Year 18 is a very important year in a person’s growth. This article is here for you if you’re turning 18 soon, to read what a talented young builder went through looking back at this crazy age. Take a few lessons from their experience and save yourself the trouble, you’ll need them!
Hey, I’m Jack LaFond. I was born and raised in the sunny city of Tampa, Florida. I just turned 20, but I want to share my year as an 18 year old.
Programming since 12 years old, I've been interested in everything surrounding the world of technology. I started out messing with inspect element on my middle school’s website. Seeing how I could edit code and witness visible changes on my screen amazed me. From there, I went deep into the world of computer engineering. Work wise, my area of expertise varies a lot. I’m sort of a jack of all trades, no pun intended. Currently, I’m doing marketing & product development at Basic.Space. We’ve created a fantastic online shopping experience that aims to provide smaller retail sellers and innovators with a tailored place to sell their products. Beyond that, I’ve kind of done it all. From working at Creature World, one of the biggest and most recognizable NFT projects in the world as Head of Community Tech, to working as Customer Service at OpenSea for a few months, the largest NFT marketplace on Earth.
Yes, actually. I found out that I could probably never professionally work as a software engineer, which was a surprise given how long I’ve been programming. In my 18th year, I pushed myself to be hyper-focused on making money while stuck at home during the pandemic. This mission of mine materialized into starting a software development freelancing business. I learned a lot through coding 24/7, always being disposable to clients, and having to constantly meet project deadlines. The love that I had for coding was quickly drained by my burnout.
A lot of people at 18 take up software engineering as a hobby, with the end goal of using the skill to get a job. I learned that I want to build things on my own time with no restrictions. I want to be able to pick things up and drop them. I wanted to have the freedom of it being a hobby and nothing more.
When I was 18, my personal mission statement was to do anything it took now to ensure I could lead a comfortable life in the future. That mission statement has significantly changed in the last 2 years. Now, my north star is now more about being around people I love and creating memories with them. When I just turned 18, I was in the mindset of turning into what I believed an adult was. Someone who focused on work, the grind, and making money. In that process, I lost the part of my childhood that was most crucial. Building connections, memories, and doing stupid shit. Being 18 is about doing dumb things (and learning). Looking back at that now, I sacrificed lots of moments and social interactions, because I was so driven by greed. If you’re not able to make time for creating memories and working now, you probably never will. It’s all about your foundation. If you prioritize work so early on, you get stuck in that mindset. I’m very glad that I broke out of it. It has changed me for the better.
THIS TOO SHALL PASS.
I held myself to such high standards, that the slightest loss felt like the biggest possible magnitude. I went through one of the hardest breakups of my life when I was 18, and this mantra is what got me through it. As long as you’re not staying stagnant, it’s always going to be ok in the end. Even if that doesn’t feel like that in the moment. What’s most important is not remaining stagnant. As long as you grow… no matter how significant that growth is… the discomfort from that growth will shine through at the end of the day.
Disclaimer: This article is written from the experiences Jack has had in his life. His life will not be perfectly applicable to yours. For that reason, don’t take what he says as law.