Hey 20-year-old Jeremy, this is your 30-year-old self.
Today is your Birthday (mine too!).
I’m writing you this letter because I want to share some of the lessons I’ve learned over the past 10 years to prepare you for the road ahead.
Right now, on your Birthday, your time at Ohlone Junior College is winding down and you’re preparing to transfer to Sonoma State University (SSU) in the fall. You don’t know it yet, but your time at SSU will be some of the best years of your life.
You’re Ohlone experience won’t go according to plan, in many ways. People will doubt and challenge you, so you’ll have to prove them wrong. In fact, “Prove them wrong” will become a personal mantra of yours for the next 10 years — embrace it.
Next stop…Sonoma State University
Your first year at SSU will have its ups and downs. You’ll live with three roommates that will become good friends. You’ll experience new things and meet some awesome people…and yes, you’ll have your struggles, but don’t worry it gets better.
You’ll also have your first major sports injury, which will derail your baseball goals for the year…you’ll get through it though.
Oh ya, before I forget…You’ll also learn what the “Sonoma aroma” is all about. Cow manure and hot summer days don’t mix.
Your second year at Sonoma won’t be super eventful. You’ll battle back from your injury by putting in a ton of work in the off season…but let me tell you, do MORE. Never let anyone outwork you. Be the first one to the field and the last one to leave. Put in the sweat equity.
Brace yourself…things won’t go according to plan. It’s important for you to understand that even if you want something…I mean really want something…it still may not come to fruition. The only thing you can do is put your head down and hustle your face off — this is the only thing you can control; your effort.
Your remaining time at SSU will be a remarkable experience full of highs and lows. You’ll eventually find your voice, learn who you are as an individual, and stumble upon a new passion that will eventually open a ton of doors in the future.
You’ll graduate making the Dean’s List in your last year (congrats!). A feat you never thought possible, but you’ll make it happen through a lot of hard work and dedication—a valuable lesson if I do say so myself.
Say hello to the real world…corporate America
Now, you’re officially in the “real world.”
The beginning of your career will be a struggle (notice a theme here? Struggle is part of the learning process). You’ll work for a company that’s in an industry you love, but in a position you HATE. It doesn’t fit your skill-set. Don’t worry about it…it’s a learning experience. Life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows.
You’ll eventually leave that company taking with you some very important life lessons that will serve you well. This experience will also play a key role in the founding of your own organization years later — so prepare yourself.
By the way, around this time the sadness of not pursuing a professional baseball career will wear off. I know this was a dream of yours since you were kid, but trust me when I say this: something more fulfilling is coming.
Mid 20’s: coming into your own
By your mid-20’s you’ll have learned A LOT about yourself. You’ll go through some life changing experiences that will mature your thinking and how you approach life.
You’ll go through points of sadness and absolute joy. No matter what happens always trust that there’s a greater purpose for you. Take the lessons from these experiences and apply them constructively to make yourself a better person.
This is also the point in time where your career in tech will start to take off. You’ll join a San Francisco startup where you’ll learn a lot about running a business, the startup world, and how to navigate corporate America.
That’s not all…
You’ll witness two of your best friends getting married, sing (yes, sing) at their wedding, pick up golf again, experience the death of a loved one for the first time in your life, and continue to strive to be the best version of yourself.
Just like your early 20s, there will be plenty of lessons learned along the way. The one thing I can’t stress enough is to always be open to learning even when facing “failure.” Remember, failure is the beginning of success…as long as you’re open to the lessons life throws at you.
Late 20’s: understanding your purpose
By your late 20’s you’ll firmly understand who you are, what your strengths and weaknesses are, your purpose as a human being, and find a cure for that dreaded slice on the golf course.
You start doing more things that are outside of your comfort zone, and you’ll challenge yourself. This is the best thing you could ever do. The sooner you can start this, the better.
After years of trial and error, and the right circumstances aligning, you’ll finally start your own organization. Let me tell you, it’s going to be one of the best adventures you’ll ever experience. But I’ll warn you, it’s not easy. Luckily you’ll have the support of some pretty amazing people.
Before you know it you’ll be 30-years-old ready to put all of your new found knowledge to use.
My parting words to you
I can go on and on about all the things you’ll encounter in the next 10 years. But where’s the fun in that? You have to experience them first hand.
I’ll say this: you have a lot to look forward to, good and bad.
Everything happens for a reason. I know, I know…so cliche. But it’s absolutely true. It’s important for you to understand this.
Throughout your life you’ll have experiences that will challenge you mentally, physically, and spiritually. It’s up to you to learn from these situations and use that knowledge to make you a better you.
Above everything stay humble, stay curious, and stay hungry.
Enjoy the journey,
Your 30-year-old self
P.s. Read the Alchemist…you’ll thank me (err, yourself) later.
This is an article I wrote on April 20th, 2017…also known as my 30th Birthday. Originally seen on Medium.