I’m Nineteen

Today I’m celebrating my 19th birthday. To mark the occasion I spent much of yesterday reviewing the past year and setting out plans and goals for the future. I thought I would interrupt the normal stream of new content to share a bit of that review.

This post is going to be entirely self-indulgent, so if you’re looking for new lifehacking ideas you might want to just skip this post and wait until Monday.

Looking Back

This year has been an exceptional one. I moved away and completed my first year of University. Here are a few of the highlights I’m most proud of:

  • Business. In August of ‘06 I made roughly $40 from this website and writing. Eleven months later I made slightly over $1000.
  • Traffic. In the last 12 months I’ve tripled the amount of traffic this website receives and quadrupled the amount of subscribers.
  • School. My GPA for my first year in University was a 4.2, which sits between an A and an A+.
  • Toastmasters. I completed my Competent Communicator and Competent Leadership awards for Toastmasters, a year after joining Toastmasters. I was also in charge of membership for my club and participated in a couple speaking contests.
  • Social. Harder to quantify, but I had an incredible time last year making hundreds of new friends and meeting many interesting people.
  • Networking. I joined the Positive Blog Network several months ago and it has been a thoroughly positive experience being able to share ideas with other bloggers.

Another honorable mention has been interacting with you. Although I only receive comments and e-mails from a sliver of the readers here, if they are in any way a representative sample, you should be proud. The people I’ve had a chance to talk with and meet who read this blog seem to be highly intelligent and driven. Which makes me feel even more privileged to have the opportunity to write to you.

Bumps in the Road

This year was such a positive one that any negative experiences seem like they should be minor footnotes. But there were a few issues in the last year that taught me a lot:

  • Relationships. I’m not the guy you should ask for dating advice. Most of my highschool years I was too focused to invest a lot of time pursuing relationships. This year had its share of ups and downs. In some ways I didn’t come as far as I would have liked, but I did learn a lot about myself along the way.
  • Drinking. My entire stay in high school was completely sober. This worked great from a productivity/goal-setting perspective, but it also separated me further from my peers. This past year I loosened up some of my restrictions and had a bit more fun. I strove for moderation but part of me sees any drinking at all to be a weak compromise.
  • Isolation. My four months of summer found me moving back home where I didn’t have a large social circle. Although I made friends, it was far quieter than the buzz of residence and University life. At the beginning I couldn’t help but feel it was a step back. Now as my summer draws to a close I see that it became a useful experience, giving me time to order myself before heading back.

Looking Forward

I expect the next year to be just as eventful as this one has been. Some of the major points I would like to focus on for the next year:

  • Focus on business. This website and, to a lesser degree, freelance writing will be my major focuses in the upcoming year. I’m near a threshold where this business could support me through University and I’d like to do what I can to push it past that line. I’d like to earn a reliable $2000 per month by my birthday next year. It won’t be easy, but I believe it is possible.
  • Toastmasters. I’ll be the president of my local club in the upcoming year, which is going to mean a lot more work and responsibility. Aside from getting my club active again I’d like to complete my Advanced Communicator award and win an inter-club speaking contest.
  • Relationships. My goals here are less specific and ambitious. I’ve found going with the flow and focusing on meeting people and having a fun time to be far easier (and more effective) than stressing over dating.
  • Networking. Last year also saw my networking skills go from laughably weak to slightly above average. I’d like to improve upon this again and meet more people both in the blogging community and offline. I’ve found making friends this way to be an incredibly rewarding experience even if the tangible benefits are sometimes harder to see.
  • School. School (as always) will be important but largely on autopilot. I’d like to keep my grade point average on an A for next year although University for me will be more about the connections and education than a letter.
  • Miscellaneous. Last year I took up Latin dancing, although I didn’t pick up as many new activities as I hoped. I’m interested in trying out martial arts, improv comedy or learning a new language as potential side-activities. I’ve since learned that I’m horrible at predicting what I’m going to become passionate about, so I might as well try everything.

Even if the new year will be incredibly busy, I expect it to be fun. Fun is an undervalued aspect of all this productivity and goal-setting craziness. I thoroughly enjoy getting up each morning and finding new ways to improve doing what I love. Knowing that, I’m confident that next year will turn out well regardless of whether I reach my goals.

  • Christopher

    Cheers to a positive future!

