Advice to Your Younger Self: What Would You Say?

Photo: Muha

If you could go back and give your younger self some life-changing advice, what age would you pick and what would you say? Would you change careers, college majors, or perhaps even significant others? Do you tell yourself to work harder or to stop and smell the roses?

If you need some inspiration, here's some advice from our Wise Bread bloggers to help get you started.

Julie Rains

Julie Rains Dear Julie,

As much as you love business, please realize that you will never fit in with the corporate-office crowd. Find a job or some sort of meaningful work that lets you interact with people and exercise creativity every once in a while, rather sitting around analyzing numbers.

Try out new ways to make money while you have that regular job.

Read more books, take a public speaking class, go to slightly more exotic places, and keep riding your bike.

Some of the things you are focusing on now will bear fruit much, much later.

Sarah Winfrey

Sarah WinfreyDear Sarah,

1. Go to the doctor when you get hurt. I don't care if you don't like it, it's good for you and will save much trouble later.

2. You're not stupid. There simply just are things in life that you don't know what to do with until you've experienced them.

3. Follow your gut. Somehow, it knows.

4. Invest yourself in what you love. It WILL pay off later.

5. Make sure you're following your dreams and not someone else's. If that means changing direction in midair, do it.

6. Let the money come to you. There will be sparse times, but it will come.

7. That intuition that you aren't made to work inside, at a desk, in front of a computer all day? Absolutely, positively, 100% correct (see #3).

8. That chance you're going to get to jump off a cliff attached to a parachute? Take it!

9. Just go for it--just live. You'll be fine.


Andrea Dickson

Andrea DicksonDear Andrea,

Credit cards are not the friends that you think they are. Start protecting your assets now. Don't worry about buying the latest and greatest, and don't bother spoiling your friends with dinners on the town. No, the next round of drinks is NOT on you. Walk to work when you can.

You can live like a pauper for a few years in order to achieve what you want. You're great at linguistics, so give grad school a shot.

Stop obsessing about your nose. It turns out that lots of people covet noses like yours.

Nora Dunn

Nora DunnDear Nora:

Plan for tomorrow, because nobody else is going to do it for you.

However don't do it at the expense of living for today, because what's the point?!

Will Chen

Will ChenWill, take better care of your body. It will be a while before you start to realize that your body isn't indestructible. But healthy habits are hard to develop. Start now while you have plenty of free time and your schedule is flexible.

Don't develop a tunnel vision about "what I want to be when I grow up." People change careers all the time. Some of the most fascinating and successful people you'll meet are doing something completely unrelated to their college majors. Keep an open mind. Audit a bunch of classes. Extend yourself. Learn things that are of interest to you instead of focusing purely on what you think will become useful to your career later.

take care,


P.S. I leave you the wisdom of Conan O'Brien's Class Day speech at Harvard:

I've dwelled on my failures today because, as graduates of Harvard, your biggest liability is your need to succeed. Your need to always find yourself on the sweet side of the bell curve.

Because success is a lot like a bright, white tuxedo. You feel terrific when you get it, but then you're desperately afraid of getting it dirty, of spoiling it in any way. I left the cocoon of Harvard, I left the cocoon of Saturday Night Live, I left the cocoon of The Simpsons. And each time it was bruising and tumultuous.

And yet, every failure was freeing, and today I'm as nostalgic for the bad as I am for the good. So, that's what I wish for all of you: the bad as well as the good.

Fall down, make a mess, break something occasionally. And remember that the story is never over.

Tell us your best advice and be entered in a random drawing for a $25 Amazon Gift Certificate. Deadline to enter drawing is 9/9. Don't forget to enter your email address in the field provided and only one entry per person!

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Guest's picture

I think I would probably say, "Relax and take it easy, enjoy life, and appreciate the nice moments you have." I spent far too much time analyzing, worrying, and obsessing over this and that, that I really missed a large part of my life when I could have just been enjoying myself and having rewarding experiences doing something I enjoy.

Guest's picture

1. That baby you have will grow up and need an education, so start saving for that.

2. Your credit rating is going be very important, so don't mess it up. Don't be afraid to ask for help, you'll get it.

3. You are much stronger than you know, and you'll be much saner when you're older.

Guest's picture

I would probably talk to my 12 year old self, and here's what I would say:

 1. You know that crazy dream of being a musician that you have? Go for it. You actually do have musical talent, and you're going to end up chasing it anyway. This way you'll have a head start.

