Your twenties are a strange, free, and wonderful time in the lives of many. You’re still young enough not to have too many responsibilities, you’re on your own for the first time, and you’re figuring out what you want from the rest of your life.
That also means, of course, there are plenty of pitfalls waiting to gobble you up – so if you’re in your twenties and are hoping to benefit from other people’s experience, here are 12 mistakes you’ll want to avoid.
12. It’s harder to get back in.
Getting out of shape. Developing unhealthy eating habits can dramatically hurt your quality of life.
And in most cultures, opportunities. Plenty of studies have shown that people who are out of shape are, on average, viewed and treated differently in the workplace.
Not to mention, and I’m saying this as someone who has been a wide range of body shapes in my life, it does affect dating and how friendly strangers are to you.
11. Don’t just put your head down and go.
Mistake: Getting comfortable in your current job, while also not making plans to increase your skills to qualify for the next role.
Unless you’ve joined a generous company, don’t assume your first job is going to really take care of you for years to come. This isn’t the 1950’s where corporate culture rewards loyalty. Year on year they will instead continue to dump greater responsibility on you but come compensation time, barely increase your pay more than the cost of living increase. Then they’ll justify it by saying you are at the -arbitrary- pay ceiling for your role. Don’t be like me and become obsolete, making life scary and job hunting depressing – It is daunting to recover from.
2 times a year, check online job postings and look for reasonable next-step roles for yourself.
Then identify any knowledge gaps for that role, and actively work on learning what you need in order to fill the gap. Even if that means learning it out of work hours.
Then apply for similar roles, you do not need to be 100% perfect fit; 80-90% fit is great.
Expect to not always win the job offers, competition nowadays is fierce; get comfortable in being knocked down but getting up again.
Rejoice when you land a new role, knowing you are doing well to avoid becoming stagnant.
Repeat steps 1-5 at least every 2 years.
Or not, and see how capitalism rewards a static employee.
10. Don’t assume you know everything.
Walking too confidently on the pavement of their own opinions and experience. You must do this in your twenties, as its all you’ve been taught and have to go on, but it’s the ‘too confidently’ that you don’t realize.
Approach every person and interaction as if they have something to teach you or that you could learn from them and their perspective.
Done with genuine openness you’ll be better and wiser for it, will become a better judge of people (to more quickly sort through the bs), and will have more opportunities because you are more interested in listening and understanding others than in telling everyone how you think they (and the world) should be.
9. It’s never too late.
Sticking to a career they hate because that’s what they chose to do when they were 16-18 years old.
It’s never too late to change your career path and if you’re not enjoying it now do you think that will change in another 20-30 years?
8. They’re hard to break.
Not adopting good habits, especially the first time they move out of their parents’ home.
Good, healthy habits are easy to adopt when you change environment, bad habits are hard to get rid of, especially about food.
7. Think about the future.
Not taking advantage of a 401k if offered because they ‘don’t make a lot of money so it wouldn’t be worth it anyway’. At least this is a mistake I made. I was working retail and opted out of the 401k because even the smallest amount of my meager income felt like too much.
It’s not about the money now, it’s about the money in 50 years. A small amount can grow tremendously in that amount of time. Also, if your company has a 401k match, you’re literally throwing the money away by not taking advantage of it. Even if they only match the first 3 or 4 percent, that’s literally free money! Take advantage of it!
6. Live in the now.
Focusing on the future where you’ll be content.
“When I can buy that house, things will be great.”
“When I can start a family…..”
“When I get that promotion…..”
All those things may be great, but right now always has its it’s great moments. Right now has its own joys. Work for what you want, but live right now.
5. Seriously. Just do it.
Not wearing a condom.
4. Take care of your teeth.
If you aren’t taking dental hygiene serious in your 20s… You are going to have a bad time later in life.
Edit:. For everyone asking my advice on what’s serious
Brush twice daily (after every meal is better) Wait a little since some foods can weaken enamel.
Floss twice daily (after every meal is better or AT LEAST once at night)
Electric toothbrush will change your life. Not necessary but they do a way better job than you probably do at brushing. Get the ones with a spinning head brush.
Visit your dentist every 6 months for regular checkups.
Don’t brush too hard or you will wear away your enamel.
When you floss get up into your gum line. You need to scrap away the plaque from up there not just remove food from between your teeth.
Did I mention flossing and brushing twice daily?
Edit 2:. After all the comments I went researching some more so additional info.
Ultrasonic toothbrush are recommended over rotating but it has to be the RIGHT toothbrush which after some research could cost you up to 200. As far as cheaper options the rotating brush is still recommended over vibrating. Emmi-dent is one brand that uses the proper frequency but the price tag is… Well a lot.
3. Don’t dismiss the possibilities.
Thinking this is the person they’ll be forever.
Thinking this is the person they will be WITH forever.
You are not who you were at 20 when you turn 40. No one ever is. Whether you succeed as a couple or even as an individual is keep recognising your growths, strengths and challenges.
2. You’ve gotta keep growing.
Thinking that they have finished maturing.
I think that applies to all age brackets.
1. It’s an important lesson to learn.
The value of delayed gratification in health, nutrition, retirement planning, driving a used car, etc.
I definitely made a few of these in my twenties. Oops!
What advice would you give to someone in their twenties? Share it in the comments!