Dear Teen Self: Feeling Good, Questioning, Money

Dear Teen Self: Feeling Good, Questioning, Money

I wrote a bit back about 10 things I’d share with my 16 year old self.

I’ve been thinking about it and there are a few more things I’d share. This is the stuff I’m finding that seems to be important to actually having fun and enjoying life, and better managing myself and my time. If I could bundle this into a high school class, I’d highly recommend my younger self sign up for it. I wonder what kind of activities and games I could do to make it more fun and interesting to a teen…

Anyway, here goes:

  1. The most important question: What feels good? I’m talking the deeply good in your core that maybe you can’t quite explain but somehow know, where when you take a moment and breathe, you feel more open inside rather than weighted down — this kind of good, rather than the “I just ate four chocolate bars and drank two coffees and I am wired and will scale that building (but will crash and be a grumpy pants biting off heads in an hour)” not really so good. You’re going to forget to ask yourself this question all of the time — it’s okay. Keep asking whenever you remember to, and then do your best to follow the answer you hear. It may not always make sense, it may seem crazy to others, and it may feel scary — and yet I can promise you that whatever truly feels good is the way to go (and it’s where you’ll wind up or find you want to be in the long run anyway).
  2. On mistakes: You’re going to mess plenty of stuff up in life. Whether at work, with your health or money, as a parent, whatever — some of the decisions you’re going to make will be just plain bad. It’s okay. Mistakes are how we learn — all of us — and all throughout life. Mistakes will happen. Success keeps us doing the same thing over and over; mistakes (and the associated pain) are how we learn and add new tools to our toolbox. A sign of growth is when you’re not making the same mistakes again and again, but rather new and different ones. Being afraid of making mistakes (and so not trying anything and/or staying in your comfort zone aka box) will cause you more pain than messing some stuff up. So listen to your head and heart, take a step and do something, clean up if needed and reassess, and then keep going. “Bad choices are how we learn to be discerning.” Thank you, Danielle LaPorte!
  3. Question everything. Seriously. It’s okay. It doesn’t mean you have to verbally question everyone in every moment (that’d end up being wildly exhausting, probably), but especially if you feel a little niggle inside that doesn’t feel quite right, wonder about it and ponder what’s going on. No one, no diet, no advice, no suggestion, no whatever is always right. Sometimes stuff is just plain wrong for you, the moment, the situation, whatever. Question everything.
  4. Money Part 1: Mindset is of critical importance. Are you coming from a place of lack? “We can’t afford that. It’s too expensive.” Or a place of abundance and possibility? If it’s something you want: “How can I afford that?” If it’s something that doesn’t make sense for whatever reason (and maybe it’s that you don’t have the money in your account right now): “I’m choosing to not buy that now so I can focus my money on something else more important.” If you think there isn’t enough, there never will be — and it won’t matter how much money you actually have in the bank.
  5. Money Part 2: Learn about money. Like, really learn about it. Deep dive in — read books, listen to podcasts, take trainings. Whatever floats your boat. Sure, having a job is one way to make money. For some that works great — it can feel secure (though in actuality may or may not be, as jobs can change and end). However, there are boatloads of other ways (investing, running a business, etc.) that can result in more freedom and time, though you’re not going to hear much about them, and/or what you hear may be more about someone else’s fear and misinformation. And if you want to be successful via another way, you’re going to need to be informed and educated (or you’ll likely fail, decide it’s too risky, and then perpetuate the same old message many of us get that having a job is the only way to make money). If you need a place to start, check out Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki.
  6. Money Part 3: Pay yourself first (i.e., take money out for savings, investing, or whatever is your  way to help your future self out before you pay bills). This isn’t saying to not pay your bills. Rather, it’s twofold: 1) If you don’t pay yourself first, there likely won’t be anything left over to do so at the end, so you’ll never (or rarely) save, and 2) It’ll light a bit of fire under your butt to figure out how to cover the bills and/or adjust what you’re spending. Start now.
  7. Take a breather (or a nap, if you can). When you’re tired, cranky, don’t know what to do with yourself, and/or are starting to freak out about something, sit or lay down, shut your eyes, and breathe. You may think a few minutes won’t make a difference, but it really will. Nap/rest = reset. You’ll ultimately wind up with a clearer head, make less bad (and even good) decisions, and feel better.
  8. Look for the good in life, and then feel what good feels like. Looking for good and feeling it will result in you seeing and experiencing more and more good. This isn’t about “think positive and keep all of the bad thoughts out!”. Shit happens sometimes and we’re challenged, and all sorts of thoughts are going to roll through the head. We’re human. Rather, it’s about taking a look at whatever is actually there, feeling however you feel (and no emotion/feeling is good or bad), and considering something that could be appreciated. Maybe it’s the smallest or silliest thing (or maybe feels ridiculous). “It’s awesome the rain stopped while I’m cleaning the dog poop off my son’s shoe. Sweet!” Look for it, and then try to actually feel a tad of warm glow (laughing helps). It may be challenging, though in any case, beats never getting out of the crap zone.

What would you share with your younger self?

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