The Great Self Refactor

Reflections on personal architecture

When I was young I used to stare into the mirror and wonder what I’d look like when I was older.

You ever do this?

I did this a lot growing up; I spent a good amount of time talking to myself or trying to be funny in front of a mirror.

(I’m pretty sure it was from being inspired by comedians of that era).

I can clearly remember moments from my childhood where I’m brushing my teeth, combing my bangs, or after washing my face… and then I’d stop for a second, start staring into my eyes… and with an internal voice, I’d ask and wonder, “what’re you gonna look like when you’re older?”

We see the Wolves in the mirror sometimes.

They observe their own features, play with their facial expressions, they laugh, sing, beatbox, etc.

I encourage them to wonder the same for themselves — to wonder about the future you.

I tell them how fascinating of an experience it is, to be able to stand in front of it today and respond to younger-Ran, like “… aye this is what is, man”.

(he says he’s cool with it btw)


The Future You

Back when young-Ran used to reflect, his curiosity was mostly about appearance.

Sure, looking into a physical mirror incites physical reflection, but he wasn’t considering how different he’d be in other areas like faith, health, character, or education.

He didn’t know that by this age, his mind would be sharper, but his body would show signs of ‘legacy’.

Lately, he’s been back in that reflection.

Thinking about that future self again.

The whole “what do you want to be when you’re older?” kinda thing.

We’re realizing this question wasn’t just for kids.

We’re still growing older, right?…

Still applies!

In a previous story, I realized that I needed a stronger foundation and I started hinting towards wanting to architect 'stability' into my personal infrastructure, going forward.

(This is the beginning of that unpacking.)

The Next Twenty

I’ll admit, the following thoughts aren’t fully organized, yet. However, I am establishing these areas as foundational. These are from my personal notes, which I titled ‘The Great Self Refactor’, regarding areas where I hope to become wiser, stronger, and more impactful, over the next twenty years:

Spiritual framework

This is first, my faith. Our faith. The goal here is to continue to increase my understandings of the faith, and strengthen my practice of prayer and discernment. This, if anything, should be the masterpiece… the lifelong thesis. This is continuous work, and work that permeates all other areas.


Life is spiritual journey, just know that. The next thing to know to accept is that we’re not out here alone. We have people, we all do. We find them through our immediate family, extended relatives, friends, through church, through our careers, and in our communities.

The goal here is raise my people skills and personal culture. In addition, this goal also involves the act of finding your people and staying aware of my role in their lives, even if it’s as minimal/critical as being an emergency resource.

Bottom line — prioritize your people. Take the greatest care of your family and loved ones, and stay connected.


In order to make it far, the body has to be kept safe. The goal here is to always have extra care with our spiritual, mental, physical, and digital well-being. Win the spiritual warfare…, check your blindspots…, nap and eat well…, think before you post…, watch your environment…, things of that nature.

Personal Organization

This is an area where I can use a lot of improvement. I’m horrible at logistics, calendaring, planning, and so forth. What’s interesting though, is that when it comes to code, my care amount for these areas is high.

The goal here is to transfer all that I’m learning from the code and application side of this life, and apply that to my personal organization.

I’m excited about this one because I have the most room for growth in this area, so I’m looking forward to improving (e.g. my personal file management, family docs, investments, paperwork, all that).


This’ll never stop as well, learning. As a family, it’s also why we homeschool, cause we believe in lifelong learning. Nights, weekends, holidays — timelines are unrestricted.

The difference now is that from here on out, we’re studying what I care about vs what someone else is requiring us to learn.

This is a beautiful choice we all have, once we free and allow ourselves to be students again.

Rather than following any of life’s forced curricula, the goal is to devote years of learning more about what matters, and ultimately teach back what we’re passionate about.

(Spoiler alert: I believe that’s what we’re here for anyway…)

For the Wolves:
Look into the mirror and envision who you’ll become. Although you have no idea what the years in-between hold, still, take a look.

Think of all the great characteristics one can have, and decide which’ll be yours.

Revisit the reflection to stay grounded, to realign, and to plan your next adventure.

If you don’t like what you’ve become, worry not. There’s always room for refactors.

Still, continue to look inside yourself and freely dream of who you’ll be and how you’ll bring meaning to those around you.

Words to know

  • Wonder

  • Reflect

  • Future

  • Spiritual

  • Foundation

I love you guys,
pray & stay great.

@makertolentino is a family dude with a Substack blog. Thank you.