Winds of Change!
November 21, 2006 11:59 AM   Subscribe

(Birthday filter)I am not young enough to know everything. -- Oscar Wilde- Today I turn 28, I have been extremely lucky in life (though this year was full of hiccups). Though this past year was a bit trying, I have plenty to be thankful for. I would love for you guys to give me some advice for the upcoming year. What do you wish you had known at 28 that you know now? Some pearls of wisdom would be the best gift I can ask for. Thanks guys!
posted by boyinmiami to Human Relations (35 answers total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
Maintain contact with friends from school. Put away a little money now, that compound interest really racks up over time.
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:07 PM on November 21, 2006

Second the putting money away. (Read the Get A Financial Life book or get yourself a financial advisor.)

I would say don't believe external things too much or too deeply. When opinions differ from your own, don't react to harshly, even if they are stupid. :) What you believe now might change significantly in 10 years, so don't be too attached to belief.
posted by smallerdemon at 12:15 PM on November 21, 2006

I'm only 25, but to piggyback on what smallerdemon said, I recently decided to really try to evaluate people based on their actions rather than their beliefs, since the latter technique leads one over the line from smugness into bigotry. Being "dumb" or "wrong" or even "willfully ignorant" is no longer my ultimate reason to be disdainful. Cruelty is. I consider that change a mature one.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:20 PM on November 21, 2006 [2 favorites]

Don't confuse what you like with who you are. Your music collection (or lack thereof), your fashion sense (or lack thereof), your tales of backpacking across Thailand (or lack thereof), etc. are simply preferences and interests -- enjoyable, but not essential to who you are in the deepest sense, both in relation to yourself and to the people around you.

In other words, ask yourself what makes a good person? A good friend? A good partner? Kindness, compassion, loyalty, generosity, respect, etc. -- I know now that these are all infinitely more essential to a life well-lived than buying everything you think you might want, or the desire for recognition/fame/power/etc., or any of the other things I thought at 28 might have made me happy.

Oh, and open a Roth IRA if you haven't already.
posted by scody at 12:28 PM on November 21, 2006 [3 favorites]

It can't be repeated enough: save money now. When I think of the cash I blew at random between ages 25 and 30, it makes me wince.
posted by schoolgirl report at 12:29 PM on November 21, 2006

posted by dong_resin at 12:49 PM on November 21, 2006

Agree with saving and not being too judgmental.

Would add three things:
1. You are not immortal. You will get ill. Look after your body and have good health insurance.
2. I wouldn't have made it so far without my S.O. If you find one, work at keeping him/her. And, yes, it needs work.
3. Your mind will go as quickly as your body. Keep it exercised.
posted by TheRaven at 12:52 PM on November 21, 2006

Don't confuse what you like with who you are.

That there is probably the wisest advice anybody can give or get. At any age.

Don't be dogmatic - evolve your opinions and your views. Note that evolution of your opinions does not necessarily require changing your opinions.

In the words of one of my favorite fictional TV characters: if you're dumb, surround yourself with smart people; if you're smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you.
posted by pdb at 12:58 PM on November 21, 2006 [1 favorite]

Save your money -- don't buy that piece of whatever-crap-it-is.
posted by JanetLand at 1:06 PM on November 21, 2006

No advice right now, but happy birthday!
posted by Cricket at 1:09 PM on November 21, 2006

Though this past year was a bit trying, I have plenty to be thankful for.

Chiming back in to compliment you on having this attitude. Cultivate it through the rest of your life, through all the many ups and downs that are sure to come your way, and you will be in pretty good shape.
posted by scody at 1:11 PM on November 21, 2006 [1 favorite]

You get good at what you practice. Think of the person you'd like to be, and practice being that person in your day-to-day life right now. When you come up against a test of your moral fiber, don't think "what's my response going to be?"; think "what would the person I want to become do?"

I think this is probably a rehash (if not a direct lift) of advice I've gotten off of MeFi in the past, but I think it's really good.
posted by Alt F4 at 1:22 PM on November 21, 2006 [2 favorites]

This too shall pass.
posted by dobbs at 1:22 PM on November 21, 2006 [1 favorite]

Don't burn bridges, don't ignore people and don't contact them only when you need something. Even a 'hey, what's up, I'm doing this and this' email once in a blue moon will keep them in your friend zone. People are your greatest resource in the long run, don't doubt that in any way.
posted by jedrek at 1:24 PM on November 21, 2006

Realize now that you don't know as much as you think - and that is not a bad thing, as long as you are aware of it.

I think the best thing about getting older (than you are) is figuring out how much you don't know and being OK with that. Then begins the process of really engaging in your world when you stop assuming you got it all figured out.

But who knows. You may already be there now.
posted by qwip at 1:26 PM on November 21, 2006

Make friends with some lonely elderly people. I think this would help them and you at the same time, and you can get valuable advice to boot.

Donate Blood - this is the most selfless thing one can do, IMHO. Donate Platelets, if you can. And do these regularly. The emotional 'I'm doing a great thing' is really really rewarding.

