Even though our society generally views being young as a virtue, we have to admit—being young isn't easy. Yes, twentysomethings might not yet have wrinkles, age-related health issues or loads of problems and people to take care of, this period of life has its own distinct challenges. These years tend to be pretty chaotic. You are forced to figure out your career, future plans, find a job, get a college degree, learn to build relationships, and you have to do all these things while not having much life experience. And, obviously, that bounds you to make A LOT of bad choices. Besides, sometimes it might start to feel as if you're wandering through life oblivious, with no idea what to do next.
Luckily, getting older is a truly wonderful thing since it brings people valuable life experience, clarity, fulfilment and self-confidence. Basically, all the things that twentysomethings usually lack. Because of that, it might be a really good idea to sometimes listen to those, who have gone through all the youth chaos and managed to make it to the other side. A few months ago, a Reddit user named peeledraspberry asked all the folks over 40, who feel happy about their lives, to share some of their best advice to all the lost twentysomethings out there.
We invite you to scroll below and look at some of the best life lessons we found
Don't fall for the trap that your life needs to be one long narrative that you should be building. Life is best when it's a bunch of happy moments that just happen to be connected.
Don't try to make your life into a novel, make it a book of poems.
Find yourself a good person to be in a relationship with. Looks will fade but that personality will be there forever. As you age your friends will pair off and you will find yourself hanging out with them less and less. They will have kids or move away and you will find yourself either alone or with your partner during 99% of your free time. Humans do not do well being isolated and alone. Finding a healthy relationship is so important and no one really talks about it or just tells you to focus on your career. Having someone in your corner that always has your back will make life that much easier.
Find someone with the same goals in life that you do and hold onto them....hard. Marry a brain, not a booty.
Don't have children unless you really really want children. Don't have more children than you really want.
Be true to yourself. It's OK to live a life that no one else understands.
It's never too late to start again.
All in my 20's I thought I couldn't just restart my career or dump a useless boyfriend or go back to school because I was already on a certain trajectory. Made my choices now I gotta make the best of it. That's total bullcrap. You have no idea how incredibly young you are and how much time you have to do whatever you want to do.
When I figured this out, I found the man of my dreams, had a kid in my late late 30's, dropped my entire career in my late 40's and starting a new one at 50 and it's awesome.
Edit:. Oh my! I had no idea my post would be so inspirational or that so many people needed to read it. Thank you everyone for the kind words and updoots and awards. I'm so excited for everyone taking a leap into the great unknown. You got this!
And if you are sad or upset or frustrated with life that's ok too. You have time and it will pass. You have no idea what comes next and you have so much time to explore! I am still figuring things out....
When I was in college, I had the chance to go to Europe but I passed because I had to work at a warehouse. I picked staying at a part time warehouse job over seeing the world. When I finally went abroad in my 30s, it changed my perspective about everything and everyone. Go to another country that is far away and different than your own.
I'm sure this will never get seen, but I haven't seen any comments about what I consider to be the most important things...Never stop learning, and don't be afraid to say "I dont know" to something you don't know. It's amazing what you can accomplish when you are inquisitive about the world around you.
I hesitate to give advice, being unqualified to do so.
Instead, here are some points that may or may not be worthy of consideration.
Time is very short, and as you get older it speeds up more and more.
Time is more important than money. In theory, you could end up a billionaire. But nobody is ever a "time billionaire." Rich or poor, you're gonna get maybe 100 years at the absolute max, and probably not that much.
There will be several versions of You as you walk your path, but one version that kind of colors all the other versions. This version you could call "the real you." It pays to spend time figuring out who that real you is.
You will have to deal with people. Learn how to leave them happy to have been in your presence, and you will not lack for friends and loved ones.
Speaking of loved ones: just because someone is a blood relative, it doesn't mean they're worth a crap. If your parent, sibling, or child is a complete asshole unworthy of your attention, don't waste further time on them.
Find something you love to do, and do that. Do it every day. It doesn't matter if you make money at it, or get recognition because of it. Do it like Henry Darger did his writing and drawing, and like Vivian Maier did her photography. Do good work. It is its own reward.
I am a geezer, 64 years old. It does not have to suck being old. (I think it's freaking great, for many reasons.)
If you're ever in my town, drop by and get ON my lawn.
Don’t pluck your eyebrows too thin.
I’m 46, and here’s what I know:
1. Money is important but it’s not the end all be all. It will not listen to your problems or hug you when you need it
2. Watch your weight, your blood pressure, and do not smoke. 75% of my patients that have the most serious diagnoses have at least one of these factors.
3. Comparison will rob you of joy. Be happy for others, but don’t feel you need to be like them.
4. Let go of the little things. Stress will kill you
5. Chase your dreams! Life goes by SO fast. You don’t want to be 80 yrs old and regretting not traveling, pursuing your passion, etc
6. You cannot change someone. Whether a friend or a partner, their faults will not “get better” and you cannot rescue them. Don’t waste your life on toxic people.
