25 Stupidly Simple Things Every 20-Something Should Realize

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According to Ask Reddit these are some lifesaving pieces of advice for 20-somethings.
Two 20-somethings
Instagram / Allegra Messina

1. Take care of yourself.

“Take care of your health. Take care of your sanity. Take care of the relationships that matter most to you. Enjoy experiences throughout life and be ready to learn. Try not to turn down interesting experiences.” — ElusivePineapple

2. You are not behind.

“Now is generally a time where you feel you should have done something by now, but at the same time have not have a chance to do anything yet.” — Monsterzz 

3. Learn your drinking limit. 

“The day I learned when to cut myself off so I could still be loose and have a good time but not yakking all over the place when I got home was the greatest day of my 20s.” — PunchBeard

4. Pursue a career that allows you to be happy.

“Find a job/career that will ALLOW you to be happy. Of course, there are jobs/careers out there that will MAKE you happy, but I assume that the majority of occupations will involve some factor that will make a person unhappy (long hours, time away from loved ones, perhaps strenuous manual labor, ect.).

However, if you can find an occupation that will allow you to focus on the things in your life that already make you happy, I say go for that. A persons happiness is everything, despite how oversimplified that may seem. Life will take a 180 degree turn when a person finds them self in a job that not only requires the entirety of their day, but requires the entirety of their mind as the workload never ends and causes a person to stress even when off work.

Pursue happiness.” — AyBake

5. Leave when you want to leave. 

“You owe your employer nothing. If you need to leave, leave. If you need your own time, don’t feel pressured to work overtime. If they push the law on what’s legal, take legal action. Try to be as friendly and helpful as possible, but take care of yourself first and don’t let that friendliness get in the way or prevent you from doing what’s right. Learn from my mistakes.” — GoabNZ

6. You need to take responsibility for yourself. 

“Generally, things won’t get better unless you make them better. At the end of the day, you need to take responsibility for yourself.

Sometimes you’ll be on the fortunate end of good luck, and sometimes you’ll be on the unfortunate end of bad luck.

Set goals. Work on them a little bit every day.

Make the life you want and don’t wait for it to be handed to you because chances are, it won’t be handed to you.” — jacobra94

7. Remember how valuable these years of your life are.

“It gets exponentially harder to have novel experiences and explore as you get older, have kids, a mortgage, stable career, etc.

So don’t waste your early-mid twenties. This means lots of different things. Travel if you can. But even if you can’t, meet new people, and go new places. Read about different ideas. Date different kinds of people. Don’t stay in relationships you’re not happy in.

Basically, this part of your life is more valuable than you think.” — TooMuchPants

8. Keep your standards high and your options open.

“You don’t have to marry the first person who pays attention to you.” — ChemicalThread

9. Stop chasing after happiness. 

“My advice: Stop searching for happiness.

I know that sounds all sorts of fucked up, but hear me out.

All the self-help books in the world keep telling you to look for happiness. You look around and all your friends seem to have found various forms of it….except for you. You keep trying to get it and you feel you keep failing and it causes you to panic or get depressed or just feel like an all-around failure. But during all this searching and striving and flailing, have you ever really thought about the nature of happiness itself?

Look – happiness is a feeling, not a state of being. It is lovely and it is fleeting but it is NOT – I emphasize, NOT – the state you should be wishing to live in forever.

Think about it this way.

Going about in a constant state of sadness is dangerous, yes? We discourage that, we spend so much time trying to raise people out of it, and we call it depression. We know it’s unhealthy to live in that state.

Why, then, do we think it’s somehow okay to live – much less set a goal – towards a constant state of happiness? Just because one is a pleasant emotion and the other an unpleasant one doesn’t mean one is any better for us than the other. They’re simply two extremes on a straight line – one above, one below. Neither is healthy over the long-term. Both are meant to be experienced only occasionally.

Instead, pursue the healthy. Pursue contentment.

Contentment means you experience the joy and the sadness in your life without expecting anything unrealistic. You can be secure in the knowledge both feelings will eventually dissipate. There will be moments of supreme joy you can embrace and moments of sadness you must endure. Both feelings have their own meaning.

Contentment is attainable. You can look at your life and say, ‘I have enough, right now. I am okay.’ And from there, any steps you make to further your joy will not come from a place of fear, where you feel you MUST find success or happiness – or you have nothing. You will already have enough. Within contentment, you find peace.” — locogirlp

10. Some friends aren’t meant to stay in your world forever.

“Always salt your pasta while it boils, bunny ears are a perfectly acceptable way to tie your sneakers, some friends aren’t meant to be around forever, save your money but know when to enjoy the fruits of your labor, she’s looking to have fun and feel safe stop trying to marry her, change your own oil, learn how to fix a flat, keep a clean car, never turn down opportunity for fear of failure, take pride in your appearance, and never forget that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell.” — littlebeargiant

