If you were given the chance to speak to the 18-year-old version of yourself through a letter, what would you say?
Would you make sure to tell yourself to marry that high school sweetheart you broke up with?
Would you tell yourself that saving up as early as possible is probably a good idea?
Or, hear me out for a moment here, would you tell the younger you to gobble up as many bitcoins as possible and just sit back and relax.
As much as we all like to say that ‘we have no regrets’ - and this may even be true, the human brain cannot help but conjure up ‘what if’ scenarios every once in a while.
In a bid to feed this ‘what if’ craving, I have decided to write my younger self a letter. I once read that letter writing can be therapeutic for the writer as well as the audience and that it could be just the thing to help bring about a change in perspective.
As some wise person once said, what is healing if not but a change of perspective. So, here we go…
I’m writing to you in 2022, a lot has happened since we were 18 and living without a care in the world. If memory serves me right, this letter will find you just before you decide to pursue your A-levels.
Perfect timing. Strap in coz I have a lot to say. But before I do, let’s get one thing out of the way right now, you don’t look cool in those bell-bottom pants. You think you do, but you really don’t.
Ok, now let’s get to the serious stuff.
I know you are experiencing your first major mental hurdle at this point, your sister aced her KCSE while you ended up with a B- (primarily because you waltzed through high school like it was a holiday camp).
You loved the outdoors, you loved events, you enjoyed getting payments from classmates to write love letters to their high school sweethearts. You had an adventurous spirit and an insatiable appetite to travel.
Guess what, we are now actually making a living out of writing. What I’m saying is that you need not worry about not getting the perfect grades in high school, everyone is traveling down their own path and if you put a little bit more into honing the craft you love, you’ll be fine.
Speaking of craft, make sure to work on your writing each and everyday...cliche similes such as white as snow just won’t cut it in 2022, the readers are ‘woke’ and you need to keep them engaged.
By investing in yourself I am directing you towards taking free online classes available on YouTube , reading anything you can get your hands on and joining communities with like-minded people.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years is that we have all the talent within ourselves to ‘make it’ in the end, but talent can only take you so far. You need monk-like discipline, Orie Rogo Manduli confidence, and unwavering persistence.
Take each day as an opportunity to learn and actually do it.
Self-control is something you’ll hear about all the time. Often, you’d think about it when it comes to stopping a behavior we dislike, like eating junk food, or in the context of managing a feeling like anger. However, I have learned that the true definition goes beyond these ideas.
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition for self-control is "restraint exercised over one's impulses, emotions, or desires."
Write this down ‘It's an incredibly helpful skill’.
Emotional self-control is also important. It keeps us from screaming at others when we're angry or from punching someone when they wrong us.
Consider the long-term value rather than the short-term gratification. If you prepare for success by taking care of yourself today, your self-control will naturally increase over time.
Don’t be bound by bad advice. Often we already have the resources - within ourselves - to find simple and workable solutions to resolve the challenges we face. Be fearless.
The tricky thing about bad advice is that it usually comes from good-willed people is what I’ve learned.
Be careful when choosing your friends. The company you keep says a lot about you. If you keep excellent company you will have many good influences. On the other hand, if you run around with the wrong crowd then you have chosen to have trouble lurking in every corner.
I wish I could tell you which one of your friends will turn out to be shady, but I’m not here to mess up the laws of space and time like Dr Strange.
Read Also: Money and Me: How I lost Money to Friends
You’ll probably get this a lot but I’ll still say it...The earlier you master setting something aside for a rainy day, or for something you want to buy in the future, the better.
Creating a money routine can make a massive difference in your financial health.
Just in case you’re wondering what I’m going on about, a money routine is simply a plan for how you direct your money, every time you get paid or make some money.
One of those is to set money aside for your future. In other words, save and/or invest money.
Here's a realistic example for you, today:
You put Ksh400 a month into an investment earning 6% annually. Your investment account value at age 70 is:
If you start at age 50 (20 year time period): Ks182,658
If you start at age 40 (30 years): Ksh392,102
If you start at age 30 (40 years): Ksh767,185
If you start at age 20 (50 years): Ksh1,438,901
As you can see, the earlier you get on this particular train, the better. Now I know you may not be looking forward to 70, my point is the more time you give your money to grow, the larger your increase.
Money can be a scary thing to think about, especially when you are learning how to support yourself financially for the first time.
Budgeting is a critical skill to master in order to make the most of any money you make down the line. The temptation to splash instead of save when you get that first paycheck will be compelling, don’t.
Budgeting takes trial and error so I guess I have to let you make your own mistakes and find what works for you, but I just need you to know that you can’t make it to that dream ranch house of ours in Timau without a budget.
I know I’ll come off as some old and grumpy guy but you really need to watch your health. I have seen some very close friends suffer from things like diabetes before hitting 30.
Right now you feel like your body can conquer a Mars marathon, and it probably can. However, to keep it that way till you get to my age, you need to actually invest in it.
Creating a healthy daily routine is a simple but effective way to build consistency when it comes to your health. Not only does your daily routine impact your overall health, but it has a direct impact on your stress levels etc.
Focusing on small habits and doing them on a daily basis is the best way to make a healthy daily routine and healthy daily habits last for the long-term.
I’ll sign off by filling you in on what I’ve been upto.
I am still out here kissing frogs so that’s a no on the marriage front. I’m tempted to tell you the name and ID numbers of all the girls that will hand you some proper character development but where’s the fun in that. Just brace yourself and stay strong.
Money and Me: Is Marrying and Having Kids Early a Good Idea?
I am happy to tell you that we are actually earning from something we love. We may not be living in that ranch of ours in Timau yet, but the plan is well and truly on.
I recently read that our childhood hero – Rambo, got his big break just when everyone had written him off due to age...he even had to sell his dog to get an audition. So, please just focus on you, work on you and run your race...We are still in it.
Since this letter will find you pre-2010, the moment you hear this word ‘bitcoin’ jump on it and cash out in 2019....As for football...bet on Spain in 2010, Germany in 2014 and France in 2018….shhhh...don’t tell anyone.