3 Mistakes You Make In Your Early 20s, And 3 Lessons You Learn From Them

Our early 20s consist of a series of years submerged in mistakes that ironically play a hand in the manifestation of a humbling moment or three of self-discovery. You’ve already made more mistakes than you care to keep count of, some monumental and some minuscule, but an undeniable truth is you’ve gained wisdom through an eagerly adopted, daringly reckless nature.

1. The Mistake: Ordering a pizza off a handy food delivery app, only to fall asleep before it arrives. This is also known as burning $15-25 bucks.

All you ever wanted in this world at that moment on that one late night after too many bars with too many beautiful people was an extra-large Hawaiian pizza with BBQ sauce and jalapeños, ‘cause why not, right? Anything to soak up the night’s earlier consumed concoctions. Only catch here is you really must stay awake for when that glorified, likely disgusting pizza arrives. Inscribing a ‘call when here please,’ on the delivery instructions won’t change the fact you’re not getting a slice if you can’t stay awake for the hour it’ll take to prepare that doughy, greased up meal of victory.

The lesson: Set an alarm for the ‘estimated delivery,’ like you do with most everything else that requires attendance in your life. (If you’re feeling really responsible, go ahead and set two.)

2. The Mistake: Going out to the bars sober with the naïve notion you can afford to treat yourself and friends to enough drinks to invoke a buzz.

Is it just me or are all these ridiculous weeknight/end drink special promos really just advertising what would be a fair and reasonable price for a few drinks when you’re out with your friends? When did we settle for five dollar pints of cheaply exported beer, and subpar cocktails served with a twist of ‘I better be getting a handsome tip’ for this? I mean, us guys are hopelessly hopeful we might just meet an enthralling young beauty or two and buy her a drink to evoke some otherwise inaccessible small talk, but we’d like to do it without consuming our bank account in the process.

The lesson: Head to a grocery store and buy alcohol that is affordable while favorable towards maintaining a non-cleared out bank account. I mean hell, we should start a movement and train ourselves all to be the greatest mixologists this world’s ever seen. A movement rooted in creative innovation fueled by a relentless desire to liberate our troubled souls glued in a phase of uncertainty through inebriation brought upon by our very own creation. We’ll call it the ‘pre-game’ movement, and yes that was an anticlimactic title, but so is the party after a pre-game that was in no short supply of boozy beverages and snazzy tunes.

3. The Mistake: You take matters ingrained in immaturity too seriously, while addressing matters that really do call for a more serious approach with an air of blatant nonchalance.

Maybe it’s a class administered within the confines of an arena-esque lecture hall, where you have no trace of a doubt that anyone and everyone attending lectures wouldn’t notice the absence of your presence.

Thing is, one skipped lecture quickly gives way to another and before you know it, your mornings once occupied by the relentless repetition of the monotonous voice of a professor who is as old as the books they supplement the course with are now entirely occupied by the shamefully lazy war of ‘I’ll set my alarm 20 minutes early just so I can snooze it for a little bit, then think about getting up out of bed, then fall back asleep altogether…only to wake up an hour or two later to hate myself.’

The lesson: Learn through time and unnecessarily high levels of accumulated stress via snoozed alarm clocks that those guilty pleasures we all take to — whether it be a second bag of overpriced popcorn at that one summer blockbuster that really wasn’t worth all the money we paid to see it in the first place, or the pint of Ben & Jerry’s we foolishly tell ourselves will in no way whatsoever be consumed in one sitting, only to come to a mere hour later with an empty pint of ‘Half-Baked’ somehow still craving more — are all guilty pleasures to be enjoyed that much more, if we only strengthen our willpower through dedicated exercise, and get ourselves out of bed and taking care of each and every day’s responsibilities.

I get it, though.

It sucks sometimes. Especially when we know it’s about to be a particularly long and grueling day — maybe a standard eight hour shift in a lab for that one internship we were so excited about when it first started, right before a literal sprint to an overcrowded, oxygen-deprived bus that’ll take us to another eight-hour shift flipping burgers and mixing shakes for a series of customers that might just be better off not having come into today for over-processed fried food.

”Experience is merely the name men gave to their mistakes.” Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

We’ll keep on messing up for the rest of our lives, and some phases we go through might bring on more stubborn recklessness than others that’ll entail more mistakes than thoughtfully executed decisions. But the way I see it, so long as we’re getting out there and learning from what didn’t go right the first time around, we’re only helping ourselves through gaining the knowledge and wisdom that can be passed onto others with no knowledge their about to gain ‘experience’ the hard way. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

featured image – Zaytsev Artem

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