So, the other day, I took the kids down to the garden of our condo as they wanted to blow bubbles. It was such a windy evening and the kids had a great time blowing bubbles and chasing after them.
I looked at them and they looked so young, so full of life, without any worry in the world. They have their whole life in front of them and they can do and become whoever they want to be when they grow up. Life is just waiting for them to embrace it.
All of a sudden, I felt a pang of jealousy. I can’t believe that I was actually jealous of my kids’ youth!
Yes, I wish I had their youth. How I wish I could turn back the time to when I just finished high school. I wish I could have a second chance to make wiser decisions in my education, career, finances, relationships and life in general.
Of course, when I was 18, all the way up to my mid 30s, I thought I was making all the right decisions. Unfortunately, now that the big four zero is fast approaching, I wished that I had done almost everything differently.
I am sure that when my kids reach 18 and start making their own decisions, they too will think that they are making all the right decisions, just like how I did. I just hope that they will come and discuss their decisions with me or ask for my opinion. I certainly wished I had taken the time to discuss about life with my parents. Unfortunately, I thought I knew everything and thought that I was making the wisest decisions and that there was no need to discuss any decisions with my parents.
Here’s what I wish I knew back then and hope that my kids will know when the time comes:
1. Find your passion
Try different things, discover what makes you feel good and proud about yourself, enjoy what you do. Find your passion in life; be it a hobby, charity work or anything else. Having passion will give you a purpose in life and definitely make life more enjoyable.
2. Decide what you want to do in your life
As you find your passion, you may or may not discover what you want to do in your career. Try to imagine your life 10, 20 or 30 years down the line. Is that what you see yourself doing? Don’t give in to peer pressure or just blindly follow what your friends are doing.
3. Don’t be too extravagant
When you start working, put aside some money for your savings. It is never too early to do so. Don’t max out your credit card!
4. Stay put in one job
Stay long enough in one job to get the experience you need. Coming from me, someone who job-hopped 5 – 6 jobs in the first 3 years after graduation, I know that it may be difficult to stay put once you feel bored. But I wished that I had persisted and stayed longer in some of my first few jobs. I think I would had a better career if I had done so.
5. Travel and see the world
Go and see the world! Experience different cultures, soak in the beauty of other countries, expand your mind! Save your money and go travel!
6. Find yourself
Move out from the family home once you have a stable income. Try not to transition from being my son / daughter to becoming someone’s husband / wife. Find yourself in between and be independent. But please don’t stay too far away. Come back home to have dinner with us every weekend.
7. Don’t let love cloud your judgement
When you fall in love, try not to just follow your heart. Take the time to think with your head too. Be practical. Love is not everything. You can’t live on love alone.
8. Spend more time with your loved ones
One of my life’s biggest regrets was not making time for my parents. I took it for granted that they will be around for a very long time and thought that I have all the time in the world to spend time with them. Friends, relationships and work took up all my time and I truly regretted that I did not spend time with my Dad, as I did not see him for one whole week before he passed away. I could have taken time off work to see him but I took it for granted that he will get well and be home soon. Unfortunately, he did not get better and left without me seeing him for one last time. I still tear up whenever I think about it.
I suppose it is still not too late to make wiser decisions for myself so that I don’t look back when I am 70 years old and kick myself in the ass for not living the life that I wanted. The first thing that I need to do now is to get my ass off the chair and start exercising if I want to make it to 70! It’s time to live my life to the fullest!