Growing up sucks

Seeing this girl, we were joking around about when all the girls were going crazy about the Twilight saga and decided to re-watch it together.

Watching the movie triggered this rush of memories for me: the last time I saw it was 10 years ago, the summer before college. I was into rowing and dating this girl at my club who was really into Twilight; she made me watch all the movies before we went to watch the latest one at the cinema. 

All I remember about that summer is waking up most mornings and getting out on the water, having breakfast at her house after, putting in a few hours at my chill part time retail job, going to the beach, sneaking BJs on the couch in her parent's basement, spending time with friends and family, just enjoying the sunshine and really living life. After some serious thought, I don't think I've ever been properly happy like that since. 

Sure, there still good times, and there's nothing about my life I can claim as unfortunate, but it just feels like every year on average gets worse. I don't think I need to spell it out for anyone here: the pressure starts in college, picks up when we start working and doesn't ever really let off. Even time off (which doesn't always translate to actual time without work) is punctuated by a looming feeling that it's only temporary, or at the very least that you should be doing something productive. On top of that, the physical degeneration is real: even little things like having to watch what you eat to stay in shape (I ate so much fast food that summer and still had abs, like God damn). 

I can't help but wonder what we're all desperately fighting for: bigger paychecks are great and all, but unless they're big enough to grant a very early retirement, they're never going to be able to bring back the way I felt that summer. 

Not a hot take, or a productive read, but maybe someone can relate. 

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Comments (113)

Aug 15, 2021 - 8:20am

This isn't meant to be mean, but just honest... Dude, quit being a bitch. In 20 years there will be 100 more reasons why you want to go back to this very moment in your life. And believe me you're forgetting how imperfect life was back in that summer - it's something we all do when looking at the past. I'm looking out my window right now and it's a beautiful summer day. Those days are happening now my friend. Do you really want to spend that same time bitching? 

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Aug 15, 2021 - 8:39am

In 20 years there will be 100 more reasons why you want to go back to this very moment in your life.

I agree entirely, and that's because all this pressure and responsibility is just going to keep growing. As someone else commented, wait until I get married or have kids or whatever. 

Don't get me wrong, I have a good life. Still go out and enjoy the sunshine when I can, keep active, whatever. It's hard to articulate but now, it just constantly feels like if you're not working towards something you're going to miss out.

  • VP in IB-M&A
Aug 17, 2021 - 1:42pm

Yup you can work hard now to build up a life where you can chill and do whatever you want in your later years (and that includes watching teen vampire movies if that's your thing…) or be an old wrinkly dude worrying about money and kicking yourself for not being more responsible when you were younger. It's not rocket science

Most Helpful
  • Consultant in Consulting
Aug 17, 2021 - 3:59pm

Hey Prospect, this isnt meant to be mean, but keep your mouth closed when you cannot relate at all to OP. You haven't been slaving away for years (or even months), so you do not realize how spot on OP is. You can have a good job making great money, an amazing significant other, and life STILL ISNT the same. On paper my life seems amazing; I have a high paying job, get 2 full weeks off each year, have a gf I love, and an amazing group of family and friends. All good right, life is what you make it? Well only to an extent. 

Life is fucking exhausting. Like all the time. When you work 70+ high stress hours each week and your weekends are comparable to most peoples 9-5s in terms of hours, joy is harder to find. You cant just watch a fucking Ted talk, take a week of work and find yourself as you try to summit Everest.

You have to keep working so you can grow your 401k and save for a down payment on a future place. You have to think about your parents retirement, and if they can afford it. You have to think about your friends who haven't excelled after college, and evaluate just how serious their drinking problem really is. All that to say that as life goes on, stress levels skyrocket, problems become more severe, and free time dwindles to just a few hours here and there.

Thinking back to a simpler, happier, stress-free time is only natural. Yes, maybe OP is overlooking some of the rain clouds that accompanied his teenage years, but regardless, he has perspective now. I would kill to go back in time and to be a compete degen again for one summer, just drinking smoking and chasing girls. 