2. You'll get your heart broken. It will hurt. You will survive it. And you will learn from it.

3. Credit Cards are the devil.

4. After you graduate from high school, stay active. Go to the gym, play intramural sports, whatever. Anything to avoid gaining the Freshman 50.

5. Junior high will suck. It's a fact of life for pretty much everyone.

6. You only have 6 more years till you get to escape the craziness of your parents, but they'll still manage to haunt you a bit even after that. Here's how to deal in the meantime: tell them to shut up, you don't want to hear it, it's not your marriage. Be aware, this will get you into trouble, but it will eventually work.

 7. Don't be any other person except the person you want to be. 

Guest's picture

As idealistic as it may seem, you cannot always make a living doing something you like to do. The bottom line is you need to have skill sets that are sought after and preferably, in high demand and that pay well. You can always do what you love as hobby.

Another thing to keep in mind is where you want to live; if you are tied to certain geographic region to stay near family or friends, find out what is marketable and in high demand in that regional area and choose your education on what will generate a decent living and preferably a high-demand area.

I have ingrained in my son although he wants to get into acting, a small minority of people make a living at it and he would need to move to where there is a high demand, such as LA or NY. In the meantime, he needs to have marketable skills to earn a living. He has decided to pursue automotive repair and customizing as his major, but a minor in acting related pursuits.

Guest's picture

If I was writing a letter to myself when I was younger, I would have a number of things I would want to say. Most of them would be related to trusting God's plan, because I love my life today, and I would want to keep it this way. There is one thing that I would want to tell my younger self - primarily because I'm still learning about this today:

Do Things That Scare You: In other words, get out of your comfort zone. This is especially important in work and in business, but it is also important in you personal life. Each day, do something that gets you out of your comfort zone. Use that momentum to expand your comfort zone and become confident at many more things in life.

Guest's picture

I would tell my younger self not to worry so much, that everything (or most things) will work out just fine and that things don't have to be perfect or just how I planned them to still be okay. I would tell my younger self that college is better than high school, and that real life is better than college, and that life is constantly changing...if something is bad right now, it won't stay that way forever.

Guest's picture

I would tell my going-off-to-college self that just because you can afford the minimum payments on your credit cards doesn't mean that you can afford the total debt. I would caution against getting a credit card, and I would advise myself not to ever take on a debt that I couldn't repay in full by the due date, with the exception of a mortgage.

Guest's picture

I think this is a great conversation to have. I often think of these things when talking with my own children. Of course, I give them lots of advice based on my past (and highly valuable) mistakes and of course, they usually don't listen any better than I did. Still, if I could sit down with my younger self, I would say:

1. Do no spend most of your 20's waiting tables while trying to find yourself. Finish college, and try to find yourself while making more money. Compared to restaurant work, college is a walk in the park.

2. Avoid debt as much as possible. You will save yourself so much grief and bitterness later, when you want to buy a house and save for your future.

3. You know those student loans? You have to pay them back!

4. Unless you are very financially solvent, a brand new car is seldom worth it.

5. A really old, inexpensive car is also not worth it. It will surprise you with a huge repair bill when it is least convenient.

6. You will always encounter someone who has "more" than you do. If you think carefully about what you buy, and only buy what you appreciate, you will value what YOU have. This will provide you with an enormous sense of peace. If you want what you have, you will not covet what belongs to others.

7. No matter how poor you are, life is too short to drink bad coffee.

Guest's picture

Since there were no rules indicated, if I could go back in time I would give my younger self (pick any age) a few future winning lottery ticket numbers. That certainly would change my life! :)

But in all seriousness I would probably tell my younger self to not get caught up in the irrational exuberance of the dot com era. I made a few bad investments that went bust, along with almost every other stock at the time.


Guest's picture

1. Don't be quite so certain about the things you think you know. There's at least a 50% chance that you're wrong.

2. Don't judge others so harshly. Maybe you could do things better, but then again, maybe not.

Guest's picture

I would tell my 15-16 year old self to just move out. Don't look back, it's safer and saner to move out. Go ahead and go to the votech, and get that degree in nursing a few years earlier. It will all work out, and it's not you that is the problem. They have problems that don't have anything to do with you.

