10 Things I Wish Someone Told Me 10 Years Ago

At the start of every year, I like to review my goals.  I pull out the list of goals I set for myself last January, and then grade myself on how well I did.

This year is quite different than past years.  Everything changed after Cassie was diagnosed with cancer.  Suddenly, nothing was important except her health.

It’s been tough.  I looked after her the best that I could, I tried to be as encouraging as possible, and I made efforts to improve my career situation so that she could take time off to focus on her health.  The year is over and, thankfully, the most important goal we set out to achieve has been achieved: Cassie beat cancer.

Although I didn’t do any of the fighting — you have Cassie and her doctors to praise for that — I did get caught up in the ride.  I was exhausted by the emotional roller coaster, and I found myself constantly wishing for 2010 to arrive just so we could move past this difficult time in our lives.  I was anxious to start experiencing normal life again.

Here I am now, happy that 2010 is upon us, wondering what else to write about.  It feels like cancer has been the topic of conversation for so long, that I’ve forgotten how to talk about anything else.

I’m glad for how things turned out. I’m ecstatic that she’s cured. But I’m tired of the subject.  I didn’t want to make another post about cancer, but the words are coming out of me anyway.

I suppose that I’m afraid if I don’t talk about it, the only other thing I can say about 2009 is that life was on pause for a while, so nothing else was accomplished.  Maybe I’m ashamed about the fact that my intention is for this to be a progressive blog, and I’ve spent a lot of time ignoring it in favor of other priorities.

The other thing about 2009 is that I feel so detached from everything I experienced throughout it.  It feels like I’m waking up from a bad dream.  I remember feeling scared, sad, and impatient — but I couldn’t always express those feelings, because I felt obligated to appear outwardly normal and “together.”  Being hysterical wasn’t an option.

I started imagining what types of things I wish I could have told myself earlier this year: “Everything’s going to be alright.” — “One year from now, this will all be behind you.” — “Trust me, she’ll be okay.”

The concept was pretty fascinating to me, and I took it a step further and imagined what I might like to tell myself if I could go back in time to give my younger self some advice about life.

I think that the dawn of a new decade is an excellent time to reflect upon the last ten years, and figure out what life lessons I’ve managed to learn from them:

#10 – For the most part, what others think doesn’t matter.

Ten years ago I was a 17 year old high school student who let the opinions of other people largely influence my choices.  It was a dumb way to live, considering that ten years later, those people whose opinions I held in such high regard aren’t even a part of my life anymore!

The times when someone else’s opinion of you truly matters are few and far between.  Think first impressions, like meeting your significant other’s family, meeting a new client, or meeting a potential employer for a job interview.

Don’t let other people rent space in your head.  What they think of you isn’t important.  What matters most is how you feel about yourself.

#9 – Explore new hobbies and opportunities often.

When I cared about what other people might think about me, I never tried new things.  I was afraid that if I sucked at something, I’d be embarrassed.  To spare myself the embarrassment of being bad at something new, I would never explore opportunities to learn a new skill, or start a new hobby.

Looking back on it, I see it as lots of time lost!

Nowadays I’m always anxious to put myself out there and learn something new.  I sing at karaoke, I enter juggling contests, and I play Euchre even though I suck at all of them.  I try new things as they come up, whether it’s a new restaurant, a new beer, or a new pastime.  When you try new things, you discover more and more things that you enjoy.

Currently, I have plans to master the piano, the pool table, the surfboard, and the pen in my lifetime.  They’re things that I know I love.  Still, if you were to introduce me to a unicycle today, I’d hop right on to try and take it for a spin, fall off, and then hop on again!

As Harold and Maude put it best, “Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can’t let the world judge you too much.”

#8 – Nobody knows what you’re thinking unless you tell them.

People can’t read your mind.  This goes for your significant other, your employer, and that hot girl you’re too scared to talk to.

Ten years ago I was dating someone I no longer wanted to date.  I knew that I was unhappy in the relationship, but she didn’t.  Consequently, I waited and waited for things to improve, but they never did.  I want to scream at my young self: Well no shit things didn’t improve.  You never told her anything was wrong!

Relationships can’t improve unless you communicate.  This applies to your relationship with your employer also — if you’re working hard at your job and believe that you deserve a raise, you probably won’t get it unless you ask for it.

Simply put, your supervisor doesn’t know what you want.  Don’t wait for them to come to you, because your blood will boil over and you’ll end up quitting before it ever happens.  Ask to meet privately and spell it out for them!

As for that hot girl, if you don’t say anything before she walks out that door, then she’s going to walk out of your life forever having never known you.  Don’t let it happen.  Learn to communicate so people can know you.

#7 – Talk to everyone in college.

Professors. Classmates. Roommates. Neighbors. Frats. Sororities. Clubs. Students outside of your major. Students outside of your social clique. Returning students that are older than you. Teaching assistants. Resident assistants. Adjuncts. Tutors. Career advisors. Deans. Librarians. Friends.

Why?  Networking.  When employers look for a good match for a job opening, the first thing they do is ask the people they’re already working with if they know someone who would do well in the position.  They tend to look through resumes as a last resort.

College is the best opportunity you’ll ever have to build a complex, varied network of smart people.  Use it to your advantage and get your name out there, because grades mean nothing in the real world.

Also, live it up, because college is fucking awesome.  Trust me when I tell you that after you’ve graduated, you’ll go through college withdrawal.  There’s a reason why so many people say it’s the best four years of your life.

#6 – Leave every job on good terms.

No matter how good it might feel to tell your boss to suck it right before storming out of a dead-end job forever, it is never worth it.  You will probably need another job someday, and you might just need some good references to get it.

Giving up all opportunities for future recommendations for one fleeting moment to tell your employer what you really think about them is a bad trade.  Give two weeks notice, and say thanks for the opportunity to work with them — even if it’s bullshit.

#5 – Pay your dues.

Even though you may have been hot shit in college, or at your last job, it will not grant you the slightest amount of entitlement in a new position for a new employer.  In many companies, you’re basically getting in line to wait your turn to move up the ladder, and it may take years to advance beyond positions of indentured servitude.

Stick to it.  Hopping from company to company looking for something “better” may allow you to get ahead in the short-term, but in the long-term your resume will become a mishmash of temporary stints that makes you look like a quitter.

In the end, persistence creates an impression of dedication and relevant experience — and it will outshine any other attribute, every time.

So take a look around.  If you’re absolutely certain you’re on the right career path, then stick to it.  Pay your dues.  Climb ladders.  It will be your turn soon enough.

#4 – Invest in yourself.

When you invest in yourself you can never lose.  This applies to everything:

Learn to cook.  You’ll save a bajillion dollars on food in your lifetime.

Learn a foreign language.  You’ll expand your horizons and be easily employable.

Learn to spend less than you earn.  You’ll never be broke.

#3 – You can’t change anything by just sitting back and looking at it.

Change requires two things:  a conscious decision to accomplish something, and follow-through.  If you want something accomplished, then do it now.  If it can’t be done now, then do it today.  If it can’t be done today, then start it today.

Change is tough, but the most difficult step is getting started.  Of course once you’ve  actually started, the most difficult step is following through.  Change is tricky like that — but know that if you truly want it, you’ll find a way to create change in your life.

#2 – Expect people to be negative, especially if you’re carving your own path.

In all walks of life, you won’t see eye-to-eye with everyone.  People will come out of the woodwork to tell you that you’ll fail, tell you that you suck, laugh at you, argue with you, call you names, write you messages laced with profanity, and be altogether unpleasant.  As Tony Gazzo from Rocky put it, “Some guys, they just hate for no reason.”

The thing is, although it’s common to receive negativity from strangers, you’ll find that even the people you know and love can surprise you with negative attitudes. No matter who it is that’s trying to boo you off the stage, don’t let them succeed in doing so.

#1 – Do what you are.

We’ve all heard that “If you love what you do, you will never work another day in your life.”  The problem is that few people seem to actually have this luxury.