The problem with your "put on your big boy pants and suck it up" response is that you cannot in fact relate at all to OP. Work for 2-5 years in a high stress job and then revisit this post. Thx

Sep 14, 2021 - 1:36pm

Dude the amount of times I've thought "I wish I could go back to when I was starting high school & relive the next 8 years" is absurd

Similar to you, on paper life is great. I'm in a pretty high paying job working 50hrs per week & good group of friends and fam. But on other hand, the other stresses just build up. Worrying about the state of my parents' marriage & a friend who increasingly tends to isolate himself from everyone. Worried that I'm now in my mid-20s and not in a serious relationship but would like to start one - will I find the right person & will it all work out? And even if it does, then you have the stresses of maintaining that marriage & raising your kids well. It never ends 

I remember those idyllic summers where I'd just play like 6 hours of Age of Empires / Rome Total War, chill with friends and read. Yes there were worries about college but aside from that it was low-stress. Would kill to relive high school & college again, would probably do a bunch of things different & cherish that time even more. That said, I had quite a good time in both high school & college so I can't really complain, but would probably try a little less hard & try to have more fun

Controversial
  • Intern in IB-M&A
Aug 15, 2021 - 8:32am

Dear god you're an absolute pussy. Anyone wondering why the West is losing its edge can just look at OP: males have become effeminate; they want to remain children forever because they fear responsibilities; they crave idleness and childish innocence.

No wonder the Taliban are making a fucking joke of us in Afghanistan

Funniest
Aug 15, 2021 - 10:44am

Yes we failed in Afghanistan because OP would prefer to sneak BJs in the parents basement vs working a real job and having a family.

Great analysis.

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  • Intern in IB-M&A
Aug 15, 2021 - 10:49am

OP can suck as many cocks as he wishes, that's not my point. My point is that his general outlook on life is representative of that of the Western population, and that such state of mind is destructive.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Aug 16, 2021 - 3:01am

Monkey sh*t notwithstanding, there is some wisdom in your comment. Thank you for posting it. Longing perpetually for "childish innocence," as you said, and remaining forever in a state of perpetual adolescence in which one expects to be coddled all throughout life, unable to face any modicum of hardship or responsibility without breaking down--this isn't what nature intended for us. The result is soaring obesity, a massive surge in people going into debt for useless passions, job openings without skilled labor to fill them, enormous entitlement, and a complete lack of accountability for anything.

Aug 15, 2021 - 9:13am

You'll feel that way again if you're ever lucky enough to fall in love, like truly fall in love. I think so many men cheat because they had to settle. Some are just born scumbags and would cheat no matter what, but so many of my friends had to settle. I think life sucks unless you have a great wife.

Aug 16, 2021 - 5:33pm

Quit trying to justify your buddies cheating by saying "they had to settle". Nobody is forcing them to get married to said women (at least in the western world) and its no surprise that there are only so many nice, loyal 10s. Maybe those obese guys who work long hours and are never at home with grouchy:tired personalities should actually look in the mirror and realize that the 6/7 isn't "settling down". It's a blessing given what they have. Far too many guys feel they are entitled to a nice loyal supermodel without even once looking at what they bring to the table. 

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  • 3
Aug 15, 2021 - 9:30am

bluepill

but really, welcome to adulthood. 

if you want to escape corporate drudgery for blissful times, definitely get out of finance. 

  • 1
Aug 15, 2021 - 11:18am

Ironically I've found a niche which fits almost perfectly with my interests, so I wouldn't say drudgery is the issue. It's more just, it hit me hard when I realised I'll never have true freedom like that again, like be in a place and time where I can do whatever I want without facing real consequences or closing any doors. 

Aug 16, 2021 - 5:37pm

There would have been real consequences if her parents realized you were pumping and dumping their daughter. 

Nobody is stopping you from getting a part time job in Montana and staring at the lake.

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  • 1
Aug 15, 2021 - 12:10pm

Also a rower back in the day and I hear you, sometimes it's nice to imagine going back to those simpler times when it was just work out with the team and hang with girls. Especially with all the shit show of the past year and a half. Just gotta keep chugging forward and try to figure things out, there's many more memories to be made. 