I would also point out where my future husband would be living. He's the kind of person that would believe me if I came up to him at age 16 and said, "I love you. We will be married by the age of 20. We will stay married our whole lives." If anything, to get to be with him a few years early, would be amazing. A whole lifetime with him is never enough.

Guest's picture

That's about all I would tell my younger self, because I like where my life is right now. I couldn't have gotten here without making the choices that I made in the past...

...Although I probably would tell my younger self not to date that loser who demanded I take him to CA when I moved there for a job. Without him, I would have been on a far better financial footing when I was able to go back to school.

Guest's picture

"Learn to appreciate!"
I've started telling myself this, but I wish I could have started this several years earlier.
Also, spend time to explore and exercise your various potentials and faculties.

Guest's picture
Lorna Huntley

People who love and cherish you will pass away and be gone.Cherish them,tell them that you love them and always give them the respect they deserve. Even when you are angry or don't feel like it.
Burn all credit card offers.
Save ,SAVE you never know when there will be an emergency.
Above all never regret what you haven't done . If its that important to you go out and do it. If its not let it go and move on.

Guest's picture

I would go back to myself at age 13, just as I was entering the 7th grade. This is when I began slacking off and not taking school as seriously. It was more about making friends and having fun then actually paying attention and learning.

I would say: "You can work hard AND have fun. The harder you work, the more fun you will have, so buckle down and stop avoiding your math homework! In the future, you can make all this hard work work for YOU and it will pay off in all the fun you thought you were missing :)"

Guest's picture

Instead of insisting on a small, private college, go to a large state university for a cheaper education of comparable quality with fewer 8am classes!

Guest's picture

Amen to that! Not only fewer 8am classes, but fewer ridiculous student loan bills to pay later too!

Guest's picture

I would say (to a 10 or 12 year old me) something like:
First off, don't be so afraid to make mistakes. People make them all the time. Just dust yourself off, try again, and it will be all right. Don't not do something just because you think you will fail. Everyone fails, so don't expect yourself to be any different. It's just the getting back up that is so important.
Secondly, focus on what really matters and don't think you can't change. So you don't like the way you look? Don't self-pity yourself or talk down to yourself any more. Focus on what matters-- God made you special and you are beautiful. Instead of sulking or trying to hide from the world, embrace the beautiful creation. Take a nice walk or a hike in the woods. Try something "scary" like riding your bike more or learing how to swim. You may not like how you look in a bathing suite, but you'll have fun and it's good exercise as well. Remember to eat good healthy foods. Not too little, but not too much.
Finally, even with this advice, you're still gonna mess up. You'll probably mess up big time even. But that's okay. Just dust yourself off and know you'll be all right.

Guest's picture

I know those brand new shiny credit cards make you feel like your on top of the world. I know you think paying them off will be no problem. After all, the minimum payment is only $25.00. Heck, one is only $8.00! You can handle that! No problem! But dear, those new shoes you bought for $85.00 are going to end up costing you $200.00 in the end and that's if there ever is an end.

Credit catches up with you and you will become buried in it. In ten years those shoes will be history but your credit will still be with you and once you screw that up, well is a challenge.

Enjoy your money. Spend some. But save. Save as much as you can. If you really want those shoes, have the money... don't rely on credit cards. Want more things? Forget about that sale, or that party, or even that man for one second and study. Four years and life is yours. Find your passion and finish college.

The rest my dear, is all you. Enjoy your life, enjoy your money and enjoy your career but live within your means. Things don't bring smiles, life brings smiles.

Guest's picture

"Michelle! Avoid that dude John like the plague! He will bring you four years of misery!"

In other words, I'd tell myself to have made more thoughtful choices in the romantic domain...

Guest's picture

Boys are a lot less complicated and scary than you think, so talk to them, especially the ones you like!!!

And get out of the house and try as hard as you can to stop ruminating about life. It will make you very very depressed and is totally not worth it. Please consider a travel abroad or volunteer program every summer of high school and get the hell out of town and away from your mother and your own head.

