“In youth and beauty, wisdom is but rare,” says a quote attributed to Homer. This perhaps doesn’t ring truer than for those of us who look back on our 20s and wish we could time travel to tell ourselves a thing or two.
Unfortunately, we can’t go back and change the past. But we can express what we wish we knew in our 20s that perhaps people that age can learn from. Here are ten things I and many of my fellow middle-agers wish we knew during our post-college years.
1. You Can Never Save Too Much Money
When you start collecting your first real paycheck, it’s too tempting to want to spend it on something, whether that’s clothing, restaurant meals, or trips. But it’s really important, given that the economy can be uncertain, to save enough regularly for a rainy day. Set up your direct deposit so that a specified amount goes directly into a savings account where it can collect interest.
It’s never too early to begin planning for retirement as well. If your employer offers a 401K plan, take advantage of it.
2. Healthy Relationships Shouldn’t Be Full of Drama
If a relationship is involving too much drama and you’re fighting and in tears all of the time, this person is not for you. Relationships do require some sacrifices and give-and-take, but if you're well being is being compromised, you need to let your partner go and move on.
3. Not Everyone Will Like You
On that note, understand that you don’t need everyone to like you. This may be hard to grasp in a time when people’s happiness seems to depend on how many likes their latest selfie gets, but letting go of the need for other people’s approval will make you realize that your own happiness depends on you and only you.
As you go through life, you won’t like everyone you meet and vice versa, and that’s OK.
4. Sleep is Important
There’s a reason why they call it beauty sleep as not getting enough can make your skin look sallow and give you dark circles. But getting enough ZZZ’s is nourishing for our mind and body as well.
There’s nothing wrong with staying up late on occasion when you’re out with friends, but try to get at least eight hours of sleep each night during the work week so you can perform your best in what is most likely one of your first full-time jobs. Check out these sleep resources to get a good night’s rest.
5. Being Single is OK
There’s nothing wrong with being single and in fact, it gives you more alone time for personal development, self-care, and to get to know yourself a little better. Ignore any marketing message or words from people that say you have to be partnered up with someone in order to fit in with society. You’ll meet the right partner when you least expect it and when the timing is right.
6. Indulge a Little
Yes, it’s important to stay physically active and avoid eating too many empty calories. But there will come a time when your metabolism makes it harder to widdle away at the middle-age spread. Our advice? Have the extra slice of chocolate cake or a slice of pizza once in a while.
7. Love Your Elders
Take time to check in with your grandparents and let them know you love them. Better yet, offer to spend an afternoon with them. Take them out to lunch or to a movie, or just listen to their reminiscing about their good ol’ days. There will come a day—and it’ll be sooner than you think—when they’re no longer with you.
8. Take Chances
You only live your 20s once. If there’s a career choice you’re thinking of pursuing, a person you want to ask out, or a place you want to move to, now’s the time to do it. The worst that can happen is that you’ll have to start over. There will come a time when you may look back and regret not being brave enough to take action.
9. Learn How to Deal With Stress
You will encounter many stressful situations as you progress through life. If you can figure out the best way of defusing the stress early on, these will become your go-to tools when you’re older. Knowing how to keep your cool and deal with stress can keep you healthier as you age.
10 You’re Never Too Young For a Good Skin Cream
In fact, you’re never too young for a good skin care routine that includes cleansing, exfoliating, moisturizing, and sun protection. You’ll thank me later 20 years from now when you see relatively wrinkle-free skin because of the self-care habits you picked up while young. Otherwise, you’ll be looking for ways to treat aging skin.
Hopefully, the above ten tips will help provide some insight for a confused 20-something and encourage them to make some difficult choices. Here at Conscious Life News, we’re all about helping our readers live lives full of mindfulness and knowledge. Check out our conscious living posts for more content of living your best life.