What Path Would You Tell Your 15 Year Old Self To Go Down (Part 1)

Reading Time: 13 minutes 

What’s up guys and gals!

How’s everyone’s weekend coming along?

SPRING is finally here for reals – WOOP WOOP!

For those of us who are a bit pooped out from all that glorious sunshine and outdoor activities, what better way to unwind than to sit back and relax for another rendition of…

THE FRUGAL SAMURAI!

Cue drums and buxom dancers.

Been so darn busy recently that it’s the first proper time I’ve had, to take a breath – so you’ve caught me in a bit of a reflective mood.

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Hmm, did I lock the front door?

Yesterday, I was going through the old Facebook absent-mindedly, checking out who’s doing what and with whom – when I suddenly realized that I haven’t responded to a question from DP, an old schoolmate back in the day.

I’m always amazed by who reads this blog, and to everyone who does – a big thank you, hope you’re loving the content (let me know if you’re not, I aim to please)!

But back to DP – Hi DP! Sincere apologies for not responding earlier, I just don’t like y… I mean, I just haven’t had the time.

DP wrote to me earlier when I was asking for topics (ooo, ooo let me know what you want to hear about also) and he responded with:

Knowing everything you do now, What path would you tell your 15 year old self to go down?

AHA! A chance to talk about myself – who doesn’t love talking about themselves? I could talk about myself to myself all day (and sometimes do).

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So like, she said like, Oh Em Gee and I’m like, what-ever.

I thought it best then in answering, to break it down into the main aspects of life in my opinion – Health, Learning, Work, Relationships and Spiritual – and then trying to carve out a more specific path which I would hand down to my 15 year old self.

“But he was so ugly”.

“Don’t worry, he’ll grow out of it”.

Health 

Who knew growing up that KFC and Burger King isn’t a sustainable diet for daily living?

Fried chicken and beef patties ftw bro!

No seriously, as a 15 year old – I was obsessed with fast food… but who wasn’t!

In the early 2000’s, there were no such things as Quinoa, Acai or Kale – the orange juice with a KFC bucket provides all the vitamins we required thanks.

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Back in our day son, this was all the Kale we needed.

But invariably, as we get older – our metabolism slows down, our diet changes and our tastes evolve.

Despite it being my absolute favourite food of all-time, I cannot remember the last time I have eaten KFC – though that’s not to say I don’t eat unhealthily, it’s just that I’m more conscious of what I ingest these days.

Similarly with sleeping and exercising – the other components of a healthy life, I’m much more conscious of how many hours, how regular and the quality of each.

Back as a 15 year old – eating, sleeping, exercising are but pffft – mere distractions from playing video games and watching por… maths homework.

Older self: “My young, ugly and sexually un-attractive friend who will grow up to be the Asian Adonis – remember that you are what you eat, your body recharges on sleep and exercise a day keeps the doctor away”.

Younger self: “Fuck off old timer, who DOESN’T love fried chicken”.

Learning

This is mainly about personal growth and development. Many times I have missed opportunities because I don’t know about them.

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Turn an online bookstore into a global retailing behemoth? Duh! Who CAN’T do that?

From a learning perspective, at school – we are really taught to be generalists, as a 15 year old I was immersed in learning about a variety of subjects such as Chemistry, Latin, Sex Ed, and fucking Woodwork (I can make a toolbox and a foot-stool no problems).

But school and even university make us so woefully under-prepared for the real world, where everything is becoming more and more digital and relationships rule over everything.

It’s hard for the education system it’s true – because you can’t really teach about the future, you can only prepare children as best you can, using tools from the past.

I would ask my younger self to be more specific in my learning – I deeply regret not being more PC-literate – and to get out into the real world earlier, to get those street smarts up.

And the biggest take-away would be that you only learn from actually doing and experiencing – not from text written in words.

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Learn to not do this – whatever this is.

Older self: “Embrace the digital age – immerse yourself in new technology and the internet age young un, change is a-coming!”

Younger self: “Computers eh, but aren’t they only good for watching p… maths home-work?”

Work

Off the back of this – what sort of career should my 15 year old self have worked towards?

Growing up as a second generation immigrant, myself – and many others of my peers – we were told by our parents that the key to a successful career and life, is in white-collar professions – specifically in medicine, law, finance or engineering.