It seems that somewhere along the line the consensus changed to “If you do what you need to do, when you need to do it, then maybe someday you can do what you want to do, when you want to do it.”  You end up spending the majority of your life waiting for that someday to arrive.

It’s mostly unavoidable though, since we spend most of our growing years hearing things like:

  • You need to go to college.
  • You need to get a job.
  • You need to keep working even if you don’t like your job, to pay for college.
  • You need to save for retirement, so that you have the option to retire.

Once you finally make it to retirement, then you can finally do what you want.  It seems so backwards, doesn’t it?

When I’m not distracting myself from how repetitive my job is, I always think about how I’m slowly trading away the sunny days of my youth for “job security.”  I show up, put my butt in a chair for eight hours a day, and collect a paycheck.  Congratulations, I’ve traded away some time for some money.

I don’t feel alive at my job.  I do shit that’s unimportant to me.  I’d rather spend my time doing anything else, but the things I want to do wouldn’t pay me the way my boring job does.

Consequently, I write.  Not because it earns me a lot of money, but because I feel most alive when I’m writing.  For me, to not write is suicide — and I desperately wish that I realized this about me sooner.

If I could offer my younger self some real advice, I’d tell myself not to base my career choice on what someone else recommended.  I’d tell myself not to pick a major because it’s what’s popular.  I’d tell myself not to get into a career field for the money.

I’d tell myself that the right choice is much simpler:  Do what you are.  As long as you’re true to yourself, and follow your own interests, you can find success through passion.  Perhaps more importantly, you won’t wake up ten years later in a career field you hate wondering “What the hell happened?”

So that’s my list of things I wish I knew when I was younger.  We all think about things like this from time to time — so if you agree or disagree with what I’d tell myself, or if you have any bits of wisdom that you wish someone would have taught you long ago, please share in the comments!

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140 Responses to “10 Things I Wish Someone Told Me 10 Years Ago”

#1 meh on 02, Jan, 2010 at 1:59 pm

I never thought I’d end up back where I started 10 years ago. Yet, here I am, drinking a glass of cynicism, playing infinite rounds of limbo. I suppose though, we have to be torn down to bare bones before we can really figure out who we are.

I’d tell my younger self to be less naive, but I am not even sure that would have helped.

#2 Twitter Trackbacks for 10 Things I Wish Someone Told Me 10 Years Ago · LifeReboot.com [lifereboot.com] on Topsy.com on 03, Jan, 2010 at 8:33 am

[...] 10 Things I Wish Someone Told Me 10 Years Ago · LifeReboot.com http://www.lifereboot.com/2010.....-years-ago – view page – cached At the start of every year, I like to review my goals. I pull out the list of goals I set for myself last January, and then grade myself on how well I [...]

#3 Rankle on 03, Jan, 2010 at 9:24 am

Great post. Regarding #7, talk to everyone, not just those you are trying to include in your network. The security guard, the maid, the trashman, the 7-11 clerk; everyone. Don’t force it and don’t treat it like it is an assignment. Just because their job or their station in life is not what appears to be prestigious, they have knowledge and wisdom at some level that is not only beneficial to you, it is downright amazing! Everyone has a story that if written like a novel would be a bestseller. See if you can find it.

#4 M on 03, Jan, 2010 at 10:42 am

Thanks for writing this, I literally just stumbled and read it. This one thing helped me make my decision as to what I am going to be. Thanks random blogger out of the blue, you potentially changed a life.

#5 Pajero Tim on 03, Jan, 2010 at 10:53 am

Nice post but I disagree with number 6 – I always left on bad terms on purpose, that way I would never have to do that job again. It forced me to find things I liked doing.

One thing I’d tell myself ten years ago is to quit the booze. As I always suspected, I’m infinitely happier without it than with it after being dry for three years. Again, it forces me to find true happiness in life rather than dull my senses with alcohol.

#6 Angie on 03, Jan, 2010 at 11:03 am

Hey, thanks for the tips! I’m still considered to be in my adolescent years so I don’t really think I have much wisdom to contribute. I agree with the tips provided though and I will be sure to make use of them. :D

#7 Janet Bowser on 03, Jan, 2010 at 11:43 am

What a great post, but I have to say that I have been reading your post about James and his passion. What has struck me is that as he started from such simple forms of movie making and developed his own method of creating fixes for his problems, I do sort of the same thing with my paintings.

I guess neither one of us has had any format teaching in our passions, but we find a way. Thanks, that was encouraging to me. I may never make a penny painting, but it keeps me sane and brings me out of my shell, I am sort of shy, too.

#8 Ruth on 03, Jan, 2010 at 1:10 pm

Thank you for your lovely post. I StumbledUpon it this morning and will return again.

#9 Jenzipan on 03, Jan, 2010 at 1:12 pm

I am only 16 and have a lot to learn about life in general. I’m glad I’ve had the chance to see this post – you couldn’t tell yourself 10 years ago but you’ve told me. :) I hope I can put them to good use.
I COMPLETELY agree with #10, though. That’s one I’ve definitely learned already. I think it’s also good to know when a friendship is over, as sad as it is. There are people I’ve known who cause a lot of unnecessary stress and drama. It always feels more hostile if you let that grow instead of addressing the issue and, if there’s no saving it, moving on. The drama doesn’t help at all during high school.

Anyway, thank you for your post. :)

#10 Bill G. on 03, Jan, 2010 at 1:17 pm

Great list. Number one particularly applies to me and my previous decade. I graduated high school in 2003 and the went on to struggle through college for six years until finally deciding to call it quits this past year. I came to the realization that the only reason I was doing it was because other people said I should, and that it didn’t make me happy (in fact it made me quite suicidal at times, and I’m not just saying that in jest).

Now that I’ve quit I’ve got a great job learning to be a butcher and guess what, I love it! Cutting meat and helping people make their decisions for what to have for dinner (whether an every day meal or a huge one like Thanksgiving or Christmas) is incredibly satisfying work and I truly believe that I enjoy it more than any office job that I would have gotten with my college degree. Sure I’ll never make six figures, but there’s enough money down the road in the career to keep me comfortable and able to take a vacation every now and then, and that’s all I really need. And at least during all that time I’m not on vacation I actually enjoy my work :)

#11 mona gonzalez on 03, Jan, 2010 at 1:58 pm

Thank you for sharing this, and also for sharing your wife’s journey over cancer. I am glad the ordeal is over and hope the best for your family. Thank you too for sharing your writing, too. I think you are quite gifted and the pointers are wise.

#12 Edgar Ruskov on 03, Jan, 2010 at 2:15 pm

You sir,

are a wise man. I feel (as an engineering student) that I’ll probably end up hating my job/life and go off to pay my final dues to God by wrestling a cougar on mt. Everest… a lot of people do not want to retire and end up in a ‘home’

#13 Ta4ka on 03, Jan, 2010 at 2:17 pm

Love’t every single point you made. I found myself in lots of your words, especially in the begining that your happy that 2009 has ended. I think this will be a much better year for me and I can’t wait for it to start.

Anyway my passion is in developing websites, that is what I love and always have, besides my work where i work for other people websites the most fullfuilling thing to me is when I work on my idea, check it out if you have the time

#14 Turbowoman on 03, Jan, 2010 at 4:17 pm

You make it sound as if 27 is old and that you have wasted a life-time searching for a suitable career. Actually, you are probably only 1/4 of the way through your life. If you enjoy writing so much, go to school to study creative writing or journalism, or write articles for your local paper. In reading your blog, it is apparent you would make an excellent “special feature” writer. I am glad that your girlfriend beat cancer, what a great New Year’s gift.

#15 Caitlin on 03, Jan, 2010 at 6:54 pm

I stumbled this article, and I have to say that I am glad that I did. You said that 10 years ago you were 17? I am 17 now. I appreciate the knowledge you have passed on, and I will keep it in mind.

