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WisdomWith Age HowWe Come to Terms With Our Past Mistakes
Being young means thinking you know everything.
There’s a lot of wisdom that comes with age and learning how to look at the big picture.
Being an adult means realizing how clueless you’ve been.
As I’ve gotten older, there have been plenty of times when I thought, “Gosh, I wish I knew this when I was young!” There’s a lot of wisdom that comes with age and learning how to look at the big picture. As we get older, we learn how to adjust our expectations, wants, and desires and get them more in line with the things that are actually good for us. This applies to what we discussed last month about learning to recognize the difference between a happy home and a big house. Another area where we can see this “wisdom with age” idea is in college and student loans. Around 30 years ago, there was a huge push to make sure everyone went to college and got their degrees. The idea was that if more people were educated, our society would be better for it. There’s no denying that education is incredibly important, and I believe that anyone who has the aptitude and desire to go to college should have the opportunity to go. Unfortunately, over the last 20 years, we’ve completely adulterated what college is. Why do we tell kids they have to go to college? So they can get a good job and make enough money to support themselves and their family, right? For this last
generation, kids who went to college were sold the idea that, if they went to college and applied themselves, it would prepare them for adulthood. As for the kids who couldn’t pay for college out of pocket, they were told to get student loans that they’d be able to pay off once they graduated and got a good job. But that isn’t happening for the majority of graduates. I have nieces and nephews who are going through college, and it’s so different than when I was growing up. Back then, student loans weren’t outrageous, and new graduates really were able to get decent jobs fresh out of school. Today, kids are walking out of college with diplomas and ridiculous student loan debts that will take a lifetime to pay off. Not long ago, someone came into my office after racking up six figures while getting their bachelor’s degree. To make matters worse, after graduating, they were only able to find a job at Walmart making $12 an hour. Unfortunately, student loan debt can’t be discharged through bankruptcy.
There are a lot of people looking at their student loan debt and thinking, “Shoot. I wish I could go back and tell myself not to do this.” Fortunately, our society as a whole seems to be waking up to this fact. Our culture isn’t as naive about college as it was 30 years ago. Kids who are graduating high school these days are being taught to take a realistic look at their futures, the burden of loans, and the job prospects that will come with a certain degree. Gaining this wisdom doesn’t automatically make our problems go away. There’s still over $1.2 trillion in student debt in the United States. But being willing to reflect on the past and reevaluate our choices is the first step in making better decisions in the future.
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