This week I turn 40, which is a little hard to believe since just yesterday that I graduated college. At least, that’s how it seems. Honestly, looking back at how I spent my younger years, I’m surprised I made it this far in the first place.
I’m at a pretty good place in my life right now. Sure, my hair may be turning gray, and I have a few more aches and pains nowadays, but I also have a beautiful family, a nice home, and I’m finally doing the type of work that interests and inspires me. It took a long time to get to this point. Probably too long. There are so many things I wish I had known 20 years ago; things that would’ve made my life much easier and gotten me to this level of contentment a lot sooner.
When you're 18, 19, 20 years old, life is so exciting and nothing seems impossible. You may have an idea of what you'd like to do for your career, but for the most part the future is wide open. However, before you know it, college is over and suddenly you're out in the real world trying to build your career while you deal with things like school loans, car payments, rent, electric bills, etc. And if you don't take the necessary steps in college to prepare yourself, you could be in for a long, uphill climb.
Trust me. I know from experience.
With that in mind, I put together the following list of 20 things I wish I had known when I was 20…
- No employer will ever ask you about your GPA.
- Put the work in during your 20s, because you’ll be too tired in your 30s.
- Figure out what gets your heart pumping. That’s your passion. Follow it.
- Nothing good happens after 2 a.m.
- Compared to your body at 40, right now you’re a superhero.
- Fill your life with new experiences and adventures. It makes lasting memories and slows time.
- If you want someone to help you, figure out how you can help them first.
- Start working on your resume / LinkedIn profile—now!
- One day you won’t be able to name a single top-10 musical artist.
- Be nice. You never know who you’re going to work with / for one day.
- Employers hire based on 1) qualifications, 2) potential, and 3) likability.
- Shots are never a good idea.
- Read for at least an hour a day.
- Find a mentor (or two). There is great wisdom in experience.
- Listen more; talk less. You can never take back something once it leaves your mouth.
- Life definitely gets harder as you go; but it gets better, too.
- Collect experiences, not stuff.
- You don’t always get what you wish for; you get what you work for.
- 30 isn’t that far off.
- Neither is 40.