You know, the kind of professions which you can hold your head high in society and the ones which your parents would be proud to brag about to their friends.

So that’s what I did as a 15 year old, picked subjects to study for which were chosen to me by my folks (3 sciences anyone?)

Suffice to say it’s not something which yielded a positive result.

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Oh dear…

Luckily the result did manage to me get into a degree I wanted, the Bachelor of Commerce/Business.

Mainly because at the time, banking and finance was going gangbusters – stories of “The Millionaires Factory” in the media were perpetuating this perception.

Growing up from very humble roots – the allure and attraction of money made Banking and Finance a natural career path.

Lo and behold, the GFC hit right at the time in which we graduated.

SMACK.

BANG.

We were plunging into the world where the abyss was deepest.

This turbulence and volatility, at a time when we were just coming out of uni – was the single most transformative experience I could have encountered.

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TransformatIVE not TransformER!

It was a blessing and a curse – chiefly because remember what I said earlier? How you can’t read about it, you have to experience it?

I experienced it alright.

From widespread redundancies, economic chaos and uncertainty, watching grown men shaking with fear and emotion and our governmental leaders scared like deers in headlights.

From reading about “be greedy when others are fearful, fearful when others are greedy”, to seeing just how HARD it is to apply it in real-life.

And from viewing the aftermath – how our institutions and governments react at times of crises, how quickly the stock market can rebound before any sign of positivity.

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Here’s what our governments did.

But the biggest eye-opener for me personally, was when I caught up with my good friend JC3 in the depths of the crisis back in 2008.

JC3’s always been a bit of a happy-go-lucky guy, just seems to float around and somehow gets through it all.

At the time, he was in the last year of his degree and showed me a piece of paper.

It was a letter of offer from a company – one of the most recognizable.

I glanced down at it and stopped when I saw the offered salary…

$250,000

WHAT. THE. FUCK.

You see, JC3 didn’t get the best marks at school (didn’t care and still doesn’t), didn’t really want to go to uni but as all his friends were, there was “nothing else to do”. He didn’t even attend a “prestigious” university.

BUT JC3 lucked out, he scrapped into a degree which he thought would be interesting, seeing as the one subject he did do OK in was Chemistry.

Mining Engineering.

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Trust me, I’m an engineer.

Yeah that’s right – the lucky bastard came out of uni at the PERFECT time.

Mind you the $250k meant relocating to a 3rd world country, living in isolation for extended periods and the chances of seeing a Lion was higher than other humans, but even still JC3 assured me he could have walked into a $100k job in Oz.

So the big lesson for my 15 year old self would be to loaf around, play computer games and get into mining engineering at uni.

Ha ha, no that’s not all – the deeper lesson would be to try and be more aware of global trends, be on the look-out for industries and careers which are cyclical in nature and to understand that nothing is ever as good as it seems, and nothing is as bad as it seems.

And the absolutely deepest lesson of them all – is to specialize.

It’s the specialists in any chosen vocation who earn the highest bucks.

Doesn’t matter if you’re white collar, blue collar, green collar – the specialists can charge what they want. Take it or leave it.

Need your toilet fixed? The plumber quotes you a price, take it or leave it.

Need to start divorce proceedings? There’s a reason only the lawyers benefit from a divorce.

Need life-saving surgery? Let’s haggle a price with the surgeon first, said no one ever. 

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“See this part? This is where I need to cut – but too bad the patient haggled with me before surgery.”

Mind you, I have good friends in Banking and Finance who have accomplished amazing things, and will continue to do so.

I’m quite envious of their achievements (in a non-malicious, I wish that was me! kinda way) and wish nothing but the best for them.

But they are distinctly in the minority of high achievers – the majority of peeps who I know, well – we’re doing OK, getting by and getting through it.

Damnit, I wished I studied Mining Engineering 101!

Older self: “Sometimes it makes sense to step back and properly analyze and research your options before trying to jump in and decide.”

Younger self: “Easy for you to say old man, which 15 year old knows what they want out of life!”

That’s the thing ain’t it? How many of us know what we wanna do at 15?

I was going to continue with the other two aspects, the relationships and spiritual ones but I’ve gone wayyyy past the allotted words I usually write.

