21 Non-Negotiable Mistakes You Should Make Before Turning 21

21 Non-Negotiable Mistakes You Should Make Before Turning 21

Everybody makes mistakes. It’s part of life and helps us develop into the people we’re meant to be. The majority of these mistakes occur in our early twenties, since we’re slowly entering adulthood. No one is expected to know everything at once, so failing is part of everyone’s journey. Here is a list of 21 non-negotiable mistakes you should make before turning 21.

1. Fall in love with the wrong person.

It will teach you a great deal of things. You will understand what you want in life and what’s not a priority for you. It’s a way to grow and discover yourself. You have to be with someone who isn’t good for you in order to figure out who brings out the best in you.

2. Pick a wrong career path.

This one might seem confusing, but it’s extremely vital. In order to know your passion, you have to follow the wrong ones first. You will develop your interests and dreams through this mishap. And that’s a priority.

3. Spend too much money.

When you get your allowance or paycheck, you will most definitely spend it all on something that you shouldn’t have. And that’s okay. It takes time to learn how to budget your money and spend it responsibly. Everything takes practice.

4. Fail at something.

Just because you failed doesn’t mean that you’re a failure. Not achieving that goal you set for yourself will happen, but it’s not the end of the world. It will show you that you are capable of improving and growing, and that’s an important life lesson.

5. Sleep too much.

You will never have enough time to sleep when you start working full-time. Your early twenties are for sleeping in and enjoying your time. You have no idea how fast it passes.

6. Follow someone else’s dream.

When you’re young, you rarely have a clear idea of what your dreams are. You might know what you’re leaning towards, but oftentimes your vision is blurry. So it’s okay to follow into someone else’s footsteps. You have to explore your options in order to find the one that’s meant for you.

7. Make terrible fashion choices.

In order to discover what your style is, you have to experiment. Everybody needs to go through their non-coordinated outfit phase. That’s completely normal and will make you realize what you truly feel comfortable in. So copy your friends’ styles or follow your idol’s advice—it’s all a process.

8. Let someone break your heart.

You have to have your heart broken at least once. If you don’t, you’ll never know how love actually feels. You need to experience the pain and heaviness that comes with losing a relationship. It will hurt, but it’s one of the most important teaching moments of life.

9. Give up on something.

Sometimes, you have to give up. It will teach you the satisfaction of actually achieving something. Everybody gives up sometimes—the key is to not stay down but to get back up immediately and carry on.

10. Get too drunk.

I would like to clarify that everyone should drink responsibly and within their country’s legal limit. Getting too drunk in your early twenties is completely normal. It will show you what your limit is and teach you how to respect it. Remember that everything in life can be enjoyed, but it has to be in moderation.

11. Waste your time.

Spend time on irrelevant things. Binge-watch Netflix all night, scroll through Instagram and update your Twitter. This is the time in your life when you can allow yourself to do these things. Once you get older, the number of your responsibilities will increase. Cherish your freedom.

12. Try things that aren’t for you.

If you don’t like sports, try some. If you hate playing instruments, sign up for a class. If you hate it and quit after one class, it’s okay. This mistake is essential in order to figure out what you love doing. Go partying all night if it’s not your thing. Go out there and do the things that might turn out to be mistakes. In any case, they will always be lessons.

13. Spend too much time at home.

Stay in all weekend even is something tells you that you might regret it. Spending time alone isn’t always a mistake—it’s the time that you’ll discover who you are without anyone’s judgment and criticism.

14. Get at least one bad grade.

Life isn’t just about straight As and perfect exam scores. Occasionally, you have to flunk a test and, in turn, go out and do something irresponsible. It will show you what your priorities are and how to best get to where you want to be in life.

15. Neglect some of your responsibilities.

First of all, I don’t suggest you live your life recklessly. However, occasionally neglecting responsibilities, such as washing the dishes, doing the laundry or grocery shopping, is part of growing up. You have to learn to understand that you’re responsible for your own life. This will teach you how to be the best version of yourself.

16. Break up with someone you shouldn’t.

Life is filled with surprises, and making mistakes is part of it. Sometimes, you won’t even know you’re making one. But it’s non-negotiable to truly grow. Breaking up with someone and realizing it was a mistake afterward is part of your learning process. You have to grieve losing that person in order to know when love is real as you get older.

17. Take a terrible risk.

Taking risks is part of life. However, when we’re young, we don’t know how to calculate their outcome. It’s completely normal and expected. You shouldn’t feel worried when the risk you took backfired. It won’t be the first time.

18. Lose friends over something silly.

During your lifetime, you will lose many friendships. Some will end for a reason, and some will simply fade away. All of this is normal. However, sometimes you might lose friendships because of something wrong you’ve done. Everybody goes through that. The key is to learn from it and make sure you improve for your next friendships.

19. Cheat on someone.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be a physical affair. You might cheat on someone emotionally or betray their trust. It doesn’t automatically make you a bad person. We’re all inexperienced when young. We need time to learn how to be committed to someone and what is okay to do in every relationship.

20. Ignore your health because you think “you’ll have time for that later.”

Many of us, when young, think it’s not important to take care of our health. We don’t go to doctors, dentists or regular checkups. However, your health is something that you will never get back. You have to appreciate and cherish it. You will regret it later if you don’t.

21. Make mistakes that you’re convinced will define your life.

Nothing in life is permanent, especially when you’re 21. You will make many more mistakes than the ones during your youth. This is how people evolve, grow and improve. No mistake defines who you are. You simply have to take lessons and responsibility for your actions.

And then everything will be okay. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

About the author

Natalie Trznadel

Writer. Photographer. Dreamer.