What I'd Tell Myself 20 Years Ago

Sometimes it's good to look back so we can move forward.

What I'd Tell Myself 20 Years Ago
Photo by Wyron A on Unsplash

There are moments when we should stop everything to take a look at the big picture of everything we have ever known or done in life.

There are times we need to ponder our existence and contemplate our journey, so we can make the rest of our adventure on this planet as rewarding as possible.

And it’s in these moments of self reflection we can really learn from ourselves and grow as human beings.

So when I recently started to think about my past and what I would’ve done differently if given the chance, quite a few thoughts came to mind.

Maybe it seems silly to spend time thinking about such thoughts, because obviously, there’s no way to change the past. But I also believe these types of personal reflections can help us make better decisions in the future.

What would I tell myself 20 years ago if I had the opportunity to go back in time?

Stop chasing money, start chasing your dreams.

I’ve spent too much time trying to figure out how to make millions of dollars to allow me to do what I love to do instead of actually doing what I love to do.

Had I invested my energy into chasing the dream instead of chasing the money, my life would be filled with more happiness instead of regrets. And who knows, maybe I’d even be a millionaire because of it.

Take more time to enjoy life and the people we love.

Our culture today is weirdly obsessed with the “too busy” mindset. It’s like we receive some badge of honor for always hustling, always moving, always seeking the next thing to check off our list.

We must remember time is not infinite and most of the shit we do now doesn’t matter when we die. So spend more time with the people we love while enjoying the beautiful experiences of life.

Make the right choices for health and wellness.

My Dutch grandmother used to say if you have your health, you have everything. When I was younger I didn’t fully understand this but now I realize the greatest treasure is not fortune or fame, but having great health and mental wellness.

There is so much we can do to prevent disease, obesity, pain, and needless suffering if we are only willing to commit to doing it.

Forgive, forget, and move on.

People can be real assholes and we can be hurt in a multitude of ways, but we shouldn’t let it destroy our lives. Sure these painful circumstances suck, yet the sooner we forgive and forget, the faster we can move on and be happier.

Don’t become a prisoner when you can be free.

Accept the world is shit show and let it go.

While this totally sounds self-defeatist, it’s the reality of the situation. For years I arrogantly believed I could change the world around me and make a real difference in thousands of people’s lives.

Maybe I can move the needle in some small way, but the world will always be filled with horrible circumstances and people. Nothing I do will ever change it — so accept it and let it go.

Love yourself for who you are and embrace it.

Most of my life I’ve struggled to accept myself for who I am, always desiring to be bigger, stronger, sexier, wealthier, or better in some way. The best thing I could’ve ever done is tell the real James Dalman he is good enough!

Photo by Chela B. on Unsplash

Of course there are always the things I’d do differently from a financial perspective, like telling myself to invest in Amazon or buy lakeside property.

Yet money comes and goes. And while it might help make life easier, it doesn’t guarantee happiness or health. My dad once said,

“If you can’t be happy with nothing, you can’t be happy with something.”

This has always stuck with me and it’s why I think the six pieces of advice I wrote above is more valuable than money. Especially since we only get one shot at life.

I wanna die knowing I had an amazing adventure and enjoyed life to the fullest. I want to have loved and been loved while doing things that make me happy. That is a life well lived in my opinion.

The cool thing about this advice is it’s still applicable to today.

It matters right now as well as to my future. And I’m gonna do my best to put it into practice every single day.

How about you?