There’s no doubt that life lessons come with experience. However, there are a number of such lessons that we wish we could have learned a little sooner in order to avoid a mess later on.
Here are some people revealing the things they wish they knew in their 30s.
1. “I’m 76. 35 was my best year. I was young enough to do it all and smart enough to see the traps ahead of me. One thing I wish I knew back then, not just philosophically, but at the basic level of my soul: It doesn’t matter. Nothing really matters. There is no point in all of the pain, stress, arguments, hassles, and the rest. But I learned something years ago, long after my 30s: It doesn’t matter. Some things gave me pleasure, but pleasure fades and the darkness falls unless you are happy at your core. I am. So, I’d have liked to know not to take life so seriously. It cost me my first marriage and bad relationships all over the place because I tried to grind my way up the “ladder of success”. And it didn’t mean a thing.”
2. “I’ll be 40 soon. Having just lived through my 30s, let me reflect a bit. Appreciate your knees. Forgive yourself for your 20s. Spend time with your family/loves/real friends. Speaking of work, chase your dreams now. Mental illness is as real and devastating as physical illness. Have as much sex as you can. Spend time with kids. Get a therapist. Get a hobby now. Don’t forget to save as much money as you can.”
3. “Most of your worries are needless. I repeat: most of your worries are needless. They may seem huge now, but after 10 years you probably won’t remember what you were worried about. Many things get easier as time passes: friendship, self-knowledge, feeling good in one’s own skin. Giving birth hurts, but at the same time, it can be a very empowering experience. Even if having children changes everything and that’s scary, it’s beautiful. It’s not important to pursue something that you don’t identify yourself with. Forget what other people pursue! Achieving what someone else dreams about doesn’t make you happy. It may be a long road, but keep searching for what really matters to you. A beautiful home doesn’t have to be expensive or glamorous or big. If you want to live near the people whom you love, try to arrange it. It may come true. It’s ok to be scared. It’s ok to be imperfect. It’s ok to fail. If something or someone makes you laugh, stick to that. Time is precious.”
4. “I wish I knew to take more time off work to spend with my children while they were growing up. To travel extensively. I wish I would have driven faster cars. I wish I would have spent less time worrying about retirement years. I wish I would have hugged my children every night, instead of coming home from work so late. I wish I would have spent more time with my parents as they aged. I wish I would have been more present when my wife was speaking, so she would know that I do sincerely appreciate her input. I wish a lot of things. It’s all turned out well despite my negligence. I wish I would have known that I could have been so much more to those that I love.”
5. “The hard road gets easy over time. The easy road gets hard over time. Know that the hard work you put in building your life in your 20’s-30’s will pay off over time in your 30’s and beyond. Any sacrifices you make now (reducing lifestyle spending, saving money, taking career or business risks, raising kids) will eventually pay off in the long run. It’s hard to see the rewards of your hard work and sacrifices immediately but you will. Trust in the benefits of delayed gratification.”
6. “I’m 55. I think I’ve learned a few things useful. The biggest is the art of allowing. If you want to be happy you have to allow what is to be or bang your head against the proverbial wall. It’s your choice. When we think we know what we want we are often wrong. They say follow your heart. The heart is an idiot. Use that brain God gave you. Learn from other people’s mistakes. Drive like people matter. The way you drive shows your level of neurosis. If you get triggered emotionally, by politics, random comments, other drivers on the road, etc. Examine what’s behind that. It’s always an opportunity to learn about yourself and move towards a deeper inner peace.”
7. “Personally, I wish I had known that I had Multiple Sclerosis then. It would have explained so much, and I would have been kinder to myself when physical limitations impaired my productivity.”
8. “Always be humble and respectful to other persons whatever may be the circumstances, because whenever you turned rude you will ultimately regret it later. Try to solve the differences with peace. Don’t blindly trust anyone. The harsh reality is that they will make use of your shortcomings and they will aggravate your problems. Whenever you have surplus money, use it wisely. Whenever you have occurred a loss or failure, accept it to your loved ones and family. Always set your priorities in life and never get distracted by other peoples opinions. If you start to hear other people opinions you will lose from your aim. Always follow your heart.”
9. “The importance of paying attention to investing your money wisely, buy assets like more than one property that will provide passive rental income when you stop work. Other investments are shares for example. Good investments will make far more money for you than working for someone unless you are a CEO of Morgan Stanley.”
10. “I am in my late 30’s and wish I had learned this much earlier: money isn’t everything. It can’t buy happiness, or true friends, or really even good health. When I was a teenager and looking at careers, the first question I always asked was how much the average salary was, and I was not alone. Pick your career on what your moral compass tells you, and do as much good as you can along the way. Personally, helping people makes me feel much happier than a large paycheck.”
11. “Start saving for your retirement. And don’t say you can’t afford it. You can’t afford not to make your retirement a priority. You won’t be able to depend on an annuity from an employer. I hope social security is still around but it’s more likely it will not. My husband is 67 and I’m 62. We always saved a little every month even when it wasn’t easy. It feels good to have a comfortable retirement income. We travel and enjoy all kinds of activities. Hey, getting old isn’t easy. But I’ll bet it’s far worse if you’re broke.”
12. “I wish I knew (or admitted to myself) that my marriage wouldn’t make it to old age; and that my ex was in love with her ex-bf for our entire relationship. It cost me hundreds of thousands of extra dollars to have “stayed in it because of the kids” and because I felt I owed her “another chance” when I knew things would go back to the same state to have announced leaving her the first time.”
Well, it’s better late than never, right?
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