Array

  • 1
Aug 15, 2021 - 12:36pm

COVID has definitely compounded everything; I just moved to this city six months before lockdown hit, and my office has been WFH ever since (17 months and counting). Would be nice to be able to just go out for drinks with and get to know other people on my floor, or get back into some EC stuff. 

But you're right, just gotta keep on keeping on. 

Aug 15, 2021 - 12:43pm

Right there with you. I'd been in an office for barely a year before it all happened and been remote ever since. Have since moved to a new firm where none of my colleagues are even in the same time zone. It's a weird way to start a career, but I'd much rather be in finance than just about anything else other than maybe tech given current times.

Array

Sep 14, 2021 - 1:40pm

Enjoy the hell out of it while you can. I sadly had to spend most of senior year recruiting for jobs but even despite that it was by far the best year of college

Have an awesome time & don't worry too much about grades 

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Gen
Aug 15, 2021 - 8:57pm

I feel this post very much. It's usually music that will bring me back to highschool days when things were easy and care free. Although it's hard to complain when we are all in very privileged positions, those days were some of the best ever. Don't realize how fast time flies until you sit back and reminisce. It's all just part of the ride, man.

Aug 16, 2021 - 4:35am

Yep, I have very strong associations between music and specific periods of my life, both good and bad. Especially back in those days when I had a car so I always heard what was on the radio - back then I remember Calvin Harris, Ed Sheeran, Example and Rihanna were playing a lot. 

I know you're right, it's all part of the ride and all, I just wish I had something to look forward to that didn't involve say, moving to the next rung on the corporate ladder or whatever. I just want some real time to just breathe and not give a shit about anything, but I don't see any way to do that without closing doors. 

Aug 16, 2021 - 12:55am

society has been set up to be ultra efficient, but in a way that is mechanically oppressive for how humans have evolved. Hemingway's mechanical solution for this was to get plastered every day lol. I personally like growing up, but sometimes I'll go on a nature wall and question everything.

path less traveled

  • 2
Aug 16, 2021 - 1:14am

I was in confined in systems or institutions from 1982 - 2010. Then I finally left the structure and can now do whatever the fuck I want. 

#nolawswithwhiteclaws

Vegas in December -- let's gooooooo

#TrumpInternationalHotel

Growing up is amazing. I had a good training week this past week and worked out for 30h 2min. Did a Sunday century on the indoor trainer (101mi). #getsome

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

  • 4
Aug 16, 2021 - 8:18am

Disagree OP. Growing up gives meaning to your life, therefore strive to have a meaningful life AND a happy life, because sometimes doing what's right and good doesn't necessarily associate with laughs and "chill" hours.

Yes, it's important to have good friends, to have a partner, to have a good periods as the one you presented in your post. But also it's important to understand that you should strive to give meaning to what you do. In my view, as a man growing up, you should fill fulfilled when you can provide for your family, when people can rely 100% on you, when your voice is heard and respected in a community, when you are a model for your children and for other children growing up and so on. Children don't have responsibilities but men yes, therefore embrace your manhood. 

Also, as I understand one big problem may be your current job. Easily put, find another job which suits the lifestyle you aspire to have. You don't need six figures on your card to have a happy life, just change the lenses with which you see the world and that's enough to put a smile on your face.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Aug 16, 2021 - 11:52am

Askhanar

Also, as I understand one big problem may be your current job. Easily put, find another job which suits the lifestyle you aspire to have. You don't need six figures on your card to have a happy life, just change the lenses with which you see the world and that's enough to put a smile on your face.

I like your sentiment, but our generation is screwed. Everything is becoming increasingly expensive nowadays. Not sure you will be very well-off under six-figures. If you wanted to "provide" for your family or children too as you mentioned that just won't be possible. I also fear returns will be shit in the future for our generation. I think for us it's either take a huge risk and be financially set or be miserable quite frankly. Have been considering taking all my investments and cash and then taking an additional full margin loan to just go all in on a crypto or something. Rather die and have that slight sliver of opportunity for freedom than live like this.   

