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Millennials nearing their 40s reveal 10 mistakes they made that they now regret

Millennials have witnessed a sea of change in life ranging from jobs, dating, relationships, the internet, and more.

Millennials nearing their 40s reveal 10 mistakes they made that they now regret
Pexels | Photo by Marcus Aurelius

With age comes wisdom

Representative Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Topical Press Agency
Representative Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Topical Press Agency

We spend a good portion of our lives trying to make sense of it; But as you grow older, you realize not many really have a handle on life. While many boomers often accuse millennials of being spendthrifts and not saving money, the truth is that the costs of living have far eclipsed the increase in wages, which is again undercut by inflation, according to Business Insider. It isn't just wages. Life itself has undergone a sea of change over the past two decades. Health issues, dating, climate change, financial insecurity, you name it. Life has become a challenge. One such Reddit user asked millennials, those born between 1981 and 1996, what mistakes they made in life and it sparked a whole range of responses. "Millennials of Reddit now nearing your 40s, what were your biggest mistakes at this point in life?" read the post, which received more than 26k upvotes and sparked a flurry of comments. Here are some of the top replies we came across:

1. Not saving enough for retirement 

Representative Image Source: Getty Images | Graeme Robertson

Representative Image Source: Getty Images | Graeme Robertson

Not saving enough for retirement and not going to college. I have been a stay-at-home mom for 7 years now and have nothing saved for my own retirement. I have a high school degree and cosmetology license but that’s it. If my husband left me I’d be screwed because I wouldn’t make shit doing hair (when I quit working I was a manager/stylist and only brought in 50k a year plus hours were awful all nights and weekends not great for a family since there are no night or weekend daycares). At this point, I want to go back to school but not sure how to even do it. It’s also expensive and I need someone to watch the kids. I feel stuck. Wish I’d not gone to cosmetology school and instead got a 4-year degree then I could have kept working when I had kids since I’d have a job that could pay for daycare and had better hours! I guess at least my husband works hard and makes good money and is saving for retirement but I feel like I should be contributing. u/Poctah


2. Worrying about time running out

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Valentin Antonucci
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Valentin Antonucci

I'm not sure if people have experienced the same but when I entered my 30s I became convinced I was rapidly running out of time. Rather than using that as motivation, I let it paralyze me with indecision because I "couldn't afford to make the wrong choice." Consequently, I'm now 39 and, though I've had great things happen in my 30s, I regret spending so much time worrying and so little time committing to a course of action. u/tomwaste

3. Experience as much as you can

Representative Image Source: Getty Images | Spencer Platt
Representative Image Source: Getty Images | Spencer Platt

Forty already. Born in 81, so I think I just make the millennial cut. Work to live, don’t live to work. You have half your working life after you turn 40 but only 20-25 years to really live it up before the responsibilities become heavy and your joints start to ache. Live life. Really LIVE it. Experience as much as you can. Every sensation, sight, sound, touch. Be open. Be brave. Live your first few decades in the fast lane. You have the rest of your life to take it easy when you have no choice. u/MrDundee666

4. Being depressed 

Representative Image Source: Getty Images | David McNew
Representative Image Source: Getty Images | David McNew

I realized the other day that at 32, I've now been depressed for more than half of my life; like depression is my default mode. I don't really even remember what was like before. I've given up on the prospect of dating. I can't with a good conscience open up my mess of a life to someone else. Besides, it's hard enough just maintaining the friendships I already have when I'm fatigued most of the day. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. u/MidnightGolan


5. Getting married too early 

Representative Image Source: Getty Images | Pascal Le Segretain
Representative Image Source: Getty Images | Pascal Le Segretain