11. Stop making excuses.

“Excuses will destroy your life. Every excuse you make just takes something away from you. You’re not going to class because of shit going on in your life? You’re fucking up your future. Put on your big girl panties and do your shit or you’ll pay for it later.” — SouthernYankeeWitch 

12. Maintain perspective.

“Maintain perspective — things that may seem like a big deal (i.e. getting a large bill) are not worth a world of stress. Work hard and the rest will follow.” — EdMcGIV

13. Seriously, don’t do drugs. 

“Don’t fuck with opiates, stimulants, or benzos. Too many kids in their early twenties think it’s a good time to take prescription pills, be it OxyContin or adderall or Xanax. It all seems innocuous at first, but that shit is incredibly addictive. I was partial to opiates myself, and it fucked me up for a long time after I lost control of it.

Shit goes from ‘fun and recreational’ to ‘desperate because I need it’ faster than you’d think.” — lemon_catgrass

14. Appreciate the people in your universe. 

“You are young, but if you take a second to look around, the family you have been with your whole life have begun to grow old. Your grandparents won’t be around much longer, and your parents are getting into their 40s and 50s. Spend the time with them while they can still enjoy it, because it’s those memories you will have when they get old and are no longer able to do them/aren’t around anymore.” — dourazel

15. Find a balance between work and fun.

“What you spend your time doing right now will lay the foundation for the rest of your life. Have fun, but don’t waste it. You can’t get that time back.” — uacoop

16. Remember that you are still young.

“When I was 24, I had a 30-year old, married couple that I knew and hung out with. The wife told me, ‘Whatever mess you make in your 20’s, you can clean up in your 30’s.’ She said this because I was worried about my career and the possibility of buying a house with my fiance.

Basically, you still have time to grow into a functional adult and you still have the energy and motivation to start your life over and/or make some bad decisions. Experiment. Try and get that new job you want. Move somewhere else.

But try and get your life at least a little bit in order before your 30.” — the_planes_walker

17. Find a career you actually enjoy. 

“Working a job you hate for the money will just make you hate your life. Do something you enjoy even if it pays less and learn to live on that.” — itsZiz

18. Invest in your retirement from an early age.

“As soon as you get a job start investing in your retirement if you can afford it (401k, ira).

Typically your investments should double every 10 years. So every dollar you can invest now will be 16 dollars when you retire. Not to mention the tax shelter when you start making real money (pre tax deductions or post tax taxfree growth).” — workact

19. Realize there are gray areas in life. 

“Critical thinking: Knowing that having two opposing ideas in your head isn’t the cause for a meltdown. Search out at least two (more are better) differing opinions and news sources before deciding on the truth (or relative truth) of a thing. Sometimes there is no black or white, only gray.” — JasperDyne

20. Never forget the importance of networking. 

“Network. Build those work relationships. Be friendly with your coworkers (classmates if you’re still in school). They may know someone who can help you out down the line.

In this world, connections are everything.” — 420shadesofgreen

21. Learn to communicate (and laugh) with your person about sex.

“One of my favorite pieces of sex advice beyond the very obvious — learn to communicate and talk about sex, is to learn to laugh. Find someone you can laugh with in bed so if the anal or whatever else you try goes completely wrong, it’ll be okay because you can laugh about it. I always feel bad for those people who try something and it goes wrong and they are afraid to ever speak tot he person again or both partners just shut down and won’t speak of it. Laughter defuses so much tension. And while this may not be true of everyone, gosh damn does a good laugh just feel good sometimes. Naked, bed shaking laughter is so underrated.

Plus, the whole communication thing seems to go easier if you both are able to laugh. Sex doesn’t have to be this very serious thing. Not all the time anyway.” — Tzipity

22. Ask your elders for advice before making major decisions.

“Ask the advice of older people before making a big purchase like a house or car. Have them come with you if you can. Young people will often get taken advantage of when taking out loans for something like that. Don’t buy super nice things yet. Buy used things for cheaper and save your money.” — ediblehearts

23. Never forget to wear sunscreen.

“If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it.

The longterm benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience.” — Yooreka

24. Know your single status isn’t embarrassing. 

“You do not need to be married by now.” — aden34

25. Treat your body with respect.

“Do not take your body or your health for granted. You need your teeth, arteries, lungs and joints to last you the rest of your life. Treat them with the respect they deserve for keeping you alive, and perhaps that life will be long and healthful.” — bakemeawaytoys TC mark

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This is me letting you go

If there’s one thing we all need to stop doing, it’s waiting around for someone else to show up and change our lives. Just be the person you’ve been waiting for.

At the end of the day, you have two choices in love – one is to accept someone just as they are and the other is to walk away.

We owe it to ourselves to live the greatest life that we’re capable of living, even if that means that we have to be alone for a very long time.

“Everyone could use a book like this at some point in their life.” – Heather
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