Also can't even count on my hands the number of seniors who've told me they sucked at school, had sub-3.0 GPAs, and just partied away when they were younger, where as today that won't cut it in the slightest. You won't even get a single foot into the door as a candidate if you are not very strong on paper at least. Far more competition. And then they have the audacity to turn around and call our generation "soft" or spoiled when they would be frankly flipping burgers if they pulled their younger behavior in today's world.   

Aug 16, 2021 - 12:05pm

I know it's pointless to think like this, but the pressure to provide even for yourself today, let alone a family, is infinitely higher now than it was for previous generations. 

My grandfather dropped out of college and walked into a white collar job at GM. By his mid-30s he had paid off a four bedroom house, ended up retiring in his mid-50s on a defined benefit pension plan with a redundancy cheque large enough to buy the 1 acre property he lives in now. He jokes around about how on Fridays the main job of all the secretaries in his office used to be to order oysters for everyone to be shipped in from wherever had them fresh. 

My father got kicked out of high school, was way into drugs for a few years, ended up walking into a job in the air force and then becoming an international airline pilot for 3 decades. 

If anyone followed either of their paths today they'd end up borderline unemployable. And even if they did do everything right, there's a good chance they'll end up on this forum trying to hustle their way into something. It feels like we constantly have to be either working hard or upskilling just to keep our heads above water. 

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Aug 16, 2021 - 12:21pm

This world is getting more competitive every day. You'd think globalization would make everyone richer, but it made people poorer. Money didn't fall into the pocket of employees - shareholders have been the ones to benefit from it. Globalization just increased the number of people fighting for the cake without increasing the size of the cake.

Aug 16, 2021 - 1:41pm

I think you are putting way to much pressure on yourself.  I have seen plenty of people do great things without having an Ivy league education or having a shitty GPA.  Are they owning mansions and driving mclarens? no. but they actively making their communities a better place and support their family.   

Aug 18, 2021 - 3:50pm

The rising cost of living is true on average but that's mostly true in places like NY/Philly/SF/LA and to a lesser extent Dallas/HOU/CHI/ATL and other tier 2/3 cities where COL has soared  in the past 20 years. Get outside of these cities though and the tune starts to change real quick. While these cities are seeing tremendous population growth, smaller cities and rural areas are seeing population losses and so the COL remains low or has even fallen. I read in the paper recently that WV is paying people to move there and other rural areas as well. 

Array

  • 1
Aug 16, 2021 - 12:02pm

Current job is definitely part of the problem. Working long hours for pretty mediocre pay, and am completely dependent on my job for a visa. Main upside is it's a fairly niche skill which might translate into something better down the line, but making that transition just feels like an endless hustle - CFA, grad school, networking, and waiting for one of a very limited number of seats to open. Come close to making it recently but, no dice. That said, I'm under no illusion that once I do break into what I want to do I'll be able to take it easy; there'll always be more and more and more. 

I'm not going to give up and I know this isn't productive, I'm just ranting because I had no idea life would be like this. 

Aug 16, 2021 - 11:00am

It's normal to seek to maximize pleasure so yeah at some level everyone fondly remembers being a carefree young person. 
 

But you have to realize that isn't sustainable or realistic in the long term. Humans have to engage in some productive activity to sustain themselves and their society; normally that meant agriculture, or some form of industrial work if you were born at least a few hundred years ago. 
 

Now that has transitioned into sitting in offices punching data or creating pictures of on slides. This isn't half bad in the grand scheme of things, and the things you enjoyed as a young person were afforded to you because other people engaged in productive activity, ie you had a nice retail job because people had enough money to spend, you had a house with lake front access because someone worked to afford it, and you had a girl to hookup with because she wasn't forced into doing chores all day or into early child rearing. 

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  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Aug 16, 2021 - 1:05pm

Yeah as a kid you don't have responsibility and as an adult you do. Welcome to being an adult lol.

