25 Year Old Me Would Tell Me to Fuck Off

“Yeah right, old lady” she’d say with an eye roll. “Someday I’m going to have enough money to quit my job and travel full time? That is my dream, but no way that’s in the cards for me. I have two jobs right now and can’t even afford my life. Quit taunting me!”

That’s how I imagine a 25 year old me would react if I were to tell her that that she could, through mastering her finances, live her dreams. Ah, poor scared, pessimistic, unimaginative young me. She has no idea how awesome life can be.

I am going to pretend like I’m sitting at a bar with her, and try to tell her how, with time, effort and creativity, she can live the life she wants. I’m not sure she will be ready to hear it, but I will try! Taught to humor old people, she’d at least not reject my attempt to make small talk.

I would introduce myself, and explain how, in my mid-forties, I escaped the office to travel the world. I’d give a little sampling of the places I’d been, wowing her with tales of amazing experiences and adventures. Occasionally, peppering in little breadcrumbs about how I had started from broke, never had a very special career, didn’t win the lottery.

Knowing that this life would sound amazing to her, she’d be interested. From time to time, her eyes would bulge and jaw drop, as I told my stories. She’d ask good questions, egging me on. Seeing her enthusiasm, I’d blurt out, “you could live this life, too!”

Which is where her rebuke that opened this story would happen. She’d expound further on the impossibility of living her dreams.

“Times are different now! What worked for you will never work for me!” she’d protest. “AI is going to take all the jobs, housing costs are through the roof, and climate change is going to either drown or burn the earth down, anyway.”

I’d lean in, take a sip of my drink, and give my younger self a knowing smile.

I would reminisce about how I felt the very same way twenty years ago, when I was her age. I heard how things were better in “the good old days,” compared to the problems facing the youth today. The internet was going to take all the jobs, the housing market was crazy, we were at war in the middle east. I could go on and on. I thought I was screwed, too.

As my younger self sips her drink, one eyebrow raised skeptically, I’d delve into my transformative journey of learning to invest, exploring opportunities beyond the traditional career path. I’d detail the jobs I made my stepping stones, each paycheck was a small building block, and all the million little daily decisions I made – all contributed to a life less ordinary.

Being the salty old lady I am, though, I’d end on this note:

“But you’re right,” I’d concede, “times have indeed changed. I mean, sure, people have conquered unimaginable challenges and turned their dreams into reality despite facing wars, economic downturns, and technological revolutions. It’s not like some people have adapted, innovated, and thrived in every era, right?”

“The world hit its peak of greatness right before you were born, and now it’s all downhill. You are just unlucky to be part of the first generation to have no option but to shake an angry fist at the sky.”

We’d raise a glass to the end of the good times, and swallow hard the bitterness, before parting ways.

The young dreamer at the bar would, no doubt, be challenged by this provocation. And she would have caught a glimpse of the rebelliousness in my eye and recognized it as if looking into a mirror.

Like a cheesy movie, some whizzing sound and the camera frame would gyrate, indicating that something mystical had just happened. Young me would be forever changed, and she’d be unable to resist the call to start her own adventure.

So, cheers to you, my young friend. I know you face a different world, and it is not going to be an easy journey for you. But dare to be optimistic, even when it doesn’t seem logical! Resist the siren song of safety and brave to be different, instead. Know that the only way that dreams are sure to never come true, is to never try.

Master Your Money, Live a Truly Prosperous Life!

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