Three Do-Overs I Would Like

I’m approaching the ripe old age of 48 in a couple months… and I don’t really like it.  I wouldn’t mind hitting the pause button on my life so I could catch up with things.

I’m certainly not complaining. I have a great life. Far better than I deserve, that’s for sure. I’m just saying that I reflect on the past from time to time to help pave a better path forward. After all, there is no use making the same mistakes twice… of five or ten times.

That got me to thinking about 3 things in my life I would like a Do-Over on.  These are major things where I’m living in regret… but just three things that were given to me as advice that I ignored in my youth and arrogance.

Do Over #1 – Save for my kid’s college education

I’ve never been one that likes to be sold.  I love to buy… just don’t want to be sold. Every time I heard a pitch about the rising cost of college tuition and how you need to save zillions of dollars… I shut down.  If I could go back and talk to my 27 year old self, I would tell me to listen a bit closer, just use some filters to sift through the sales pitch.

Trying to figure out college, specifically paying for college, creates more stress than is necessary – both for myself, my wife, and my two daughters.  This fall I will have two daughters in college. Trying to figure it all out… yikes.

The reality… it doesn’t take that much money, IF you start when your kids are very young (under 5 years old). The earlier the better. The later the more it will cost you. Here is the reality as I see it:

  • Your kids will get different kinds of scholarship opportunities, and may qualify for different federal and state grants. This offsets your expenses.
  • Your kids can work on campus or take out a student loan if necessary (that’s not a crime)
  • What you really need is going to be much less than the pitch that is given, but, you will need it. Knowing you have several thousand dollars in an account, per child, can really help out. Even if you had $4,000 per school year, that will cut down on what you owe out of pocket to the school.
  • Your kids can also save. We require our kids to help pay for college. It puts more value into what they’re doing. Don’t be afraid to have them save up $500 – $1,000 to put down at registration.

I’m not going to get into all the tax issues and how to do it. Just Google how to save for college.

I didn’t save… and now I’m paying for it in my budget and lost hair.

Do Over #2 – Never taken my first drink of Mountain Dew

I am not exaggerating when I say I have consumed hundreds and hundreds of gallons of this fine beverage over the years. And, the more honest statement would be thousands and thousands.

It’s not a stretch to say that it’s an addiction.  I had my last Diet Mt. Dew on December 7th, 2012.  I wouldn’t say I feel any better because of it. It’s been 3+ months… but I don’t feel my joints moving easier, my brain function sharper, and my hair hasn’t started regrowing yet.

But, the money I’ve saved and knowing that something had a hold of me… I’m glad to be free of that.

That’s the main thing… when something becomes an addiction, you know that you are under its power. That may seem stupid sounding to saying a soda had me under its power, but if you doubt that statement – ask my wife.

Do Over #3 – I wish I had traveled more

Traveling is one of the best educational experiences you can give yourself and your family. When you go on some camping trip, go to Disney World, visit Washington DC, see the Northwest, eat fresh lobster in Maine, speak a new language in Europe or Africa, see the old world, visit the mountains, experience a mission trip into poverty stricken areas, etc. I could go on and on with the list of places to travel.

Sure traveling costs money. Everything worth while is going to have a price. But, as my kids are 20, 18, and 12, and I’m approaching my 25th anniversary – do you know the things my family talks about still:

  • The vacation to Galveston, TX – getting bit by mosquitoes, getting stung by a jelly fish, and feeding sea gulls
  • The vacations to Disney – skipping, relaxing, and the laughing and fun we’ve had
  • The trip to DC and seeing and touching history
  • The camping trip to Caprock Canyons – the wildlife and especially the 6 hour hike
  • Our time in Africa – the Swahili, the food, the people, the animals
  • Week-long mission trips down into Mexico

It’s funny that we don’t talk about the regular every day stuff that has happened over the last 25 years. We don’t even talk too much about the hard times or difficult times. It is the traveling we have done.

I would like a bunch of Do Overs for sure… but… I’m ONLY 47 years old… and there is still time (hopefully). Maybe it’s time to start things over that I can… learn from my past to make the path that lies ahead of me a greater journey.

I can live without the Dew. I can figure out the finances for college (just need to be more creative), and I can still plan more vacations and traveling and experiencing things that will make all of our lives more fun, fulfilling, and make some memories that we can continue to talk about and my kids and tell their kids about.

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