Everything else is and will be fine and will always get better. At least until you're 26, then I have no f'n clue! :) (but I think it will just keep getting better).

Guest's picture

all kinds of things that should have been different; different college, different major, stay out of debt, etc. But, if I had done anything differently, maybe I would not have met my husband, and nothing that could be better would make up for that.

So maybe I would just tell myself not to get stressed out over relationships, or feel down because it seems like my friends are finding Mr. Right while I sit home alone, because in the end, I'm getting the best one! And the rest will all work out fine too.

Guest's picture

Go ahead and take the risks, but remember you aren't alone. When you think the world is gonna overwhelm you, go ahead and call your folks and let them know what is up. They won't bail you out, but they will have good advice and will know that the problems aren't as big as you think they are.

Really. Trust them. Their advice will save you a lot of heartache. They are on your side.

Guest's picture

Dear 12 year old Kitty:

PUT THE CIGARETTE DOWN! It does not make you cool and when you are 45 you will find that you are no longer immortal but you are hooked.

Dear 17 year old Kitty:

The older high school English teacher who writes seductive comments on your papers? IGNORE IT! You will end up married and 2500 miles from home and he will leave you for a younger woman before you turn 21. He is what we (now) grownups call a "pedophile." Look it up.

Dear 21 year old Kitty:

Just because the credit cards come in the mail doesn't mean it's free money. Please please stay away from them otherwise you will get into a vicious cycle that you won't get out of for 18 years. Just say no and don't say yes until you understand what interest rates mean.

Dear 22 year old Kitty:

For God's sake stop majoring in theatre and go into computer science! Stupid blonde. Technology is just as creative as putting on costumes and makeup and creating characters.

Dear 36 year old Kitty:

Yeah you met HIM. You had a yard sale and sold off all your "stuff." But the first night living together, when he gets upset and curls into a fetal position in his closet and pouts? Girl, this is a HUGE RED FLAG!!! Instead of staying because your stuff is gone make a phone call and MOVE OUT IMMEDIATELY. DO NOT MARRY HIM because it won't make him an adult!

Dear current 45 year old Kitty:

Good girl! You're a slow learner but you're getting there. Continue to trust your gut instinct. Be kind to everyone. When the job asks you to travel to far off places for long periods of time do what you need to do to make it happen. Learning about the world makes you a better person. In the end being a good person is all that counts.

Guest's picture

I find it hard to actually slow down from time to time. We all know we need to slow down, but how often do we do it? Some people have a problem being motivated, I have the problem of slowing down. I just recently posted a good post about this on my personal & professional development blog check it out!

Guest's picture

You'll only end up knocking your teeth out when you jump off the playground.

Guest's picture

Don't sacrifice your financial security for something that doesn't fit into the food/shelter rule.

Don't make snap judgments that you'll live to regret.

Don't wait to jump into the world.

Hopping onto life's milestones won't tear you apart.

Guest's picture

I would tell myself to make up and take some risks, because you will end up regretting it, and wondering 'What if...'

Guest's picture

Two Words: compound interest

seriously. when you get your first job, have your parents help you set up an IRA or a mutual fund account, and contribute some percentage of your wages, no matter how small.

Guest's picture

Stop procrastinating!

Take more chances.

Good job on that nest egg, keep it up!

Guest's picture

Dear 12 year old Darice,
Something that I've learned that I should have at 12 is that you never know what you can get if you don't ask. There are a lot of moments that I look back and wonder what would have been different if I'd just tried and not have talked myself out of something because I worried too much about appearances or that I just thought I would be denied something so I didn't even try. I look back and wish for a redo more than I look back and regret an action. I wouldn't tell you to take more chances, to be more reckless or more outgoing, but I would tell you to ask for what you deserve and what you want.
I think that all or most of the things I regret could be helped with lots more self esteem earlier on in life. I remember early to feel bad about things that looking back should not have been made shameful - that could have been made better with a different tactic.
Another thing I keep relearning is that I was never as fat as I thought or allowed people to try and make me think. I'll never be so fat that I should divorce myself from activities, feelings, or normal experiences others don't give a thought about whether they should or should not do. By prohibiting some of those experiences I probably just made it more cyclical until I become afraid to try.

