I’m Not Listening

I’m Not Listening

Today’s post is a bit different. It’s a sort of brain-dump to show an example of the application of real life skills and social and emotional learning, of walking myself from a space of “I’m doing this all wrong!” to “Okay, there are lessons here; let’s learn and then keep moving”. I wrote it following some time spent pondering over finances. Please enjoy. 🙂

I’ve been reading some financial books. One topic that’s been brought up in several is the power of compounding interest. I’ve heard this before and seen the examples of what starting early does. I get it. Yet this time I’m around, I’m getting it in a different way that I’d missed before. And there are lots of other topics that are hitting me now, too.

Last week I’d started the old self-flagellation for various poor financial decisions I’ve made and haven’t since becoming a formal adult. How great it would have been had I started investing in my 20s, not cashed out retirement accounts, kept some stock options, etc. Oh, the things I’m learning now that I wish I would have known 10, 15, 20 years ago. What might my portfolio have looked like today?!?

Anyway, I got to thinking about how I stopped listening to most people in my late teens and twenties. (And having a teen myself now, I’m getting another view of teens listening and not.) I look back and remember some rather good advice (financial, life, and otherwise) — and how quickly I discarded it. While last week part of me wanted to go back and shake my younger self, the following thought struck me:

I’d been listening to people since I’d been born (as we all do), and sometimes made to listen to advice, whether or not I wanted to (and whether or not it was useful). Then I hit 18 and was out on my own, trying to figure out life for myself and take care of myself. And to do this, part of what I needed to learn was who to listen to and trust (or not), and the number one person to start listening to and trusting was myself.

No wonder I didn’t want to take advice from anyone. I was trying to figure out what worked for me, and in the process, I had to go through a period of shutting out the outside advice to see what happened as I tried things on my own.

Maybe that’s why we think/act like we know it all in early adulthood. WE NEED TO. We’re working to figure out life for ourselves, what works for ourselves, how to listen to ourselves, who to listen to and trust — after years of compulsory listening to other people. In the process, sure — we’re going to make some poor mistakes, doozies, and bonehead moves. And it’s ultimately, in the grand scheme of things, okay. We will learn. We do learn. We figure it out.

Touching back on the financial end, after giving my current self a gentle shake to stop the self-flagellation, I looked myself in the eye and said: “Start now! You’re wiser, smarter, more ready than you’ve ever been. Start now. Now is perfect.”

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