Our twenties are a time of exploration, a time of self discovery, and a chance to figure out what path we want to take. They are fun and hard. They are exciting and expensive. They are life changing and frustrating. For as amazing as our twenties can be, we all make a lot of mistakes and some are not so small. There is no point in beating yourself up for those mistakes because most of us have been through it. The most important thing is that you learn from those mistakes and work to do better. Being in your twenties is the time to make those missteps and the time to change so you can get on your feet before you hit your thirties. If you are trying to navigate the rugged terrain of this complicated decade, know that you aren’t alone in your struggles. You are going to make mistakes, just accept it. It is how you learn and move forward. Own up to them, be humble, be patient, and be forgiving. Use what you have learned as fuel to step up and go after the life you truly want. Don’t feel like a failure when you screw up, even if it is bad, you can always turn it around. Life has a pretty big learning curve, and no one gets it right on their first try. Here are twenty mistakes most twenty somethings will make as they try to survive their introduction to adulthood. Trust me, you aren’t alone.
20 Waste Time
You are probably doing this right now. Young people are great at wasting time, and with so many tools to do it, this is pretty easy. If you find yourself unable to get done in the day all the things you want or need, check yourself. Spend one day keeping track of how much time you waste and write it down. Fifteen minutes on social media, twenty minutes texting about nothing, five minutes looking at memes….you get my point. Add it up at the end of the day and see just how much time you really have in your day. Ten minutes might not seem like a big deal in the moment, but when you waste time over and over all day, you are really wasting a lot of precious moments. Time that you are going to want back some day. Use it wisely.
19 Don’t Listen
It may seem as if you know everything you need to know. After all, you are in your twenties and you have a fraction of lifetime experience. You might think that you know how you feel about everything in your life and you are confident in your choices, but don’t ever for a second think you are beyond learning something new. You will continue to learn new things regardless of your age. Sometimes it takes mistakes and failures to realize that what you thought you knew was wrong. It takes time to come to understand life and all of its intricacies. You will change your mind, your will have changes of heart, you will have moments when you realize you aren’t the person you thought you were becoming. Don’t ever think you are above advice. Take that advice with a grain of salt, but the least you can do is listen. Sometimes people are actually trying to help you, and their words could save you a lot of trouble.
18 Forget To Be Grateful
When you are living that awesome twenty something life, don’t forget to be thankful for everything you are lucky enough to have. People get so accustomed to the lives they live and the constant desire to have more, that they forget to be thankful for all the things in their lives. From basic living necessities to all the technology we use to make our lives easier, stop and be grateful every once in a while. There are people living all over the world that struggle in war zones, their families are torn apart, they don’t have enough to eat, or they live in awful conditions. Stop whining about what you want and can’t afford or all the things others have that make you envious. Take a moment to be appreciative and humble. Life could always be so much worse. It is difficult, but remember, you aren’t the center of the universe. Be aware of the world around you and put life into perspective. It might make you a happier person.
17 Keep Shopping in the Junior’s Section
As you move through your twenties, keep in mind that your fashion needs change. You might very well still fit into the clothes in the junior’s section, but that doesn’t mean you should still be wearing them. So many of those clothes are geared towards tweens and teens, and they have no place in a grown woman’s closet. You are moving from youth to independence and just beginning your career . Make sure your clothing choices reflect the life you are working towards. Stop buying clothes that scream, “I’m in high school!” Dress yourself as the strong, independent woman you are, and clothe yourself with quality fabrics that will last and that fit you well. Just looking like you have it all together is part of feeling and being the woman that has it all together. What you wear is your first impression to the world around you.
16 Cut Off All Your Hair
In your twenties, you might be a little more daring with your looks than you will be in later life. Now is the time to go a little crazy and try new things that you probably never considered before. Most of us have gone a step too far, and chopped off all of our hair. We go to the salon clutching that photo of Halle Berry feeling exhilarated by the thought of something out of the norm. Our heart pounds as we watch all that hair fall on the floor. More and more strands seem to pile up, and the panic sets in. When the hairdresser turns us around, we see that we, in fact, do not look like Halle Berry. Somehow, we look like a twelve year old boy that has just got his hair cut for school pictures. Take a deep breath and repeat, “It will grow back.”
You will overindulge in a lot of things when you are in your twenties from men and fun to drama and narcissism. It feels as if the world revolves around you when youth is on your side, and you gobble up all the things that make you feel good. Just remember, you can have too much of a good thing. Eventually, all of the indulgence will catch up with you, and you are going to realize that moderation is key to surviving adulthood. Life doesn’t revolve around you, and the sooner you learn that, the easier it will be to move forward. You have to consider your actions and how they affect everyone around you and the life you want to create. We have all been there and let our wants spiral out of control, but the earlier you begin practicing patience and discipline, the earlier you will reap the benefits.
