Unfortunately, we don’t get to go back in time and tell our younger selves how to live life, or what choices to make. It just doesn’t work that way. Even if we were able to, our younger selves probably wouldn’t listen. What we can do, however, is take the lessons we’ve learned and formulate a plan for the rest of our lives. You aren’t too old to change paths, no matter what age you are, but especially if you are only twenty something or thirty something.
Here are a few of the things I’d tell myself if I could.
What’s the Rush? Slow down!
When you’re a kid, all you want to do in the whole world is grow up. You want the responsibilities of adulthood. You want to drive even before you get your driver’s permit. You want a place of your own, you want to know what job you’re going to do. And it’s a good thing that you want to grow up — you’re supposed to want that. However, there’s also something special about every season of life you are in. Don’t be so preoccupied about where you want to be that you don’t take advantage of everything to take advantage of in your life right now.
Making Money Isn’t as Important as Making Memories
When you get older, making money becomes as commonplace as making your bed, or mowing the lawn. It’s just something you do to provide for your life. Nothing more. Sure, it can be very rewarding, and lets you live your dreams. But you have to learn how to live, first. That’s what it’s all for. Don’t seek out only what you can make money at. Seek out what makes you happy, and life will reward you.
Think Long Term
Thinking several years ahead wasn’t something I was able to do when I was a teenager. It’s a valuable thing to do, however. Thinking several steps ahead allows you to envision the life you want, and live today in a way that will make the future possible. Don’t be afraid to make choices and decisions today based on what you want ten years from now. If you think in 5 year or 10 years, you’ll make very different choices than if you just think about life now or a few months from now.
Value Quality Over Quantity
It might sound cliche, but the quality of your friends really does matter more than the quantity. This is something we twenty and thirty somethings know all too well. We don’t have all the time in the world anymore. We need to be more selective with whom we decided to spend time. The earlier you realize this, however, the better off you will be. Starting building friendships today with people you will be friends with down the road. Things change and people change — don’t be afraid to move on from friendships when you’ve outgrown them. It’s a part of life.
Always Be Brave
There isn’t a time and a place or bravery. Being brave is something you need to be every single day. There’s no time in the world for missing opportunities because you were too afraid to put yourself out there. Act first, think second. You have that ability when you are young — you can always start again if you made the wrong choice.
Originally published at https://www.josephwriteranderson.com on September 10, 2020.