Life as a teenager was complicated and chaotic for me. I had too many feelings, frustrations, and too much anxiety about everything. I had placed no value on personal finance, and I had no desire to really talk with anyone. Needless to say, there are a lot of things I wish I knew when I was still in my teens. Instead of bottling them all up and just wishing for the best to come, I’ve decided to share them with you. I’ve decided that there will be no more regrets–an ample amount of wisdom and a greater appreciation for today will be my greatest drivers in the production of this list.
1. Those butterflies in your stomach? That’s not love at all.
The top item on my “things I wish I knew when I was a teenager” list is about attraction. I wish I had known that feeling flushed, embarrassed and flustered mean you are nervous, not that you’re in love. It’s not that I was too young to fall in love: it’s that I was too self-absorbed and caught up in my own world that caring for someone else didn’t really make sense back then.
2. Don’t go into a spending frenzy–you didn’t earn that money!
Looking back, I shudder and cringe when I remember my past spending habits. Whenever I received my allowance back then, I never stopped and thought about saving some of it. I wish I had known–and really valued–the way money was earned.
3. Failure doesn’t mean you’re weak.
I was easily discouraged. I thought that failing meant losing and that being a failure meant you were going to be poor for the rest of your life. Ha! How far was I from the truth? Failure is helpful in shaping your character. It helps you develop and come out stronger than before. Failure is priceless. And frankly, everyone deserves to fail once in a while.
4. You’re never too young to invest.
I know I said no regrets–but come on. Whenever I think about the thousands I’ve lost, the thousands I could have invested, I can’t resist slapping myself for being too ignorant. If you’re still in your teens, please. Do yourself a favor and start investing!
5. You can be who you want to be. I promise you.
Sure, this sounds false, with all the bullies putting you down, all the mean teachers attacking your character and all the failures stressing you out, but it’s true. Don’t let anyone bring your dreams down.You don’t need gold (gold-plated) medals, a bunch of certificates or an A+ every single time! People–or people who do matter–won’t really care about that.
6. Gossiping, while fun, can be an energy-drainer.
You need your energy so that you can do a lot of things. If you spend all your time and your energy gossiping, you’ll have imaginary power but little control over your life. Sure, there’s a bit of a fun in this activity, but all the negativity and emotional stress you’ll get aren’t going to be worth it.
7. Emergencies happen. Please prepare for it in advance.
Just imagine: if I had saved up at least 5% of my monthly allowance, I could have been better off financially by the time I graduated college. By that time, I would have an emergency fund already! I really wish I had known to save up early in my teens. Granted, I started when I was 19, but imagine if I had started at 13!
8. Read about the Law of Attraction.
No, I’m not talking about physical attraction here. What I’m saying is that it would have been better if I had known that my thoughts can be manifested through my actions! I would have spent more time thinking positively.
9. It’s okay to not conform sometimes.
“Study hard, get good grades and find a great company to work for.” –No, you can actually consider entrepreneurship as well. “Don’t strive to be rich or you’ll be evil.”–It just depends on the person. Money just magnifies your inherent character. “Help will always come.”–Not necessarily. No one owes you anything, really, so it’s better for you to depend on yourself instead of other people.
10. Start something.
Your teen years are the best time for you to create projects: put up a blog, write a novel, donate to charity, produce a song, read non-fiction books and basically start owning your life. You’re still young. You’ll still make mistakes. But the most important thing is that you’re making an effort, that you’re not afraid to try. Don’t wait until you’re old enough. This time will never happen! Now, let me ask you: are the things on this list also on your list?