Guest's picture

focus differently in your finance classes. you may not be working for a bank/investment company your whole life.

focus on the ideas and concepts, and start thinking about how to go into business for yourself.

start researching everything you can about real estate investing. do not worry, it is only money. you can make more, it is the experience that is important, as most people will not get this far.

delay gratification, it will pay off.

Guest's picture

If I were to counsel my younger self I would tell myself that life is NOT a is a journey.

It may sound trite but it is true. Don't strive to reach a goal without enjoying where you are now. Enjoy now. We are not guaranteed tomorrow. Do something for yourself. Go out with your friends. Enjoy your life and where you are in it right now. You will get to your goal if you work toward it, but don't forget about the present moment.

Guest's picture

There are 2 things I would tell my young self.
1- Join the armed forces as soon as you graduate high school, you can get a nice jump on life, compliments of the US Governemnt.
2- DO NOT apply for that credit card! You don't need it! CASH ONLY!

Guest's picture

Advice to self: The best way to get rich quick is to not get rich quick. Trying to get rich quick never works and will always lead to failure! Slow and steady always wins the race. It may not be glamorous but it works!

Guest's picture

Sugar is a drug. Addiction to it can kill you with a disease called diabetes.

Go get a job up at the university. It's like a small city, you can find all kinds of jobs there; and they give you two free credit courses a year. Plus enough money to buy at least one more. Plus a free library card to all of their libraries. Plus health benefits.

Get married young. Sewing up your heart once a year is definately not worth it.

Have confidence; any self can be poured into many roles.

Forget taking that Apple II machine language class.

And you need to take at least one more year of french in high school to be able to swear adequately at the waiters in Paris.

Guest's picture

1. Notice that although you appear to like chemistry and biology, you have to work about 50X harder at those subjects as compared to English/literature (which are subjects you actually love even more than the life sciences). Consider this as you go off to college.

2. Be nicer to your sister. Stop pretending to have teen angst and that "I-hate-my-family" attitude. It IS cool to be friends with your sister. Besides, in five years she's going to be living halfway around the globe and you're going to be missing her like crazy.

3. Stop mistaking your stubborness as "independence." The more you try to do everything by yourself, the more you end up isolating yourself.

4. On the otherhand, when you find yourself in your first (and subsequent) serious relationship, DON'T be too reliant upon your BF- fight for your "alone" time, don't become a dreaded "hyphen" couple.

Good luck, youngster.

Guest's picture

As often, and as much as you can afford. The people you will meet, and the places that will take your breath away will be worth every penny.

Guest's picture

1. You should throw conformity out the window.
2. Don't spend all your money by buying junk, save every dime you make.
3. Go to the College that you like, not what people tell you.
4. Try to keep healthy by taking care of your body, you'll thank me later in life.
5. Take some classes in personal finance.
6. It's all right to take risks-go for it!

Guest's picture

Meg, as you go through life here's somethings that I want you to keep in mind as you make important choices:

1) Your parents have no clue when it comes to financial matters - don't listen to them. As much as we love them, stop looking for their approval - you don't want to change who you are in order to please them.

2) That guy in 8th grade who treated you horribly? He'll be your husband believe or not. And he's a damn fine husbad too - trust me when I say you will not find someone who treats you as well. You'll have a very happy marriage.

3) All those people who in high school treated you like you weren't good enough no matter what you did or what office you held? In a couple of years, you won't be in contact with them and you'll realize that you there is so much more to life than high school.

4) Do not - I repeat - do not go to the expensive university you're thinking about. You'll miss out on so much if you do. You'll also end up $30k in debt with no degree because you realize you don't fit into the business world after taking 2 years.

5) Relax, eat better and exercise more. Otherwise you'll find out when you're 24 that your body is shutting down and you'll have to fight to get your health back.

6) Take more time to explore who you are and what you love. Don't be afraid to ask questions, talk to new people and experience new things.

7) Travel more. While you are working, sock money away for an exotic vacation - you'll regret spending that money at Macy's instead of Thailand or Japan.

8) Have fun, laugh more and don't take everything so seriously!

Guest's picture

I wish I had these in front of me every step of the way, I do now.

-To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven --- remember it when it gets tough.

-Every day be grateful for the family you have, they are your rock and they are there for you no mater what.

-Sometimes it's just better to let it go!