Getting married at 20 and having kids shortly after. A LOT of people warned me that I was starting too young, but I thought I was the exception. I spent my whole life being told by everyone that I was "mature" for my age. So certainly I wouldn't be a statistic! After years of marriage, it collapsed into a horrible divorce, I realized I wasn't the exception. It's not that my love and desires weren't real, they absolutely were! It's not that I couldn't hack the practical day-to-day tasks of family life, I managed that quite well. The problem is that I was not prepared for how much my partner and I would change as humans in our early 20s. Twenty-year-old me had way more in common with the 15-year-old me than the 35 year-old-me. If you are under 24(ish) and thinking about marriage, do yourself a favor and wait another year or two. If this is truly the perfect match for the two of you, then you have nothing to lose — that person will still be there. But if you are wrong, and your underdeveloped brain hasn't caught on quite yet, then you will be grateful you waited just a little bit longer. u/_Diligentstate_

6. Not recognizing red flags in a relationship

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Vera Arsic
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Vera Arsic

 

Not recognizing early red flags for an abusive relationship. It can be tempting to give yourself over to someone showering you with affection after a long dry spell but pay attention to some important details - how long have they known most of their friends? Are they asking you for money really early on, and for something that seems like they should be able to take care of? Bonus point if one or more of their friends brings up money they owe them too. Do your friends seem to like them? How quickly do they start trying to change things about you or make negative comments? I realized 3 months in that this wasn't a good relationship but stayed for another year just because it was comfortable and I wanted someone to be there, not because it was the right person. Fortunately, I was smart enough not to co-sign on anything. Once the wrong person is living with you it can be extremely difficult and stressful to get them out of your house without risking your own safety, especially if you have pets. It can be tempting to move in together quickly, but it's sometimes not worth the risk. u/Sunshinespectacular


7. Didn't invest in friendships 

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Elina Fairytale
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Elina Fairytale

I moved a lot as a kid and am what is called a third culture kid. I feel at home nowhere. I learned to see friendships and relationships as transactional and didn't maintain them or invest in them. My early life experience is different from those of stable childhoods and as a result, I am also really closed off. I have learned to assume I have relatively little in common with others, and no longer bother to even try. I have effectively become a hermit, am largely friendless, and ended up sacrificing any chance of happiness to take care of an elderly relative. It is probably too late for me. u/Reddit

8. Don't let any symptoms go unchecked 

Representative Image Source: Getty Images | Adam Berry
Representative Image Source: Getty Images | Adam Berry

Try not to get cancer. If you feel unwell go to the doctor. I felt numbness in my fingers and toes. Let that go for a few months. It turned to arm pain. Went to the hospital and it turns out I have stage 4 renal carcinoma. Don’t let any symptoms go unchecked. You’re older, and if your body is telling you something is wrong, listen to it. u/Bakedlawyer

9. Health is wealth 

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Leandro Boogalu
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Leandro Boogalu

 

I'm 37. I absolutely could have taken better care of my body, but I'm in relatively good health. I'm starting to realize how important it is to maintain my health. I do also think I drank far too much in my 20 and early 30's. I'm trying to rectify that now, but it's hard. So that I guess. Although honestly? My only real regret/mistake in my life is going back to grad school in 2010. I felt trapped by getting laid off twice and not being able to find any work. I was debt free, but I really felt forced into going back to school to try and make something of myself. It was either that, become homeless, or figure out how to move back in with my parents. Now I have over 100k in debt because my 60k grad loan has ballooned due to interest rates and forbearance because once again, I couldn't find a decent job upon graduation. Student loans are a racket. u/Dartastic

10. Don't get into debt 

Representative Image Source: Getty Images | Joe Raedle
Representative Image Source: Getty Images | Joe Raedle

I really wish I had approached college differently. Encouraged by my elders who went to school when things were much different, I took out too many student loans and those things can't be forgiven in bankruptcy. Its a yolk around your neck at a time in life where you really, really don't want any of that kind of burden. It's haunted my sleep for 15 years and kept me in all sorts of shitty job situations I would have quit in a heartbeat if I were just flat broke instead of in debt. I feel like an indentured servant. u/Reddit

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