Friday, December 26, 2008

Things I Wish I Had Known When Starting Out in Life

I’m 50 years old, and I’ve made my share of mistakes in my life. I’m not a big believer in regrets … and I have learned tremendously from every single mistake … and my life is pretty great so far.

However, there are a few things I wish I had known when I was graduating from University and starting out as an adult in life.

Would I change things? Off course as humans, we make mistakes. From mistakes we learn how to live correctly.........

Do I share them now to share my regrets? No, I share them in hopes that our kids, just starting out in life, can benefit from our mistakes and our lessons.

What follows isn’t an exhaustive list, but it’s one that I hope proves useful to at least a few people. Here comes the first few..............

1.How to control impulse spending.

If there’s anything that can undermine our monthly budget, it’s impulse spending. Buying clothes when I don’t need them. Buying gadgets because I gotta have them. Ordering stuff online because it’s so easy. Buying that new phone.........I’ve learned to control my impulses, at least a little better. Now, I give myself some time to breathe. I think over my purchases, see if I’ve got the money, think about whether it’s a need or a want. That would have been a useful tool 25 years ago.

2.All that stuff that’s stressing you out — it won’t matter in 5 years, let alone 25.

When things are happening to you right now, they mean all the world. I had deadlines and projects and people breathing down my neck, and my stress levels went through the roof. I don’t regret the hard work but I think I would have been less stressed if I could have just realized that it wouldn’t matter a single bit just a few years down the road. Perspective is a good thing to learn. Learn to live with everyday stresses.

3.All that time you spend watching TV is a huge, huge waste of time.

I don’t know how much TV I’ve watched over the years, but it’s a crapload. Hours and days and weeks I’ll never have back. Who cares what happens on reality TV, when reality is slipping by outside? Time is something you’ll never get back — don’t waste it on TV. I seldom watch TV anymore now!

4.You gotta stay active and have regular exercise.

Ask any old folks and what do they regret most? Not having regular exercise and getting sick in their twilight years. Off course as we get older, all the dreaded disease will haunt us such as High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, Heart problems etc etc. What if we were very active and have regular exercise during our younger days?

5.Junk food will come back to bite you in later life.

Yeah, it wasn’t just the sedentary lifestyle that got people fat and sickly. It was all the damn junk food too. Nowadays kids eat pizza and burgers and sugar cereal and desserts and donuts and coke … well, you get the picture, as their regular meals. When you are young maybe you can eat anything, as bad health was something to worry about when you got old. But then when you are old, you can't reverse all those stupid eating habits. Stop all the thrash food now and eat healthily.

6.How to plan finances.

You have to teach your kids how to plan their finance. You are supposed to budget and track your spending, when becoming an adult. Everybody has to learned how to plan, and how to stick to that plan. Surely you'll deviate from your plan, but you've to learned how to handle that too. Maybe that’s not a skill you can learn from book reading. You just gotta practice. The basic budget rule for our income is to keep 30% as saving, 30% for paying the housing loan, 30% for food/utilities/transport and 10% for contingencies.

7.Smoking is just dumb.

I started smoking when i was in form five. I won’t go into why I started, but it didn’t seem like a problem, because I knew I could quit anytime I wanted. Or I thought I could, at least, until many years later I gave it a go and couldn’t do it. Five failed quits later and I realized with horror that my addiction was stronger than I was. Sure, I eventually beat the habit (quit date: Sept. 15, 2003) but it took a piece of my soul to do it. So make sure your kid does not smoke (that includes smoking shisha).

8.All the stuff you’re doing that seems hard — it will be of use.

This is the first one that might not be as obvious. There were times in my life when work was hard, and I did it anyway, but hated it. I did it because I had to, but boy did it stress me out and leave me exhausted. Hard work isn’t as easy as I wanted it to be. But you know what? Every bit of hard work I did without knowing why I was doing it … it’s paid off for me in the long run. Maybe not right away, but I’m using skills and habits I learned during those times of high stress and long hours and tedious work — I use them all the time, and they’ve made me into the person I am today.

9.Make time to pursue your passion, no matter how busy you are.

If you love traveling, just do it. If fishing is your hobby, allocate time for it.. If you like carpentry, go for it. With a family and school and a full-time job, there just weren’t enough hours in the day. Well, I’ve learned that you have to make those hours. Set aside a block of time to do what you love, cut out other stuff from your life that take up your time, and don’t let anything interfere with that work. If you wait till you are old enough, maybe you don't have the energy and vibrancy to enjoy it.

10.Keep a diary. Seriously. Your memory is extremely faulty.

We forget things really easily. Maybe not short-term stuff, but long-term. We can't recall all those incident in secondary schools and maybe don’t remember things about our kids’ early years, because we didn’t record any of it. I wish I had kept a diary.

1 comment:

Sekampung kite said...

TV? Arggghhh blogging and surfing adalah alternatif serupa juga. Take a lot of our precious remaining hours (days)...