I’m almost 28 years old. I started writing online when I was 23, and started writing in a journal at 21 years old.
Of all the things I’ve done in my 20’s, taking up writing was the best decision I ever made.
I’ve had regrets, though, too.
After writing some 1000+ blog posts and doing a lot of reflecting, there’s ten big lessons I wish I learned in my early 20’s that would’ve saved me a ton of trouble.
For those who are younger than me, my age, or perhaps much older than me, here they are. It’s never too late to put these lessons into practice.
1. Never Sacrifice Your Health For Work
My girlfriend is a teacher who works from 7 AM to 2 AM these days. I swear to God it’s true.
I’ve fallen into similar traps. My biggest failure is that I get addicted to my work and let it consume my life — ignoring my body in the process.
Your body is your spaceship. Without a functioning body, you’ll obviously die. 20 year old bodies can afford to take a beating with alcohol, sleep deprivation, etc. but trust me, once you get into your late 20’s you start to feel a hangover hit you like a left hand from Conor McGregor.
Health is wealth. Never sacrifice your health for work. Your body is all you really have.
2. Start Investing At 21
I’ve read tons of investing books written by the experts and that’s basically what much of their advice boils down to.
3. People Are F*cked Up — It’s Not Your Fault
I let many friendships go to waste because I got hurt by people. Well I got hurt, then I retaliated.
If I would’ve just known that people are fucked up, and it’s not always my fault that they lash out at me, then I could’ve salvaged a few good friendships.
Give people grace, don’t get offended, and realize we’re all sort of messed up. You’ll save a few friendships.
4. Read 52 Books Per Year
If you read 52 books per year starting at age 20, then by age 30 you’ll have read 520 books.
I’ve probably read about 100 books in my 20’s so far. It’s too bad, because every time I read a book I have one big “AH-HA!” moment.
I would’ve been light years smarter, made better decisions, and been a better writer had I continued reading consistently throughout my 20’s.
If you can’t do 52 a year, try for 30 per year. That’s still 300 books!
5. Your Student Loans Aren’t That Intimidating
Student loans are the spawn of Satan — let’s get that straight off the bat. However, don’t worry about them too much.
Take a long-term view on this. Your student loans will eventually get paid off. Get situated, get a job, start a side-hustle, and in a few years, your side hustle will most likely give you some form of financial freedom.
If you know the proper strategy to destroying your loans, you’ll find they aren’t as intimidating as you think. Stop worrying so much.
6. Don’t Get Emotional
It’s not so much about what happens to us — it’s what we think about what happens to us.
Don’t get too emotional when something horrible happens. There comes a point where worrying contributes more to the problem than the actual problem you’re worrying about. Maintain your peace of mind by whatever means necessary — meditating, smoking weed, etc.
I’m serious about the weed.
7. Be More Honest With Your Partner
I’m horrible at this. I let some relationships progress way too far because I was scared to be honest with a partner. I ended up wasting their time, my time, and hurting a lot of people in the process.
Just be honest with your partner about what you’re feeling. It might hurt everyone involved, but it’s the right thing to do. It may even make your relationship stronger.
8. Talk To 1 Person Per Week
My friend Michael Thompson talks a lot about having a conversation with one new person per week. I’ll offer a slight variation of that — just have 1 conversation with ANYBODY per week. It doesn’t matter if it’s with a loved one, a best friend, someone you haven’t seen in a while, etc.
Just talk to anybody for a few hours. If you don’t make a tangible effort to spend time with other human beings, your mental health can take a real nosedive.
This is something I never remember to do, and it could’ve made a big difference if I did.
9. Your Parents Don’t Know Everything
Your parents are wise, and they know a lot of things about life, but they don’t know everything.
My Mom understandably urged me to take a job at Panera Bread to work my way up into Corporate after college. There was a pathway, and in a year I probably would’ve had a job somewhere in their corporate offices.
But I didn’t listen to her. I quit my job, started freelance writing online, and now I’m here — making a full-time income from blogging.
Your parents don’t know everything.
10. You Can Make Great Money From Your Laptop
I wish I would’ve known this at 20 years old. I would’ve started a blog right then and there, and by the time I graduated college I may have had the pathway to digital-nomadism right there in front of me.
I talked to an 18-year old the other day who’s already made $10,000 on Fiverr and started his own blog. That’s incredible, and by the time he graduates college, he’ll realize he didn’t even need college.
I hope these ten lessons can re-orient your world.
Thank you for reading.