Somebody said this to me once, and I took note of it:
I am a student, and I will always be a student. I will graduate life when I am dead, and perhaps move on to post-graduate work. Until then, every day will see my continued education and I will always assume that every flower, fruit and stone I see holds some undiscovered secret within.
Furthermore, I am a hacker. I take nothing for granted – not the way software functions, nor the way the laws of physics are applied. I will always question the reality around me and seek to refine the answers that I have found.
Some others want to silence my nature and force me to take their word as the final truth – they are the high-school dropouts of this world, ignorant to every new truth that passes them by. But I can learn from them as well.
There are no negative consequences in my life, only education and experience. I have no regrets. My first day of life and my last are equally valuable to me, no matter how many years seperate them.
Besides, anyone who believes that hours of creativity (and programming is an art, not a science, as far as I’m concerned) can be compensated by a paycheck is deluding themselves. Free software allows a programmer to trade one esoteric thing for another – creativity for community, perseverance for recognition. And the programmer who does so will be fulfilled by it, and can thus tolerate selling other of their works for money.