#16 hmm.. on 03, Jan, 2010 at 7:39 pm

well i agree with most of what you’ve written, i’m 3 years older than you and know i don’t know everything and looking back 10 years really doesn’t help that much because i was 100x more ignorant of how the world works. i presetnly work in a job i’m good at but has no real future in it (computer tech) and it pays better than anything else i did prior to that (hotel clerk, i’ve actually seen and heard ads for these types of jobs calling them ‘careers’; lol, read Nickled and Dimed for a closer approximation of the truth) but i don’t really like it much, i was once passionate about computing but that long since dulled over, especially seeing what the internet has largely become – another avenue for the shallow vacuous consumer driven lifestyles that benefit only corporate board member’s stock portfolios.

i’ve had similar experiences to what you relate (homeless/close friend with so-called terimal cancer etc, and i was and they were both younger than you) but i think you should back off the “im grizzled” air of the article cause you’re not; not by a long shot (this is not an insult). ask someone 30 years older than you what they think, in fact ask a bunch of them.

the one thing i agree with the most is the networking thing, i have exactly 2 friends, i’m an introvert with incurable chronic depression and other problems and that has been teh biggest obstacle to changing work fields or anything else as i have no family so there is no one to help. i don’t agree because of the networking aspect, though. i agree because i believe in the socratic sentiment that everyone has something to teach you whether you (or they) know it. i believe deeply you must look inward before you can do anything in the external world. introspection isn’t all bad. for me i can’t think of anything i actually love doing enough to notice it’s not work except playing video games and smoking weed and i can’t get paid to do either =)

$.02

#17 Rusty on 03, Jan, 2010 at 10:36 pm

Most of these points are good advice. That said, I was a little concerned by #5. It seems that there might be a little bit of the ol’ “straighten up and do what you are told” coming through in your writing. There is something to be said about sticking to a job that you love, but dealing with crap just so you can climb this imaginary ladder can sometimes blind you to what your life may actually be about. It is best put by a wise man named Alan Watts.

http://www.neticons.net/music_life/

#18 Sharyn Naismith on 03, Jan, 2010 at 11:17 pm

Got here through StumbleUpon and just wanted to say thanks for this post. There’s a lot of stuff there that I needed to read again. I know exactly how you feel — I had a couple of years put on hold because of medical issues and it sucks. I still feel like I’m catching up!

Hang in there, and here’s to a much better 2010.

#19 Michelle on 04, Jan, 2010 at 2:50 am

Those people that say college was the greatest years of their lives live pretty sad lives. I think getting married, having a family, and being in a career you love should be the greatest years of your life. Otherwise, you make good points.

#20 Colleen Hill on 04, Jan, 2010 at 3:14 am

Stumbledupon this and loved it – very wise. As a retired professional, I agree, definitely do something you love, if at all possible. But finding out what that is might be a rocky and twisty road. I ended up doing almost exactly opposite of what I thought I wanted to do, and loved it. I wanted to be a speech pathologist with adults in hospitals and rehab centers, and ended up working with middle school kids in school. We had much to offer each other, and I always felt privileged to talk with kids and get paid to do it!

#21 Meheen on 04, Jan, 2010 at 4:22 am

I dunno. I’m 18 and I have no interest in selling my soul for money. Corporate kissing ass only gets you far in this life. The paycheck might be there and it might help fill your stomach but it won’t fill your soul.
To be perfectly honest I really don’t like money. Why should I get a degree in something I don’t have a passion for and slave for 50 years to eventually buy a BMW?
I like college but hate partying.

The networking advice is good, as an artist it is really important, but nothing is more important than a strong portfolio.

I really feel like the only worthwhile pursuit in life is to create. So I’m studying art. I could never retire from art. I want to paint on my deathbed. Even if I go blind I’ll just have someone tell me what color is what and I’ll keep going for it.

I’m going to school to become an elementary school teacher because that’s where the good advice comes in; not the whole “go to college, get a job” but “believe in yourself and follow your heart”. But, I’m fully aware that if I don’t like it I can switch gears. I would NEVER want to have just one job in my life. It sounds awful.
I want to open a cafe, operate a gallery, teach a class, so many things. Humans can do so much and it’s insulting to tell any person to limit themselves to one job in their life.

#22 nivv on 04, Jan, 2010 at 5:07 am

Nice! The problem for most people around me is, however, that no one knows what they want to be doing. It seems that it takes some time to figure that out, and after 14 years of education, we still havn’t learned the most important thing, to know what you want to do. You can only achieve this by testing stuff out

#23 Saurabh on 04, Jan, 2010 at 6:24 am

Quite informative and I especially liked your style of writing….very free flowing and straightforward. Suggestion were very good. but alas i am too old now to change some decisions now :(. anyways good luck with your site. Keep writing!!!

#24 Alannah on 04, Jan, 2010 at 7:50 am

Touche my friend. Very enlightening. Normally I’d hesitate to respond but thanks to #10, here i am!!! I’m you 10 years ago, just trying to make the right decisions and follow those steps that have been replaying in my head. Thanks dude :]

#25 mercedes on 04, Jan, 2010 at 8:15 am

Hey Shaun,
This is a great post. The 10 things are fantastic but I’d add and 11th for women (mostly) :You are way more gorgeous than you know.

On a side note I had the same year from hell that you had in 2009 in 2008 except I was in Cassie’s shoes. And from a year in the future you’re right it does get better, normal life returns, cancer stops being the primary topic of conversation and you can start being young again and stop hanging out a hospitals! My very best wishes to the both of you.

#26 links for 2010-01-04 | Glorified Monkey on 04, Jan, 2010 at 11:05 am

[...] 10 Things I Wish Someone Told Me 10 Years Ago · LifeReboot.com (tags: life advice) [...]

#27 Silver on 04, Jan, 2010 at 3:55 pm

Wow. You captured not only those typical important life lessons, but shared them such an emotional and personl breath that I’m close to tears. It really has been one hell of a year, and it seems to have been tough for everyone I know. My only addition is to remember – remember ones personal list when times are good, when its easy to put stuff off to tomorrow. Not only are our tomorrow’s limited, but our positive actions can be a respectful sign of support to those whose lives are currently on hold just trying to stay afloat instead of swimming.

#28 Alexander on 04, Jan, 2010 at 5:03 pm

I stumbledupon this. Fantastic, I’m 18 just about to start university next month. I will return to this advice. Thank you very much

#29 Clark Haley on 04, Jan, 2010 at 6:59 pm

Thanks for the post. As the husband of a cancer survivor (3 years ago), I can tell you that within a year it will all seem like a bad memory. I’m passing on your tips to my college age sons! Life has many lessons!

#30 Lester on 04, Jan, 2010 at 7:13 pm

your #1 might have literally changed my life.

doing what you are, being a writer that is, changed someones life.

i’d say that that is an accomplishment.

#31 FabiolaMX on 04, Jan, 2010 at 8:01 pm

I really enjoyed your post. Reading it made me see that I’ve made some mistakes in my life, and you just pointed them out for me.

I really do agree with #8, I try always to speak up my mind, loud and clear, because that’s the only way to let others know what you want, think and feel.

But #1 really hit me, and really hard. This was the biggest mistake I have ever made… and now I’m trying to repair it. Searching, reading, talking to other people, watching… I now investigate to discover my true passion in life, and then stick to it.
Thank you!

#32 Leon on 04, Jan, 2010 at 8:02 pm

“Do what you are!” Thanks, its making me feel better for walking away from my old job and doing more of what I love today.

#33 R on 04, Jan, 2010 at 8:57 pm

Thanks for those pearls of wisdom. They are an inspiration. My father died of cancer just a couple months ago so I can really relate. He battled Leukemia for 8 years and the slow suffering was unfathomable. The conversation always centered around and returned to pain, hospitals, doctors, appointments… It all showed me how much we need to enjoy the moment. You cant take your money with you. Love your family right now.