But in all seriousness, the bright side of being an adult is you have more control over your life. If you are actually unhappy, change your setup. You can still be having random BJ's on the couch and you can work a 9-5 with people who you like-no one is stopping you from doing these things. Hell, if you really are focused on just living it up, join the dink life (disposable income no kids). If you don't plan on having kids, you can fly to Dubai, and do whatever the hell you want cause you basically don't need to save. If you plan on having kids, well I'd argue few things are more fulfilling than raising a kid. Sure, being a kid is fun, but reliving all the childhood fun and games with your own kids is perhaps even better. Additionally, as you get older, I'm told few things are as awesome as watching your kids grow up and impact the world positively and accomplish things, because you literally made their existence happen.

Plus, you should be majorly looking forward to a wife that you actually enjoy being around rather than a random GF who you secretly knew would never be a great compatible match. 
 

The best really is yet to come-if you look at happiness charts most people peak around like 60.

Aug 16, 2021 - 4:19pm

IDK man it's not all that bad. Really depends how/where you live though. When I was in my early 20s I found myself getting a bit unhappy with my lifestyle. I was doing the normal stuff at that age I guess (partying, working etc) in living in more urban areas. I was becoming increasingly nostalgic of how I used to live as a kid (going to the beach, jumping off stuff into water, biking, "playing outside") and now that I'm almost 30 I've really started to that stuff again. Same with most of my friends. It's hard to plan a camping trip now without 10+ people wanting to come. I either go mountain biking or to the beach or fishing most days after work in the summer. I can afford to go skiing every weekend now. Granted I rarely work more than 50 hours a week, and don't make a crazy amount of money but I can still pretty much do whatever I want. I had a burrito for lunch 2 days in a row. It was awesome. So find out what you want to do and go do it. 

  • 8
Aug 17, 2021 - 1:37pm

Sounds like you have a more fulfilling life than most of the people I know earning crazy money in finance tbh.

I don't think I'm quite ready for it yet career-wise, but if in a few years time I was in a position where I could find relevant work in a MCOL/LCOL place and just settle - buy the house, get the permanent group of friends (I've moved three cities in five years), own a car again and just get back into hiking, camping, the beach - basically everything I haven't done in a long time, I think that could make a difference. 

Aug 16, 2021 - 11:46pm

Keep moving forward. Those are great memories, I recall similar days, falling hard for a girl as we were just growing up. I'm telling you, if you play life right, it only gets better. Keep going.

Aug 18, 2021 - 12:52pm

People will literally never admit that they are less happy with kids because how bad does that sound?  It's just an exchange of time & discretionary income. 

Aug 21, 2021 - 9:00am

I just want you OP and everyone to know that. No matter what happens we are all in this life together and I love you all. Maybe we will only meet and talk online but I really hope one day we can uncover these online identity and sit down like old friends. Stay happy and live in the moment :)

Aug 23, 2021 - 2:31pm

balanceofpayments

it just feels like every year on average gets worse

I used to feel like this too, and then it clicked. for at least the past 5 years, every year has been my best year ever. I firmly believe that self improvement does this, and while I'm definitely susceptible to getting kicked in the dick by life (got some personnel issues this year that could go well, or could blow up in my face), a lot of what you're feeling (I think) recedes with age provided you STAY ON THE PATH

Aug 23, 2021 - 3:24pm

Yeah I can get where you're coming from. When I think of the years I've been happiest since graduation, they're the ones where I actually achieved things. I think 2020 was a particularly bad year (for a lot of people) because all progress just kinda stopped:

1) I had to give up a full contact sport (still heavily restricted where I live);

2) CFA got cancelled twice;

3) The country I'm in (but not a citizen of) tightened it's visa policy, making it extremely difficult for me to change jobs;

4) All travel suspended (and a major driver for me to take this particular job was the approx ~10 international trips p/a in normal times).

Life progress halted on pretty much every front. 2021 is looking a bit better; we'll see how the next 4 months pan out. 

  • VP in IB-M&A
Aug 24, 2021 - 10:19am

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  • Intern in IB-M&A
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