I am DVDKOURIL. This is my blog.

Aiming to be the 40-year-old that doesn’t know what he wants to do in his life

I don’t know if you’ve seen or heard this piece before:

It was originally written as an essay by Mary Schmich and then made into a song by Baz Luhrmann. I’ve heard it first in the form of this song when I was writing my bachelor thesis. I put it in my spotify playlist and I regularly bump into it when I’m listening to this playlist on shuffle. I always take something different from it, depending on what problems I’m having or what I’m thinking about at that moment.

Last time it was this part:

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t.

Lately I’ve had the problem that I’m again being attracted by different things and I have a hard time choosing what to focus on. The things is—I’ve been led to believe that I need to choose one thing, give my whole life into it, and then maybe I have some small chance of being successful. That’s a very frustrating thought because I have quite a number of things I’d like to do.

This time however I’m starting to get comfortable with that. I’m not gonna be known as a prodigy, a 14yo kid who makes an iphone app, sells out concert halls, or writes a book. I’m an almost 26-year-old guy, my may-be-a-prodigy years are over. But I still can (and should) be me.

And therefore I’m aiming to be the 40-year-old who still can’t decide what he wants to do in his life. I want to explore everything I want. I most probably won’t be successful at it. But if there’s one thing I’ve found out already, it’s that you don’t have to be world-class at something to enjoy doing it.

What if you already had your followers?

I’ve been wishing for a (social media) following for some time now. You might think it’s stupid and that I’m just a kid that wants to be famous. But I don’t see it like that. I really think that if you do this right, gather around you the right people, use social media to your advantage, things can happen and you can get to opportunities you wouldn’t even dream of.

However, recently I’ve realized that I’ve been doing it wrong. I’ve been trying to get an audience just to have an audience. I’ve been posting to Instagram just to get followers on Instagram. I’ve been following many people and I was thinking about how can I emulate that, how can I take the thing that made them succeed on social media, and apply it to myself.

One problem is that I wasn’t really doing it. I wasn’t putting in enough work.

But another thing, far more important I believe, is that I lost the purpose. I lost my flavor, I wasn’t showing what I want to show, I was showing what I thought people want to see.

I kinda knew it subconsciously—I don’t want to be another lifestyle, food, or fashion blogger (that’s what seems to be “hot” these days). I actually want to do meaningful things (at least meaningful for me).

All this led me to ask myself a question: “What would I do if I already had my followers?”. What kind of pictures would I post? What would I write about? What would I share with these people?

It’s very similar to the  “What if money was no object?” question. I thought about what I would be doing if suddenly I had all the money I needed and a decent number of people following what I do.

My answer is that I would create more. I’ve been artistic for a big part of my life—I’ve been drawing and painting, and I’ve been playing the guitar and making music. Even programming was something that I took up to express myself artistically—by developing games. I’ve been drawn to all these things but I couldn’t really choose one to focus on. I believed (and still do) that to make it in something, you need to be really specific about it. You need to double down on it, and work really hard. And you still might not make it. I was really scared of that (I call it being pragmatic), that’s why I never fully took the artistic route and instead invested myself in programming. Don’t get me wrong—I believe that programming can be as creative and as fulfilling as doing anything that’s considered traditional art. But I realized that I want to steer it a little bit back towards the creative side of coding. That’s why I also fell in love with creative coding and generative art (or whatever it’s called).

I’m still very much interested in programming, software development, and software business. But I realized that the artistic side of me will always be there, that it’s what I would do if I had nothing to do at all, and that it is the thing that’s giving me some kind of flavor.