Changes I’d Make If I Could Reverse Time By 10 Years

reverse time

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I would approach life differently if I could reverse time.

In contrast to my peaceful week-off, the past 9 days have acted as somewhat of a nightmarish reminder of why I must reach FI.

My body has seemingly broken down as a result of going back to work.

On Monday, I opted to go back one day earlier than necessary to work an overtime shift. Of course, the sole purpose of the overtime shift was to add more income to the dividend business.

By Tuesday evening, I was already becoming frustrated with the lack of time to work on the blog. I simply cannot maintain the pace and workload I aspire to while working a full-time job. Furthermore, life becomes a chore in itself after 30. Exercising and maintaining a proper diet is a part-time job now.

Next, the poor sleeping habits made an appearance. I was up until 5 a.m. doing nothing of significance that night, and it all stems out of fear for the repetitive jobbing cycle—the moment you go to sleep is the moment that the cycle starts all over again.

You wake up unnaturally to an alarm clock, force-feed yourself, shower, and rush out for the cold commute. And you have to repeat that same time-wasting process every single day…

By Wednesday, I had developed a scratchy throat and noticed my energy levels depleting.

By the end of my shift on Thursday, I was non-stop sneezing and blowing my nose.

reverse time

Shit, I thought. Now I’ve got to head to the drug store to force-feed myself medication, which sickens me by the way. When the hell did society become ok with taking pharmaceutical drugs in order to ensure we don’t miss a day at the office?!

I mean, we’re all gifted with these short, potentially beautiful lives, but a system has been put in place to stop us from thinking.

Frankly, this entire series of events has me wondering about what changes I’d make if it was possible to start over.

Of course, I’m grateful to have a job, and I realize life wouldn’t be the same with the experiences I’ve had. But I definitely would’ve acted differently with a more clear vision of what I wanted.

Changes I’d Make If It Was Possible To Reverse Time By 10 Years Click To Tweet

What Life Was Like At 21.

Before elaborating on how I would mentor a 21 year old version of myself, I will briefly cover who I was at that time.

I was living at home with my parents while working a full-time job for an electronics retailer. I sold batteries, laptops, Motorola Razr’s, and some of the first Blackberry Smartphones.

In regards to income, I wasn’t earning much. I was earning roughly $600 to $800 every two weeks depending on if it was a commission pay cheque or not. During the holiday season, I could probably exceed $1,000 a few times.

As for my expenses, I had very few fixed expenses. Fortunately my parents never charged for rent or groceries. And I didn’t have any debt because this was before I took on any student loan.

However, I was beginning to develop an alarmingly bad habit of racking up credit card debt.

Although my limit was low, I spent money drinking and going out to clubs at least 3 nights per week. Even more worrisome was the fact that I was racking up credit card debt to make frequent purchases of new clothes.

My weekends were spent road tripping to visit friends in University, and my summers were spent partying locally in larger groups.

Admittedly, it was a hell of a time. But I could’ve easily enjoyed the same experiences while continuing to make progress towards financial independence.

reverse time

Firstly, I’d save 50% of my net income if it was possible to reverse time.

In fact, if I had known about dividend investing and financial independence earlier, I would’ve started investing the moment I was legally old enough to open an account.

It wasn’t until I was 25 that I became informed about dividend investing, though.

I had always been interested in business and money, but I never knew what to save for.

I was taught to save for school, new vehicles, and real estate. But none of those things really appealed to me.

If it was possible to reverse time, I’d ensure that 50% of my net income was saved without fail. I’d invest it all into dividend stocks with the goal of retiring by 35.

Even on the more modest end of the spectrum, saving 50% of my income would’ve resulted in $78,000 invested over 10 years. That’s without factoring in any raises or job changes. And that’s also without considering the investment growth during the recent bull market.

Don’t start the wrong business.

Rather than aspire to obtain wealth through a clothing company, I should’ve targeted financial independence early on.

I attempted to start a clothing company during my early 20’s but never ended up producing any clothes.

Instead, we launched a blog to create awareness, held two successful art shows, and we created bottle openers and rocks glasses.

More recently, I was reading one of the posts from that blog, The Dapper Style of Mad Men Season Four.

I was fortunate enough to have that post featured by WordPress, and I should’ve recognized that as a sign to focus more on blogging.

If I could reverse time, I would put more effort into creating a personal blog. I would’ve been more cognizant of my strengths and weaknesses as a contributor to that company. And I would’ve been approaching nearly 10 years of blogging by now.

In case you’re wondering, Reverse The Crush is coming up on its two year blogoversary!🎉

reverse time

Continue working instead of going to College.

Although this choice may seem controversial, I would choose to forgo my college education to continue working instead.

If I did require education to advance my career, I would still have the option to take online courses and certificates.

Frankly, I’ve probably advanced my career further through certificates than by studying business marketing anyways.

I had a hard time obtaining a decent job after graduating school. For a while it seemed like I wasn’t even going to land a retail sales job again like I once possessed. However, I eventually landed a similar role.

