25 Ways You Can Accidentally Ruin Everything In Your 20s

You’re young, but you don’t have to act dumb. You can avoid a future filled with regrets as long as you stay away from these bad habits mentioned on Ask Reddit.
Joel Sossa

1. Staying in shitty relationships

“Staying in a mediocre/bad relationship because of inertia or because you’ve already sunk a bunch of time and effort into it.

Dating is hard at any age, but it gets harder as you get older. If you aren’t that into your current SO or it feels like the relationship is always a lot of hard work, consider breaking it off. There are worse things than being single.” — allthebacon_and_eggs

2. Forgetting to make the most of your time

“Not taking advantage of your greatest asset, time. When I was talking with an older friend who was very well off, millionaire, I jokingly said, ‘I’ll trade you my age for your money.’ And his reply has always stuck with me, he said, ‘I can do more with your time than you can do with my money.’ I didn’t take it as an insult but as motivation to make the most of my time and not waste it.” — sheepblankett

3. Drinking too much

“Heavy drinking. You can waste away years of your life like this, thinking you’re just ‘partying.’ A good friend of mine recently came to terms with his alcoholism. Getting black-out drunk every week for nearly a decade is not normal.” — Itsafinelife

4. Not brushing your teeth

“Not brushing your teeth.

When my father passed away, I slept away each night without taking care of myself. I’ve had so many root canals, removals, and pain because of it- and it only hurts what little self image I have of myself.

When your teeth go, you smile less and hate yourself a little more every day. It just takes so much away from you.

Please, please take care of those chompers.” — That_Wacky_Magic

5. Coasting on your potential

“Coasting on their potential. It’s easy to put off actually doing anything while you’re still basking in the glory of being the smart kid at school or university, but then all of a sudden you’re 29 and there are celebrities younger than you and you find yourself wondering where to even get started.

If you want something, the time to start working towards it is while you’re young and hungry.” — Portarossa

6. Acting self-conscious 

“Don’t waste time being self-conscious, don’t waste time on negative people/relationships/interpersonal dramas. Use this time for personal development. Get good at things you enjoy. Be friends with people who make you happy. Do interesting shit.

Literally no one, ever, has looked back and been pleased that they spent six months embroiled in roommate drama. You’re not going to (hopefully) be regaling the bar with how that bitch Cheryl bleached your towels in six years. It doesn’t fucking matter.

No one has ever been super jazzed that they nitpicked their own appearance for seven years and consequently couldn’t enjoy themselves because they were pulling at their clothing. (I’m not talking about self improvement, I’m talking about being really unhappy with yourself for the sake of being really unhappy with yourself, stop doing that, you’re fine)

If your relationship involves screaming, drunken screaming, the silent treatment, weird subterfuge, or general nastiness, (and I could make an endless list of bullshit behavior) leave that relationship.

You are going to outgrow friendships. Other people are going to outgrow your friendship. This is normal. It’s not an indictment of you as a person. It can be painful, handle it with grace.

And always, think before you react. Always be your own devil’s advocate. Think about others, think about how you sound when dealing with conflict. Being a stable person is partially an acquired skill. Learn it.” — abnruby

7. Feeling too comfortable

“Don’t be comfortable.

Seriously, be UNCOMFORTABLE. Interview for a job that’s out of your league. Ask the girl out that’s out of your league. Apply for grad school that’s out of your league.

When the worst thing that can happen is the same as if you never tried, TRY.” — Goldenlancer

8. Having unsafe sex

“Not wearing a condom.” — BrotherxSpartan

9. Assuming life cannot get any better

“Staying in a meh relationship because they think that’s as good as relationships get.” — teenlinethisisnitro

10. Neglecting your skin

“Not wearing sunscreen. Seriously people wear sunscreen. Getting sunburned just once can triple your risk of melanoma later in life. I work with a lot of older hippies, construction workers, landscapers, and arborists and a lot of them have skin cancer and they all really wish they had worn sunscreen. Listen to Baz Luhrmann and wear sunscreen. If you’re concerned about certain chemicals in sunscreen there’s always alternatives. Also look into Korean sunscreens. They have amazing sunscreens that go on smooth just like lotion and don’t leave you sticky or contain some of the harsh chemicals in American sunscreens. Make it a part of your daily routine and you’ll appreciate it later in life.” — Korinu

11. Waiting to save for retirement

“Don’t think that there is plenty of time to save for retirement. If it is possible for you to put something away on a regular basis, do it. The best time to start is when you get a job that offers you more pay that what you were getting. Take a percentage of the increase and start savings that right from the beginning. That helps make it such that you never miss it.” — SiliconDesertElec

12. Having kids to save your relationship

“Marry the first person that shows interest in them because they feel like it’s their only chance to be with someone, and having kids immediately after, because ‘kids improve marriage.’ No. No. No. Just… no. Kids are cool, but as long as both parents fully participate and a baby puts an enormous strain even on a healthy relationship.” — redheadfreaq

13. Being boring

“Not being interesting.

