10 Things I Wish I Had Known When I Was 20


Do you know that saying "30 is the new 20?" It's probably something you've seen on a Cosmopolitan or People magazine. As a newly-minted 28-year-old, you have no idea how much I would love to believe that were true. Meg Jay, a clinical psychologist, gave an amazing speech for TED where she shattered my dreams that I could keep my 20s going for the next decade. Meg told the audience that, contrary to popular belief, your 20s are not a throwaway decade. In fact, how you spend your twenties will define you. Now in my late 20s, here's some advice I wish people had told me when I was a wee 20-year-old.

1. Take Notes

Your memory isn't as good as you think it is. Seriously, you will be surprised how much easier everything is once you take notes

2. Don't Put Up With Toxic Friends

If you have friends who only loosely fit the definition of the word, chances are they aren't actually your friend at all. Don't keep toxic people in your life, no matter how many years you have known them. 

3. Take Some Risks, Dammit

How else are you going to find out what works for you or not? Your 20s are not a time to play it safe

4. Expect Nothing

Because no one actually deserves anything. Working hard is by no means an indication that you will ever get anything; you should find other forms of motivation. 

5. You Will Not Actually Figure It Out Later

Trust. I tried this one on myself more times than I can count. When you say "figure it out later" your brain automatically files it into an abyss from which it cannot and will not escape. 

6. Say "Yes" More

This advice hails from Tina Fey. If an life/job opportunity presents itself to you, don't be afraid to say yes even if you are totally 100% terrified out of your mind. 


7. Let It Go

Generic, you bet, but that doesn't make this advice any less true. I'm not saying that you have to let everything go. Everyone can feel however the hell they want, unless it is preventing you from living your best life. 

8. Find Ways to Be Happy

That doesn't mean you have to be happy all the time. Be sad, be mad, just try not to get stuck in a cycle of suck too often. Being happy is also the key to good health.

9. Go Places

For some of us, it's not always financially feasible to take a year off of school or work to go backpacking across the world. That's okay, you'd be surprised what you can learn about yourself from any trip. Breaking routines and being out of your comfort zone can spurr your imagination and encourage you to see things in a way you haven't been able to before.

10. Try Not to Be Overly Nostalgic

Don't spend all of your 20s thinking about all the good times you had in your teens. Nostalgia isn't a terrible thing, but if you spend too much time thinking about your past, you will miss out on everything happening right now.