15 Ways 20-Somethings Ruin Their Twenties

1. Letting themselves get out of shape. If you’ve ever watched The Biggest Loser and questioned the contestants desire, based on their struggles — you’ve never been out of shape. You’ll find that the rumors are true, and your metabolism moves slower than a snail at the DMV as you get older. If you continue washing down brownies with Mountain Dew and discounting the value of working out, you will pay. I assure you that once you’ve officially gotten out of shape, it’s so much harder to get fit. The mere sight of a treadmill will make you want to run anywhere but on it.

2. Spending substantial amounts of money on farfetched concepts. Buying several lottery tickets, playing the slot machines and joining pyramid schemes are all poor decisions, with slim chances of making profit. (Heads Up: 99% of well-dressed individuals who approach you with a business proposal/job opportunity just want you to help them build an unprofitable pyramid.)

3. Staying involved in destructive relationships. In middle school and high school, everyone dated everyone — but your 20s should see stricter standards and principles enforced. There’s no sense in being with someone whom you can’t picture yourself happily with in the foreseeable future. Don’t get me wrong, fixing damaged relationships is great; but trying to glue back a thousand broken pieces while getting cut in the process is unhealthy.

4. Cohabitating with a lover whom you’re not married to. Often couples convince themselves that moving in together is a splendid idea, when that’s not always the case. Sure, some live happily together, but it’s not for everyone. Be certain that you’re not rushing into things. It’s not as simple as sharing a shower, owning his and hers robes, and having sex frequently. Many characteristics are revealed, and obnoxious habits are exposed. Living with a significant other too early can be detrimental to the entire relationship.

5. Accepting and embracing drama. When you graduate high school, the cattiness and immaturity proceed to follow some. We have to refuse to be a part of any high school level shenanigans. Hearsay, gossip, he-said-she-said — all those bastards got a diploma and followed some miserable souls well into their 20s. It’s a matter of rejecting the slightest hint of drama, and wisely refusing to speak, act, or feel anything based off of it.

6. Settling for a subpar job that makes you miserable. Hard work and dedication, no matter who the employer, are admirable traits. If you find yourself performing unhappily at a place, be certain that you’re just doing so as a means to get by until you can pursue your personal goals. Every opportunity to take a shot at your dream career should be greeted passionately by you. Too often people forget that the 20s are an ideal decade for trial and error. Test things out, then fail or succeed.

7. Putting excessive amounts of value in attention received on social networks. Gauging your popularity and significance by the amount of likes your Facebook statuses got. Feeling physically unappealing because your Instagram photo — which you spent an absurd amount of time selecting an effect for — didn’t get a satisfying amount of compliments and responses.

8. Being a pushover. Little things like accepting the wrong drink at Starbucks, or pretending not to notice someone cutting you in line aren’t crucial. The issue is the snowball effect that follows. People see that you’ll give an inch, so they’ll greedily take a mile. In today’s world, it’s hard to be nice without somebody trying to take advantage of your kindness. Establish firm limitations that people know better than to cross. It might take temporary sternness, but in the long run it’ll pay off.

9. Taking pride in being widely considered a b-tch or a d-ck. Why being loathed (for good reason) has become a fad is beyond me, but it’s definitely a thing. It’s fantastic to be who you are, but to consciously treat people sh-tty and then brag about having “haters” is just dumb. Nobody is invincible — so continuously pouring gasoline, lighting matches and burning bridges will come back to haunt anyone eventually.

10. Being self-destructive. Continuing personally damaging conduct, with no intentions of stopping can have a lasting effect on your 20s. Getting arrested, pissing off friends, being irresponsible with finances — these are just a few of the seemingly infinite ways to ruin one’s self.

11. Passing on spontaneous adventures and the opportunity to experience new things. If friends are taking an impromptu trip to a nearby city, pack a small bag and roll with. These little things are what make the decade. Beyond the inside jokes and perspective on classic stories that you’ll miss out on, you’ll lack good times. If serious responsibility isn’t withholding your presence, then nothing else should be. Attend gatherings, give unfamiliarity a chance and build a résumé of awesome memories.

12. Remaining bitter. If you’re still angry with the ex from over five years ago, or badmouthing the company that didn’t hire you — do yourself and those around you a favor by stopping. The anger is unhealthy to hold on to, plus it makes you a misery to be around. Bitter passes are typically handed out to the freshly dumped, or recently rejected — but in time you must forgive or forget. Whichever you choose; be firm on it.

13. Making yourself difficult to love. By being shutdown and over-complicated, you create a seemingly impenetrable shirt, doused in cupid repellant. We all struggle in our own unique, disastrous ways — the key is to fix them. Making yourself available, approachable and open/honest will work wonders for your love life.

14. Being a pessimistic, opinionated hater. Yeah, that’s something we all want to be around in our spare time. Every movie out isn’t terrible, every song isn’t garbage. This personality type is in for a reality check when eventually nobody wants anything to do with ’em.

15. Spending large chunks of time dreaming about a utopic, perfect world in which everything is just peachy. Having high hopes and aspirations for the future is a great thing, it’s just important to draw the line of frequency somewhere. Picturing a fantasy land in which you own nice things, are surrounded by beautiful people and have Uncle Scrooge sized piles of money isn’t going to bring those things to fruition. The dreaming is the easy part, it’s the living that requires some heavy lifting and effort. TC Mark

image – ShutterStock


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  • http://overexamined.wordpress.com olli

    Okay I was going to whine that there have been a bazillion of these things but damn if you’re making some good points! I tip my hat to you sir!

