This is My Decade

“This is about a new phase in history where art, science, business, and spirit will join together, both externally and internally, in the pursuit of true wealth. It’s a phase where ideas are more important than people and everyone will have to choose themselves for happiness, just like I did. They will have to build the foundation internally for that choice to manifest. And from that internal health the rest will come, whether it’s a business, art, health, success.”

-J. Altucher

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Dear P,

I’ve often heard our friends say things like, “Ugh, I wish I had been born in the twenties,” or “The sixties were where it was at.” This sentiment is echoed in Woody Allen’s recent masterpiece, “Midnight in Paris.” I agree that being a flapper girl would have had a splash of glamour to it, though the whole prejudice thing would have been an issue. It would have been cool to be alive when the Beatles were in their heyday, or to don red lipstick and poodle skirts (cough, cough, T).

However, I believe we came of age at the most magical possible time. It has my pleasure to grow up with the internet, to watch it evolve and change society. The crash in 2008 made “job security” a thing of the past. Technology has made the repetitive jobs of our parents and grandparents obsolete. Flexibility and resourcefulness are replacing specialization and rote work. This is the decade of the artist-entrepreneur, who can start a business and create great work from anywhere. Old, bloated establishments, like the publishing and music industry, are going under, leaving room for the new and exciting. Alex Day, a British youtube sensation, beat Justin Timberlake for the number two spot on iTunes at the beginning of this year. Alex lacked Timberlake’s media empire, but managed to broadcast himself and his music with sheer talent and business acumen.

I’ve heard you worry before about the Big Question: “What am I going to be when I grow up?” This question is irrelevant. We need to pursue our interests with abandon and find ways to expand upon them. That is all. Adults will still try to fit us into boxes: “pre-med”, “pre-law”, “loser”, etc. These adults are deluded and we should not confine ourselves by the boxes they impose on us. You may go to medical school, but that does not mean that you can’t start a business, do research or find a way to use new research to develop better ways to teach kids math. To be successful, we must combine, recombine, develop and peel away.

I am lucky because my parents understand this. They have never advised me in terms of, “Secure one, steady job you can bore yourself to death with for your entire life.” They have always focused on developing marketable skills so that I am able to seize as many opportunities as possible, and even develop my own.

I am especially excited to live at this time because I feel that I am in such good company. I am only a tweet away from my heroes: Oliver Sacks, who is the grandfather of the popular science book, Maria PopovaJames Altucher (who I stole the Alex Day story from), Penelope Trunk (who I found recently and am obsessed with), Steven PinkerCheryl Strayed of Dear SugarGala DarlingJeff CorwinBrene Brown, and my former TA Joe Hanson of the youtube series It’s Okay to Be Smart. These people invariably make their living conveying interesting information in a compelling way. P, I want to do that. Being a contemporary of these people is better than being a contemporary of Fitzgerald, Roosevelt, Einstein or Picasso.

It’s a beautiful world, P, and for smart, creative ladies like us and our compatriots, the future is wide open.

Hugs and kisses,

E

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