I have mostly a very narrow range of skills and modes of thought.  I think I am moving slowly more towards the hedgehog direction, relative to the past.  On some issues, I am still staunchly hedgehoggy.
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