  • Dave

    Well, happy birthday. I wish I had had my stuff as together when I was that young. Keep it going!

  • Doc DeVore

    Happy Birthday! I am even more impressed now that I know you are only 19. Keep up the excellent work and vision!

  • Luciano Passuello

    Happy Birthday!

    Wow, Scott. You’re truly an inspiration for me and for a lot of other readers, I’m sure. Congratulations on your great achievements and good luck on your new goals. I can only expect even greater stuff coming from you.

  • Aaron M. Potts

    Happy Birthday, Scott!

    Wow, you have come a LONG way in one year, and you should be very proud of yourself. You are holding yourself to a higher standard of both general living as well as future growth than a lot of people your age, and I personally think you will be far more successful than the moderate goals that you mentioned.

    Looking forward to seeing what the next year has in store, Scott, and again, Happy Birthday! 🙂

    – Aaron

  • Laura

    It’s really interesting to read your outlook on an entire year, sounds like you are building momentum that will just keep on going!

  • Jan

    Hello Scott,

    Happy Birthday – we share the same birthday! However, I am almost 20 yrs older, wow that must sound so old to you.

    However, you much older than me in the sense that you have the wisdom of an old man!

    Thanks for your blog.

  • Goal Setting College

    Happy Birthday Scott!

    Congratulations on the remarkable achievements despite your tender age. Come to think of it, when I was 19, I was still having fun in college and here you’re giving useful tips and advice to people who may be much older than you. Excellent work and I’m sure there’s more to expect from you.


  • Jeff Seely

    Happy birthday, Scott

  • Cynthia Zhai

    Happy birthday!

    I’ve been visiting your blog for about two weeks, and can’t imagine that you are so young with those strong self-improing skills!

    I learned a lot from your blog, and I’m going to form my daily habit in the very near future.

    So thank you and let’s keep moving forward together!

    Wish you achieved all that you expected. Cheers!

    Oh, btw, I’ve been a toastmaster member for one year as well. I got my CC this May. It’s a great organization. Cheers again!

  • Scott Young

    Thanks for the kind words everyone. I don’t really think I’m that remarkable, but I enjoy writing and hopefully it can help.


  • JohnPlace

    Happy Birthday, Scott. 🙂

  • Martin Hathaway

    Happy birthday. I had you down as around twenty-one/two.

    This post has been comforting and reaffirming for me, in that I understand your pains and ultimately share similar goals. My first year at Uni has been dominated by an inwardly, focused determination and dedication to starting my business ventures, with Uni generally coming more of an inconvenient second.

    I am telling myself that next year will be different, but the pessimist inside me says that with my projects further along I will have even less inclination to work on the rest of my life.

    Thanks for you great posts, please keep it up and I wish you luck for the next year.

  • Sara Mariner Ferris

    Happy Birthday Scott and congratulations for your achievements.

    I think your blog is very interesting. I actually wrote a post in my blog based in your post about procrastination, (with trackback, of course). http://www.saramariner.com/ind

    Since then, I follow your blog regularly, I really enjoy it.

    My blog is also about getting the best from life, but I write in Spanish. By the way, I am from Spain, Europe.

    I have just read that you are thinking in learning a new language, I think Spanish will be a smart choice; many people around the world speak Spanish and then you could also read my blog 😉

    Again, my most sincere congratulations!!!!!!


  • Katie

    Sorry, a day late. That’s the time difference from Europe. I always get the feed a day later.

    Well, anyway,
    I wish you a Happy Birthday. Keep up the great work. Wish you achieve what you aim for.


  • Henrik Edberg

    Happy birthday, Scott! (um, a day too late). It was interesting to read about your plans for the next 12 months. I think earning 2000 dollars/month may happen sooner than your 20th birthday if you keep up this pace and quality in your writing.

  • Francine Verhagen

    Happy birthday Scott and congratulations with your blog.

    I’m from Belgium an II read your blog some weeks ago . You really impressed me. Learned quite a lot from you. Keep going and thanks for the good stuff you write.

    Have a nice life and all the blessings are with you.

  • Phil Gerbyshak

    Wow Scott, you sure have done a lot this past year! Congratulations to you for making this such an outstanding year. My brother’s birthday is also August 19th. He turned 31 this year.