#34 Shaun Boyd on 04, Jan, 2010 at 9:56 pm

@Everyone

Thanks for all of the positive feedback. I wasn’t expecting such an enthusiastic response from my first post of the New Year, but I’m grateful to know that many of you found inspiration in it!

Thanks, also, for the kind words about Cassie’s triumph over cancer. It feels so good to talk about it like it’s in the past. Cheers!

#35 Andres Ferraro on 04, Jan, 2010 at 10:07 pm

Excellent list. Here’s what I do: I have a place near a lake that I visit every so often – The place is beautiful and calm. What I do there is two things after sitting down for a minute. First I try to send a message to my past self – a message much like your life lessons I think hard “What would I tell the Andres that sat in this same spot a year ago?”. Of course I can’t travel through time, but suspending disbelief helps a lot with the second part: Listening. I try hard to hear myself in the future and try to imagine what that Andres from the future is telling me. What is he whispering? What did he come here to tell me a year from now?

#36 Joseph Bernard on 05, Jan, 2010 at 1:45 am

What a thoughtful and inspired list. Thanks for spreading your light out into the world.

Joseph

#37 jace anderson on 05, Jan, 2010 at 1:47 am

this is a must read, not only for me but for lots of folks. i will be sharing this page. Thanks for that.

#38 ven on 05, Jan, 2010 at 1:51 am

this is very inspiring.. i’m feeling rather down these days and this certainly perked me up, especially the part where you said “Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can’t let the world judge you too much”. Ive always been shy to try new things so maybe this year i’ll change that, and i won’t care if i make an ass out of myself :)

#39 Kate on 05, Jan, 2010 at 1:57 am

I loved every word of this. It meant something to me, thank you.

#40 Beth Terry on 05, Jan, 2010 at 2:01 am

Shaun – well said. And congratulations on getting it so young. Your maturity and wisdom will serve you well. You had a rough journey with your wife’s illness, and you learned the lessons. So few really do learn them. I know you’ll find that path you seek far sooner than you think.

You have a great writing voice. Keep it up.
Enjoy the journey!
Beth

#41 Miriam Zapata on 05, Jan, 2010 at 2:13 am

“Being hysterical wasn’t an option.”

its not?

Aww.

I feel the same way about everything I read here. Thanks for sharing.

#42 Crystall on 05, Jan, 2010 at 2:35 am

This post is really wonderful– very well-written and spot-on. I have a few years on you and have made many of the same mistakes in life that you have listed. I, like Andres (above), need to listen out for that Crystall of the future and make some changes for the right reasons. Thanks for your insite.

#43 Jamie Favreau on 05, Jan, 2010 at 2:39 am

I think another thing is to know when to get out of a toxic anything. To know how to walk away. I think that is as important as communicating the right thing to the person in your life. You have to be able to walk away and make a clean start.

#44 Cyler on 05, Jan, 2010 at 3:10 am

I was given a link by a friend and I have now added this blog to my RSS. I think #4 stood out the most for me, but they’re all great. I am at a time of transition in my life and this was perfect for me to read on the eve of my move to a different province. Thank you.

#45 Carla Quick on 05, Jan, 2010 at 3:53 am

I loved your blog. I agree with everything you say. A bad bout of post-natal depression forced me to re-evaluate what was important to me and who ‘I’ was. It shouldn’t have taken that, but in a weird way the end result was that I am a happier, more confident person who worries less about what people thinks and continually tries to be myself whatever….. Thank you for reminding me what is important and I am so pleased that Cassie AND you, beat cancer……

#46 Tabs on 05, Jan, 2010 at 4:10 am

Im so glad I stumbled across this. Im 19 years old and a sophmore in college…living the life :). Im so different from who I “used to be”. College has opened up a whole new world to me and I can’t say I hate it. You are totally right with every life lesson you posted on here. Im glad that I got to read this 10 years before instead of 10 years after. So Thank You.

#47 P J B on 05, Jan, 2010 at 4:18 am

#10 is so true !! I am so glad that, I have finally on the path of doing what I love to do. Great post !!!

#48 Dylan on 05, Jan, 2010 at 4:37 am

i’ve came to many of these same conclusions myself… the tricky part–ive noticed–is implementing them.

I feel like I’m living the wrong way. I’ll manage though.

#49 Jo on 05, Jan, 2010 at 7:27 am

The hardest thing is to find out what you love doing, and the only way to at least try to find that is to experiment different things. And is a privilege to be able to do that, since we have bills to pay. When we get aroud the 30´s, we want to have a house, children, and sometimes these dreams take over the dream to find the job or occupation that completes you. But we can always try to figure things out, having a job that we hate is the worst thing ever.

#50 Marvalus on 05, Jan, 2010 at 3:56 pm

This article is why I keep Stumble-ing…

Thank you for being the wind at my back today!

#51 Mario on 05, Jan, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Thanks god Cassie is all right. After an event like this you never will see the life as before. All the things take a new look, and we use to modify the priorities. What before appeared like a problem (a bill to pay, a deadline, etc), not longer are problems. Just are like any item to be fixed on day to day basis. Thanks for sharing in your blog.

#52 Sarah on 05, Jan, 2010 at 6:25 pm

Thank you…thank you.

I’m 17, about to leave home, and will always remember these. May God Bless you.

#53 Miss M on 05, Jan, 2010 at 11:16 pm

That is terrific for you, for Cassie.

I have a dear friend that recently fought the same battle with cancer. Unfortunately, the ending is not the same. My friend leaves behind her husband and children… and much sadness for family and friends.

While I agree with everything you said above, and I thank you for that, I must add that overpowering any of your “ten” – is prayer.

#54 Íris on 06, Jan, 2010 at 10:35 am

I just stumbledupon this article and I guess God wanted me to read it.

I’ve been living this dilema for a few months now, and I’m talking about n# 1. I love Photography and I really want to become a professional, but my family and friends keep telling me that I will die of starvation if I go this way. They say I should do something more “money-reliable” because I’ll eventually get rich somehow.

As you said: if we do what we are we will be successful because we’re doing something we were made to.
Now I’ll just shut my ears down and I won’t listen to any other advices. I just loved yours and I’m sure you know what you’re talking about.

#55 dtm on 06, Jan, 2010 at 12:40 pm

Great list. I’ve posted a similar list to my blog and we definitely agree on many points.

too bad retrospect is 20/20 instead of foresight.

#56 Rolltide! on 06, Jan, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Inspiring to say the least! Thanks so much!

#57 heatherK on 06, Jan, 2010 at 1:14 pm

I disagree with #5 in part. I do agree that “paying dues” is a good thing in terms of developing character. And I do agree that one should not hop from job to job for the sole reason of looking for something “better” because the grass is usually always the same shade no matter where you go.

The part I disagree with is your advice to stay loyal to a job and a company because nowadays, it’s not guaranteed that the company will stay loyal to you. Sure, stay long enough to give it an honest chance. But at some point it’s going to be obvious that it’s the right place for you to be or not, and if it’s not, don’t waste any more time there.

And I’ve actually heard that staying at one place for a long time might actually hurt a person when looking for a job; employers today like to see varied experience.

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#59 Michael on 06, Jan, 2010 at 4:19 pm

Man, follow your own advice! Quit your job today and become a writer. Life is too short, etc etc

#60 Michael on 06, Jan, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Oh, never mind. It seems you’ve already done so. Write on

#61 Candy on 06, Jan, 2010 at 6:10 pm

Hi Shaun,

I’m about the same age as you (27), and I agree with most of your main points. I definitely agree that one should explore hobbies and opportunities, other people, as well as yourself as much as possible! I think my biggest regrets involve not engaging more in the world out there to make the most of my life at all times.

