Journey of Life

the place formerly known as control your destiny

Things I wish I’d known when I was younger

With age comes experience…

I will turn 39 years of age this year, and so far in my life I have made my fair share of mistakes. I have no power to go back and change any of them and even if I did, I would probably make the same mistakes again. The mistakes I made, along with other influences, shaped the person I have become. Each of the mistakes contained a lesson. It appears that some of the mistakes I had to make a few times to learn the lesson fully. I have also come to understand that the lessons will continue to come often disguised as problems.

That said, there are a few things I wish I had known when I started out in the “adult” life. Knowledge that may have helped me make better choices in life. Knowledge that may have prevented some of the darker times of my life but then again out of those dark time light followed with a new awareness and a new sense of knowledge and a lesson learned. Perhaps creating a list of my own mistakes, in the hope that whoever reads it not make the same mistakes, is a mistake in itself.

If it is, then maybe I have another lesson to learn, but for now, here are some of the things I wish I’d known when I was younger:

  • I wish I had paid more attention to the advice given to me by my parents. Advice around money and how important it is to save and not spend every penny. This is a lesson I have not yet fully learned, but I am working on it.
  • I wish I had the knowledge I do now before I lit that first cigarette 25 years ago. If I was given the chance to go back to the time just before I was about to light up, I would never have lit it. And yes I failed my attempt at giving up. But I have chosen to see this as a minor setback with the aim of having another attempt, or as many attempts as it may take.
  • I wish I had stood up for myself and my beliefs more often instead of adapting to other’s viewpoint to satisfy my need for approval and to avoid conflict.
  • I wish I had followed my heart when choosing my further education instead of letting myself be influenced into the education I ended up taking.
  • I wish I had been better at controlling my fear of rejection and conflict.
  • I wish I had understood that it’s the journey that counts and not the destination. I might have enjoyed the journey a lot more instead of just focusing on getting to the end result as fast as possible.
  • I wish I had been less naive and learned to adopt a measure of critical thinking before trusting everyone because they appeared to be kind to me.

The real question is; Why did I not follow the advice of parents and why did I work so hard to get approval or to fit in? I did very well at school with seemingly little effort, but I have always been (and I still am) very bad at following the advice of others. I know that when people offer advice they mean well, but I have always felt it as an intrusion or an accusation that I wasn’t good enough and that in order to be accepted into the world of the person offering the advice I had to change. In a lot of cases when people told me to do a certain thing or behave in a certain way, I’d end up doing the opposite, which on reflection did me no good whatsoever. Perhaps I am conditioned to learn the hard way!

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21 responses to “Things I wish I’d known when I was younger

  1. viv66 March 22, 2010 at 7:36 am

    You know what I said last night about this but I am hoping to write something later today or soon that might also help in other ways.
    What’s happened in your lfie so far has made you who you are now, and that’s a really special guy it’s been my privilege to get to know. The other “might-have-been” guy doesn’t exist and he’s probably a jerk anyway…!

  2. saffy March 22, 2010 at 8:08 am

    I actually believe we don’t make mistakes as such…just choices that enable us to learn lifes lessons…as you pointed out yourself…some things have to be learned the ‘hard’ way…that’s why we seemingly repeat patterns of behaviour…as for advice…tis only another persons opinion…given from their perspective…which is uniquely different to yours…nothing is set in stone…tis all too easy to look back with hindsight & say “i wish”…the past is history, the future a mystery, all we have is the gift of now, which is why it’s called the present…~smiles~

    • J March 22, 2010 at 6:45 pm

      “I actually believe we don’t make mistakes as such…just choices that enable us to learn lifes lesson” This is a good way of looking at it thank you.

      As for the gift of now…well I am a master of forgetting this one..so I appreciate the reminder 🙂

  3. Mysoul March 22, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    :). I have so much to say on the same issue, that I cant say anything…

    I think all of those Things you wish you knew is also what has made you. From where I stand, You Look Good, a Gorgeous Painting. Paintings need shadows and light to lend the viewer Joy.

    • J March 22, 2010 at 6:49 pm

      When the words come to you, feel free to say as much as you want. I am always here to listen 🙂

      I have never been referred to as a “Gorgeous Painting” and it has put a smile on my face…thank you

  4. viv66 March 23, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    I’ve also remembered the lines of a favourite song.
    The Hard way by Michelle Shocked
    If I was smart then I’d take your advice
    But I’m not, so I have to think twice
    Never a lesson have I learned
    Without first being burned
    I was about to tell you the truth
    All the mistakes of my wasted youth
    About why I didn’t make it home on time
    But you’d have thought I was only lying

    And it’s ohhh the trouble we’ve had
    I seem to learn everything the hard way
    I’m not old to enough to be on my own
    but I’m much too old to stay.

    I’ll play it for you when you come next!

