20 Bullshit Pieces Of Advice 20-Year-Olds Have Heard But Shouldn’t Follow

Zach McCaffree

1. Spend your money on traveling and other experiences, money is money, you’ll make more. 

So I guess the idea behind this one is that lifelong memories are priceless, right? This is probably the worst advice that you could ever give anyone because money is not just money. In the world we live in, money is life. We need money to survive. We use money for food, to pay for insurance, to sustain our lives, to have a home, and everything else. Telling someone with no money as it is that it’s okay to spend what little savings they have will only set a person back. You hustle in your 20s. Of course, you should prioritize saving for vacations and other fun expenses, but don’t buy a one-way ticket to Thailand thinking that it’ll change you.

2. You need to travel more and get out of Manhattan. 

I’ve met two random strangers who gave me this advice. I need to leave the city and see Paris, and Dubai, and Mexico, and Tokyo. Thank you, I was unaware that I was living the wrong life this entire time. Excuse me while I spend the $5 I have to my name on a ticket to fucking Paris. Please stop telling 20-year-olds we need to travel more. Trust me, all of us would love to travel the world, but we’re fucking broke. We literally cannot afford it. We will one day, but right now It’s more important we spend money on food than Paris.

3. Get your heart broken. 

I don’t think anyone should ever intentionally have their heart broken. As if it’s going to make you a stronger person, and more equipped to deal with the world. The thing about broken hearts is that you really don’t learn. It just hurts. One can’t foresee who will or will not screw us over and leave us broken. It just happens when you least expect it. So it can happen once it can happen five times, but ever time it does happen, it hurts all the same. You don’t get stronger from it, you’re just in pain.

4. Go to college.

 I’m not at all saying that going to college is a bad idea. I think today, more than ever, college is essential when it comes to getting a job because there are so many people out there with a degree, the job market today is a lot more competitive. What I am saying is that it’s incredibly dumb to spend $30,000+ per semester on any education. Of course, if you or your family has the money, then do it, but most people don’t have the money. I don’t think people really understand how much money $120,000 is. That kind of debt will set you back for the rest of your life. No education is worth it, there are plenty of colleges far more affordable than this. The “college experience” is not worth the debt. It is suffocating. The amount of money is literally suffocating and all my generation ever does is laugh it off. It’s so much harder to accomplish anything when you are set back so much right

5. Just go for it. 

In reference to a situation where you should stop asking questions and just take a leap of faith. Like asking someone out, or going after a job, or relocating your life. Just remember to not always go for it. There do exist situations where you really shouldn’t go for it. This advice may or may not lie in contrast with the universal 20-something-year-old mantra but there are some risks really not worth taking.

6. Treat yourself. 

You shouldn’t always be treating yourself. The majority of your time should not be spent treating yourself. You worked a full shift today? Congrats. You did what you were supposed to do. Treating yourself should be a once in a while thing. You shouldn’t be eating a pint of Ben and Jerry’s every single night because you “earned it.” One must recognize when they truly deserve a treat.

7. You don’t need to be in a relationship. 

Okay, let me clarify. Yes, you don’t need to always be with someone. It is so important that you get to know yourself before you settle down forever (if you choose to settle down). But we shouldn’t be perpetuating this idea that being perpetually single is this amazing thing that we should learn to love. We are human. We are biologically driven to find a lifelong partner. The majority of our happiness (and pain) in life comes from loving someone and being loved.

8. You should always say no when you don’t want to do something. 

This has to do with the idea that you come first and your needs precede the needs of others. Yes, this is always true. You should say no but then there are times in life where you should say yes, even if you don’t want to do it. If your friends want to go out, say yes. It’s not like you’re going to work, you’re just spending time with your friends, it’s really not as big of a chore as one makes it seem. If someone asks for a favor that you don’t want to do, say yes. Not all the time, but like I said, it’s nice to say yes. In life, you can’t always say no just because you don’t want to do it.