7. Make a point of performing kind acts for others. It will greatly enrich your life.
Now... go get your life!!!
I was a raging alcoholic in my twenties and thought I would never recover from it. I never found a real job using my first degree or my masters. Part of it was because I was always drunk, part of it was the job market at the time.
I went back to school in my thirties and found something I like a whole lot more. Now, I'm married, nearly ten years sober, and have a great job.
My point is, if you end up on the wrong path or don't like where you are, there's always time to turn around and change it. Too many people just assume they're stuck where they are and stuck with the issues they have.
If you aren't SURE you want kids, make sure you ARE sure before you have them.
I dodged a couple of bullets over the years, and don't have any kids. I see and hear all the crap other people have to go through, and I don't think I could handle that level of stress in my life. I'm very glad to be childless.
Of course some people love kids, and should have lots of them. That's just not me, and it might not be you too.
Relax and don't get overly angry
While others talk about material things or experiences the real lesson is to accept that things won't always go the way you want them to and that's ok.
Didn't marry your perfect spouse? That person doesn't exist - align expectations to reality and appreciate those who love you for who they are. Or find new people
Didn't buy the perfect car? Oh, well, it still gets you where youre going. Define your criteria for the next one and work towards it
Didn't get the perfect house? Probably not. But it's yours and you can fix it
Didn't get that promotion? Don't be so sure it would have worked out the way you think it would have.
Vacation wasn't perfect? Are you sure about that, or were your expectations too high?
Point is, relax, enjoy the ride, work to your goals but remember none of it matters if you can't enjoy it along the way.
Maintain your friendships. In twenty years you will be so grateful for those people who saw you through marriages, children, illness and health. People who will go for a trip with you, love your kids, remember you as a young person.
Friends are essential but they require work. Don't be alone just because you don't want to be the person who reaches out to others.
Take care of your teeth. This is the only set you’re ever going to have and you don’t want to neglect them and mess them up like I did. I’ve got crap tons of fillings which don’t last forever and need replacement. A filling isn’t as good as the real thing and filled teeth can break, requiring crowns. I have two and it sucks.
Brush and floss thoroughly every single day without exception. Hell, get an electric toothbrush. See the dentist regularly. Ditch the sugary drinks.
When I was 22, an older gentleman asked me how old I was and then told me, “chad303, when you are twice that age, you’ll be twice the man you are today.” I almost considered it a slight in that moment, but time has proven him wise. Here I am, twice that age and, in my humble estimation, twice the man than I was then. I believe this chiefly because I have learned that kindness is not a weakness, humility serves you better than pride, and cruelty is a fool’s game.
It's not a race! Stop comparing yourself to others. Just because they did things sooner than you, doesn't mean they're happier or better.
Try to start good habits. It is a little rough at first, but in a few years it will be second nature. Do this with things like cooking, cleaning, saving money and self-care.
It is okay to not like someone. It is also okay to have someone not like you (people are going to not like you for no reason. That is okay. It's a "them" issue and not a "you" issue). Don't be an ass to everyone and give them reason to dislike you, but also know that you are under no obligation to put up with someone else's bad friendship.
There is no shame in seeing a mental health professional.
If you want more career satisfaction be as positive as possible at work. I mean it. I am cynical by nature and thought everyone around me loved my sarcastic one-off comments. Every meeting I would demonstrate biting wit at the ridiculous corporate bullshit being peddled. If there was failure I was there to point at it and laugh; and if success I was always there ready to “keep it real” for folks. Apparently my attitude and sense of humor were not as appreciated as I thought.
Then, disaster struck at work (a few years ago) and my skills were needed more than ever.
Now mind you, I had been passed over a couple of times for promotions. I was salty about that because (and I am being honest here) I was a really really good candidate and am regarded quite well in my industry. I was stunned at missing out; and my dissatisfaction was not kept out of sight.
Well back to the disaster. For some reason I took this opportunity to shut up and be a positive team member. This particular problem (not virus related) would have allowed me to sit at home, get paid, and do nothing while everything got sorted. A paid two week vacation without dipping into PTO—nice. Let the suits sort it out while I laugh at their awkward attempts to right the ship; snickering with co-workers via personal emails. I was really looking forward to pointing out inconsistencies and ambiguous language in their directives. I was practically giddy with excitement with the prospect of watching them fall on their faces.
Instead I put on my big boy pants, went to work, walked in the boss’s office and politely asked if there was anything she needed. For two weeks I worked my ass off. Did everything I was asked, kept my pie hole shut (god were there opportunities for serious humor). I took a lot of initiative, and throughout I was positive and pleasant. At meetings I would offer constructive comments, take notes, and follow up on items—even if I wasn’t asked. I had become the dreaded “try-hard.” Then the calls came: from every where in the organization. How do we do “x.” Can I do “y.” Mind you, in the past I would have provided a slightly sarcastic reminder of my “scope” of duties—which didn’t include doing their job too. Instead I was positive and cheerful. I was happy to help them get through the crisis.