  5. vanessaleighsblog March 24, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    Viv: Michelle Shocked! I hardly ever hear her referred to, I saw her in concert live in Oregon 16 years ago; she goes right to the heart……

    J: No regrets, hon. Mistakes aren’t even really, mistakes as such. You would have been somewhere totally different had you made different choices, and not been able to have this awakening that is begging to be embraced in the here and the now. All are lessons; all are worthwhile; all have created your growth as a person. And, by the way, it is NEVER, EVER, EVER too late to have what you dream of. Just start doing, RIGHT NOW. Make a step, one step toward one of your dreams. It is easier than you think……………..

    Hugging you!!!!!!!!!!!!! V.

    • J March 24, 2010 at 5:21 pm

      Thanks Vanessa, I will do my best to follow your advice… and thank you for your support and encouragement, it means so much.

      Hugging you right back…J

  6. viv66 March 24, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Vanessa,
    We bought the Texas campfire tapes and then Kindhearted Woman and I have nearly worn them both out. But she seems to have retired and nothing new. It’s a shame but then you can’t have it both ways; great songs and slow output…
    Have you come across KT Tunstall? i think you’d enjoy hers if you liked Michelle Shocked..

  7. shiona March 25, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    I believe a very large number of people will agree with you that had they listened to advice, had they not been so unwise or stubborn, had they followed their hearth and not what seemed to be most beneficial thing at that moment, they might have be living a better life today. However, there is no point in regretting the past. Yes, indeed, we learn from our mistakes. Sometimes very successfully, but more often than not we need to repeat the lesson.

    The conclusion I’ve come to, judging by my own experience and the life of others I’m close to, is that we are rarely prepared for the most important events to take place in our lives, including but not limited to choosing our higher education, marriage, having children, taking a job, buying possessions of significant value, making decisions that will inevitably affect our own lives and those of others. It usually happens in life that these events occur at a time that we are never prepared enough in terms of knowledge, experience, wisdom, etc. That’s why we will later often look back at what happened and regard it as a mistake. Few individuals know what they really want and how to achieve it. It is my observation, however, that they can be equally dissatisfied with their lives. So… I just want to be who I am and forgive myself for what I did wrong in the past .
    XXX

    • J March 26, 2010 at 10:37 pm

      You are right indeed, there is no point in regretting the past. In some cases I have learned from my mistakes but as you say, some of them I have not fully learned yet. There may even be some lessons I will never learn and perhaps I am not meant to.

      “I just want to be who I am and forgive myself for what I did wrong in the past .” I love this and I think I shall remind myself of this often.. XXX

  8. enreal March 26, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    I have been coming here everyday to read this… though it seems I am never in the right state of mind to fully appreciate the honesty of your words…

    First things first… mistakes. We all make them. Over and over, the important thing is that you understand why. Mistakes and trials… they are for us to learn. they are our mirrors, they are our lessons. now I might seem to know a lot on the subject because I have made every single one of those mistakes on your list and then a lot more! and I mean every one of them. feel better? you’re definitely not alone n this one.

    who knows why we don’t listen to the advise f the ones we trust most. I still haven’t figured that one out. stubbornness? ready to take the world on, on our own. proving something? Thats all Ego. and I have a big one…

    OK now here it is, 39 is young… so now you know all this and can look back at how blessed you are at the knowledge that you had when you were young… just stick to your own advice… I don’t know if I can yet… but I am certainly fighting my ego and mind in a fierce battle… it has been waging for almost 29 years… lets see who will win.

    and finally… when I first started reading this post one of my favorite songs came to mind… Same Mistakes by James Blunt… I didn’t care for the official video so I sent a live performance from London (home, right?)
    Have a great weekend! TGIF

    • J March 26, 2010 at 11:39 pm

      You are always welcome and I love your presence here.

      I have made a lot more mistakes than the ones listed but figured it would be in everyone’s best interest if I narrowed it down a bit. However, once I had hit the “publish” button the mistakes didn’t really seem that big a deal anymore.. Age is a funny thing and I am not entirely sure how I am meant to feel at my age..perhaps more responsible!! Often I don’t feel any different from when I was a child…at least from the vague memories…

      Thank you for the James Blunt video and yes London is very close to home. (I am in Oxford, which is only an hour away). It’s a great song and I can fully relate to the lyrics..

      I wish that you have a wonderful weekend. I am unfortunately back at work tomorrow, but will rest on Sunday.

  9. Lindsay July 20, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    Beautiful post. I am of the firm belief that we’re here to learn lessons and, if you’d have followed all of your parent’s advice, you wouldn’t be where or who you are now – which is exactly where/who you’re meant to be. We all have to suffer and have painful experiences in order to grow. Thank you for sharing your words of wisdom!

  10. Greg BD April 26, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    i agree with what you said about being conditioned the hard way, i often feel and prefer figuring something out for myself. I have also noticed in friends who stare at me vacantly when i give them advice, because they don’t want to hear, as they want to experience it themselves.
    An advice i can share, which i learnt from this, is to very subtly slip the advice into a conversation, so that people come to the conclusions themselves, and feel that they learnt it themselves.

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