In 2018, I lived on a tight college budget. I hesitated to splurge on chicken for dinner, 3$ Ubers and going out.
It's hard to make plans with this budget when you're living in a city without many free and safe public spaces. So I played League Of Legends (LoL) with four friends from school and one girl who lived abroad.
LoL is an online game where two teams of five players conquer the other team's half of the territory. There are five player roles and thousands of weapons, spells, and characters to master. As a result, most people suck. They make mistakes that throw off games after playing for 40-minutes, leading to in-team and cross-team insults that don't respect anyone's family, looks, or background.
I liked the chaos. It was either that or talking to myself after everyone in my student house left to party. So after learning my LoL squad was meeting in Bogotá, Colombia, I booked the cheapest flight and brought $50 with me to survive for an entire week of going out.
We visited historical landmarks, played party games, and ate at unhealthy places. Everything about the trip was fantastic, except for my budget – which was $10 per day. It made me feel like an actor from Extreme Cheapskates, a show where stingy people get constipated to save money on toilet paper. The difference between the show's actors and me is that I didn't have an alternative. There wasn't toilet paper, only constipation.
In 2021, I met a few of our squad members in Bogotá. This time, I had an unlimited budget. I had spent the last 2.5 years overworking. For the first time in my life, I ate what I wanted and went to the events I wanted.
The contrast between these trips has a lesson that can be hard to comprehend while going through an unpleasant time—you can't predict when your life will change, no matter how much history is behind you.
If I were to have predicted my future after college, I would have foreseen gloomy days because that's what I'd been experiencing. While, in reality, my quality of life after college is 10x better than it was while studying.
The Turkey Problem, a concept from Statistician Nassim Taleb, is a metaphor that describes how past evidence can't lead to conclusions about the future. "A turkey is fed for a thousand days by a butcher," says Taleb, "every day is a confirmation to his team of analysts that butchers love turkeys." So if someone asked you what would happen to the turkey on day 1001, you would likely say the butcher would feed it. But day 1000 could well be the turkey's last day before his Thanksgiving red carpet entrance.
The absence of evidence that your life will change is not evidence that your life won't change. Life can change in a short period. So keep living long enough to see it.