A harsh truth about life is that the things you do in your 20s can make or break the rest of your life. If you want your 30s, 40s, and beyond to be extraordinary, you must set yourself up early for success.
While scrolling through my favorite sub on Reddit, R/askreddit, I stumbled upon a question asking users to share the top things young folks can do in their 20s to prevent regrets later in life.
Young people take note: You may want to head some of this sage life advice offered by your fellow humans!
The top answer in the thread was to wear earplugs at concerts. Young folks aren’t thinking about hearing loss later in life and prioritize enjoying loud music over protecting their ears.
Many Redditors said you don’t have to give up great sound. “Honestly, you can hear the music better with earplugs,” admitted one user, adding that “earplugs block the buzzing better than they block the music, so you’ll hear more, and it’ll still be plenty loud.”
Protecting your hearing while getting the most out of a live show is a win-win.
Brush Your Teeth
Do young folks not brush their teeth? I’m not the only one confused by this top-rated answer. “I always see this as an answer on these threads; is there a notable subset of the population that…just doesn’t brush their teeth? It seems baffling to me that there are people who don’t,” responded one user.
Still, the original poster has a point. Oral hygiene is paramount, and ignoring it while you’re young can cause severe problems down the road. Others used the opportunity to stress flossing in addition to regular brushing.
Go for It!
One Redditor’s advice boiled down to “Go for it!”
“That girl you’re crushing on? Ask her out. That job you don’t think you’ll get? Apply anyway. Think your city kind of sucks? Move,” they said.
Although much of the advice applies throughout life, practicing in your twenties is a great way to build confidence in your abilities for later. Wayne Gretzky once said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,” so take your shot!
One Redditor added, “As I near 40, my only real regrets are the opportunities I passed up. If I could go back, I would learn to say yes way more often and be upfront and open about my intentions.”
Remember that we often regret the things we didn’t do more than what we did, so get out there and do stuff.
Shift Your Diet
“Start finding healthy things that you can tolerate now before you need to in your 30s,” responded one user. “I’m now in my late 20s, and most of my high school peers have put on a ton of weight probably by eating the same way they did in HS,” they explained.
As you age, your body will tolerate junk eating less and less. The sooner you learn to enjoy healthier options, the better for your overall health and wellness throughout life.
Live at Your Own Pace
Some people have a set life script they insist on keeping. Get married by 25, have a first kid by 28, and travel to 3 countries by 30. That magical number 30 seems daunting to younger folks, who often think it’s the end of enjoying new experiences.
One Redditor attempted to set the record straight. “Realize that your 30s are pretty much the same as your 20s, and you have plenty of time to complete whatever goal you want,” they said, adding that ‘Turning 30 was never a checkpoint in life where you need to have done “x.” That was just something some people said one time.”
Live your life at your own pace. There’s no requirement to do anything by a certain age.
Avoid Credit Card Debt
Crippling debt can cause financial hardship for decades to come. If possible, avoid pulling out the credit cards altogether.
“Pay off your credit cards each month (interest is just giving away your money),” responded one user. They added that using credit is excellent if used responsibly. “You can make credit card rewards work for you, but you need to be disciplined about it. I almost never use my debit because of rewards, cash back, and points I get from credit cards, but pay no interest because I pay them off each month,” they explained.
Spend Time with Elderly Relatives
Our grandparents won’t be around forever. Make an effort to spend time with them, get to know them, and ask them questions about their lives, experiences, and ancestors.
“I wish I had known to ask my grandparents more about their young lives. You won’t realize until they are gone that you could have asked about all kinds of things or that they would be happy to talk with you. When we are young, we don’t realize that we ignore the elderly or that they have a treasure trove of knowledge and experience,” said one Redditor.
Get in Shape
It’s never too late to start getting in shape, but it’s far easier when you’re younger. “EXERCISE EVERY WEEK,” exclaimed one user.
“Get in shape, and STAY in shape,” replied another. “Set goals, and progress to those goals. Our physical fitness and heart health should be one of those hobbies we keep forever.”
Others said once a week wouldn’t cut it but said even a daily walk is better than no physical activity.
Live Within Your Means
Financial responsibility is essential for a happy life. One Redditor said people in their twenties should “live below your means and save as much as you can.”
Of course, you shouldn’t deny yourself. Life is for living, not hoarding cash at the expense of enjoyment and self-fulfillment. However, there needs to be a balance. Take a look at your life goals and decide your spending priorities. Stop spending money on things that don’t correspond with your goals.
“I had a teacher who was in her mid to late 40s, but since she always wore sunscreen (even indoors), she had skin that looked much younger than that, barely no expression lines at all,” said one user.
Sometimes friendships run their course, but nurturing the ones that mean a lot to us is vital. When people move away, make an effort to keep in touch. Call, write, and set up weekly facetime chats.
“The friendships that mattered most to me, I took the time to nurture (and vice versa),” said one user. “Many of these are relationships that were forged in high school. It was well worth the effort to stay in touch,” they added.
Of course, it’s also essential to see when a friendship isn’t worth nurturing. If you’re the only one making an effort to keep in touch, it might be time to let it go.
Live Life With No Regrets
Life is for living. Your twenties are a perfect time for exploration and self-discovery, but it’s important to remember that you can do those things throughout your life if you choose.
The older Redditors offering advice in this thread got a lot of things right. Enjoy your youth, but be sure to take care of your physical health and wellness while you’re doing it.
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.