# 35 Things I wish I knew before I turned 35
“I won’t turn 35 anytime soon.”
“That’s still so far away. I have nothing to worry about now. Just YOLO.”
That was exactly what I thought all along. It’s like I never expected 35 to come so soon. But 35 came, in the blink of an eye and now I’m panicking because I feel that I’m still not at the place that I want to be, I’ve not achieved what I thought I was supposed to achieve. – This is because I have always thought that: There’s still time.
Yes, there’s still time, but your time in the 20-year-old body and energy is gone. You will be left with your time in your 35-year-old body and energy and so on.
1. When you’re 20, your commitments, responsibilities and energy level are different. Because as you grow older, the people around you grow older as well.
Your parents will be more dependent on you. You will need to be around for them more. You won’t be as free anymore to do whatever you want. Your priorities will shift.
2. You need to invest in skincare now.
I’ve never been one to care for my skin and I kinda regret it now. My skin would have been better now if I started taking care of it earlier. So yes, take the extra steps to care for your skin and neck and use sunscreen.
3. Invest in insurance policies- hospital, accident and savings plans
I’ve never believed in insurance and I’ve always thought it’s a waste of money. Until things happened and you realise that, damn I should have bought them earlier.
I invested in my savings plan 5 years ago. By the time my policy matures, I will be 55 years old. Nobody knows if I will still be alive then, or if I still have the energy to take the money to start a business or travel the world. And I keep thinking, that if I had invested in my savings plan earlier, my policy would have matured earlier and there’s a higher chance that I will be able to take the money to start a business and hustle.
Also, buy those hospital plans before illnesses haunt you because you won’t be covered for that condition if you buy them after you get sick.
4. You need to take care of your hair.
I’ve always had such thick hair and hair loss was never a problem for me but now, I’m losing hair! (I still have hair btw, just that it now falls a lot more.)
5. You need to take care of your teeth and visit the dentist regularly.
Before you lose all your teeth.
6. Your body changes. Your metabolism rate changes.
As you grow older, what used to work before ie: not eating for 1 day and hoping that your tummy will be flat, might not work anymore.
7. People come and go. The only people who will be there for you are your family.
Many times we take our family for granted. We try so hard to please everyone around us because we yearn to be accepted and for people to like us and we neglect our family because we know that they’ll be there no matter what.
Yes, they’ll be there. But it doesn’t mean that they are not hurt. We choose to hurt them to please people who won’t be there for us. I’ve learnt that it’s not worth it. Our parents, especially, won’t be there all the time because we all have limited time with one another.
8. Chances of you getting rich if you’re working in a regular job is slim.
You need to take risks. Do the difficult job. Sell something. Invest in something.
9. Start building your passive income early.
The earlier and faster you invest time and effort to build your passive income, the earlier you will see the returns. Passive income doesn’t come easy. You need to invest time, money and effort to work on it tirelessly first before it becomes your passive income.
10. Stop spending unnecessary money to impress unnecessary people.
People don’t care what you wear. They only care about themselves. People won’t like you because of what you wear and in fact, they might even hate you a little because they are jealous of you.
Material things don’t make you smarter, wiser or richer. In fact, material things make you poorer.
11. Your looks won’t last.
No matter how good-looking you are, your good looks will only last 20 years? And then we’ll probably all look the same.
If you think some plastic surgeon can help you, think again. Because I think plastic surgeons are only used to deceive yourself.
12. What other people think, really doesn’t matter.
No matter what you do, how good you are, haters will always hate and people will always have something to say- positive or negative.
If you have a nice car, people will say you probably can’t afford it or it’s your parents’, or your parents bought it for you.
If you have an old car, people will say you have an old car. Either way, they always have something to say.
13. Stop chasing after material things.
You will never be able to keep up with the latest material things and so you will never be happy?
Even if you’ve got the latest iPhone, it’ll probably make you happy for 1 year before the next one comes out. And if you can’t afford it, you make yourself unhappy for nothing because you forgot how happy your current iPhone made you when you first got it.
You need to understand that you don’t actually need 3 camera lenses to take nice photos. Don’t forget that the clearer the photos, the more filters you actually need and you can kiss goodbye to #nofilterselfies.
14. Stop saying “yes” to things that you want to say “no” to
Saying yes to things that you want to say “no” to robs you of the time for the things and people that you want to say “yes” to.
I am a people-pleaser. I used to say yes to everything. Saying “no” gave me anxiety. I hate to reject people and I hate people to think I’m a party pooper. But if you say “yes” and you cannot be there 100%, you’re still gonna be a party pooper.
So do yourself and other people a favour, if you’re not gonna be able to give 100% to whatever you said “yes” to, say “no” instead because they deserve someone who will give them 100% too.
15. Time is more valuable than money.
If someone steals your $100, you get mad. But if someone steals 1 hour of your time, you’re okay with it. Why?
You can always earn your money back but your moment of 1 hour is gone for good. That moment is forever lost. No matter how much money you have, you can’t buy back that exact moment.
16. The real reason for having money is to buy back time.
Why do we want money? So that we can have time to do what we love, and spend time with people we love. So that we don’t have to waste time doing things that we don’t like.
Your boss hired you so that they can buy back their time to do something else that is more important to them so that they can spend more time with their family.