But the largest increase in annual income I’ve received has come from completing certificates, particularly the Canadian Securities Course. It helped me advance from an outbound salesman to a mutual fund salesman. Shortly after that promotion, it helped me obtain a job working for an investment brokerage.

Be that as it may, I wouldn’t have even pursued those careers if I could reverse time. In fact, I would’ve maintained my position at the electronics retailer.

Candidly, I had an opportunity to become an assistant manager, but I chose school because I didn’t want to get stuck.

It doesn’t sound overly ambitious, I know. But hear me out—I could’ve saved myself from roughly $25,000 worth of Student loan debt.

Although it hurts to dismiss college memories, the consistent savings would’ve put me in a better financial position. And I wouldn’t have been studying to obtain a career anyways. I would have been absolutely focussed on becoming a blogger and dividend investor.

Moreover, experience is often a more important teacher than education.

College has left me feeling under-educated anyways. I mean, I’ve hardly ever worked with someone that doesn’t already have a better education than I have. Everyone has a University degree nowadays.

In addition, I could have replaced studying textbooks with reading books about personal finance and investing.

In short, forgoing school ultimately would’ve given me a better shot at FI.

F—K ever owning a Truck or Car

It’s almost hard to fathom that I’ve owned two vehicles in my lifetime now.

Between the age of 19 to 21, I owned a 1996 white GMC Sonoma. And from 2012 to 2016, I owned a 2006 white Chevrolet Impala.

Both vehicles were purchased used and were paid for with cash, but I wouldn’t have bought either if I could reverse time.

To be honest, they both served their purpose, and I did enjoy the freedom provided by having a car.

On the other hand, I don’t take kindly to insurance or maintenance costs. And there are so many other expenses in between such as license plate renewals.

Although I might consider owning a vehicle someday again when it becomes burdensome to walk, life has become more simple without the added stress of owning a vehicle.

Changes I'd Make If I Could Reverse Time By 10 Years Click To Tweet

Concluding Thoughts

In reality, there’s not much that I’d actually change because my experiences are what made me who I am. But I wanted to write this post as a thought experiment.

In addition to some of the changes mentioned above, I would’ve attempted to never pay rent.

Instead, I would’ve attempted to live with my parents as long as possible to save money until I could afford to buy a place of my own.

Moreover, I would have wasted less time chasing inconsequential things.

With that said, I can only learn from my mistakes and move forward.

Times and conditions change so rapidly that we must keep our aim constantly focused on the future. – Walt Disney

But as a blogger, I have the opportunity to draw conclusions from the past to inspire action for the future.

Questions for the Readers: What changes would you make if you could reverse time by 10 years? Is it a bad idea to focus on the past?

Thanks for reading!🌞

14 Comment

  1. Jim Diggs says: Reply

    Hell no to not having the college experience or a vehicle to freely go where I please. FI is great and all but at the expense of scraping by….no thanks.

    1. Hey Jim,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I didn’t expect most people to agree with those points. I think that everyone has different values. I also try to live by the saying, to each their own.

      In regards to the vehicle, I live in a big city with accessible transit. It’s honestly less frustrating to take transit than it is to drive. It’s frustrating to find parking and driving is not necessarily the fastest option. However, I get what you’re saying. If I lived in a smaller town, the situation could be different.

      Regarding the College choice, I made this point based off the value I got from it. I honestly didn’t learn much about business marketing because the information they were teaching was outdated. Advertising and marketing was at a crossover point to social media and youtube during my time at school. The school was teaching outdated information about the old methods from old textbooks, and it was being taught by old teachers. In addition, it racked up debt and caused me to develop a few bad habits. It was definitely a fun experience, but I honestly don’t think a lot of good came from it. Some bad things happened during my time there. I just think I could have still had great experiences while building wealth and working full-time instead.

      Hope that helps to explain where I was coming from. But to each their own. Thanks again for taking the time to comment!

    2. Wes says: Reply

      The college experience may not be overrated (arguable) but I don’t think anyone can possibly argue it’s not grossly overpriced.
      Wes recently posted…6 Reasons I am Thankful | A Guest PostMy Profile

      1. Hi Wes,

        Thanks for commenting! Good to hear from you. You know what, I’ve been thinking about my college experience more since I wrote this post. There is a lot that I’d miss about it. In fact, I’ve never completely escaped the college lifestyle lol I had a lot of fun and I’ll never really capture the essence of it all again. But I do think that new memories would have been made. It’s a tough trade off.

  2. Wes says: Reply

    I don’t think it’s good to dwell in the past, but without learning from the past how can we course correct for the future.

    I’d like to say I’d change some things, but without those experiences I wouldn’t appreciate the ‘better’ path I could have taken and would certainly be less equipped to guide and teach my son to not repeat some of the same mistakes I made.

    Great post and thanks for sharing!
    Wes recently posted…My Drop-Shipping Side Hustle.. okay, not really…My Profile

    1. I agree that it’s important to not focus on things we can’t change. But like you said, the past is the only way to learn the correct course for the future.