Guest's picture

Dear MSMomsmoney former younger self,

Don't start smoking. Quitting is terribly difficult, not quitting is deadly.

In your twenties develop yourself, your interest, FINISH college, not worrying about relationships with men.

Don't marry what's his face.

Know that you can see things through.

Really appreciate the time you have with loved ones...some will be gone far too soon.

Don't depend on someone else's income to support you and your children. Independence is very important.

Don't allow someone to abuse you. Leave sooner rather than later.

Take care of your health. Don't ignore seemingly Little health problems, you may find out one day that they are quite serious and debilatiting.

Don't be so hard on yourself.

Stop hating your curly hair.

Stop dieting all the time. Just eat healthy. No, sugar free gum, diet coke and ciggs are not a meal plan.

Put some money aside in an account for a rainy day--cause the rain always does show up at the worst times.

Worry doesn't change anything...

Older, hopefully a bit wiser, MSMomsmoney

Guest's picture

-Stop being so hard on yourself.

-Keep going to the gym and take care of your mind as well. You're not that crazy.

-Reconsider your major...maybe.

-Make lots of contacts with professors and figure out more about how grad school really works. Work hard to get into the right school.

-Stop trying to do so much all at once.

Guest's picture

1.) If it's scary, it will probably benefit you.
2.) Be the tightest of frugal warriors while you're young. The skills you learn & the money you save will reap rewards later & make you appreciate things more.
3.) Floss those teeth. Every. Day.
4.) Take classes that will actually teach you skills that are in demand.
5.) Save money. Don't buy the fancy beer (it'll make you fat anyway) and save that money!

Guest's picture

Dear young one,

You have always been older than you are, studying those around you to try to understand the world you're in. You'll figure out later that you don't fit in - but honestly, that's okay, because you have a special talent. Try to study the younger ones too, because I've forgotten how to play - I hope you can find it and keep it safe.

One day, you will have as many *things* as you want to have. You don't have to collect and save every smallest scrap because you'll never get another one - you WILL, and once you leave home everything you'd saved will go where all your other treasured things have gone. Honey, don't tie your heart to what will be taken away. You know it will. Wait until things are stable and safe and *good*. You'll marry Sylvos, and it'll be rocky but the best thing you've ever known.

You'll get to be a mommy, and you will find your own way. You don't have to do what you were taught, and you'll find out too that "having a baby changes everything." It really does. Trust yourself because you know more than the 'experts', and you'll get the proof you need. And you'll discover your purpose in life: to be the best person you can be, and for you that means to love. Because that's what you do best.

I love you.

Guest's picture

Dear Julia,
You have many years ahead of you, no matter what you think. Life will go on. It is time to stand up and be your own woman, not just someone's daughter or someone's girlfriend/wife. There are many things you need to learn, such as:
1-Believe it or not, education IS important, and so is going to college.
2-Don't be satisfied with 'getting by'. Do something you actually LIKE to do, and figure out how to make a living doing it...a GOOD living.
3-Don't be so impulsive. For every action, there is a reaction. For every decision you make, you will have to live with the consequences.
4-Be picky when it comes to men. Choose THEM, don't just date the ones who chose you. Do they have a job? Live at home with their parents? Treat you with respect? These are red flags! GET AWAY FROM THE "LONERS" and "REBELS". It's time to get over your 'bad boy' phase! Look for a man who will make a good husband and father someday.
5-Get over the 'Cinderella' complex you have. There is no handsome prince on a white horse coming to take you away from all this and take care of you. Take care of yourself. Do it on your own. You will have more respect for what you have, and for yourself.
6-STOP DRINKING SODAS! They are rotting your teeth! If you need caffeine, learn to like coffee. At least it doesn't have acid in it. Much easier to whiten your teeth than to replace them!
7-Put down the cigarettes! You will tire of them later and the damage will have been done. The sooner you stop, the healthier you will be later for your children (yeah, CHILDREN)!
8-Live well, laugh often, and love much.
Julia-age 38

Guest's picture

Say i love you to daddy and mommy really a lot, they need it as much as
you do.

Don't show too much skin, the boys you'll get won't be the boys you need.

Don't dream of the man to sweep you of your feet and whisk away all your troubles, the damsel in distress is the knight in shining armor.