I do have a couple of corollaries I would add to what you have already written:
#7- Getting to know others is good for more than just networking. It’s good to simply make life more interesting and to learn new things.
#5- While loyalty and dedication to an employer is commendable, don’t expect that trying to “pay your dues” will help you to move up the ladder. I learned this the hard way…I tried to lie low and just do my job and was still laid off at the end of 2009. :P I will just take what I can from the experience and see it as a new opportunity to try out a different kind of work in the future, though…
#3- The best way to change yourself is to be sure to make sure what you are doing is clearly defined. I find that writing my goals and reviewing them periodically helps me to accomplish more than if I simply think about my goals without putting them into a more concrete form.
#2- There will always be negative people out there, not just targeting you and your goals, but also making the worst of out of your shared situations (i.e., coworkers talking bad about your boss). Cultivate relationships with the people who are positive and expect the best out of other people, not those who expect the worst. Strive for relationships of mutual respect and trust with those people, and distance yourself from people who trash others behind their back.

Thanks for the thought-provoking post! Hope you have a great 2010!

#62 Tanya Pineda on 06, Jan, 2010 at 6:59 pm

Everything you’re saying is making alot of sense. Im a senior in High School awaiting for my college acceptance letters so the college advice is really helpful as well as the relationship advice.
Thank You.

#63 MasacruAlex on 06, Jan, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Thank you for letting us know what you didn’t back then :D Helps me a lot and other people as well , indeed don’t put to SOUL what others say or think about you , haters : D

#64 Brittany on 06, Jan, 2010 at 7:50 pm

I’d tell my younger self to embrace the space she takes up in this world and to stand up for herself. I’d tell her that marriage at 19 is not a good idea and to go to college away from her hometown. Money management is imperative. Credit cards are evil and the borrower is slave to the lender.

I’m so glad to hear Cassie and you are doing well. I lost my father to cancer.

Thanks for this list! I needed to read it today.

#65 bobby on 07, Jan, 2010 at 1:59 am

I’m in college now, it’s good to hear these thoughts. This is an awesome way to get pumped up about doing things you like, basically living your life the right way. this is one of the best blogs i’ve ever read, it makes me excited to be alive. I’m just a college student, but you should take your own advice and do something about your career. Tell your boss to read your blog…no chance it will get you fired. If he’s a reasonable guy, it could work to benefit you. Take a chance, heck I could even see this getting published somewhere, I would buy it.

peace

#66 Dee on 07, Jan, 2010 at 2:58 am

Hey. Very sound practical advice, and I have been repeating some of the same messages to myself. I’m pushing 30. I have been in the real world, held a good job, changed it up a few times, and now I’m back in school again. As much as it hurts my manhood to not have the bank account to support myself and maybe a wife and some kids someday, I keep telling myself that this is a journey. Every day gets you one step closer to… somewhere… that you weren’t standing previously. That’s what I think anyway.

Linking you to my blog. Will be back soon. Thanks.

#67 Juan on 07, Jan, 2010 at 4:49 pm

Thanks, Gracias de verdad !!!

You know, yesterday I was picking my best friend in the airport with another good friend of us. For thing of life we started a chat that resumed everything that was written in this post. The only thing is that we are starting a new cycle and life is became more than just party and not doing a shit. Life now becomes real, I must start working and in the middle term, leave my house and buy my car. I hope I can have the BMW I want, the Ducatti to ride my girl and my astonishing home where I can raise my family and my beautiful (unknown) wife.

But is this possible? Shit men I just wonder and wonder of how can I make this possible, I read, I learn from people and always try to believe this is going to happen. But the truth is that I am lost. I have always reached extraordinary achievements (scholarship, pay my own life and party style, good student… bla bla) but the thing is that I am not feeling right. I think I am lost and that all things that I want I just want them for granted but I don’t feel that passion for things. Maybe, well not maybe, for true the weed is affecting my life. And something I just know after reading this and talking so sincerely with my friends yesterday is that I have to stop this stupid thing right know. I want life as it is know and not as I expect it will be, if you expect happiness in your life in the future, you are not really living anyone’s life, you just are feeding you expectations for something you might want.

Be what you are now!! I want to believe in me, I want to wake up every morning and feel happy for my life, feel happy for the things I have and I do. I want to feel the passion as and extra super included ingredient in my life that is reflected always with the persons I talk and live around in my life. This must include everyone, not preferences for nothing at all.

Dude, the only thing I can tell you is thanks, this article has not change my life but it has given me the strength to say NO MORE. I want something else for my life; I am young, handsome and intelligent. I want to accomplish all the goals I have and the first thing I have to do is get in love again with my life. No more weed, no more life excess. Just feel what you do, remember what you want and be grateful of what you have. As I say to my self,

“El pasado nos condena, pero son los actos que hagamos en el presente los que nos liberan”

Gracias de verdad, y espero cumplirle a todo aquel que lea esto que yo haré un cambio en mi vida y seré el putas que siempre he sido y voy a ser!

#68 Emily on 07, Jan, 2010 at 5:55 pm

Amazing post. I’m only 17 and I feel the need to do these to get me where i want to be in life. And atleast, even if you don’t get paid for this, you’re able to write to us and make a change in our lives aswell as ours.

Thank you, really glad you shared this :)

#69 Delynn on 09, Jan, 2010 at 2:02 pm

@Shaun Great post. Reminds me of Brad Paisley’s “Letter to me” :D

My list of ten things I would tell myself ten years ago, if I could:

1) Life is short. Even the young can die tomorrow. Always hug your family and friend when saying goodbye as if it will be the last time you see them. Some day you will be right. :(
2) Smile even when you don’t feel like it. Sulking may be fun for you, but it makes you insufferable to be around.
3) Stop procrastinating now! Never put off til tomorrow what you could get done today.
4) People will try to crush your dreams. Don’t let them. No matter how crazy your ideas are, don’t let anyone take them away from you. Sure they’re crazy; what dream isn’t?
5) Do your homework. I know right now you don’t need to, but it will be absolutely necessary in college.
6) Run. A lot. As much as possible. Exercise daily: the endorphines will make you happy, and the skinniness will help you fit into your jeans.
7) Just do it. You’re gonna end up doing it eventually, and it’s so much easier to just get it over with.
8 ) Always raise your hand when someone asks “can I have a volunteer?”
9) Take every opportunity to travel, whether it be to the grocery store or the moon.
10) Write a little bit (or a lot) every day. Don’t worry about how good it is; you’ll get better as you go. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s stupid. Don’t ever stop.

#70 Palaverer on 09, Jan, 2010 at 11:59 pm

Excellent life advice. I desperately wish I had been taught critical thinking skills as a child. I could have avoided some huge mistakes that way. That’s why I’m going to school now and plan to teach thinking skills to the next generation.

#71 Duncan on 12, Jan, 2010 at 11:25 am

An enlightening article. Thank you. I read it with pleasure.

#72 Justin de la Cruz on 13, Jan, 2010 at 1:18 pm

Hi. Just wanted to say thanks and that a lot of this stuff resonated with me.

#73 Em on 16, Jan, 2010 at 5:40 am

Brilliant. This has the potential to change a lot of lives out there and i’m so happy for you that the big problems of 2009 are over.

#74 coconutdelite on 17, Jan, 2010 at 12:35 am

Dig the article. What you write is true; I can really relate to #1 & #8.

I let all sorts of people “guide” me to a specific career. Problem was, after 3 months of being a legal assistant I wanted to quit, and did. The job wasn’t creative, but I am. Long story short, I’m now doing what I love where I can express myself creatively… #8 If I could only spit out words as easy as I can write them down.

#75 fellowsoul on 18, Jan, 2010 at 7:36 am

I would like to think that you are on the right track with your content on this site. I have been (and still am) in the same straits than you are: the job is not gratifying, the interests which make me feel alive are those which won’t pay so much, i would like to have some change, but won’t know what on earth i would do for a living, and so on and forth.

I find myself also giving advice for my younger self. So… it makes me wonder, what is the reason why we won’t get that kind of advice from the more experienced people around us. I mean, what will we think of these things when we are 40 or 60? Or maybe we do get the advice but the truth is we have to learn by our own.