Really. It takes time to be interesting, it takes time to grow a personality and an identity that isn’t based off the things you like (or worse, the things you hate) or some preconceived labels.

People say, go out, live life, have an adventure! And yeah, that’s a way to be interesting. But reading books, writing, painting, cultivating a knowledge base either very specific or very broad- those are also ways to be interesting.

And what’s so important about being interesting? Well, the obvious way is that its a way to meet people, and make them stay. And while you may not need people, its still nice to have them.

But I’d probably say even more important than that, is that it gives you a sense of who you are, and what you want to do, and thus ways to relate to people. Because you can’t be interesting… without interests. And goals beyond just living to tomorrow and avoiding suffering, because life isn’t just about avoiding suffering, or at least, we all should hope it isn’t. And when tragedy inevitably comes, or you find yourself suddenly in a strange new place or alone…

in the end, you’ll find yourself interesting. Too interesting to give up on, too interesting to throw away.

So you know. Do something unique. Dare to disagree. Explore an inclination, scratch an itch. Because in this cynical world, its dangerous to just be a collection of likes and dislikes, easily moved and swayed because you don’t have a place you want to be. So be interesting.” — dieterschaumer

14. Maxing out your credit card

“Maxing out credit cards. Kids witness their parents opening up credit cards at major retail stores, not understanding what it means. Since most teens are inadequately prepared for handling finances fresh out of high school, opening credit cards is just what mom and dad always did!” — nygmattyp

15. Trying hard drugs

“For the majority of my friends in High school it was trying Heroin after experimenting with pills. Since then 6 have died and the rest are either struggling with their addiction or have completely ruined their lives.” — theabolitionist

16. Staying at a job for too long

“Staying at a job too long. If you’re not making more money or in line for promotion 30 months after you start, you’ll likely be kept there for awhile. Big salary changes these days pretty much only occur by job hopping.” — SnapeProbDiedAVirgin

17. Dating someone with control issues

“Getting into a relationship with an SO who has control issues.

A lack of respect for personal boundaries is a serious red flag. The risks include depleted savings, ruined credit, damaged a career, frayed ties to family and friends, and ending up with one or more unplanned children.

Serious advice: if a charming person as that red flag but you think you can manage it, don’t even try.” — doublestitch

18. Wasting your time

“Not investing in yourself. Workout, learn skills (professional and personal). Stop wasting time.” — b_tight

19. Attending an expensive college

“Racking up more school debt than they need to because they feel they need to stick it out at the expensive private college for whatever reason (friends, relationship, school reputation, etc…).” — hideous_coffee

20. Ignoring your parents

“Forgetting about calling and visiting your parents. Seriously. It may sound weird but when I was in my 20s I was so happy to be out of the house that I made the mistake of disconnecting with my mom and dad.

I wish I would have done more.” — buffywho

21. Waiting for success to fall onto your lap

“Just fucking coast through life waiting for something to happen. Nobody is gonna walk up to you and hand you a meaning to your life or a fulfilling career.” — holybad

22. Not getting in the habit of exercising

“Falling out of the habit of exercising regularly. It’s such an easier habit to maintain than it is to adopt in one’s 30s.” — simowilkins

23. Never taking any chances

“-Taking your loved ones and your health for granted.
-Spending too much. (It’s important to start getting into the habit of saving now. Though if you like to travel, do some traveling now when you’re young and in good health, but travel frugally and safely.)
-Being too afraid to take chances.
-Not thinking about what truly matters to you (temporary/instant gratification vs long term gratification or what you would have wanted to experience/achieve if your life expectancy is cut short).” — Tweetydrops

24. Having an unhealthy lifestyle

“Not getting a routine of a healthy lifestyle. When older people say, ‘It gets a lot harder when you’re older,’ they mean it.” — themogz

25. Not wearing headphones in loud places

“Not wearing hearing protection in loud situations. The tinnitus is real, man. MAWP!” — Pork_Chap Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Holly is the author of Severe(d): A Creepy Poetry Collection.

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