The Difference Between Being 20 and 25

Every once in a while I have one of those moments where I say to myself  “holy crap, I can’t believe this – I’m 25 years old and my partners and I run a company.  We’ve built our own e-commerce platform and have our own warehouse, and we did it without giving up any stock or taking any outside money.  I am living my dream.”  It’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day crap that I forget that sometimes.

Things are going good right now for us.  We weathered the storm of all of the moving expenses.  Our sales have been on the high side of what we were projecting.  The only way we don’t pay ourselves before our June 1 deadline is if we choose not to do so – cash flow is very good.  On a personal level, I’m moving into an apartment closer to the warehouse in a few weeks (cutting my commute in half).  It’ll be my 7th move in 7 years by my count, so hopefully I’ll stay at this place for a while.  There’s some stability after a few years of chaos, and it’s refreshing to be able to focus on my work without it consuming the entirety of my existence.

Dare I say it without coming across as lazy or satisfied:  I’ve finally made it.

I can finally say that without a doubt I can do this for a living.  It’s no longer a pipe dream.  I’m no longer a “lost” kid who left his career to tool around for a while with a business before going back to the “real world”.  This is for real, and it’s so f*cking awesome I can’t put it into words.   It doesn’t matter to me that we aren’t “rich” because that’s not what it’s about to me:  it’s about the experience, it’s about living your life to your full potential without others getting in your way, it’s about building something great with other people who believe in it as much as you do.  All of the ideas I’ve really wanted to pursue – SportsLizard, iPrioritize, Music-Alerts, the shopping cart, etc – I’ve been able to get to market and see what the market thinks about them.  How many people get to turn their “best” ideas into a reality?  Yes, it’s come with a lot of sacrifice, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Like most of us, the time in my life when I met the most new people and developed the most relationships was in college.  Lately – for some reason known only to God – I’ve been hearing from and running into a ton of people that I haven’t heard from in years.  It’s been great catching up with everyone and seeing what they are doing.  However, I’ve noticed a pattern – many of them aren’t doing what they want to be doing.  In and of itself, this isn’t a huge deal…as long as you’re working towards what you want to be doing, or what you feel you are called to be doing.

But most of them aren’t working towards what they want to be doing.  They aren’t trying.  They aren’t even thinking about trying.  I’ve spent a lot of time thinking back to conversations I had when I was in college.   I thought back to discussions about passion and drive and determination, and what these friends wanted to do with their lives.  We all had big dreams.  Sadly, in a matter of five years or less most of the people I know have given up on their dreams.  This has nothing to do with being married, having kids, or working a crappy job for a while:  I understand that circumstance often dictates what you do for money.  It has to do with the fact that they’ve given up – you can hear it in their voice.  They are content to not pursue the things I was so sure they’d pursue only a few years ago.  It’s sad and it boggles my mind.  How can they not even try?  How can they not even  take a chance?  Won’t they wonder what if?  Why don’t they just spend a few hours a week working towards their dreams…at night, on the weekends, over their lunch break?  I just can’t comprehend that.  I can’t comprehend giving up.

In the words of the immortal Jimmy V Don’t give up, don’t ever give up. 

5 comments on The Difference Between Being 20 and 25

  1. I completely agree Adam. After 2 years of working from a home office I just signed the lease for my first store and I couldn’t be happier. A little stressed but overall 100x happier than had just gotten a job and gone the traditional path. I know that no matter what business I choose I can be successful and make it work.

    Don’t give up your dream. Just start working towards or you will never get there.

  2. Adam Holland says:

    Yep, Adam. Most people by 25 have already “settled” for their job/career or whatever. But I think that’s because they don’t know any better. We get fed from birth to 22 to go to college and get a job. Work 40-50 years and (hopefully) you’re able to retire.
    Being an entrepreneur seems so risky and can have unknown results… but that’s all the fun!

    After reading E-Myth (thanks for the suggestion by the way) I started looking around for other Michael Gerber stuff and came across this video on YouTube:
    Gerber talks about just how “different” entrepreneurs are…

    Just remember NEVER to be “settled”. Because you’re either growing your business forward, or you’re going backwards. Keep progressing, set new goals, and just imagine where you’ll be in 5 more years!

  3. Adam McFarland says:

    Holland – great video. Gerber is a great motivator and a great starting point for anyone who thinks they have the entrepreneur mentality.

  4. […] in my 8th grade graduating class). Some are working in politics. Some have joined the peace corps. Most have settled for mundane jobs and given up on their dreams. Still, others have hit rock bottom and become addicts or criminals. Yet twelve years ago we all […]

  5. David says:

    As many who aspire to achieving something, many others are content, or would rather feel safe and secure in monotony.

    It’s frustrating that many seem happy with not doing much beyond a 9 – 5 for 40-50 years and then kicking the bucket.

    There’s something beyond having lots of money or being popular, and that’s achieving something!

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