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20 essential life lessons people wish they had during their 20s and it's eye-opening

People who have made it through their 20s have had certain life experiences that they wish to share with younger generations.

20 essential life lessons people wish they had during their 20s and it's eye-opening
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels| Fauxels, Reddit | u/Hot_Tumbleweed5807

Growing up from teenage years to adulthood is a challenging phase. Young people change physically, mentally and emotionally. There is also a lot happening in the career, family and other aspects of life. During this tedious period, one would appreciate nothing more than some advice. To know that one is not alone in what may seem like a bizarre phase is an assurance many need. Who better than those who have lived this dynamic phase to offer a helping hand? Youngsters can greatly benefit from their experiences and reroute their life accordingly. 

Representative Image Source: Pexels| Fox
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Fox

u/Kitchen_Body7998_ shared a post asking adults to pitch in a piece of advice they wished they had received in their 20s. "What’s the one piece of advice you wish you had received at 20 that would have made your life easier?" they wrote in their post. With over 1.8k comments, many people shared their experiences and life lessons they learned the hard way. Right from life, career, relationships, self-care and more, many pitched in vivid pieces of wisdom. Along with the "Do's" people also cautioned youngsters about the "Donts" they can ponder upon. Life will always have its rollercoaster of a journey but these lived experiences and lessons can be a spectacular form of learning. Here are the top 20 bits of advice that younger people can take with them. 

1. Learn the right and the wrong 

"Don’t just learn the right things from the right people; some of the best lessons in life come from observing what not to do from the wrong people." -u/SoldierofGod "As the baby in the family. I learned a lot of what not to do from my older siblings." -u/landbob "If you can't be an example, maybe you can be an object lesson." -u/Chontius "Like 1/3 of my job is making sure people write down what went wrong and share it with others." -u/chaossabre

2. Smartness and hard work go hand in hand 

"Being 'smart' does not mean you'll thrive in scientific learning and work. Play to your strengths, not your expectations." -u/Ilmarinien999 "Intelligence is such an abstract concept, too. Some people are super smart academically but incredibly stupid when it comes to interacting with people and vice versa." -u/AnyOffice8162 "People forgot to tell me that I still had to work hard and play to my strengths. That my 'smart' would maybe ease my path but it wasn’t enough to get me to my destination. It was just a piece of the bigger puzzle." -u/Kaizen321

3. Be stronger than your problems

"There is no point in your life where you don’t have stress, problems and struggles. It’s all a matter of mindset and how you deal with it makes it easier." -u/Ravingsquirrel11 "You have to be strong and figure it out. I know people that are confronted with a problem and say screw it and drink a beer. When the shit hits the fan one day, they are the first to freak out and shut down." -u/Therex1282

4. Put yourself first

"90% of the people in your life are temporary so do what makes you happy and makes your life better. Don’t worry so much about what others may think about you." -u/FreshManager7331 "My brother gave me the same advice. Friends come and go, I should focus on what makes me happy. I should learn from my wrongdoings and my mistakes and keep my head high."-u/SnooCapers7904 "This stuff hurts like hell at the moment. Then turns into nothing after some time. But at the moment, that’s hard to imagine. Those people pay a price eventually." -u/Bitter-Basket

5. Better to be at peace and alone

"Don't be afraid of being alone. Better than living with someone who makes you crazy."-u/deathtocockroaches "I am single at 30 and my outlook on being alone has changed completely over my 20s. My peace is so much more important than being 'in love' when it isn’t right." -u/violettay "I am always reminded of that tragic quote from Robin Williams - 'I always thought that the worst thing in life would be to end up alone, but it’s not. It’s to end up with people who make you feel like you’re alone.'" -u/Napolean_troubadour
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Oziel Gómez
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Oziel Gómez

6. Not everyone needs to know

"Just because someone asks you a question doesn't mean you have to answer it." -u/seamushn603 "You don't need to give a 'valid reason' to avoid something a person is manipulating you into or you don't have to tell people sensitive information about you if they ask." -u/Quadrillequadtriceps "You don't owe someone an answer. You don't even need to explain yourself unless you want to. I'm not sure where we got the idea we need to keep making everybody else okay while we feel on the spot and uncomfortable. They may not like it, but that's truly not your problem." -u/cheriam

7. Learn to cook 

"Learn to cook a few decent meals now—instant noodles and takeout will lose their charm after the 300th time." -u/AnxiousGarden9696 "I recently learned how to cook at 22; it brought me solace and joy after getting dumped. Psychologically, it gave me a sense of achievement and self-esteem. Plus, ladies love a man who can cook. I know one thing: my kids will go to school with lunches made with love." -u/Ok_Address_4819 "I can cook a variety. Luckily, my mom taught me young. Great advice, not enough people, know how to cook these days and it’s so essential!" -u/KitchenBody7998

8. Focus on investments that help save

"I wish someone would have told me how important credit and saving money is." -u/DisastrousTaste4984 "A savings account pays almost no interest, provides minimal tax benefits, and does nothing to encourage you to keep saving. For a lot of people in their 20s, a savings account is no different from a wallet. If you have access to money at that age you'll probably find a way to justify spending it. Pro tip: don't." -u/PicaDiet

