People Share The Biggest Mistakes They Made In Their Twenties

During your 20s, it can seem like you have all of the time in the world, and that nothing can stop you. However, these times sadly do not last forever.

One panicky 20-something decided to find out what mistakes/pitfalls they should avoid while in their idyllic 20s, by asking Reddit: "What are some of the biggest mistakes people can make in their 20s?"

Well, the internet leaped to their aid, and provided plenty of good advice for those entering, or already in the midst of the 20s. So, buckle up, 'cause here are some harsh life lessons!

Healthy Lifestyle

Unsplash | Jannis Brandt

"Not getting a routine of a healthy lifestyle. When older people say 'it gets a lot harder when you're older', they mean it." — themogz

I really can't say I'm looking forward to this one, there won't be time to put off those Saturday gym trips with the crushing weight of old age is creeping up behind me!


Unsplash | ShengGeng Lin

"Heavy drinking. You can waste away years of your life like this, thinking you're just 'partying.' A good friend of mine recently came to terms with his alcoholism. Getting black-out drunk every week for nearly a decade is not normal." — Itsafinelife

There is obviously nothing wrong with going for a few drinks with your friends, the key is moderation and understanding your limits.


Unsplash | Jair Lázaro

"For the majority of my friends in High school, it was trying Heroin after experimenting with pills. Since then 6 have died and the rest are either struggling with their addiction or have completely ruined their lives." — theabolitionist

If you feel like turning to hard drugs, there are anonymous helplines available for you to call, do not suffer alone with these urges as they can you down a sometimes irrevocably negative path.

Skin Care

Unsplash | Onela Ymeri

"Not wearing sunscreen. Seriously people wear sunscreen. Getting sunburned just once can triple your risk of melanoma later in life. I work with a lot of older hippies, construction workers, landscapers, and arborists and a lot of them have skin cancer and they all really wish they had worn sunscreen. Listen to Baz Luhrmann and wear sunscreen. If you're concerned about certain chemicals in sunscreen there's always alternatives. Also, look into Korean sunscreens." — Korinu

I always try and wear sunscreen, even though as a kid I would do anything to get out of wearing it. Don't be a dingbat, put on sunscreen!

Getting A DUI/DWI

Unsplash | Erik Mclean

"Get a DUI/DWI" — Prankishbear

This is not them saying, "Go and get a DUI," rather, don't! This sort of offense will not only have a profound impact on you for the rest of your life, but it is downright dangerous. Too many people lose loved ones each year because people can't be bothered to get a cab!

Frivolous Spending

Unsplash | Tamanna Rumee

"Don't waste money on stupid sh*t. If you're about to buy something stupid just think 'Will I get annoyed at having this in 2 years?'" — resykle

I am a sucker for doing this. My room is full of random stuff that I will probably never need; although, I do love it all so I can't say I regret any of it.

Financial Responsibility

Unsplash | Giorgio Trovato

"Get loans, credit cards that they can't fully pay off. Spend more money than you truly have or make.

"I did all that. Now I'm punished by my own poor mistakes of trying to spend money with ppl who make way more. I got 2-3 more yrs and im paid off." — Rosefog1986

I never understood the importance of planning out even a rough budget until I got my first proper job after university. That money cannot all go on games consoles and guitars as I previously thought!

Don't Let Love Escape You

Unsplash | cyril mazarin

"I only just turned twenty, but when I asked my 60-year-old mother, this is what she said:

"'Not telling someone you love them. You never know who life may take from you or who may want to say it back. Tell them before it’s too late.'" — ImReallyBadAtThis98

What a heartbreaking, yet inspiring answer.


Unsplash | Angelo Pantazis

"Just f*cking coast through life waiting for something to happen. Nobody is gonna walk up to you and hand you a meaning to your life or a fulfilling career." — holybad

If there is a job you really want, start looking for ways to get into that industry today! It is never too late to find the job you always wanted.


Unsplash | Nathan Dumlao

"Marrying the wrong person." — leons_getting_larger

This one was a very popular answer. It is important to never rush into these sorts of decisions, in your 20s you still have time to take your time and not make snap decisions that can impact the rest of your life.

Ear Care

Unsplash | Mark Paton

"Not wearing hearing protection in loud situations. The tinnitus is real, man. MAWP!" — Pork_Chap

I used to hear this a lot when reviewing local music magazines at university. If you're a fan of live music, the importance of this cannot be understated!

Seize The Day

Unsplash | Joshua Sazon

"Don't waste time being self-conscious, don't waste time on negative people/relationships/interpersonal dramas. Use this time for personal development. Get good at things you enjoy. Be friends with people who make you happy. Do interesting sh*t.

"Literally no one, ever, has looked back and been pleased that they spent six months embroiled in roommate drama. You're not going to (hopefully) be regaling the bar with how that bitch Cheryl bleached your towels in six years. It doesn't f*cking matter." — abnruby

The message here is pretty clear and is perhaps the most important one on the list. You want to be able to look back and enjoy the things you have done in life, not lament missed opportunities.

You Are What You Binge

Unsplash | Possessed Photography

"Watching terrible, mind-numbing TV shows. You become the thoughts you surround yourself with. Most of my friends who binged Keeping Up With The Kardashians have started acting and thinking that way and now they come across as selfish, ignorant people." — just_beans

Try watching interesting shows that have good plot, characters, and meaningful messages behind them. Also, unfollow all of those vacuous influencers that you are following, and go and find someone out there who is making something breathtaking, like a visual artist or a passionate author.


Unsplash | Joshua Reddekopp

"Having Children by the wrong person." — throw_away2568

Someone added to this, "Having children at all before you're ready emotionally, mentally and financially," which may be better advice for some people. You need to make sure that you are ready in yourself before embarking on such a journey.


Unsplash | Dovile Ramoskaite

"Coasting on their potential. It's easy to put off actually doing anything while you're still basking in the glory of being the smart kid at school or university, but then all of a sudden you're 29 and there are celebrities younger than you and you find yourself wondering where to even get started." — Portarossa

Some teachers will try and hammer home the importance of taking control of your future, but when you're a kid nothing really matters, which can feel great, but also dangerous.

Take Your Time

Unsplash | Jaelynn Castillo

"Not taking advantage of your greatest asset, time. When I was talking with an older friend who was very well off, millionaire, I jokingly said, 'I'll trade you my age for your money'. And his reply has always stuck with me, he said, 'I can do more with your time than you can do with my money.' I didn't take it as an insult but as motivation to make the most of my time and not waste it." — sheepblankett

It's easy to say use your time wisely, but actually doing so is the immensely difficult part. Especially in today's content-driven society which can pose so many distractions.

Planning For Retirement

Unsplash | Elena Saharova

"Don't think that there is plenty of time to save for retirement. If it is possible for you to put something away on a regular basis, do it. The best time to start is when you get a job that offers you more pay that what you were getting. Take a percentage of the increase and start savings that right from the beginning. That helps make it such that you never miss it." — SiliconDesertElec

While it is important to seize the day, it is also important to plan ahead. Retirement is supposed to be when you can finally relax a bit, and it'll be much easier to do that if you've planned your savings accordingly!

Read More Books

Unsplash | 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič - @specialdaddy

"The thing that I did right was to read books. I read a lot and it has helped me so much in my life. I also feel that as I have read for the last 15-20 years (I am 34), I am coming to a point where the collective knowledge is really kicking in. It has helped me a lot during job interviews too because I can articulate myself really well. So, if you are not reading in your 20s then I would mark that as a mistake." — order-chaos

I love this one. Why wouldn't you want to read books, there are so many fantastic stories out there waiting to inspire you!

"Biggest mistake: Not listening to the elders!"

Unsplash | K. Mitch Hodge

"Older people have a wealth of knowledge and are absolutely willing to share it (whether you ask or not). I think a lot of young people tend to think that they know a lot more than they do. Believe me, you don't know even a percentage of what you will learn as you grow out of your 20s. Take heed to the advice of the older generations, filter it, and keep it in mind as your progress." — bamberrush

Dental Care

Unsplash | Gian Cescon

"Not brushing your teeth. When my father passed away, I slept away each night without taking care of myself. I've had so many root canals, removals, and pain because of it- and it only hurts what little self image I have of myself.

"When your teeth go, you smile less and hate yourself a little more every day. It just takes so much away from you. Please, please take care of those chompers." — That_Wacky_Magic

Self-care can seem unimportant and boring at times when we're feeling low, but getting back into a routine of caring for yourself can be some of the most important first steps towards moving past whatever is bringing you down.