What I Know Now That I Wished I Had Known When I was 20

What a catchy title, did I hook you guys in?

Of course you did TheFrugalSamurai, now TELL ME ALREADY!

Yes of course I will, because I’m good like that.

You better, cos I’m committed now you FFFF.

20 years ago, I was aged 10. The world was my oyster and I was in year 4. We learnt about fractions such as half of one half of an apple is not enough apples… wait, I think I went back a decade too far.

They add up to 3 apples.

10 years ago, ah, that’s better. 10 years ago, I was aged 20 – just coming out of uni into the big bad world. I was bright and starry eyed thinking that I could conquer anything life threw at me.

Those were exciting times, full of fancy suits, big tall city skyscrapers, Friday night drinks and the smell of opportunity.

It’s true when you first enter the labor market you believe you can make a change to the world.

That is why when you are given tasks and projects to work on, you relish it and treat them with more vigor than any uni assignment – FUCK YEAH, I want it, I need it, let me show you my worth!

The fresh face of enthusiasm. I see it now on the grads we hire every year.

A grad caught up in his enthusiasm.

Fast forward a decade and you can’t help but feel more mature, more savvy and maybe even a bit cynical.

Knowing what I know now, I would tell the 20 year old me that, people will use you, you will use people, your boss will tell you lies, you will tell your boss lies, you will work in jobs and projects you love and you will work in jobs and projects you hate.

It doesn’t really matter in the end.

Because I would tell the 20 year old me that at age 26, you will read one of the most memorable articles to really stick, here it is.

Number 2 on that list is “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard”. Now to put this in context, you need to work hard – to survive, to live, to get ahead. Just don’t work SO hard that you miss the roses.

Which brings us to point number 1 – “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me”. You gotta do you.

Work hard yes, but work hard in the right areas, on your passion, your relationships, your family and above all yourself.

Ever since reading that article I’ve adopted a mentality of treating each day’s occurrences (whether it be at work or at home) wondering if I will remember them when I am 80 years old.

An 80 year old.

If you have a shitty day at work today, will you remember this day in 50 years time?

If you start a new job today, will you remember this day in 50 years time?

If you give birth to your first-born today, will you remember this day in 50 years time?

If you read this article today, will you remember this day in 50 years time?

In our lives, we have very few days which we truly remember when we are in the late autumn years, I wish I knew this when I was 20.

What do you guys think?

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  • Innocent Bystander

    It’s a very real point you raised here Frugal Samurai. Although I’d say that at age 30, it’s not too late, even if you are 40, there is still time. Everything has been seemingly pushed back – young people are leaving parents’ home later compared to 20 years ago, people are getting married later than ever before, then in turn people are having kids later, just to name a few examples.

    For all of us, it’s about finding a equilibrium between chasing what you want in life and living through the reality and navigate through the challenges that life throws at us.

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