9. Accept people for who they are. 

Anyone who says to never judge or to accept everyone is not a human being because that’s impossible. If you don’t like a person, then you don’t like a person. It’s okay to not accept everyone for who they are. I don’t accept Hitler for what he did and believe it or not, there are a lot of people who did. You and I don’t have to be one of them. If you don’t like the girl with the blue hair, then don’t like her. If you hate the guy with the tattoos, be free to hate. You’re human for Christ sake. We all judge, let’s stop pretending like we don’t. Negative thoughts don’t make you a negative, miserable human, negative thoughts just make you human. Just don’t let hate and judgment be the only things that consume you.

10. You can do whatever you want to do. 

Of course, you can, you have the capability to become and do whatever you want to be or do in life. If you want to be a writer, go be a writer. If you want to be an actor, go be an actor. But nothing is guaranteed and we need to remind people that success in life comes with hard work. A lot of hard work. I don’t mean studying hard, going to college, getting a job. There is so much more to success besides these things. You can be whatever you want to be, but you have to work tirelessly to get it. You must give all of yourself to whatever this dream is. Not just part of yourself. All of yourself. This is not a linear path and things are only guaranteed if you put in the work. It’s more than a late-night cram session. It’s more than one unpaid internship.

11. Eliminate negative people in your life. 

I wouldn’t say this. I think it’s good to remain civil without totally deleting someone from your life. Truth is, it’s pretty much impossible to remove someone from the picture. If it’s a friend, you will probably see them because you belong to the same social circle. Same with an ex, there’s a good chance you two are in the same social circle. If it’s a coworker, you can’t really delete them. You just have to learn to be civil. You don’t have to pretend to like them or ask about their weekend like you give a shit, just refrain from snickering every time they walk by.

12. Listen to your parents. 

This is supposed to be the time in our lives where we realize that a lot of the lessons are parents taught us are correct and that they were right. Bullshit. Mom and dad are human beings too. They’re not always right.

13. Your happiness matters most. 

Your happiness does matter but whether or not your happiness comes first is relative. Recognize when it’s right to put your needs aside for someone else.

14. Do what makes you happy. 

I always get so stressed when people tell me this. The truth is, you’re not always going to be happy all the time. You’re going to have a job that you hate, or a chore you dread but that’s okay, you’re don’t have to be happy all the time. You’re not living the wrong way if you’re not constantly happy. It’s important to push yourself through the unhappiness to get to the happiness.

15. Be kind to everyone. 

In general, we should all treat one another with respect but we should also know when to flip the bird.

16. Take a mental health day off from work. 

Maybe this is just me, but if I were to take off every time I needed a mental health day, I’d never be at work. I think this is just a part of being human, pushing through the pain, rolling with the punches. Sometimes I spring out of bed, sometimes it takes me some time to motivate myself but I eventually get out of bed

17. Love yourself for who you are. 

Yes, but don’t be complacent if you see room for improvement. Whether that be in your physical health, your mental health, your career, your social life, etc. Love yourself but be able to recognize what aspects of yourself you wish you could change.

18. Recognize how perfect you are. 

I don’t believe in perfection and I think people have taken the idea of perfection too seriously. You’re not perfect, I’m not perfect, but that doesn’t mean you’re imperfect. Does that make sense? I also see that in my generation specifically, we have taken this idea of self-love and beauty and twisted it into vanity and narcissism. People are way too into themselves. Confidence is key, but narcissism is too much.

19. It’s okay to make bad decisions. 

Just don’t keep doing it. Don’t keep making bad decisions after you’ve already made that mistake before.

20. Your 20s are the best years of your life. 

This isn’t so much advice as it is a reiterated mantra. There should never be a certain age-frame designated as “The best years of your life.” You should always be living your best life despite your age. Life becomes miserable if all you do is look back at how amazing being 20 is. It’s great, being young is great but being young isn’t everything. TC mark

Funny girl, writer, & clueless.

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