      And that’s a great point about being better equipped to offer guidance to your son. I don’t have children so I never even thought of the perspective. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Wes! Have a great weekend!

  3. Hi Graham, great thought provoking post. Many times I’ve pondered the past and the sequence of events that have brought me to present times. There are certainly a few things I would change, without question. College is an interesting point that you raised. I really didn’t know what I wanted to major in and I rushed into picking something just to get a degree. In hindsight, I wish I wouldn’t have done that. Maybe working for a couple years first would have been better for me. But who knows.

    It’s fun to think about the past but don’t get bummed out about it or dwell on it too long. We can’t change it anyways. Focus on the present and the future. Onward and upward!

  4. Appreciate the comment, Mr. DS! I think you summed it up perfectly when you said it’s fun to think about the past but not dwell on it. The College choice was an interesting one. Admittedly, the more I think about College since writing this post, the more I feel like I’d miss the experience. I sort of rushed into to it as well, and I even attempted two other courses before finally settling on one. And I can understand wanting to study something that suits you better. I often think about that too. Overall though, I’m happy with the way things ended up, and it’s all about the future like you said. Take care!

  5. Wow, I hope you are feeling better now Graham. And you bring up a very interesting point. Why it okay for us to take medicinal drugs just so we won’t miss work!? Why is it so important?

    But with that being said, one of the many things I would change would be to take action earlier. A couple of years ago I was already reading and learning about investing. But I was never consistent with it. I would start and stop and start and stop. Eventually I learned enough of the basics but it took way longer than it should have. Along the way I also missed many investment opportunities because I was procrastinating with my learning.
    So this is just one of the many things I would like to change. But everyone makes mistakes and we learn from them. We can only focus on our future. Although I think it’s healthy to look at the past once in a while, to make sure you don’t make the same mistakes again!

    1. Hey Terence,

      Thanks for commenting and for the well wishes. I’m feeling a lot better now! And yeah, there is this pressure to take medicinal drugs that aren’t actually good for us.

      I definitely agree about taking action earlier. I wish I took action by the age of 18.. I fully had the capacity to save back then, and I think dividend investing would’ve provided a lot of incentive had have known about it. And I know what you mean about consistency because it’s the most important part. I’m usually good with consistency, but I could definitely be doing better. I also made some choices that have set me back a few years in my pursuit. Nevertheless, at least we’re on the right track now. I’m sure more mistakes and setbacks will happen down the road but that’s life. All you can do is be as prepared as possible. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts!

  6. College was a great experience for me and I got a lot more in return than what I put into it. I was fortunate enough to know what I wanted to do as a career and had an aptitude and passion for it. I wouldn’t have lasted 20 some years in that career, if I didn’t love it.

    I look at going to college as being on an expensive taxi cab ride. The meter is always running, you better figure out where you are going and fast, or it’s going to cost you a lot of money. Also, make sure destination is worth the ride, or disappointment can be huge.

    Completely agree about the car ownership. I wish I didn’t have to own a car. If I lived in a city, I wouldn’t own a car, instead take public transportation and occasionally use car sharing service.

    Regarding what I would have done differently? I would have taken better care of my health. I would’ve eaten healthier foods and exercised more regularly. I would have stayed away from junk/process/fast foods, eaten less meat and more plant based foods. Health can trump everything else in life, including money.

    There is nothing we can do to change the past, except learn from our mistakes.

    Great article Graham, it brought back some old memories and a regret or two.

    Thanks

    1. Hi Mr. ATM,

      Appreciate you taking the time to comment! That’s awesome that you knew your passion from so early on. And it’s great that you had a career that you enjoyed.

      That’s a very interesting perspective about comparing college to an expensive taxi ride. I do think the comparison makes sense because of the experience cost. I guess I wouldn’t say that I regret my experience, and I do think that education is worthwhile depending on the career you choose. I also think living on your own without any major responsibilities can truly be some of the best experiences of your life.

      Glad to hear we share the same view on car ownership. On the other hand, if I lived in a smaller town I could certainly see myself owning a car unless I could find somewhere close to a grocery store.

      I think your point about taking care of your health and exercising is a smart one. I’m honestly reaching a point where I must make changes to my diet and exercise routine soon. Otherwise I may never establish a healthy lifestyle. Whenever I’m not feeling well enough to work on my own hobbies, I always try to remind myself how important health is. I agree 100% that health matters more than money.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the article, Mr. ATM! Thanks again for stopping by! 🙂

  7. When I think about this topic, I usually say I wouldn’t change a thing. But after reading Mr. ATMs comment above, I too would have taken better care of myself. As I get older now, I wonder how some of my irresponsible behaviors of youth will impact me physically in the future. Tom

    1. Hey Tom,

      Appreciate the comment! I agree 100% with Mr. ATM’s comment about health. I’m beginning to have the same thoughts and worries about how some of my irresponsible behaviour will impact my future. Although, all we can do now is take care of ourselves and hope for the best. I hope you’re having a great week!

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge