21 People On The Things They Wish They Had Known At 21

girl friends having fun at dusk
istockphoto.com / wundervisuals

1. “Don’t let your long-term self deteriorate because of your short term self’s decisions. That is, have fun partying and stuff but don’t overdo it. Cost-benefit analysis doesn’t end up well.” – Emily, 23

2. “Living at home after college isn’t the end of the world. Savor the home-cooked meals, free Netflix, and doting TLC from your mom when you get sick. The money I saved living under my parents’ roof helped me buy a new car a few years later. So worth it.” – Caroline, 28

3. “Invest in yourself. Explore your interests. Learn your strengths. I spent too much of my early adulthood doing what I thought was expected of me, and when I look back, I realized how much more fulfilling and empowering it would have been to define that path for myself.” – Rachel, 28

4. “’Life is the thing that happens while you’re waiting for things to happen’ — meaning, stop obsessing over getting to that next mile marker. The good stuff is right in front of you, and it’s what you’ll actually remember when you’re older and find yourself wishing you’d appreciated more at the time.” – KJ, 39

5. “Just because you can drink booze doesn’t mean you’re truly finished growing up.” – Sommer, 38

6. “My favorite life advice is a quote from my now deceased pal, the self-proclaimed deviant and food writer Josh Ozersky. I wish I’d embraced his philosophy sooner, so here it is: Life’s too short for savory desserts and platonic love affairs.” – Melanie, 36

7. “‘When people tell you who they are, believe them.’ — Maya Angelou

But really almost no one is making you read between some beautiful, metaphorical lines to find out who they really are. They’re showing you and telling you and if you’re refusing to see it, that’s on you babe.” – Kendra, 28

8. “There are more useful things to do with your time than only drink on the weekends.” – Amy, 57

9. “I wish I had known that going outside of my comfort zone and making mistakes would be the best way to grow.” – Sarah, 26

10. “You have your whole life to go to the bar, find out what else you like to do while you still have the freedom of free time.” – Brandon, 25

11. “I wish I would have been able to look for love within myself instead of worrying so much about finding someone to do that job for me. I wish I would have known how dangerous it is to seek out that job for anyone but yourself.” – Halie, 23

12. “Stop giving the maximum to people who give you the bare minimum. Don’t give the best of yourself to toxic people. Instead, refocus all of your loving energy on yourself. Savor every bit of your youth and stop underestimating how awesome you are because one day you’ll look back and think about all the moments you wasted not realizing how beautiful and worthy you truly were – and still are.” – Shahida, 27

13. “I’ve found that you find what you really want to do in your mid to late 20s, and that’s when you need to start putting your head down and working at it, so at 21, just have fun and don’t take life too seriously. Wish I stressed less about life opportunities etc at 21 and just went for things more. 21 is the perfect age for experimenting and trying out what works and what doesn’t, so don’t be afraid to try and fail. You’re really still not a grown up.” – Timor, 25

14. “Don’t give a fuck what people say.” – Greg, 27

15. “Accept and embrace that your career may not end up being what you envisioned at age 18. Challenge your worldview. Make time for people who uplift you. Be kind to your body and mind.” – Jeanette, 26

16. “Live by the messages of the poems ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling and ‘Try, Try Again’ by an anonymous writer. My mother also used to harp at us kids to live by the golden rule, which is to treat others the way you want to be treated. If you live by those three things, you’ll do pretty good.” – Grandpa Gil, 94

17. “You have more influence on your job than you think you do. In other words, don’t sell yourself short just because you’re 21.” – Chris, 59

18. “The fear of wondering what could have been if you had followed your dreams is just as strong as the fear of doing it. Be more afraid of playing it safe and not pursuing your dreams than of the possibility of failure when trying.” – Bre’Anna, 25

19. “It’s okay when your friends make mistakes! Part of growing up and having relationships with people is allowing them to fuck up or hurt you or be selfish (within reason) and forgiving them and moving on. Not everything has to be a big fight or something that makes you reconsider whether they are a ‘true’ friend.” – Chrissy, 32

20. “I wish I didn’t get too stressed about life turning out one way or another and go with the flow more.” – Shane, 24

21. “One, you won’t marry first guy you have a real adult relationship with. So when you break up, cry, call it a learning experience, and move the hell on. Two, by age 30 you will only have three girlfriends who are really your true friends. By this time you’ve weeded out the flakes and know these three women will never let you down. Three, you won’t apply anything you learn in college to your job so get decent enough grades but have some fun. And finally, whatever is troubling you at 21 you won’t give a second thought to at 36. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Move on.” – Mara, 36 Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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