Fairy tales are good, so are daydreaming, and you are still a princess, its just a different world. Happy ever after can still work out well though, on a 24-hour cycle basis. Take it a day at a time.

Pursue your passions, but stay grounded.

Guest's picture

Shawn -

Even though you've been accepted to the college of your choice, DON'T go. Stay home and do the first two years at community college; $30/unit undergrad requirements are just as good as $22,000 ones. Besides, if you go, the guy you meet and "fall in love with" will end up beating on you, and flushing your self-esteem down the toilet; you're better than that!

In fact, when your Dad forces you to go speak with the Army recruiter, just so you know that you have other options besides going to college immediately, really LISTEN. And then a few days later, sign up! You will not miss ANYTHING by joining the Army and going to work at the hospital in Rammstein. And even though 20 years seems like a long time, when you get out, you'll be 38 y.o., and you will have PLENTY of time to start a whole second life!!

Do NOT get married before the age of 30. You're too immature to really know what you want (and so is he). Live on your own for awhile, get to really know yourself, and then start looking for a companion.

When your mom calls to tell you that your grandma is in the hospital, and it doesn't look good, do not wait until morning to call the hospital. Pick up the phone, and just tell whoever's in the room with her to put the phone by her ear, and then tell her how much you love her. Tell her it's okay to go, and you'll see her soon enough. And then telll her how much you love her, again, one more time.

When you're prescribed Vicodin for back pain, do NOT take it. It's going to lead you down a path that will cost you two jobs, and eight weeks in rehab. Work through the pain.

Most of all, stop listening to your heart, and follow your intuition. You know a bad situation when you see it, so avoid it. Try to make the smarter choices, even if they aren't appealing. No one ever said it would be easy, but it will be worth it.

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If you don't have cash, you don't need it. Do not use Credit Cards or get loans except school loans.
Pay your bills.
Clothes are not worth that much money, so shop at thrift stores and save your dollars!
Don't listen to the lies, you are beautiful and one day after you have a baby you will look back at the pictures of you and DREAM you still looked like that.

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1) Listen to your dad and floss. It won't kill to take a minute off every night.
2) Popularity is a not always good. Not everyone likes you, so be grounded and watch your back.
3) Do what scares you. It's good for you.
4) Don't be scared what others might think. Just go for that guy you think is nice. He IS nice!
5) Start working part-time while schooling when your mum says ok. It will do you so much good. You have alot of energy, so use it while it lasts.

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Money. Understand the difference between wealth and the "appearance" of wealth. The vast majority of people chose the latter at the expense of the former. How much you earn is important, but not nearly as much as how much you spend.

People. Look for opportunities to contribute to other people's goals. I will garner you many fiends.

Love. Remember how sweet it was when you were first in love? She still needs to feel that way...make sure you figure out how - every day.

Do it. Rarely have I regretted something I have done. Often I have regretted things I haven't.

Achievement. The formula is simple:
1. Clearly define your goal and the most effective way to get there.
2. Work hard.

You must do both - period.

Luck. Remember that luck "favors the prepared". We all catch lucky breaks sometime however they are only lucky if we can actually take them. A great deal on a house is only great if you have the money to do it. That fortunate opportunity to dazzle the big boss at a presentation is useless if you've never practiced and can't get over your nervousness. Remember this and you'll be surprised how often "luck" just seems to show up.

Knowledge. The more you learn, the more choices you will have in life and the better equipped you will be to select amongst them.

See the reality. Complaining that a university degree should not be required for a job is useless. If that's what's required and you want to get there, get off your backside and get it. This goes for a great many things in life.

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Make your life a priority. This doesn't mean sacrifice work/goals, rather use the resources wisely (time/money) to make sure you have more of them.

Easy ways to do this:
- Don't procrastinate, ever.
- Don't get into credit card debt. Pay cash, or save until you can.
- Buy investments, not toys (think property) Seriously!
(these first three will solve 80% of issues later)

The rest are just icing. Overwhelming? then go back to just the top 3...
- Don't drive crazy or speed. trust me on this...
- Sleep well
- Trust your instincts (they will serve you very well)
- Stay in contact with friends
- Write letters to grandma / grandpa and others.
- Travel

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I would like to tell 20-minutes-ago-me that I should go to sleep instead of reading through well-intentioned comments that my current self will undoubtedly forget, (yet which will cause my future self to be both (1) tired and (2) none the wiser for it...)

