Advice to Your 24-Year-Old Self

Autostraddle has a great interview with Emily Gould, which is mostly about Emily Books and you should read it. But this is the part that is relevant to us:

If you could chat to your twenty-four year old self, what is some advice you’d give her?

I used to answer this question by saying I didn’t regret anything and that the decisions I made, even the bad ones, shaped me into the person I am today so I wouldn’t take anything back. I regret giving that answer! (Haha.) No, I don’t really, and that’s still basically true. But if I could time travel I would try desperately to get my 24 year old self to understand money. “Just read one Suze Orman book!” I would tell her. “Acknowledge that money exists and is important. Value the present moment, but take care of future you, too.” I was just the classic person who doesn’t have much money and deals with it by imagining that some windfall will change her life forever. Then I got one, and it was the worst thing that could have happened to me. It wasn’t enough to change my life forever, and I would have realized it if I’d thought about it for more than two seconds. All it did was prevent me from developing responsible habits like budgeting and saving and opening my damn credit card statements. Then my fortunes took a turn for the worse, I didn’t have the habits I needed to survive a downturn. I had to learn the very, very hard way. I would recommend not doing that, if you can. Don’t get into a situation where you have to put taxes on your credit card, children.

I would like to tell my 24-year-old self to check and make sure she still has health insurance before she goes to the gynecologist, also that buying out Urban Outfitters will not make you cool and definitely don’t leave the credit card you used to buy all of those clothes with at a bar, and if you do, probably you should just go pick it up the next day and then pay the bills on at least a semi-regular basis. Also I would like to tell her that that student loan bill that is going to her mom’s house every month actually ISN’T included in your Sallie Mae roundup. It’s your Perkins loan, part of a federal program designed to help needy students, and unlike other federal loans, it can and IS going to collection. You will end up paying over twice the amount at which it was issued. Hooray!

Photo: Wild Guru Larry



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