Why don’t you sometime do an article about the advice which older people would give us? They must have a galaxy of information to tell us… they have all get through all of this earlier. Or is it so afterall, that it’s our own quest to make.

#76 Blake on 22, Jan, 2010 at 7:15 pm

I am thankful to have found your blog. Thank you for your wisdom and inspiration. 10 years…I’m the big 32 today. I would tell my 22 year old self to buck-up and go for it. Actually, I guess I’m telling my 32 year old self the same thing! BUCK UP AND GO FOR IT!!!!!!!
I feel something boiling inside. Something that has never quite been there before. I awaken daily to more of myself and who I really am. I think sometimes we, as beings, can be too patient…too patient with our circumstances and obstacles…and I’m completely guilty of that! Though, the patience is dimming and the light is coming into focus…and I believe I’ve found my microscope~your blog! So glad to hear dear Cassie is healed! And look foward to reading through your blog. All the best to you and yours Shaun…

#77 Amy on 23, Jan, 2010 at 3:05 am

Thank you for reminding me what is important….I wish so deeply I had known this stuff at your age, I have my first born in college now so a bit older than you, I left college in my sophmor year with an associates degree in communication, to marry…dumb dumb dumb…been at that for 21 yrs and 3 of being engaged dumb….and now have 3 kids 2 college one ten years behind them. I had struggles but the marriage is over…done.
I wish I lived more for me, I was at the place you were when you were unhappy with the girlfriend but didn’t say it…I suffered for years and why because I didn’t speak up.
I now use writing and humor to get through, I never achieved my real goals and due to a failed marriage that would have been over sooner but I was worried what the kids would think…and still do. But I have to live for me, health worries I have make me realize this life is a party and parties are not made to last. I need to party while I can. Thank you for your wisdom.
I am so glad Stumble Upon lead me to this.

#78 Spesh. on 24, Jan, 2010 at 9:49 pm

I’m seventeen, and suffer from low self esteem, not following through, peer pressure. You know, all the good stuff you already talked about not doing. I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself after graduating. I’ve gotten rejected from three of my top schools. I hate my life right now. You’ve just reminded me again that I wanted to enjoy life. Do what you are… I’m a writer. Sometimes that’s all I can identify myself as, and it doesn’t feel quite like enough. Doing that for a living seems like a prayer for job insecurity at the moment.
Reading your advice made me realize that I don’t really give a damn about job security. That I need to do what I want and stop worrying about what my mom wants, what my friends are going to do. If I ever want a half ass shot at being happy, at some point.
Thanks alot.

#79 Ed McLean on 29, Jan, 2010 at 7:30 pm

Excellent post for someone your age..quite remarkable actually. Retrospect at 27 is rare indeed. Here’s one more “thing” to live by that I read a very long time ago…turns out it was more true than I could imagine….
“Marry the right person…it will account for 87% of your happiness…”

Be well and keep writing

#80 David @ A Happy Pocket Full of Money on 01, Feb, 2010 at 10:00 am

About #10 – Forgive my french, but there is a funny saying I once saw. It said, ‘opinions are like ***holes. Everybody has one. And a year from now, most won’t matter anyways.’

About #8 – it is so true. And it works in reverse also. You cannot mind read, so no point trying to imagine what other people are thinking about you. They cannot smell your thoughts, and nor can you smell theirs.

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#82 jay on 04, Feb, 2010 at 2:44 am

Great post Shaun. I am glad I stumbled upon this link and was completely engrossed with whatever you had to say. All the points make terrific sense to me and in a way I could relate to them as I am of same age. The presentation was such that I felt forced to recommend it to some other friends.

Thanks for sharing.

#83 Munazza on 05, Feb, 2010 at 6:36 am

hey Shaun! I got directed here but my dear friend Jay..and honestly, It was far beyond my expectations:)
You have a way with words..and I love that fact:) Impressive post:) Guess I am soon going to get hooked to your posts. great going:)

#84 Natalie on 16, Feb, 2010 at 9:33 am

Excellent list! As a woman, the list would be different because soo much of your life is tangled up with your romantic/reproductive decisions. We breed little boys to grow up and make money, we train little girls to go out and take care of someone.

#85 Rohit Bhatia on 25, Feb, 2010 at 2:08 pm

This is a very well thought off list.

I liked reading each and every point you made. My fav is #8: Nobody know what you are thinking unless you tell ‘em
:)

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#87 B on 17, Mar, 2010 at 2:17 pm

Very inspiring and well said. I’m printing this out for my children to read.
Thank you.

#88 Jessica Pabinquit on 25, Mar, 2010 at 6:09 am

…. You seriously changed my life. Thank you- you brought me to tears of joy.

#89 Matt Cooper on 25, Mar, 2010 at 12:52 pm

Quite a self indulgent article and very common problems people think about and deal with everyday naturally. I hope your boss doesn’t read this?

#90 Lauren on 27, Mar, 2010 at 8:01 pm

I stumbled upon this blog (literally) and after reading this entry, I think I’ll come back and keep reading. You are very wise for your age and have a lot of fantastic things to say (and not to mention, you’re a great writer so keep it up). I truly agree with what you say here. Life is too short to waste doing stupid restricting things, spending time with people who bring you down, or worry about things that aren’t really a big deal. To make the most of life, you need to do what makes you happy, expand your horizons and take time to appreciate the things you already have. Great job with the post. Can’t wait to read more.

#91 RachaelBlogs on 30, Mar, 2010 at 6:44 am

What a fantastic and inspiring blog post…
There are so many simple things that we need to focus on that often get pushed aside by the rest of life.

hope your 2010 and every year after is great x

#92 Jessica on 30, Mar, 2010 at 11:40 pm

I’m 16, and stumbled upon this the other night, while I was actually typing a research paper about colleges and majors for my english class. I’m a sophomore in high school, so I feel like I still have some time, but I am so confused with what to do with my life. When I read #1, so many thoughts went through my mind. Thank you thank you thank you. Words cannot explain how much you have influenced me.

Also, the whole, “don’t worry about what some people think about you, because chances are, they won’t be in your life 10 years from now” thought process has come up many times since I read it. Now when I walk around school, present projects, or just go out, I think about the fact that what others think doesn’t matter. Because they won’t be in my life in 10 years, let alone 10 minutes.

When you said to learn a new language, right away, my slacking off in Spanish came into mind. I seem to always push it to the side as just another class, not one of the important ones. When in reality, I should be studying for it the most.

I’ve decided to read this again every few days, to remind myself of how beautiful life is and how much I need to take advantage of each and every moment and decision. Thank you. If I could give you a huge hug right now, I honestly would. I wish you the best.

#93 Elle Samuel on 07, Apr, 2010 at 12:15 am

I just stumbled across this, but love this post. It’s always interesting how our perspective of life changes in 10 years. Thank you for writing this!

#94 Scott Russell on 16, Apr, 2010 at 11:29 pm

Another stumbler who is asking myself these same things. Can agree with all of them and def could use some working on some of them, mostly the networking and keeping good terms with jobs. Having a real hard time with that last one as I’m impatient and would rather be bettering myself then folding retail clothes, working a register, calling random people just to be hung up on, etc. as I’m a questioner of the time and money dichotomy and usually find myself pushing for the former. Thanks for your words of wisdom though for whatever it’s worth:)

#95 aware on 17, Apr, 2010 at 5:19 am

great words, be happy you are aware of these things now! the past is gone and you HAVE learned from it, now change your idea of what your future holds and make life happen as you dream – and create it! Love, Hope, and Faith… everything else is constantly changing

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#97 Snipeor on 03, May, 2010 at 7:49 am

“Wisdom is a comb your given when all your hair is gone”

But may I thank you all for lending me a comb whilst my hair is still growing.

#98 Ella on 03, May, 2010 at 8:32 am

“Do what you are.” Those words have proved so very important after wasting 18 long years of my working life in the wrong sector. Having rethought my career path to one that is relevant to who I am, I’m now at college and will be heading to university in September. I’ll be 39 years old in one months time with four, maybe six years of full time education ahead of me. I’m broke and have exams ahead shortly but have never been happier.

