What Would I Say to My 18 Self?

The beginning of the year is often a period of time where we look back at what we’ve accomplished, the path we chose to follow and the decisions we made. This year, it hit me a little harder. The only grandfather I’ve known in my life is sick, very sick. It was probably our last Holiday Season with him around. Of course, it brought back a lot of memories in my mind and I started thinking about the experiences that shaped the adult I am now. At the age of 18, I left my parents’ house and started living by my own. About 12 years later, what would I say to my 18 self?

You are Beautiful

As far as I can remember, I never was truly satisfied by my physique. A woman’s thing, you might reply! Well, I really don’t think it should be that way. Looking back at pictures of myself at the age of 18, I can now say without overstatement that I was a real beauty. I had – and still do 😉 – a very pretty face and a stunning body.

Despite the prints two pregnancies left behind, I appreciate myself more today than I did at 18. I surely regret I wasn’t able to do so back then. If I could go back, I’d tell myself I’m beautiful every day… and will surely do so with my kids!

Learn About Finance, Retirement and Investing

Although I’m writing on this site, I don’t have a finance background… at all! I studied communications and marketing. Until about 3 years ago when I started working online, I wasn’t interested in finance. I have surely learned a lot since then, but I still have put nothing aside for later, which doesn’t seem right to me! My husband is saving for both of us, but I didn’t plan ahead enough to be able to really help in this matter yet.

If I had started to put $1 aside per day at the age of 18, it would mean at least 4k now (no interest calculated). That’s why I would tell my 18 self to start learning about finance, retirement, planning and investing now! I would ask myself this little extra effort.

Career is Not All

I started college with big ambitions, thinking I’d be the next Larry King! I was quite determined, but also a little arrogant at times. Then, I got very interested by advertising and public relations and thought I’d have THE career: big job, big car, big house, biiig money! 😉 Thing is, I forgot about something more important to me: family. A couple years later, I’ve taken myself by surprise realizing my career plan didn’t meet up with my family building expectations!

Getting into Debt for a Degree is Not Always Worth it

This leads me to this… because, yes, I got into debt for these studies. Thing is, average hourly rate here for a communications/marketing job after college is about $12-15. I ended up paying for my 10k student loan for years! Actually, I still have a little bit to go. Once that’s done, it will mean $175/month more!

I can’t say I regret my degree as it serves me well now. However, I regret contracting such debt for it. Considering the salary I had for the first 3 years after college, it wasn’t worth it. I should been more informed, planned ahead, maybe try to work even more while studying or even study part-time to be able to pay for courses as they start!

It’s Okay to Eat Peanut Butter for Dinner, It’ll Get Better Soon!

I remember how I was ashamed to not have enough money to buy real groceries. I remember how I sometimes envied some of my friends who were able to eat what they want, to go out, and even, sometimes, have dinner at a restaurant. Meanwhile, I was eating peanut butter on not so fresh bread for dinner. I didn’t really complain about it, but I wasn’t proud of it either.

Twelve years have gone by and I surely think about these moments with a smile. It shaped a stronger adult, someone who’s confident enough to know she won’t get there anymore, by all means. If I end up eating peanut butter for dinner, it’s only to honor these “good old days”… or because of preggo hormones! 😉

Only One Lover Will Stay, but They Will All Teach You Something about Yourself

Lesson learned the hard way for me. I spent too much time wondering why and having regrets. Now that I’m happily married with the greatest man – and handsome one on top of that! I know I can’t regret any of these experiences. Not that there has been THAT many, but every man I met, every boy I got a crush on and every lover who came into my life taught me something about myself.

Without them, I wouldn’t know what I wanted, and even more important, what I didn’t want! Without them, I would simply not be the happy woman, wife, and mother I am now.

Confidence Often Comes With Experience

The lover statement pretty much leads in this one, although I don’t associate confidence only with love. Even though I was playing the arrogant one at 18, truth is, I was lacking confidence. Lord, did I want to have more! I tried acting confident, dressing confident, talking confident… but it didn’t change much inside. Until I gained some experience, professionally and personally speaking. Experience will bring failures and successes, but these positive results will surely build your assurance and turn the innocent young fellow into a confident adult.

I know I still have a lot of it to come! 😉

Never Miss the Chance to Spend Time with Loved Ones

Years taught me time is one of the greatest gifts. I remembered this lesson again this year, when I learned about my grandfather’s sickness. I remember thinking I had better things to do than visiting family when I was younger. Better things to do… like chatting on that old MSN!! Was I wrong!

I know now, that the more time I spend with the people I love, the happier I am. Of course, priority goes to my son and husband, but I try my best to not forget about other important people in my life; sister and her family, parents, in-laws, grandparents and true friends. It’s been about 3 years that I’ve worked harder on this goal and I’m happy I did. I have no regrets thinking of my grandfather and how I managed to get to know him more in these last years.

What about you? What would you tell your 18 self? Any lesson you’d like to share?

Image credit: My 18 self!, Learn Finance, Peanut Butter Toast, Spend Time

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