As I approach the big five-0 in age I have been reflecting on what I have accomplished in life and if there was anything I would have done differently if I had the chance. While I have had a few heart breaks in life I have had a hundred times as many happy moments and must say I have very few regrets.
The younger generation can always learn from others’ experiences and boy, did I experience life! I have more mileage on me than a 1963 Chevy Impala that’s gone through 4 rebuilt engines in its lifetime and I have the battle scars to prove it! My twenties were an absolute blur as if I were in a time warp the whole time until the age of 30.
Hoping it will benefit others who are about to experience or have just begun experiencing their twenties, here’s a list of things I would change and the lessons I learned:
- I wouldn’t have partied and hung out so much to the point where I did not save a single dime. I had my circle of friends and it seems we were always up to something. That something always involved spending money – and plenty of it. Don’t get me wrong; I do not regret the fun I had one bit but c’mon, putting off bills for a couple of weeks and risking eviction on more than a few occasions just so I could take that special weekend trip with my girlfriends hoping to meet boys? Really?
There’s nothing wrong with having a good time. Heck, in your twenties, you have to get out there, meet people and mingle, and enjoy life while you are young. I just think you have to be a little more responsible than I was. If my mother found out about a few of the things I did in my day, I would never be able to look her in the eyes again!
Start investing in your twenties so you can build wealth and be comfortable during your retirement years. I didn’t start doing it until I was 33 and it’s one of my biggest regrets. For most people, 10% of their salary towards their retirement is quite a stretch but you can certainly start small and work your way up. The point is; you’ve got to start early!
- I would have spent more quality time with my family members. I don’t know why, but when you grow up you tend to lose touch with your siblings because everyone’s got a life to start living and the struggle to make it can sometimes pull people apart as they try to survive. I was guilty of working far too many hours and spending whatever leisure time I had left with my friends instead of my brothers, sisters, or my parents.
As a result, I had to start reconnecting with them in my late 20’s and my relationship with all of them is now stronger than ever. My kids are following suit as they continue to bond with their cousins almost every single weekend. Family should always come first but for me in my twenties, they were dead last. Don’t let this happen to you.
- I would have chased my dream of becoming a high school teacher. I loved and respected a few of my teachers and wanted to be just like them so I could positively influence other kids’ lives. Then, the reality of making a crappy living doing what I thought I loved set in, and my dream faded. I found out how miserably low teachers were generally paid and didn’t give it much thought after that because I was focused on making a great living.
Even though I have done well in the business sector as well as writing on the side, I probably would have been more content working 10 months out of the year and enjoying the rest of the time off with my family as a teacher. there is always a trade-off when it comes to making big money; most people with higher salaries work more hours and end up sacrificing more family time than the average worker. I fell into this category for a while but I have managed to find a comfort zone where I can balance my mom duties with my employment just fine.
I can’t stress enough how I believe people should, in clichéd fashion, follow their biggest dreams. I’m a big believer in letting your heart do the walking so you can see where and how far it takes you!