“Do what you are” is the law. If you have the opportunity to drag yourself out of the career black hole, then do it! I sure as hell won’t be spending my health insurance on stress related illnesses in the future. I have a future:)

Thanks very much Shaun…you’re a Stumbleupon diamond:)

#99 butterfly on 03, May, 2010 at 9:22 am

hi this is my first time to your site and I was touched by your story although did know nothing about it. But what did hit me was this: being sick of talking about something. I recently did that. i had talked about a failed relationship for so long, and even wrote three books about it now I am faced with blogging on my self development and just saying the truth about life. Good job that you are still setting goals.

#100 lisa on 03, May, 2010 at 4:17 pm

Interesting that i stumbled onto this site at this specific time in my life. Thankyou for the wisdom you’ve shared. I’ve only just decided to post-pone my acceptance to my first choice school, in order to spend a gap year volunteering in South America. It’s an attempt to incorporate all of the points you’ve discussed above, ideas that have literaly been consuming me as of late. I hope others find such clarity on your writing

#101 Steve on 03, May, 2010 at 10:39 pm

You have really moved me. I suck at writing, so I’ll just say it as best I can: you are an amazing writer and I feel truly inspired by this passage. I look forward to future posts.
Thank you for this. :)

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#103 Aron L on 05, May, 2010 at 7:15 am

Thank you so much for this post, mailed it to some of my friends. I am 19 years old and I think allot about things like this and I really hope that I will learn from this.
Thank you for sharing. It feels world needs more of this.

#104 teh_disciplererer.....er on 05, May, 2010 at 7:37 pm

lol, noob i figured all tat stuff out yrs ago

#105 hallsan on 20, May, 2010 at 3:08 pm

Thanks, you put yourself out there and your insights are good, and very worthwhile reading.

#106 Stephanie on 23, May, 2010 at 11:04 pm

I feel personally that it doesn’t matter who you are or what age you are, I am 18 and almost everything that you said to me is common sense to live a truly healthy and happy life. All in all what you’re saying is be true to yourself and respect yourself/others, of course other things too. If you’re not already doing that then you need to look @ yourself. When it comes down to it you really only have yourself, so why live doing what other people expect of you? I refuse to conform in my life, in some things you have to a little (like work depending) but otherwise I live life for myself and stay true to what I expect of others.

And honestly you shouldn’t have to work as a waitress or have a menial job to understand that being rude to those lower than you is wrong. Everyone is human so obviously any discrimination is unacceptable! I think the one thing on here that was kind of helpful was #2 because I have a rather small support system and am a family outcast because I don’t put up with bullshit. This yet again touches on the be true to yourself issue. Thanks for posting anyways, but those who don’t already know this need to be truer to themselves and stop conforming! I do agree that networking is important.

#107 YouWillnotRemeberthisName on 24, May, 2010 at 12:47 am

This list… I’m only 17 and I’m going to use this list. I stumbled this and I’m going to use it.

Thank-you Shaun Boyd.

#108 Jule on 06, Jun, 2010 at 4:55 pm

Wow, I am currently finishing up my freshman year of college, and after long sleepless nights, fights on the phone with my parents, and lots of tears I have realized #1 and #2 are SO true. I was in my major for the high paying career at the end of 4 years AND because its what my parents want for me. Well, newsflash, I don’t want to do it anymore, and I have excellent alternatives. I personally don’t think changing your major because you’d be happy doing something that “you are” is a problem. I am a people person, I would like to be with people, helping and communicating, NOT sitting in a lab all day. Can you say “negativity?” Man alive! Everyone was negative! My advisers, my friends in my major, even the people who are supposedly my “cheerleaders”…lets just say they weren’t cheering when I told them the news… BUT the people who love me know its best. Thank you for this list, it truly applies.

#109 Andrew on 06, Jun, 2010 at 10:18 pm

Thanks for a great article. Some of these points really hit home. I will surely take these to heart and make good use of the ones I can. I wish I could have made better use of #7. I am a bit shy and chose to be a loner of sorts. I only talked to other people whether it be other students or professors when I had to. I have often thought about this before I even reading your blog. I am now 40 and not only do I not have a good network, I am still single. Seems like most of my friends met there special someone while in school. I chose to hide in my apartment when not in class. I recently was laid off and realized I did not have a solid network to fall back on either. Makes me wish I’d had more fun, gotten out more, and talked to more people when I was there. Anyway, I’ve rambled long enough!
Thanks again for the great advice!
-Andrew

#110 Andrea on 07, Jun, 2010 at 5:33 am

I needed this. Thank you very much.

#111 Ruth on 07, Jun, 2010 at 7:23 am

Stumbled on this and it harmonises beautifully with what I’m up to – but I’m 49.

It wasn’t cancer that brought me to my senses. It was the end of my 25 year marriage. Some people identify with their work, but for me it’s all about family. I was completely devastated, even though I knew the relationship wasn’t perfect. It was like a bereavement, but with the added pain of knowing my ex was happier than ever with a new partner, while I ached for a ‘significant other’ more than I could bear.

So, with my 2 children off at college, I decided to chuck in my full-time work in education, where I’d been climbing ladders for ages. Knowing that one day I will get a tiny pension from my teaching, which feels like a safety net (though not a very strong one), I’ve had a gap year for the first time in my life and although I have no money, I’m getting happy!

My new goals are nothing like the ones I used to make. Instead of having the end in mind, I aim now to be alert to opportunites as they arise, to have a look at what’s just around the corner and to downshift as much as possible. There’s a whole community out there of people living frugally on purpose, because they want time more than money and it tunes in with environmental concerns too.

So, for instance, the last 3 times I’ve been out running I have come across something interesting. The first time it was 3 fat tie-wraps lying on the ground, which have fixed my broken tent poles. Next, it was two bookcases in someone’s front garden. I put a postcard through their door enquiring whether these were going in or being chucked out – and now I’m gloss-painting them to go up in my house. Yesterday I came across a poster for a series of morning Walks and Talks by the river. I can attend because I only work part-time now. Who knows where that may lead….

#112 Allison on 07, Jun, 2010 at 11:24 am

I’m 17 and i’ve been thinking about all these things a lot lately, and how even looking back on the last 3 years i feel as if they’re wasted time, i was never sure how to put it into words, but you did an excellent job! thanks I’m going to really try to follow this advice i know it will make my life just amazing :)

#113 Kelsey on 10, Jun, 2010 at 6:26 pm

I stumbled upon your blog by accident but I want you to know that you have just saved me. I feel undecided about everything in my life. This blog filled my heart with longing. I want to create a new life for myself. I am beginning to realize that it is okay to do things differently. I always live by the motto:”Do what’s right by you, and let others do the same”. It’s a theme that has burned me at times but, overall I feel proud of my individual choices. Reading your post reinforced that motivation and self confidence can really change things. I want to thank you for finally making me feel like it’s okay to be confused. I want to thank you, for giving me the motivation to live MY life. I am going to quit my job tomorrow (on good terms, of course) and start a new life for myself. I don’t want to be robbed of my individuality anymore. Thank you for saving me from living a life that’s not my own.

#114 Samantha on 11, Jun, 2010 at 8:47 am

I enjoyed this article very much. There are those days when you need someone else to say it, so it doesn’t seem insane that you only hear it when you tell yourself. I relate to the “not writing is suicide” emotional closet you battle to turn the light on but electicity cost money and society fails to guide us on solar energy because they are busy fucking us while we are left sorely rubing two sticks together to start a fire.

#115 Alison on 15, Jul, 2010 at 1:32 pm

I want to give this list to my 2 teenager children and I hope with all my heart that they will believe and follow this wisdom because it will make an amazing difference if they do.

What you say here is important and true (and I wish someone had given it to me when I was 18 years old)

Thank you for sharing.

