Every once in awhile, I’ll see an article about what you would tell your younger self about life. Most recently, I’ve seen these pop up on financial message boards I read. They are the usual “save more, spend less” and “live below your means.” As I’m reading through these posts, I realize that the pieces of advice given are things I learned myself throughout my 20s. The thing is, I don’t think I “know it all” by any means, but there are some things I’ve learned that I am glad I learned as I think it has made me a better and happier person. I also think I’ll look back when I’m 40, 50, 60, etc...and think, “wow, I didn’t know a thing at 25, 35, etc....” But that’s life, you live and you learn.
But what have I learned? What “rules” or “code” do I live by? What would I tell my younger self? If I could tell my teenage self one thing, it would be to not care what other people think, except for your parents and true friends. But those bullies at school or the popular girls? Screw ‘em. They don’t matter to you. Do your own thing, stand up for yourself, and pursue what makes you happy.
When I think about the really unhappy times in my life, I think of when I was 22-24. What would I go back and tell my younger self at that age? Here’s a list:
1. Get out of any relationship where you are not respected. Don’t settle for a “sort-of” relationship. If he fools you once, shame on him, if he fools you twice, shame on you! Younger me, he has fooled you once, you should run!
2. Pursue relationships, even romantic ones, with those you want to be your best friends.
3. Start paying down your debt aggressively. It ain’t going anywhere and you’ll just have to keep paying longer.
4. Save more.
5. Spend less and prioritize your spending based on what you value, not what is “cool.”
6. Take the time to read some financial books, even if it bores you. Learn about investing and
don’t assume financial advisors have your best interests at heart.
7. Set boundaries. This includes with family, friends, work, etc. Value your health and happiness, because only you can take care of you.
8. Do not move for a boyfriend unless there is a ring on your finger. You should have taught abroad instead, younger self!
9. Spend more time with your grandparents. You don’t know it, but they’ll all be gone in just a few years.
10. Incorporate walking into your daily life and cut the gym membership. It will save you money AND you’ll feel better about your body.
11. You are awesome, and don’t let other people tell you otherwise!
12. Having a spiritual life is important.
13. You hate your job, I know, but you’ll find a better one in a few years!
14. Don’t try to change yourself to save a failing relationship. It won’t work.
15. Embrace the practical person that you are and your inner hippie. It is who you are and love it!
16. You are German. This means you have lots of hair and thick bones. Live with it and don’t try to change it! Resistance to these facts is futile!
17. Your life WILL get better! So relax.
18. Finally, eat more REAL food and less packaged food. Your body will thank you later.
Do any of these sound familiar to you? What would you say to your younger self?