14 Regrettable Tattoos
What is it about tattoos that the youth culture loves? Well, a lot of things. It is risky and maybe even seems a little dangerous. It also captures your personality and what you love most in life. Or it is just an arbitrary image you have picked out and etched on your body forever. Usually, once you get one, they become addictive, and you end up with more and more. That butterfly or emoji or that portrait of your dog seemed like such an great idea at the age of 23. Then, you find yourself on the cusp of 30 and rethinking all of that ink. You will probably find that as you go through life, a lot of people have tattoos they no longer want. Always think about what you are carving into your body for the rest of your life. If you end up with a few tattoos that you wish you could remove, love them as symbols of your youth and those carefree days of your twenties.
13 Date the Wrong Guy
The problem with living a fun carefree life is that you don’t often think very far ahead in the future. For most twenty somethings, getting caught up in that guy that is nothing but fun and exciting is pretty standard. The hot bartender, the sexy DJ, that funny slacker...We have all been hypnotized by their love of all things fun. From skipping work to partying or wasting way too much money on a last minute trip, they make life thrilling. Then, you realize that life isn’t always fun and games. Bills have to be paid, the house has to be cleaned, and at some point you want to be successful. Those good time guys are fun for a while, but if you want more out of life with a partner that is supportive and wants the same things you do, kick him to the curb. You cannot change him.
12 Choose the Wrong Career Path
It is difficult to choose the career path you want when you are just barely old enough to vote, and many people find themselves hating the path they have chosen after years of schooling. So what do you do when you realize what you thought you wanted just plain sucks. A lot of people are surprised when they get into the field they have been planning on throughout college, and they realize they aren’t happy with it. First, ask yourself if you hate it because it really makes you unhappy or because it is work. People always say choose something you love and it won’t feel like work, but that isn’t true. Anytime you do something to earn money, it becomes work. If you can’t imagine doing that job forever, then start exploring other options. Just because you have a degree in a specific field doesn’t mean you can’t get other jobs. Try job shadowing, take a few side classes, talk with peers, and don’t think you are stuck forever. If you just don’t want to work, then start buying lottery tickets.
11 Take Out Credit Cards
It is unbelievably hard when you first start supporting yourself. Those bills add up fast, and they just keep coming month after month. Then, it is time to pay those student loans, and it feels like you are being crushed under the weight of the world. Once you fall behind, you just can’t seem to catch up. Then, you take out a credit card or two to help pay for utilities or get groceries. Before your know it, they are maxed out, and you are in even deeper than you were before. This is the time to make it right. Start cutting things out of your life. Stop eating out and dye your hair out of a box. Get a roommate. Move back home if you have to, but don’t keep charging your way to a mountain of debt. Your twenties is when you set the financial tone for the rest of your life. Don’t let your twenties be what keeps you from the life you want.
10 Consider Dropping out of College
If you are in college, chances are you have had that moment, when you think, I can’t do this anymore. College is just a taste of what real world stress is like, and if you haven’t had to be independent or deal with a stressful environment, you might feel as if you are in over your head. Don’t give into it. While college isn’t for everyone, it is a big step forward for many in the long run. Having that degree in hand when you enter the workforce has the potential to open a lot of opportunities for you. If you feel overwhelmed, use your resources! Talk to counselors, many schools have free tutoring. Try study groups or talk with your professors. You are going to be met with so many obstacles in life, don’t get deterred. Pick yourself up and keep going. If you have already dropped out, you can always go back.
9 Dump a Good Guy
In all that carefree fun, the “safe” guy doesn’t seem very interesting. You want to date around and enjoy single life or you want to chase after the “bad boy”. Undoubtedly, that marriage worthy guy falls by the wayside when he just can’t keep up with you or he gets too serious too quickly. While we all need that time to learn who we are and explore other relationships, you can take it too far and ruin a perfectly good relationship. If you do, use your past mistakes to make better relationships choices. You will come to realize that stable and responsible are desirable characteristics in a partner the older you become. Trying to reform those “bad boys” and turn them into reliable partners is going to get old. Choose partners that have similar goals and objectives in life not someone you are going to have to babysit.
From trips to the bar, your phone bill, and new clothing, it is very easy to overspend as a young adult especially if you aren’t spending your own money. This is the time to start learning how to budget and spend appropriately. We all go crazy from time to time especially when there is just so many things to spend money on, but as you transition to financial independence, you will probably realize you can’t pay for the lifestyle that your parents provided. Instead of having Mom and Dad continue to foot the bill, embrace adulthood and slash that overspending and even some of the regular spending. Everything in moderation especially your spending habits. If you have had a few blow out shopping sprees, use it as a cautionary tale and cap that spending before it gets out of control.
