Photo by Svetlana Gumerova on Unsplash

What Would You Do Differently If You Were 20 Again?

Hindsight is 20/20

We all have regrets.

It’s part of life. We’ve all done things we wish we hadn’t and not done things we wish we had. Every now and again thoughts pop in our minds reminding us of our past mistakes. But do we learn from them? Will we have the same regrets in the future? If you had done differently would you be happier now?

This questions are impossible to answer and yet they provide an insight to your dreams, desires and fears.

It’s easy to think that if we could start all over, things would be much better second time round.

They wouldn’t.

So many times we’ve had second and third chances and we still manage to fuck up anyway.

It doesn’t matter how many times you try is still you, you are the common denominator. Unless you change yourself you’ll keep making the same mistakes over and over again.

These are the things I fantasize I would change if I had a second chance:

  • I would become fluent at several languages
  • I would become proficient in one martial art
  • I would learn to play an instrument
  • I would travel a lot
  • I would invest
  • I would start a company

Basically take more risks, learn more and enjoy more.

What did I do instead when I was 20?

  • Studying a degree that wasn’t for me
  • Get into relationships too early
  • Party too much and often in a self- destructive way
  • Play safe
  • Follow the status quo

Whatever your regrets, they tell a story and if you listen you can find clues about who you are and what to do with your life.

Reminiscing of a past girlfriend?

Wish you had chosen a different career?

Wish you had read more, do more, live more?

All those feelings and thoughts are a form of escapism, and escapism is a tell that you are not happy. But it doesn’t mean you would be happy if you achieve those dreams.

Be careful what you wish for

We tend to idealize the past. That girlfriend you could have married, that destination you enjoyed, that dream job you could have got. We construct perfect memories of certain events by censoring the unpleasant details. We even fabricate false memories to create a narrative that suit us.

Even if we had married that ideal person, move to an exotic destination and gotten that perfect job we would still be dreaming about something else. It’s human nature.

The reason why all these dreams can’t match reality is not because they are not attainable

It’s because of you

You are the common denominator, the culprit, the guilty part.

You are the one that spoils reality by not appreciating what’s in front of you, by not being present, by thinking too much about the past and the future, by worry and regret.

The only way to be happy is by killing that little voice in your head that fucks everything up.

That’s the ego, your worse enemy

The ego is going to sabotage everything you do, stop you from achieve everything you deserve and make you guilty and worried about everything you’ve done in the past

It’s a nasty piece of shit and you have to kill that madafaka before it’s too late.

In your head there is space only for one. Right now your ego is in charge, you should get rid of it and take over.

If you don’t you are dead.

Every time you let fear, guilt, regret, jealousy or anger take over you’ve lost the battle. Every time you stay calm, rational, detached and self-aware you win.

The first step is to observe your mind, detach yourself from the thinking process and realize what’s happening. If you manage this, the worry, anxiety or any other emotions will disappear because they are just a fabrication of the mind, it’s not real and it doesn’t stand scrutiny.

Let’s say you start worrying about loosing your job. That possibility might or might not be real, that’s irrelevant. But the reaction, the worry, the anxiety and the stress is not real and it will go away by observing your mind’s reaction in a detached and non-judgmental way.

Right now, I’m about to lose my job, I’ve lost thousands in the stock market and I’m self-isolating, God knows for how long. All thanks to the wonderful Coronavirus.

My Ego right now, has a lot of ammunition and is using it against me everyday.

“You are a looser, this the end, how are you going to survive this?, no job, no money, no hope” are thoughts that pop into my mind on a daily basis.

But these are not my thoughts. It’s the Ego propaganda thrown behind the enemy lines.

The Ego it’s the fake news of the mind

Thankfully, I have trained myself and I can see this coming from the beginning, I can observe my mind and body’s reaction to it and just by observing they disappear.

That is Meditation.

Then, my mind is back to calm and my own voice starts to emerge. And what it says is more rational, objective and balanced than the ego.

I have lost money, I will make more

I have lost my job, I’ll find another one or even better, create one. This could actually be a great opportunity

I’m trapped at home, I’ll make the most of it

We don’t know what the future will bring and we don’t need to know. All we know is whatever will be we’ll take it on and make it work. We’ve done this in the past and we’ll keep doing it in the future. Stop that voice telling you B.S.

You can drive at night from LA to NY seeing only 50 yards at a time.

You don’t need to have everything figured out, you’ll work it out as you play along.

Now, is all you get, the future is an illusion, do your best today and to(morrow)day and so on.

Everything will be fine because everything is fine.

So what? Whatever you got left, make the most of it. You’ve never been 20 anyway, at least in the sense that you imagine. You don’t know when is the end, nobody knows. All you’ve got is now.

Even though you are not 20 anymore you should behave as if you were. Ask that girl out, start that business, write that book, play that instrument, travel to that country, plant that tree.

There is no other time but now

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now.

Student of life. Trying to make sense of it all, be happy and help others achieve their dreams. Join me at: albertotheauthor@gmail.com

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