#116 anaise5 on 05, Aug, 2010 at 12:48 pm

This is an awesome blog! Just what I need as a 20 year old student who is on a constant search for my dream career, this advice really opens my eyes up to a few things I’ve never realized prior to reading this..THANKS : )

#117 Rae on 12, Aug, 2010 at 4:40 am

This is great advice! I am constantly told what I should or should not because of money, and it is truly so confusing when you are just starting out on your own on how to handle everything. Number one especially hit home for me because both my parents/family continually nag me on my career choice. It gives me hope and makes me want to pursue my dream even more after reading this!

#118 jeremy on 12, Aug, 2010 at 9:18 pm

Nothing else to say but you did a good job and I hope you are writing now as a profession.

#119 Tim Helm on 12, Aug, 2010 at 9:50 pm

Thank You for writing such an inspiring piece…. This has changed many people as i read the comments. I especially like #1… Enjoy your life

#120 vidyarthi asit on 13, Aug, 2010 at 8:27 am

thanks Dude!!! its an awesome post..
infact anytime i look at ur posts i just start reStarting… :)

#121 Rachel on 13, Aug, 2010 at 3:12 pm

I’ve read several of these “wish I knew then” pieces but this one spoke to be the most, especially #9. I’ve always been afraid of trying new things because I worried I would mess something up and look like a fool. I was always worried that people would look at me and expect me to fail. Even over the most mundane things. I was worried about taking this motorcycle class with my fiance because I was worried that I would look stupid and fail in front of everyone. Then I came across your article and it honestly spoke to me. I realized how right you were. So what if I look stupid? I’m stepping out of my safety box and I might actually enjoy myself. So I signed up for the class and I actually find myself excited about it starting. I’m still young, and I don’t want to look back on my youth with regrets that I let fear stop me from doing something I may enjoy.

Needless to say, that belief also helps boost confidence in myself. A wonderful feeling.

So I just wanted to say a line to let you know that your words really did affect someone.

This may just be a fleeting moment and I may lose my courage again but I don’t think so. I want this to continue, and I want to continue trying new things. I’m sure I’ll still be afraid trying new things, but I’ll still be doing them with a smile on my face.

Thank you.

#122 Eleanor on 03, Oct, 2010 at 7:36 pm

So happy to hear your wife got free of the cancer. That’s inspiring.

#123 Brittany on 22, Oct, 2010 at 9:23 pm

I was so inspired by this! I’m 19 years old and still trying to figure out what I want to do with my life. I seriously started crying when I finished reading this, you are so right on sooo many levels dude! I just want to print this out, hang it in my room, and look at it everyday to remind me that there is so much more to life than the bullshit that has been bringing me down. Thank you so much for this:)

#124 Glenn R Smith on 23, Oct, 2010 at 1:51 pm

Very good article. I am 38 and thought I knew it doesn’t matter what people think but it is only now I really get it. Also doing what you love is so important and never stop being curious what your passion is or how to make a living from it, because there is always a way.

#125 John Smith on 24, Oct, 2010 at 12:15 pm

This is an awesome blog! Just what I need as a 20 year old student who is on a constant search for my dream career, this advice really opens my eyes up to a few things I’ve never realized prior to reading this..THANKS : )

#126 Nkem on 03, Nov, 2010 at 6:51 am

my life had been lived for those and now after reading the first five i realized my life was for me and not for them.

#127 Gabe Arnold on 14, Nov, 2010 at 11:37 pm

Excellent post. This is what they should teach the first day of highschool AND college. Thanks for sharing my friend.

#128 Manda Noel on 19, Nov, 2010 at 1:43 pm

Wow, I am so glad I found this blog post. I am a songwriter (in my spare time) and have recently been offered an amazing opportunity to work with some amazing people in Nashville (I live in Texas). Amazing as it is, I’ve been stuck in the conflict of if I should leave my very good job and family here in Texas to pursue my dream in Nashville. Thanks to point #1 on this post, I’ve made my decision. Thanks so much.

#129 Cleo on 10, Jan, 2011 at 11:46 am

Wow! It feels surreal that I found this site today because I wrote almost the same thing in my blog as your bullet point #1. I am in my early 20′s and have an inner battle all the time about “what I’m doing with my life.” Thank you for writing what you did. It gives me hope that I can enjoy my everyday now instead of waiting for freedom when I retire. I just need to be brave enough to embrace change.

#130 fajas colombianas on 13, Apr, 2011 at 11:23 am

This is what I do aswell, talking and communicating with everyone. Networking is the best thing in the world, the more you know people, the more you would suceed because you would know who to go to for this and that.

#131 Emmy on 17, Apr, 2011 at 3:08 pm

I just stumbled this, and usually I don’t read articles I stumbleupon, but your article stick out to me. I’m 16 and I’ve had some troubles lately and this article just gave me a little help. Thank you for writing this article.

#132 Micag on 18, Dec, 2011 at 9:56 am

Sir I thank you for this advice, I’m almost 30 and feel the same as you, but I couldn’t write it so well.

#133 Joshua Magann on 29, Dec, 2011 at 1:08 am

Hey mate, i am 21 and just finished my first year at uni. i have 2 or 3 to go. great quote on college been awesome. your right with most of the stuff you say. great post.

#134 Julie on 25, Feb, 2012 at 11:24 am

Thanks for this article! This really confirmed so many things that I’ve been mulling over recently…I’ve started realizing that I AM allowed to fail and I DON’T have to do what everyone else thinks I should do. At the end of my life I’m the one responsible for how it turned out not my parents or anyone else. This has encouraged me to take a break from college and try out other things I want to do…like being a flight attendant and traveling the world! I might never have another chance to do that. Thank you so much for your inspiring words!

#135 Alex on 17, Mar, 2012 at 12:11 am

Definitely good advice that the majority of people do not see or know will lead them to happiness, coming from a 20 year old, I know many of these things to be true, I’m just stuck trying to find the motivation to help, I feel I’ve really lost it in the last year :(
well written article by the way :)

#136 isheyana de silva on 01, Apr, 2012 at 1:28 pm

thank u so much, i really wanted something like this. it was really helpful. tnx again.

#137 18 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I Was 18 on 03, May, 2012 at 6:36 pm

[...] Also, if you liked this article and you’re looking for similar advice on life, love and personal growth I highly recommend that you read The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck.  It’s an easy, enjoyable read that literally changed my life. This article was co-written by Marc and Angel and Shaun Boyd, and inspired by Shaun’s post, 10 Things I Wish Someone Told Me 10 Years Ago. [...]

#138 jeny on 20, Sep, 2012 at 5:58 pm

thankss for these advice!! it really helpss :)

#139 Randy on 13, Dec, 2012 at 10:25 am

You inspired me a lot.

#140 somegurl on 20, Mar, 2013 at 9:35 pm

Hey Shaun!
So, my uncle sent this post to me three years ago when you first wrote it and when I was going through my old messages, I just saw this post and I laugh at how ironic that is. Your last advice to follow what you love to do; well, i love to write and I’ve known that for a while one way or another. My mom is a writer and I guess it just always was in the genes. But, now, im going to graduate from grade 12 and here I am, being the most-loved child in my humongous family because I got into a good university and finally, they are hoping there would be a doctor in the family after all the too-many-engineers. Well, good for them!
But, although I am good at all my subjects as a hard-working student, my interests have always been in studying literature and photography and here I am convincing my self that I will become a doctor and then, find some way to incorporate my writing skills and my interest in literature into my life. And I just wanted to let you know that although I would love to follow all that you’ve said, I really feel that in today’s world, we are basically living our life according to society’s standards and not according to our own standards; so, how am I supposed to go and do all I want to do in life and pretend like what others think doesn’t matter when my life is built by the hands of society?
By the way, for all it matters, I am pretty sure that the uncle that sent this link to me is the next happiest person next to my parents that I got into a good university and yet, it is ironic!

:)

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