67-year-old who left the U.S. for Mexico: I'm happily retired—but I 'really regret' doing these 3 things in my 20s

67-year-old who left the U.S. for Mexico: I'm happily retired—but I 'really regret' doing these 3 things in my 20s When I was younger, I never really thought about getting “old,” and even now the concept feels alien. The need for a financial plan, especially, was not something I ever thought about.

It's been five years since I retired, and, like most retirees, I've had a lot of time to think. Moving away from the hustle of California to a more serene setting and lifestyle in Mazatlán, Mexico, has also given me the chance to reflect on what's important.

At 67, I often wonder if I would have done things differently, knowing what I know now. This kind of reflection can elicit some regrets, but it also produces valuable insights that I can apply to my life now.

I believe wisdom comes with age and experience. While I'm happily retired, here are three things I really regret doing in my 20s — and my best advice for growing up with a more positive mindset:

1. Not thinking about the future enough

I never thought about my finances when I was younger. My Italian immigrant father expected me to run a household. That was it.

Getting married and having children was just what women did. Nobody taught me about making money, saving it or investing it. I try not to blame my parents, though, because they did the best they could with the tools they had at the time.

But what would my life look like now if I'd had a set career path and followed it? Or thought to save or invest money 40 years ago? While I don't think a person needs $1.2 million to retire comfortably, I do imagine how good I would feel if I had invested just $1,000 dollars at some point, or even saved $50 a month for 30 years.

It wouldn't be millions, but it would be something.

2. Not always being in the moment

As a single mother, I can give myself some slack, but I regret that I didn't spend more quality time with my three children when they were growing up.

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Often, I was overwhelmed by the maintenance of so many bodies — the feeding, cleaning, clothing and attention. I wonder if I could have focused more on them as people instead of them as jobs that needed to be done.

I worked multiple jobs trying to make ends meet, but they left me tired, scattered, and not always the best company.

I see now that what was driving that daily grind was an illusion. We had a roof over our heads, food on the table, a loving community, and enough of what we needed. Most of the time we were happy, and my kids have grown up to be wonderful human beings.

The takeaway is that living a simple, happy life is the best example you can give your kids.

3. Not trusting that my innate skills and passions would lead to a satisfying and successful career

Thirty-five years ago, the advice to "do what you love and the money will follow" was not common. You might get some direction from a high school counselor or follow your parent's career path. For many women, you often just got married.

For a while, I didn't do either. I floundered in my 20s doing all sorts of jobs I thought I would be good at while avoiding the thing I was good at — writing — because I thought it wasn't a legitimate way to make a living.

At 35, I took a few community college classes, and I soon got hired as an intern at a daily newspaper, where I flourished. Once I had a taste of doing what I loved and being acknowledged for it, there was no going back. It's never too late to follow your passion.

I did my best to make sure my kids had the freedom to follow their dreams, too. Our individual gifts are so special and worthwhile, and when we share them with the rest of the world, everyone benefits.

Janet Blaseris a writer who has lived in Mazatlán, Mexico since 2006. A former journalist in California, her work now focuses on expat living. Janet's first book,"Why We Left: An Anthology of American Women Expats"is an Amazon bestseller. Follow Janet onInstagramandFacebook.

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