9. Focus on upgrading yourself

"Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. If you need a mental health day, take it. Money comes back, but pushing yourself until you mentally break will catch up to you." -u/GTOdriver04 "It's important to learn to take care of yourself. However, adversity builds resilience and character. I've seen far too many people crumble under the lightest pressure because they lack tenacity. Life is hard. Learning to function (and possibly even thrive) under pressure is an extremely valuable skill." -u/Zookeepergamefalse38

10. All for the future you

"Be the best wingman to your future self. Don’t want to put that shirt away now? Do it as a favor for your future self. Not interested in organizing documents? Do it because you love your future self and want him to succeed." -u/80085rus "Still future self should be fine with doing stuff for the past self from time to time. Past self also has a lot of stress going on and sometimes forgets to do stuff. Don't be mad at past self for not bringing the trash out and let future self do a favor to past self." -u/St_Schlonginus
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Helena Lopez
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Helena Lopez

11. A partner for life and not a race

"The single most important decision in your life is who you pick as a partner. Your life partner can either be the teammate who helps you succeed or the person who destroys what you spent your life building. Choose wisely and use your head and your heart." -u/justgotit "Trust your instincts. If you have doubts about the person you’re with or your compatibility, listen to that voice. Better to go slow and get it right. Finding a partner is not a race." -u/HornyVikingMN

12. Listen to your inner voice

"There is a voice inside you that knows when you're doing things because you actually want to (versus out of obligation, fear, envy, a desire to impress people, etc). You can learn to tune into that voice. It may not always tell you what you want to hear. Sometimes, it will tell you what you least want to hear - but it will never make you feel ashamed or uncomfortable. And if you get the ability to listen to that voice, then you should try to follow its advice, no matter what." -u/hemlock_hungover

13. Take life as it comes

"Don’t run away from responsibilities and commitments. Don’t lose touch with friends and burn bridges. You’re going to enter your 30s alone and want to end your life. Also, don’t touch Xanax. You’ll lose 3 years of memories." -u/majorminus92"Nothing's wrong with Xanax when used responsibly. It's an anti-anxiety med that makes you feel kinda of spaced out, and slows things down. Gives you the ability to not feel like you're drowning in life. Don't abuse it." -u/danarth

14. Take up opportunities wisely

"When you have an opportunity to make more money go for it. When you have an opportunity to travel never say no." -u/trevor25 "I had the chance to go to America for my work. I was so afraid that I almost said no to it, but luckily my supervisor wanted me to go. It was an amazing experience. Just being on the other side of the world was very cool. In the end, all the stress was for nothing and the trip was very chill." -u/henkie316

15. Keep it simple

"No fads. No fad beauty routines. No fad products. No fad fast fashion. You’ll just end up with a bunch of useless shit around your apartment and most is not refundable. In other words, simplify your life/routine." -u/Hot_Tumbleweed5807 "Today’s in style is tomorrow’s horrendously out of style. Wear the stuff that you love and that goes with pretty much everything else that you love to wear.
And as my mother always said, 'If it can’t go in the washer and dryer, it doesn’t belong in this house.'" -u/CausticSofa
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Laura Stanley
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Laura Stanley

16. Be upfront

"When you are asked for a timescale in work, your manager/project lead wants to know when it will be done, not the earliest you might do it. Caused a massive drop in stress when I realized that. Once they set the budget and other people's tasks based on this, it doesn't matter if you do it early, if anything it is a pain." -u/paradoxthecat

17. Learn about money

"Money does nothing for you if it's just sitting. There are actually multiple types of income besides what you're actively earning, and multiple ways to make your money make money for you. I wish I'd heard that during my prime earning years. I don't regret anything I spent, mind you. Experiences and art and tattoos and good food and fun cars. But I wish I'd known what to do with what was leftover back when anyone could afford to have anything left over. Passive income isn't just for the affluent with fancy investment portfolios." -u/Low_Goose_5675

18. Life is a series of games

"Everything is a game and every game has its rules. Do not try to play one game with other game rules, because you think those are nicer. You will lose. You can choose which games to play but not the rules of the games you choose to play. Bonus: People lie all the time about their priorities, their likes, and goals. But how they spend their money almost always tells the truth. As Diogenes said, 'Do not listen to what people say, but observe their actions.'" -u/dondurmalikazandibi

19. Your life is yours

"Make sure you know what you genuinely want and like. Most other advice depends on this being sorted out. If you don’t know what you want or like, prioritize figuring it out by trying new things and/or getting treated for depression if necessary. It’s okay if the only answer to what you want right now is 'for my depression to get better.'" -u/valleyblue2333 "It is not necessary to be great in everything as everyone does; if you do, you only end up in competition with the other people. You'll forget what you are good at and are only doing what others do rather than what you are capable of." -u/mghali

20. Balance the fun and work

"There's a common adage that if you wasted your 20s instead of working towards some success, you'll have to sweat in your 30s. I know it's tempting to just be lazy and have fun in your 20s, but these are the years you should be focused on acquiring skills that will help you achieve financial independence, so you don't have to sweat when you get older. Form a habit of studying when you're in your 20s, the earlier you'll have it, the easier it'll be later on and will become a permanent trait of your character." -u/mentaladvisor25
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Buro Millennial
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Buro Millennial

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