7 Take Your Youth for Granted
The day will come, when gray hairs pop up overnight, exercise won’t keep that cellulite away, and that beautiful vibrant skin will start to line. Trust me, it comes faster than you think. Enjoy it now and take care of it. Stop tossing your hair in a bun and show off those shiny locks. Exercise your body before it starts to deteriorate. It will help keep your weight healthy and delay the effects of aging. Eat right. It is hard to eat right especially when you are so busy, but it can be done. Put on your sunscreen every day. Yes, every day. Stop smoking! Right now! It doesn’t make you look cool and you are destroying your body and health. You only get to be young once, and if you don’t take care of your youth, you are going to see father time come much faster.
6 Surround Yourself with the Wrong People
As you go after your goals in life, you are going to want to surround yourself with people that are supportive and inspiring. Unfortunately, it is the fun loving crowd we so often are drawn to, and the ones that could hurt us the most. It may be painful to phase those people out of your life, but if friends are just filling your world with unnecessary drama and relationships that offer nothing to you, why are you friends with them? Choose people that truly care about you and are willing to listen and offer helpful advice. In turn, you have to be just as loyal and supportive. Friendships will help you through so much in life and get you through those struggle you just can’t face alone. Make better friends and be a better friend. It might just be the support network you need to help you become the person you want to be.
5 Give Into Mediocrity
At some point in your twenties, you will probably hit a brick wall. Life catches up with you and all those bills will force you to buckle down and get a job or move back in with Mom and Dad. It is a natural transition in life, but as you hunker down, don’t forget all the dreams you had for your life. You can still go after those big aspirations even while working a nine to five. It can be done, but you are going to have to actually make sacrifices. You will have to work your butt off, but that is what makes it worth it. It might take years of grinding away, but when you reach the end of your life, make sure you have lived a life you are proud of not one that just got you by. Our lives are our own, and you have to make opportunity happen.
4 Disconnect From Family
So often, when we enter adulthood, and we commit to the journey of finding ourselves, and everything else falls by the wayside...This includes family. In attempt to be our own person people often want to explore the unknown, and it leads them away from their families. Parents spend their lifetime trying to instill values and beliefs in their children, but time has a funny way of changing social ideas and norms. We want more than our parents, and when we are young, we think we know everything. We embark on our path to adulthood believing we know some secret that no one else has discovered, and it can lead us away from our families. From politics to religion, we feel the need to redefine our lives and what we believe. Our parents become foreign and strange, but you have to remember even if you don’t choose the path they wanted or hoped for, our family is our strongest tie. Be who you are but don’t shut out those that love you. Give them time to come around.
3 Lose Sight of Who We Are
In adolescence, we feel lost and like we don’t know who we really are or what we want. As we reach our twenties, we tend to get a false sense of confidence that makes us feel like we can conquer the world. However, somewhere in there, life happens. Our path drifts and we get lost. Then, we look in the mirror one day and don’t recognize the person staring back at us. It is easy enough to do as you make choices that will impact the rest of your life. Choosing a path you think will be a good direction for the rest of your life is difficult, and you are going to realize that you probably made a lot of wrong turns. Instead feeling panic when you feel like you are a stranger to yourself, practice being mindful and checking in with your goals and your reality. To know yourself, you have to work at it. Pay attention to what you feel and allow yourself to feel it. Go with your gut and don’t try to live your life for anyone else.
2 Hurt People We Love
As you embark on a path of independence, it is easy to start writing people off that seem like a threat to your life as an adult. In you twenties, it can feel like people offering their opinion are trying to tell you what to do which isn’t something most people like let alone a twenty something. Instead of seeing that others are trying to be helpful or supportive, it can be interpreted as hostile, and we lash out. The tendency to be blindly selfish can also lead to hurtful actions towards those we truly care about. You will end up hurting people you love whether out of frustration, confusion, or just ignorance. Be humble and forgive. Forgive them, forgive yourself and learn to make amends. People don’t make it through life without a strong support system, and sometimes we burn bridges we shouldn’t have. Swallow your pride and invite those that truly deserve to come back into your life.
1 Don’t Try Hard Enough
Did you let your parents pick your major? Do you let your best friend talk you into going on a date with someone you aren’t interested in? Do you shuffle through your job just trying to get by when you know you could do more? Do all your dreams just feel too exhausting so you just let life happen as it will? Stop letting life pass you by! There is pretty much nothing worth doing that isn’t hard, but that is where you find a feeling of fulfillment. As people we are designed to survive, and when we accept the cushy unchallenging ways of modern life without challenging ourselves, it makes us feel empty. It might seem fun in the beginning to have little responsibility and just have fun, but it will get old. I know you are thinking I am crazy, but it is true. We have to be challenged and have goals to work towards or we feel as if we have no real purpose. Don’t waste life just drifting around. Do work!