17. The real reason for your education is so that you get more choices
You don’t need a degree. You don’t need that education. But when you’re young, you don’t know what you want in life yet. As you grow older and realise that you want to become a college professor, you want to have your degree ready for the job. If you don’t get a proper education, then being a college professor is no longer an option for you. You won’t want that.
You want to make yourself ready and available for all the choices that you want. You don’t want to be left with no choice.
18. It doesn’t matter what job you do. It’s how you do the job that matters.
2 people selling the same product, 1 can be the top sales person and 1 can be the sales person who sold nothing.
The top sales person will tell you that’s the best product and they make a lot of money selling it because they put in the effort and take pride in their work. The salesperson who can’t sell anything will tell you that’s the worst product and nobody wants to buy it and they can’t make any money from it so they spend time looking for other jobs instead of trying to get better at their current job.
You can excel in whatever you choose to do. You just need focus and discipline to do it. It doesn’t matter what people think about your job. They are not you and they don’t know everything about your job like you do.
19. It’s okay not to fit in.
I have many friends but I’ve never felt like I truly belonged. Eventually, I felt the need to hide who I truly was, to fit in. So then, when was able to fit in, I wasn’t really happy.
There will be someplace that you will fit in eventually when you can truly be yourself.
Or maybe you were just meant to stand out.
20. Prioritise yourself first before others.
I used to think it was selfish to do that. Until the day that I was running on 0 fuel and still trying to put others first. I realised that I had nothing to give anymore and I grew resentful of giving.
Putting others first should make you happy but when you’re not happy giving, are you as “selfless” as you would like to think you are?
When you give from a full tank instead of an empty tank, you will feel happy and the people who are receiving will also feel happy.
Also, when you give from an empty tank, you will feel that you expect something in return because you’ve sacrificed so much for them.
21. Your life will probably not go the way you want it.
But it will still work out in the end. All you need to do is enjoy the ride.
22. Make mistakes early.
The more mistakes you make, the faster you gain experience, and the faster you figure out what actually works.
I spent too much time worrying about making mistakes and eventually, I still don’t know which is the better way to move forward.
Every mistake is a lesson. If you keep repeating the mistake, it means you haven’t learned and you need more time to learn.
Holding on to the fear of mistakes will hold you back more than actually making that mistake and then fixing the mistake.
To move forward, you need to make mistakes.
23. You cannot multi-task.
I’ve always thought I’m so good at multi-tasking. But the truth is, I was only doing probably 60% (at best) of each thing instead of 100% of it.
Stick to 1 thing and get super good at it is more important than doing 100 things and is only average at everything. You will be more valuable when you’re super good at that 1 thing.
Choose 1 thing and get super good at it.
24. You’re never ready for anything.
That day when you’re truly ready will never come. So you just have to start before you’re ready.
You start first, then you get more ready along the way.
25. You’re never good enough.
Self-doubt never goes away. What you need to do is get good at handling the self-doubt, force yourself to take action even when you don’t feel like it.
I’ve always wanted to write but felt I wasn’t good enough.
I’ve always wanted to teach a course but felt I wasn’t good enough.
So I kept procrastinating by taking more online courses because then I’ll get better, or I’ll be more ready.
And that day never came.
26. It’s not always about you.
Most people care about themselves first, so you should too, put yourself first.
27. Focus on your strengths instead of your weaknesses.
You don’t have to mope about your weaknesses but you can put in the effort to improve yourself.
Instead, you should capitalise on what you’re really good at, so it’s easier for you to get ahead of others.
28. Journal, because you will forget precious experiences that you want to remember.
I use the bullet journal method and every month when I do a reflection, it amazes me that these things happened in my life just last month, but I have already forgotten them.
These are the experiences and memories that you want to have, to be able to live to tell.
29. Idiots are everywhere. You need to get used to them and learn not to be affected by them.
Because, as the Stoics have said,
“If you’re enraged by a fool, who is the fool?”
30. Don’t expect anything.
Because really, expectations kill everything. When you expect something and it doesn’t turn out the way you want it, you get disappointed. Even though the way it turned out was also good, but the disappointment still lingers just because it’s not what you expected.
It’s hard to do but try.
31. Ask for help
I’ve struggled so much with this and I’m still struggling with it because people keep asking me for help and I’m so tired and deep down, I judge them for asking for help all the time. In turn, when it’s my turn to ask for help, I’m too afraid to ask because I assume they will judge me too.
Your problem will always seem smaller when you have the right person to share it with.
32. Say what you want
Don’t assume people know what you’re thinking, because they don’t.
So if you don’t say it, and you don’t get what you want, you get disappointed for nothing.
If you don’t say it, people might also assume that you don’t want it, have no interest in it and give the opportunity or thing to someone else who has shown interest in it.
33. It’s okay to not know everything
You just have to keep learning. It’s what keeps our hunger to learn as we grow older.
But it’s not okay to think you know everything.
34. Set boundaries early
As the saying goes
“Givers have to set limits, because takers rarely do.”
If you don’t set your boundaries early, people will use their boundaries on your instead. You won’t like it when your life and priorities are dictated by other people’s goals and boundaries.
Let people know what you’re okay with and what you’re not okay with early before it’s too late.
35. Protect your time and your parents
As you grow older, you will realise how precious they really are.
Cherish them when you still have them.
Some lessons that I learned in my 35 years of life that I hope will help you live yours better.