If you could time travel, what life lesson would you share with you younger self?
When we’re young we think we have all the time in the world. Some of us might think we have it all figured out and we know exactly how things are going to play out (or at least how we want it to play out).
Some of us might be completely clueless and are just going with the motions, hoping we figure it all out before it’s too late.
At 18, I thought I knew what my life would be like, and then BOOM! One year later, single teen mom. The direction of my life completely changed after that.
Well after being alive for 30 years (oh wise sage bestow your great wisdom upon us…ha-ha! ?)… Anyway, I have learned a great deal that I wish I could go back and share with my younger self.
I am no life guru, but I do believe these are some valuable lessons to learn – lessons that are not only useful to 20something year-olds. Here are 5 life lessons I wish I could tell my younger self:
Life lesson #1: Having kids is expensive.
Related: Parenting advice: 5 ways to be a better mom
Don’t get me wrong – and I hate that I have to give a caveat to this point – I absolutely love my kids. They are my life and they mean everything to me.
In fact, my first son gave my life a purpose, because I had him at a time when there was just no meaning to my life. I was flat broke, living in the country and going nowhere with my life. I hated my life (different story for a different post).
The place I was in at that time was a bad one because I had him at a time when I wanted to end my life because I felt like a waste of space. So for me, having my first born was a blessing. But HOLY SH*T!!! ? They are EXPENSIVE!
If you are going to be a good mother and provide the best you possibly can for your kids, then you best believe they will cost a pretty penny. So if you can, wait to have your kids until AFTER you are financially stable.
This way you will be better able to give them the best because you will not be stretched thin working a 9-5 – living paycheck to paycheck – while desperately trying to find enough time to spend with them.
It’s even harder when you’re a single mom. This life lesson I learned through actual experience.
Lesson #2: Saving is important.
Let me be clear. Saving won’t make you wealthy. Let me say that again: SAVING WON’T MAKE YOU WEALTHY, but it creates the security you need and ability for you to invest in the things that may do so.
Don’t let the word “invest(ment)” scare you. Growing up I always thought “investment” meant stocks and bonds, and big businesses. But in fact, investing is simply putting your money into something that returns MORE money to your pocket.
For example, buying something and then reselling it at a profit. If you have enough money saved up, when an investment opportunity pops up (and trust me, they will once you’re looking) you’ll be able to grab it – but of course you need to do your research first.
Ask yourself “Which is more important: wearing designer clothes, bags and shoes now so I can impress my equally broke friends and co-workers while I can barely afford to pay the rent or my bills” or “saving that money now so I can invest it wisely later on to secure my financial future?” This is a very important life lesson to think about.
I get it, no one wants to feel like they are less than anyone else. But here’s a tip: invest in those same designer clothes and sell them back to your co-workers and friends at a profit (cue light-bulb ?). That way you get to wear your designer clothes and STILL make money! Ka-ching! ?
Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t treat yourself, what I am saying is this: do you really need that new pair of heels when you already have 3 or 4 pairs that you hardly ever wear and one that you still haven’t worn yet?
Instead of taking the money from your paycheck, here’s an idea: sell those you don’t – or hardly ever – use, and use the money acquired from those sales to purchase your new shoes and still save a small portion of your paycheck.
Win-win! You’ll eventually be able to start that business you’ve always dreamed of and eventually quit the day job that you hate so much.
Life lesson #3: Time goes really fast.
I mean really. You fall asleep 23 and wake up 29! Then you start to think: “what in tarnation is going on here? Where’s the brakes on this thing”. I got to 25 and then I realized I don’t have as much time as I thought I did. I’ve got to start making things happen!
Time is your greatest asset. Invest it wisely by creating financial independence for yourself. The partying and chilling on the beach sipping mojitos will come as a side effect of being successful.
Don’t waste your time fueling or inviting drama in your life. And most definitely don’t waste it on toxic people (see below). Life is short and we never realize just how true that is.
Spend your time loving and improving yourself. Surround yourself with ONLY the people who encourage and build you up. You only get 24 hours in a day. Use it wisely.
Lesson #4: Be bold and speak your mind.
Now I’m not saying you should be a b**ch and go around insulting and disrespecting people just for the hell of it. What I AM saying is that you can’t be so afraid of offending people that you don’t speak your mind or do something that you love.
Something that will benefit your future in the long run. Something that will make YOU happy. Because at the end of the day, whether or not you try to, you will offend someone. It’s just the way life is.
Once you are on the road to success and you are sticking to it – or you’re on the path to happiness, self-improvement, self-love, mental health and just overall well-being – someone, somewhere will have a problem with you and/or what you’re doing.
And that’s fine. Don’t waste your energy always trying to explain your stance either. If someone has a problem with you for no reason, they can go f**k themselves (pardon my French). Often, it’s a reflection of their own insecurities being projected onto you.
Life lesson #5: Limit your interactions with toxic people.
Related: 5 Tips to being a happier woman
Cut them off if possible. This could even mean family members – or even a parent. You cannot be the best version of yourself if you are constantly being weighed down by negative, toxic people.
These are the people who constantly have something negative to say about you or what you’re doing. When you want to try to do something new or exciting, they have all the reasons why it’s not a smart idea and why you shouldn’t be doing it.
They can’t envision it for themselves so they tell you why you can’t or shouldn’t do it. The ones who bring you down and drain your positive energy by saying mean and negative things about you (to your face and/or behind your back).
They keep pointing out your flaws. There’s nothing wrong with someone pointing out something you need to improve out of love and care for you. And if that’s the case, work on yourself.
But toxic people will keep reminding you that you are “too fat” or “too skinny” even though you love your body and are perfectly healthy.
They tell you that you have too many stretch marks or whatever other things on your body you need to “fix”. I’m not saying that if there is a problem with your health you should ignore it because of “body positivity”. That’s silly.
What I am saying is that someone constantly pointing out that they have a problem with my weight while not being willing to genuinely put in the effort required to help get me on the right path, is not needed. I have a mirror at home. Thank you very much.
Love yourself enough to know when someone is weighing you down and be willing to drop the dead weight.
At the end of the day, you are stuck with yourself 100% of the time. You might as well start living your life to make you happy and to be the best version of yourself. Love the person you are stuck with all the time – YOU.
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