I started this blog to share my thoughts on things and help men better themselves. I’ve gotten distracted from time to time, come down with writers block, or just been too busy to post.
To get back to the original purpose of my writing, I’m going to share some of the hardest lessons I’ve learned in my life in the hope that young men just starting out will benefit from my stupidity. It’s hard to say which mistake of my youth caused me the worst or longest lasting trouble, so I’ll start out with the ones I’m still dealing with today.
Don’t Finance Anything or Borrow Money
When I was around 20, I was making decent money as an electrical apprentice. $15/hr seemed like a whole lot of money, anyway. So I decided I had to have some nice things. I got a $600 Best Buy credit card and bought a nice laptop. I financed a $6,000 motorcycle. I got another credit card. Yeah, I was an idiot.
When things started to get on top of me because I was blowing lots of cash on partying and I couldn’t make my credit card payments, I borrowed $3,000 to pay off my cards and consolidate my debt. I said I wouldn’t use my cards anymore. That lasted until I was throwing a big house party and needed money for more alcohol.
To make a long story short, the economy tanked around ’09 and I was in the construction industry. When the economy goes to shit, people stop building things. I got laid off, along with hundreds of others in my area. I though I would always have a great job and keep getting raises, and I was proven very wrong.
The bike got repossessed. I could barely make the minimum payments on my loans and credit cards between unemployment ($325/wk) and small cash jobs I could find. It sucked. I finally couldn’t pay any of my debt if I wanted to keep a roof over my head. This lasted for 6 months. By the end of that period, my credit was royally screwed and my debts had been turned over to collection agencies.
I’m still paying on some of that debt today. My credit score is just above 600. It’s very difficult to get any kind of loan. I’ve paid off most of the debts in collections, but I still owe $8,000 to one company that bought up a lot of my small debts on top of what I still owed on my bike. This is 5 years later. Think very, very hard before you swipe a credit card or finance a car/house. You may be doing great now, but the bottom could drop out at any moment. Wait until you are at least 25 before you start financing things, I know I wasn’t mature enough to handle it before then.
Be Careful Who You Surround Yourself With
As I mentioned earlier, I was quite the party animal in my younger years. I made more than most of my friends and had my own place outside town, so every weekend was a huge party at my place. During one of these parties, I turned down a female for sex. She then tried to sleep with a friend of mine, who also turned her down. She got extremely pissed and went nuts, and I slapped the hell out of her and told her to leave.
I was arrested for rape the next day. $25,000 bail. I bailed out and didn’t hear anything else about it for years until I was subpoenaed almost 3 years later to appear in court. $10,000 for a good lawyer. I couldn’t live anywhere that did background checks because I had a sex crime pending. I had to get a waiver at jobs that did background checks, with the agreement that if I were found guilty I was fired.
Of course the case was thrown out and I was acquitted, but it’s amazing how much trouble you can find yourself in if you let the wrong people into your life.
In addition to the horrible incident above, would you believe that all those people who partied with me were nowhere to be found when my money ran out? Shocking, I know. Keep your pool of friends small, and make sure they are real friends who add value to your life, not leeches who are out for all you can give.
Use Protection, No Matter What She Says
I never wanted kids. I had no intention of ever reproducing.
Then, one night, after a whole day of drinking/bar hopping with my best friend and my cousin, I came home to find a cute blonde sitting on my porch in a miniskirt. She apparently wanted to talk to me and figured I would be home soon. I was nearly blackout drunk and didn’t even think about protection. My son turned 6 last month.
While I love my kid and there’s a lot to say for Fatherhood, you don’t want your child’s mother to be some random chick you banged while drunk. I speak from experience. She now has another kid from another man, no one is sure who the father is, and he doesn’t pay her a dime…but I shell out $500/month in child support. She lives with her parents and will never make anything of herself.
That mistake leads to my next big one….
Don’t Get Married
Yes, I’m a country boy. I did “the right thing” and got married. If you want to get married and find a great girl, that’s awesome. But I offer the same advice as earlier….at least wait until you are 25. At the very least. I don’t care how mature you think you are, you’re an idiot until your mid-late 20′s. I wish I could go back and smack myself in the face for the idiotic decisions I made between 18 and 25.
And last but not least…
Obey All Traffic Laws
It sounds like a small thing, maybe even a silly thing. But a few minor traffic tickets can make your life Hell.
I started driving when I was 14 (motorcycle). I had 2 tickets by the time I was 16, which is when I got my first truck. Most of my friend’s parents couldn’t afford to buy them vehicles, so I drove everyone around all the time. Like any idiotic teenager, I had a tendency to show off/act like a fool. Get a ticket, go to court, my parents pay the ticket, whatever.
I turned 21 and got a DUI. I lost my license for a year. The day I got it back, I got another DUI. I’m about to turn 28 and I still don’t have a drivers license. I can get it back next year, but I have a take the damn drivers test again. It’s rally embarrassing to be taking your drivers test at the age of 28. That’s not to mention the cost of insurance. Luckily most of my tickets from when I was young and dumb have fallen off my record.
I know you speed all the time and never get caught, and all that rot. Just take my advice and stop before you regret it. My co-workers give me Hell all the time for doing the speed limit, as they pass me blowing their horns. But you never see me on the side of the road with flashing blue lights behind me.
Use Your Head
All these things seem like common sense, but common sense if fairly uncommon when it comes to young men. Young men are thinking about women, parties and impressing people.
Think before you act, look before you leap and all that stuff. You actions can have an impact on your life 5, even 10 years down the road. Always consider the consequences of your decisions.