After the disaster subsided, I did not revert back to Mr. Point-Out-How-Stupid-Everything-Is, and kept a positive and cheerful demeanor. I kept my comments to myself, and went home and shared my list of comments I could have made with family.
I noticed the more positive I became, the more people seemed to want to work with me; and the more responsibilities my boss heaped upon me. So I kept at it. And not one, but two promotions came (with significant raises)—and now I am in a position that I really really enjoy.
Had I only figured this out in my 20s I might have gotten where I am more quickly. One caveat, if your work is a suck-fest, don’t be afraid to move on; with a positive farewell email and pointing out how much everyone meant to you...
You don't have to have kids and buy a minivan and live that life. It's totally fine if you don't. You might even be happier and a lot wealthier in the end. You're not weird or broken because you want to live a less "normal" life. A lot of us do it you just don't see us marketed to on TV.
Go have an adventure of a life time. Don’t put it off. Make plans for your money. STAY OUT OF DEBT. You dont need that new car, watch, handbag etc. Material items are not worth your sanity. Have a 3-6 month emergency fund. Don’t waste time on anyone who disrespects you. Have a back bone but don’t be rude. Not everything needs your reaction. Find someone who you can spend endless time with. Talk about ideas not people. Above all fu*k what anyone thinks.
Ill be 41 this year.
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.
Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.
Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.
Do one thing every day that scares you.
Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.
Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.
Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.
Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.
Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't.
Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone.
Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's.
Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.
Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.
Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.
Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.
Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.
Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.
Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel.
Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.
Respect your elders.
Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.
Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85.
Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.
But trust me on the sunscreen.
Everything you "get" becomes something you "have"
Learn how to be happy "having" things instead of "getting" them.
Get a regular exercise routine going and stick to it like your quality of life depends on it, because it does.
Accept that it doesn't always work out in the end. There is no magic balance that says if something awful happens something good must happen later. Not always winning or being happy is part of life. The sooner you find the tools to accept that the sooner you can achieve your goals.
All of the tangible actions mentioned here are reflections of understanding your values. Figuring out what your values are hasten the maturation process. The reason people say go on adventures is because it forces you to understand yourself.
And honestly, get off Facebook and Instagram.
Get out of that creepy cult while you are young. Live your life free of your parent's cult. (I was raised in the Mormon cult)
If you are lucky enough to have the love of a good woman. Support her and she will support you. Two heads are better than one. I don't what I'd do without my S.O. never take one day for granted. Get out there into the world and enjoy it. I'm 45 this year and plenty of my peers didn't make it and wasted their shot.
My simple advice is to own as little as possible. Having minimal possessions has made me happier and more focused. This isn't about sacrifice or going without. It's about finding pleasure in what I already own. If a friend buys a new jacket, I'm happy for him but it wouldn't motivate me to buy one. There's a certain zen calmness when you get off the consumption treadmill.
Go to therapy. Figure out what your insecurities are, why you have them, and how to deal with so that they don't define the rest of your life. Talk about your issues from childhood and you're teens (yea, everyone has issues even in their 20's). If you don't do it now you will make decisions based on or driven by those issues and that will put you on a path you may not like.
This whole thread is wholesome af. I'm 32 but I wish I would've spent more of my 20s listening to advice of slightly older people rather than trying to prove that I could figure it out on my own. Imagine how much energy I could've saved.
Don't put yourself in ridiculous amounts of debt trying to portray a certain image. You'll spend your entire life trying to get out of the hole you dug or you'll have to declare bankruptcy.
Set aside enough money to cover 3-6 months of expenses for emergencies just like now. Moreover, save now for your retirement years. It doesn't require much and if you have it taken directly from your paycheck you won't be inclined to not pay yourself first.
Take care of your body. Exercise to maintain a healthy weight and good cardiovascular health. As you get older, it's much harder to maintain these.
Enjoy the days of your youth without going overboard. There is nothing wrong with having a good time, yet if you are always waking up wondering what happened last night, why you can't remember how you spent so much money or you always have a hangover; you should tone it down a bit.
Don't take advice or criticism as a personal attack. Most times the people who care about you have observed behavior in you which is off putting, doesn't reflect who you really are or could be or would make you a more rounded person.
Yes, HAVING KIDS ISN'T THE DEFAULT OPTION. It's a huge decision so many people don't realise they have to make.
I'm sure you'll get replies about "true happiness" and "purpose" and stuff, and for those people who are wired to want kids, great, good for you. We aren't all like you, some of us don't want to go down that road and can live just as fulfilling a life our own way.
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