Other than that, put as much money away as you can. A dollar saved now is 1.05 next year, is 2.12 a year after, etc etc.
posted by Monkey0nCrack at 1:28 PM on November 21, 2006 [2 favorites]

Is there something you've always wanted to do (learn a musical instrument, travel someplace exotic)? Don't wait. Start now. I guess my advice is this: realize that the same amount of time will go by regardless. There are so many things I kept putting off that I wish I hadn't.

One thing I never really did in my 20s was take pictures. I really, really wish I had been a snapshot person. Now I am and I have so many great photos of my life. Document your life!

Consult with a financial advisor.

And floss. That's a good one.
posted by Lockjaw at 2:13 PM on November 21, 2006 [1 favorite]

I'll pile on the start saving now band wagon. I started putting $s in my 401K when I was 25. I couldn't afford more than the $1,000 per year that was required to get the $500 match from my employer. In later years I was able to invest substantially more but now at 46 I think those few thousands I put in 20 years ago make up a substantial part of the total I have today.

The second piece of advice would be not to think its to late to do "X". I didn't enter law school until I was 34 and at the time thought I may have started too late. Looking back I'm really glad I didn't follow that train of thought. I don't know if a major change in course is something that makes sense at 60 but have no doubt that at 45 or maybe even older it can make a whole lot.
posted by Carbolic at 3:00 PM on November 21, 2006

Invest in Roth IRA, thats one of the best advice from mefi
By the time ur 60... ull be a lot happier that u invested now

Happy Birthday.. enjoy ur day
posted by radsqd at 3:01 PM on November 21, 2006

Happy Birthday.

I'll be turning 28 in 2 weeks as well, so I'm just going to be mooching off of your wisdom-harvest, thanks.

But here's my small offering: an Einstein quote (possibly paraphrased) that I printed up to stare at everyday. "The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them."

It basically reminds me to always shift my thought processes, embrace change and adapt to new info, and allow elegant solutions to surface, whether I'm divining a solution on a work-related project, better grasping an interpersonal situation (read: defusing a fight with S.O.), or just navigating the everyday trials of life.
posted by krippledkonscious at 3:12 PM on November 21, 2006

I'm 28&1/2 right now so I'm hoping more people keep jumping into this thread...

Came across this Winston Churchill quote recently,

"Success if going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm."

Am giving that sentiment a test drive, wonder how it'll work out?
posted by porpoise at 3:30 PM on November 21, 2006

Take a vacation in a new country every year.
posted by malocchio at 3:43 PM on November 21, 2006

Realize that whatever you do at your age at some point down the road you will know certain things should not have been done or perhaps, some things should have been done. There is no way to know in advance. But not needing all the expensive trinkets out there would be a good place to start. In the scheme of things they will be meaningless in the future. And a used car instead of a new one shows you have strength and will make it. Don't fall for ALL the fads.
posted by JayRwv at 3:50 PM on November 21, 2006

I ain't tellin' you jack. (It's only worthwhile if you discover something yourself.)

Oh, all right, here's a freebie — just because you've probably already figured it out: Smart ≠ wise.
posted by rob511 at 5:05 PM on November 21, 2006 [1 favorite]

"There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny." - Steven Pressfield
posted by Manhasset at 5:44 PM on November 21, 2006

Treating other people with kindness will help you in the long run more than almost anything else.
It's actually not that different than starting a retirement account.
posted by exceptinsects at 5:49 PM on November 21, 2006

You'll want to go ahead and skip 29.
posted by mireille at 6:16 PM on November 21, 2006

You are worthy of happiness. You are not, however, entitled to happiness.

Meditate on that for a few years and see how it fits.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:07 PM on November 21, 2006

I'm 41 now, and am torn between saying you should start socking the money away for retirement, and that you should screw the corporate crap, go travel, live on a shoestring, and do stuff.

If I'd known how much I could have gotten away with when I was younger, I'm not sure I'd have survived.
posted by QIbHom at 8:17 PM on November 21, 2006

Try to be childlike, never be childish.
posted by JujuB at 9:20 PM on November 21, 2006

You are, quite literally, at the prime of your physical life. Besides investing in your financial health, your dental health, your mental health I will suggest from personal experience taking up on of the physical practices that will maintain your limberness and strength - this could be yoga, tai chi or any of a host of non-contact practices which your body will trully appreciate in about 20 years.
posted by ptm at 12:21 AM on November 22, 2006

Always accept invitations, you never know where you'll end up.
posted by itsjustanalias at 6:21 AM on November 22, 2006 [2 favorites]

While I agree with most of the advice here to be cautious and plan ahead - I'd like to recommend a balance between indulging now and planning for the future.

My thought is "don't put off your pleasures". You don't have to indulge every one of them, but if you dream of living in France, you don't need to think of it as something you'll do after you save a ton of money and retire. You could revise the plan and do it soon.

I don't mean to be macabre, but we all know that shit happens, it could turn out that you don't get to see retirement age - sprinkle your pleasures throughout your life.
posted by AuntLisa at 10:08 AM on November 22, 2006 [1 favorite]

I want to second AuntLisa. Plan for the future but live for today.
posted by Merlyn at 10:35 AM on November 22, 2006 [1 favorite]

At the beginning of the year, I wrote out an answer to this question based on finally pulling my life together. You can read it at my blog.
posted by softlord at 10:52 AM on November 24, 2006

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