    Here’s to another amazing year! If you stay focused and true to what you know is right, it’s bound to be amazing.

    And good luck leading your Toastmasters club! That’s quite an achievement!

  • Aissa Ang

    maligayang bati!
    (as we say it in Filipino)
    (as we say it in college gobbledygook)
    i’d greet you in chinese too but this laptop doesn’t carry mandarin

    anyhow, all the best in life! you’re impressive, an inspiration. i suppose you’ve been told this already, but i also think it doesn’t hurt to hear it again hahaha.
    an aside: i just turned 19 this year, too. it’s exhilarating, is it not?

    a poem to offer for your birthday(from the incomparable Sufi master, Rumi—do check him out, i recommend The Essential Rumi by Coleman Barks for a giddy plunging and soaring into all that is):

    “we are the mirror as well as the face in it/we are tasting the taste this minute/of eternity/we are the pain/and what cures pain, both/ we are/ the sweet cold water and the jar that pours.”

    happy birthday! “let the beauty we love be what we do”—rumi
    here’s to the beauty in life!

  • Scott Young

    Thanks everyone!

  • Travis Wright

    Hey man,

    Hope you had a great birthday. It is nice to see you managing your goals so effectively. There is something to be said about seeing your future in advance.

    Great job this year, and cheers to next!


  • Steve

    hey Scott,

    I hope you had a great birthday! It’s great to see you advancing yourself and making improvements at such a young age.

    Keep up the great work!

    Stephen Martile
    Personal Development with NLP

  • John Wesley

    Happy birthday and congrats on a great year! I’m sure the next one will be even better.

  • David Zinger

    Way to go Scott.
    If you have geometric growth one can only imagine where you will be by your 30th. birthday! When you get back in Winnipeg, call me or email and I will take you out for a birthday lunch.

  • Karthik

    Hi Scott,

    Belated Birthday wishes…. Wish & pray for 100 years to you so that you can write & motivate many folks around the world.

    Really your blog has motivated & inspired me a lot….

    Once again my wishes to you


  • Priscilla Palmer

    Happy birthday Scott! It looks like you have an exciting year to look forward to. I’m am confident that you will achieve all of your goals, plus some that you’ve not thought of yet.

  • Scott Young

    Thanks everyone!


    Sounds great. I look forward to a meet-up when I come down to Winnipeg in December.

  • Kali

    Happy birthday!

  • Rich G.

    Jumping on the birthday-bandwagon.

    Happy Birthday to you!

  • Richard

    Hey, Happy Birthday Scott

    You’ve accomplished quite a lot in 19 years. I’m 18 now, soon to be 19 and I’m also in college.

    I have realized it’s a lot harder to keep up with personal development and such at college, and it’s probably more sensible to let your life flow with the social scene than have a rigid schedule. But it sounds like your keeping up everything and really utilizing the experience of college.

  • Ravi

    Hey Scott,

    Happy birthday dear ! Keep up the good work!

  • Darla

    Happy belated Birthday Scott!!

    I can’t believe I’m old enough to be your mother, yet you sound so much more wiser than me : o … you should be very proud of yourself! I’m sure we’ll be hearing great things about you for the next 19 years!

  • Ben Casnocha

    Happy birthday Scott. Congrats on all that you’ve done and keep it up.

    If you’re ever in the Los Angeles area do let me know.

  • Scott Young


    I’m sure if we met there would be a million things I could learn from you, so don’t doubt your own wisdom. But I’m glad you like the blog and hopefully my naive views of the world can help in some way.


    Definitely. I’d like to do some traveling next summer, so if I end up in San Fran I’ll let you know. Kudos on the great book!

  • Preet

    Happy B’Day Scott!

    Read your blog for the first time. Very interesting and motivating to see you achieve your goals. I have a few cousins your age – i wish they read this and get inspired to “get more form life”. Keep it up. Hope you meet all your goals for this year.
    Nice to see a fellow Toastmaster blogging his way to success.

  • Gleb

    Hey Scott,

    Happy birthday! Sorry I’m the last one to show up, but frankly today is the first day since my holidays when I actually got a chance to catch up with my most favorite RSS feeds.

    A great year, and I’m sure the next one will be an even bigger milestone, in all accounts.

    Good luck!

  • Scott Young


    Great to hear from you! Good luck to you as well!