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Don't watch so much TV or buy so many CDs. Don't buy a LOT of stuff. You don't own stuff, stuff owns you. Learn to enjoy work. Man is made to work, but you can find something you enjoy. Your education doesn't end with college, update your skills regularly. Learn to cook and invest in some good cookware. Don't ever PAY interest. Save much, invest, monitor your investments, and don't be too loyal to the losers. When investments go south they frequently stay there. Buy used. Embrace the faith of your father. Your parents are right about most things. Don't be in such a hurry about purchases or relationships. Eat less, exercise more. Avoid debt and enjoy financial freedom.

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Dear Lisa,
(at age 10) your beautiful, the divorce was not your fault. your fathers failure to love is his loss and your moms crazy behavior is not your responsibility. Believe in god he will always be with you!
never stop exercising, singing or drawing.
(at age 14-21) Take karate so when that guy tries to beat you , you can beat him back and protect yourself
Stay away from those other guys and wait for Bobby
Go to college and get that degree in Registered nursing or physcology or both.
never ever do drugs,smoke or eat bad'll save yourself loads of misery.
once you have your babies spend more time with them ! They grow up fast !
Stop chasing over what you cant have and start appreciating what you do have.
No one human is perfect, But there are many who try to lead the world into believing they are. stop feeling like a looser for what you dont have start feeling like a winner for what you do have!

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Dont date a guy unless he's 10 years older than you,spare yourself the pain early. and make sure he is either as finacially stable or twice as finacially stable and treats his mom like a queen.
and never ever date a man who refuses to work and blames the world for his problems.
If a guy says he hates his mom and means it ...RUN!
If a guy ever raises a hand to you...RUN!
and if the guy moves way to fast....RUN!


When your pregnant eat veggies not fast food or you'll gain 100 pounds in 9 months that will take you 5 years to loose!

and lastly

dont ever just settle! and dont ever allow yourself to feel trapped!

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For God's sake, don't major in Social Work!!! Are you out of your mind???

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Debo Hobo

It is okay what seemed like mistakes then have revealed themselves to be your best work ever. Just imaging what you wouldn't be if you hadn't been you then and now.

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Dear younger me,

Hi Roben, this is you from the future, and there are a few things I gotta let you in on before you even take one step further down the road your walking. I say this out of fear and shear love for you, me, I and the self that combines us.

You need to know that you are Lovable and to learn to be unafraid of being alone. If you do not see this you will give up a part of your life to trying to be what everyone else loves because you do not love yourself. That you will confuse sex with love you will go down a dark and lonely path where the love of your life, you, will get crushed, beaten, rapped and taken advantage of and you will accept this as the reality that it means love. You will loose sight of the beauty of creation, the beauty and serenity that begins when you hold a high amount of love for your existence. That you will put your dreams aside for countless reasons and hide behind issues and men because you are too afraid to step into the light. Your too afraid of the person you will see, the person you can be when you let the mask fall away. But the great news is you needn't be afraid, you are a lovable creature, and many people bless your existence, most of all your family, just know this truly, do not let your ego hide the true pleasure of the unending bond of true love that sits within your family circle.

I want you to you that you realize this by letting go of the pain, and problems you blame yourself for. Grieve for the losses you carry and know that its ok to cry. That The reality of your emotion can come through and that you are a human being, and existence brings forth emotion. That these things shouldn't be hidden, resistance to emotion kills you inside and leaves you numb and confused.

And I also want you to realise that you as you is the most beautiful creature you could ever be, that being the me that you are and not succumbing to the self you create is going to give you the true freedom you are searching for. Do not be afraid of screwing up, your only human, this is ok, its actually a good thing to make mistakes, and trust me you'll make alot, and you will learn from them if you accept them and they know just mean your real.

Oh and by the way tell your parents, talk to them, be real and open with them, they're only humans and your mum is usually right about things just so you know...even if you hate to admit it.

If you see yourself as loved and let go of the pain as it arrives you will go through life with true happiness, love and the freedom to be who you really are.

With all the love in my heart,