When I was 21ish, I wanted guidance from wise people who had trod the path ahead of me, so as not to make theirs or common mistakes in life.
Honestly, I did find a few wise men over time, but what I found is that at the end of the day, no one has all the answers. Most people have very few of them, but those who've lived an admirable life are worth listening to, regardless of age.
From my 34-year-old vantage point, it is idealistic to think that a sage can tell you everything you need to know. They can be helpful to be sure, but ultimately, advice needs to be measured by what is within. Elsewise, it is effectively useless.
And with that, here is MY sage advice to a 21-year-old, for whatever it is worth:
1.) Hard skills are often more important than soft skills. If you go to college, get a degree that will make you bank, not one that will keep you in the poorhouse. Usually, that is a technical degree of some sort.
2.) Question the motives and wisdom of others. Keep your own counsel. Trust your gut instincts.
3.) Read the Book of Sirach.
4.) Question the system, then opt out by your life-style choices.
5.) Invest in rural/semi-rural land sooner rather than later. Obtain or build liveable accommodations, then build your dream place next to it if you want.
6.) I advise a life that looks like a homesteader. To that end, a massive shop on your property is one of the most significant and awesome things you can do for yourself. For the do-it-yourself type, it will save you money and give you space to do everything you want and then some. Few shops are too big. Seriously.
7.) Invest in quality tools. Learn to use them. Learn to plumb. Then see #6.
8.) Money attracts money (in my limited experience). If you have a ton, make it attract more by your lifestyle choices and investment strategy. Don't let it burn a hole in your pocket (which is what I generally do).
9.) Don't buy depreciating assets. Consider this with every purchase. Every time you buy a depreciating asset, you become poorer.
10.) Follow the K-I-S-S method in most things and save yourself some headaches.
11.) Theoretically, if you are an idealist, you can anything, right? However, realistically, one only has time and space (and energy/resources) to do several things well. Consider this before loading up your life with excessive projects. You can't do them/it all.
12.) Unless it is your passion/true desire to restore old things, start fresh. It is hard to work with what is old than to build from scratch something new.
13.) Don't swim against the current. Get out of the river and walk your own way.
14.) Become an expert judge of character.
15.) Craigslist is your friend. Try not to pay retail if you can avoid it.
16.) Avoid people who love conflict. Avoid situations that could potentially bring about conflict. The great general is not one who wins 100 battles, but avoids a 1000.
17.) Make your bed every day, first thing.
18.) "Peace is the tranquility of order." If you seek peace, seek order, organization, and a space for all things.
19.) What you own owns you.
20.) Know your enemies. No matter how cool you are, some people are your enemies because they choose to be.
21.) Be concerned about personal security and safety. We don't live in la-la land.
22.) Do not play fantasy games that are violent if you yourself are not willing to purchase a sword (aka host of weapons) to defend all that is good and worthy in your life.
23.) Take care of your body, mind, and spirit. Rest when you need to. Develop a martial fitness.
24.) Character is more important than image, but to many, image matters more.
25.) Be honest to yourself about your own bullshit. Hold yourself to a higher standard than others.
26.) You are the company you keep.
27.) Dress for the occasion.
28.) Honor the Lord who honors you by maintaining your existence and holding you in being.
29.) Discipline is not a 4-letter word.
30.) Have a back-up plan, and a back-up plan to the back-up plan.
31.) Value is a state of mind. It is entirely subjective but seemingly objective. It is malleable and not fixed.
32.) Manage your own money like a persnickety housewife.
33.) Be your own bad-ass on your terms. You can't live someone else's version of you.
That's it for now. Just needed to get that out there for some reason. Hope you've enjoyed.
Over and Out,