  • Joelie

    Umm #4…not everyone wants/is allowed to get married.

    • http://nopillows.wordpress.com Sarah Anne Lloyd

      Yeah, I don’t wanna :( And fair point that a TON of people are not allowed to, including a lot of my friends. But still, some of them don’t wanna, either. It’s okay for things to go wrong sometimes no matter what age you are. It seems silly to tout around the 20s as a time of trial and error but then give advice like that.

      • http://jeffbyrn.es/ jeffbyrnes

        While it does initially come off as marriage-centric (which is distasteful to me, too), the takeaway here is really not to rush things. Marriage aside, many couples cohabit far sooner than they should. I know I learned this lesson the hard way.

      • JK

        It’s completely contradictory with the rest of the article. Surely if your 20s are for making mistakes etc etc then cohabiting should be encouraged? Sounds pretty marriage centric to me.

        Example – #6 “Too often people forget that the 20s are an ideal decade for trial and error. Test things out, then fail or succeed.”

        #11 “Passing on spontaneous adventures and the opportunity to experience new things.”

  • H

    How do you know if you’re difficult to love?

  • x

    “but trying to glue back a thousand broken pieces while getting cut in the process is unhealthy”

  • http://twitter.com/jane_tobes tobosaurus

    Guilty of #13. In my defence, you just wouldn’t be able to fathom my labyrinthian depths.

    • Liz

      Such a response only makes me love you more.

  • http://www.itmakesmestronger.com/2012/08/15-ways-20-somethings-ruin-their-twenties/ Only L<3Ve @ ItMakesMeStronger.com

    […] Thought Catalog » Life Add a comment […]

  • G

    20-Something Reasons 20-Somethings Should Stop Talking About Being 20-Something.

    • ifsunflowersdanced


  • http://gravatar.com/designlooks designlooks

    My proposal for an addition to this list: smoking synthetic marijuana.

  • http://twitter.com/LegendxLM Marcus Ingram (@LegendxLM)

    Friends should be on this list. Sometimes you’ve gotta let a few go.

  • Elijah

    Most of these 20s lists apply to anyone regardless of age.

    THIS SITE HAS HUGE POTENTIAL! Don’t let it devolve into narcissistic, shallow ramblings, PLEASE!

    • Pinion

      You hear that over the sound of yourself posting pictures of yourself, Ryan?

    • Sab


  • http://yeswevegotavideo.wordpress.com davidjamesyoung

    What a pathetic article. Sounds like it was written by some 60-year-old Christian.

    • roz

      sounds like someone is a #14…

      • NYfrog


  • http://climbingmagnolias.wordpress.com climbing magnolias

    Reblogged this on climbing magnolias and commented:
    amazing article with a lot of great points!

  • http://dindelmundo.wordpress.com/2012/08/01/15-ways-20-somethings-ruin-their-twenties/ 15 Ways 20-Somethings Ruin Their Twenties | going back to square one.

    […] 15 Ways 20-Somethings Ruin Their Twenties […]

  • g

    So the implication of number 4 is that you shouldn’t live together pre-marriage because the relationship might fall apart? But getting married fixes everything….right?

  • http://20sdiaires.wordpress.com 20sdiaries

    We re-tweeted this as soon as we saw it on the web. What an amazingly honest piece. AMEN and thank you from a ton of 20-somethings :) We can’t wait to keep reading your stuff.

  • http://www.wongyushan.com/abc/?p=3981 *shannies » Blog Archive » 15 Ways 20-Somethings Ruin Their Twenties
  • Finn

    I really disagree with the fourth point. If living together is going to break your relationship, I’d say it’s better to find out before marriage. Plus, not everyone wants/can get married. The text in the point doesn’t really match the headline though. A better point would be “don’t do things you aren’t ready for” or “don’t rush into anything too serious”.

  • http://soundbodysoundmindblog.wordpress.com katefa28

    Reblogged this on Sound Body, Sound Mind and commented:
    Good fresh perspective for the first day of August!

  • http://twitter.com/_ChrisCruz Chris Cruz (@_ChrisCruz)

    I’d add not trying or embracing new experiences. Your 20’s are a time of exploration, you’re at your physical peak, most don’t have families to support, nor are tied down to major expenses such as a mortgage. Go to a college far away from home, intern in another state, try a new hobby, meet new people outside of the kids you grew up with.

  • http://cheerdummy.wordpress.com cheerdummy

    Reblogged this on Cheer Dummy.

  • http://thescientistandthehealthnut.wordpress.com thescientistandthehealthnut

    so true, particularly #1. it never gets easier to eat right or exercise regularly but it sure as hell gets harder to start the longer you wait.

  • http://memoirsfromthemotherland.wordpress.com/2012/08/02/15-ways-20-somethings-ruin-their-twenties/ 15 Ways 20-Somethings Ruin Their Twenties | Memoirs from the Motherland

    […] 15 Ways 20-Somethings Ruin Their Twenties […]

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  • Michelle

    Reading lists of trite, preachy do-not-dos ruin your 20s.

  • T

    Cohabitating is too mainstream now, anyway.

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