Happy Birthday To Me!

happy birthday
I turned 18 today and I need your advice: it’s audience participation time!

There are a few things I can do today that I couldn’t do yesterday — voting, drinking and buying my own home for starters – but the main reason today is such a big turning point is that I am now supposed to be a responsible adult (you at the back, stop sniggering…).

And that is why I need your help.

You see, during the few brief years that I have been alive, I have been surprised how often I have heard older relatives and friends of my parents tell me “if only I had my time again…” and then go on to list all of the things they would do differently if they could jump in a time machine and take themselves back… back to a time in their lives before they had started to make all their major mistakes.

In general it boils down to

  • travelling more
  • learning a second language
  • working harder and saving more
  • telling people what they really think of them
  • avoiding people like my ex-wife / my ex-husband
  • avoiding people like my current wife / husband

You get the picture…

Now, at the risk of rattling the cages of the more religious or philosophically minded among you (although I know how highly educated you all are and I am sure it would be a very interesting debate…), I’m going to suggest that for the purposes of this exercise we limit ourselves to just one life, rather than exploring the possibilities of re-incarnation, heaven & hell, or the multitude of infinite-multiverse theories which allow us to lead multiple lives in different dimensions all at the same time.

Let’s say it’s one life and there are no do-overs.

So if you could give your younger self any advice, knowing what you know today, what would it be?

It doesn’t need to be financial advice (although I know a lot of the people here are interested in money & debt), and it doesn’t need to be profound.

I just want to know what you would say to an 18 year-old you.


Myles Money school photo

It reminds me of a speech I had to write at school.

That’s me. Nine years old. Wasn’t I gorgeous?

You at the back… I’ve warned you.


The Best Thing In The World

Sometimes, the simplest questions are the most difficult to answer:

  • Where did we all come from?
  • What is the meaning of life?
  • And why does chocolate taste so good?

The Best Thing In The World” is one of those difficult questions.

I’m nine years old now, and sometimes my dad says I know everything. And he’s right – kids are clever! But even though we know a lot, sometimes older people (like our parents) have more experience. So I decided to ask around to find out what other people think.

I asked my grandad and he told me “look after your HEALTH – it’s the most important thing you will ever have”. But my grandad has got a bad back and he walks with a stick. And he’s not allowed to eat certain things or it will make him ill. And he’s got to take special tablets for his blood pressure. So it’s no wonder he thinks health is important!

Then, I spoke to my friend Liam’s mum. She’s got three kids. She thinks that TIME is the best thing in the world. She told me that she’s so busy looking after the kids all day – feeding them, washing their clothes, shopping, taking them to school, doing homework, putting them to bed – she’s so busy that she never has any time to herself.

Finally, I spoke to my dad. He runs his own company, and he works nights and weekends, so I expected he would say TIME too. And he did. He said he would love to have more time. But he said he needed to work harder to earn more MONEY so that he could “buy some time”.

So what IS the best thing in the world? What do all these people have in common?

I think they’re all chasing after something they don’t have. So I think that maybe the best thing in the world is being able to appreciate what you have, rather than chasing after something that you want. We have to realise how lucky we are to be here now. And we have to enjoy it while we can.

When I’m in my 40s, 50s and 60s, I wonder how I will look back on this moment in my life… this major turning point. And I wonder what I would say to a younger me.

I can’t wait to read your comments.

Myles Money

Myles writes about money management, debt control, student loans and financial literacy for teens, 20s and beyond. He is also a regular contributor to RealVision TV, where he discusses economic and money-related issues affecting the millennial generation.

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