So if you enjoy this – come back next time and I’ll make sure to finish it off!

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43 thoughts on “What Path Would You Tell Your 15 Year Old Self To Go Down (Part 1)

  1. I would tell myself that everything was going to work out even better than my most optimistic dreams. Chemical engineering was going to fit my mind like a glove fits your hand. That work would be fun and very profitable, marriage would be fulfilling and last my lifetime and that my kids would turn out great.

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  2. Wow, you choose the worst year of my life, haha!
    I would tell myself that
    – Do not continue school, do everything in your power to redo the grades, or switch school!
    – Don’t suck it up! Don’t pretend it didn’t happen! He’s gone, face it! Talk to a good psychiatrist!
    – Do not go to that specific high school where you can bring your dog!
    – A little pup is coming your way at the end of this year, take everything Cesar Millan has “taught” you and throw it directly in to the trash. That man has nothing worthy to say about dog training. There are far better dog trainers in your own country.
    – Do not go to your dad’s place and “celebrate” Christmas, things are fragile and going there will scar you.
    – Even if it’s hard, try to make a better life choice here and now. I have seen the future, it’s not good, you have potential, but you need to go towards the right direction. Take your time to figure it out, you can start first grade of high school over and over until you are 20.
    – You will face a lot of pain in the next coming years. But it will make you stronger! Try not to end it, do something with your life and prove to everyone else, you are important!

    Wow, thinking about all the things I would say truly made some feelings come out! But it’s all good ^_^ feelings need to come out one way or another!

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    1. Oh gosh, on the one hand I feel a little bit guilty but on the other I’m very glad that you can share such intimate aspects of your life – hope things are much, much better now! Take care of yourself because we can’t rely on anyone in this day and age. All the best for the future!

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  3. If I could tell my 15-year-old self-anything, it would be to relax and not worry so much about high school. I put so much time and energy into it, that I was useless when it came to college. I wish I had been able to take a year off between high school and college. Also, I would eat more KFC, Pizza Hut and McDonald’s. I miss my old (younger) metabolism.

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  4. Kids around the globe are not eating healthy and all they could think about is fast food, KFC and McD or Burger King. I guess we should start educating the importance of having a balance and clean diet. They also dont sleep and eat on time and that is not a good routine. Adults need to educate them since young.

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  5. There are a lot of things I would like to say to my 15 year old self. The most interesting being that you need to really think about what you love doing and what you would want to do.

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    1. Oh yeah for sure, you can’t ever go back in time – although some of us do have regrets maybe, one too many times on the old Playstation, one too many times watching re-runs of Friends, or even one too many cheeseburgers with double patties – it all adds up!

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  6. What a hilarious post! The “Work” part was interesting, because I felt that way too, like “I might’ve had a better career if I chose another major.” But well, I found that at the end of the day, the choices we made led to where we are right now; and it doesn’t always mean that if we chose the other way, we would’ve ended up in a better path. I also learned that from the movie “When We First Met”, Lol.

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    1. Thank you and appreciate your thoughts! Hope you enjoyed it – yes I agree, the majority of us turned out just fine thanks very much – but man oh man if the allure of all them Benjamins gets me thinking sometimes haha! MrsFrugalSamurai made me watch that movie by the way, halfway through I realised she tricked me as it went into my designated “Playstation” time… trixie dixie she is…

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  7. I often think about what I would tell my younger self but I’m so afraid if I changed anything I wouldn’t be where I am now. I’m so blessed and happy with the way my life has turned out. I guess may tell myself to not be so bloody anxious that might not change anything too drastically.

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    1. I’m very sorry to hear that, hopefully the last seven years of her life was spent in quality with you and her loved ones. My grandma recently passed also so I can share some of your feelings. We always take time and life for granted until these moments bring us back to what’s really important.

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  8. Wow. If I told myself to do it all over again, I would definitely help myself practice better habits in a bunch of different things rather than doing things capriciously. I would show myself that developing good habits in all things makes life better.

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  9. Hahaha I love the way you made this post, Definitely laughed and got me thinking. I would love to tell my past self stuff but then worry that i wouldn’t be the person i am today so.. glad things are the way they are!

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