What do people most regret not doing in their 20s?
I am now 63 years old. I’m one of those people who did a lot of things that I should have in my 20s that others failed to do. There are a few things I wished I did and didn’t do. I have a son who is 24 and I make sure he is informed of my thoughts on this. Some of my recommendations:
1.Get an education in a marketable skill! I can’t stress this enough! It will determine most aspects of the rest of your life. When you’re young and have few obligations is the time to do this.
2.Learn to save and invest your money. Learn all about mutual funds, bonds, stocks and everything else.
3.Don’t encumber yourself. Avoid buying high ticket items; cars, houses, furniture! Be free enough to move around to different jobs or financially free enough to not panic if you don’t have a job.
4.Take time off, travel, enjoy life. I had a lot of old timers back then when I was in my 20s and 30s and traveling around telling me I was doing the right thing because they waited until they retired and now didn’t have the health or stamina to do many of the things they wanted to do.
5.Don’t get married early. My thoughts are for a man, mid 30s is a good time to get married. You have had time to get an education, build a career and have some adventure.
6.Be wise when choosing a mate. This person will have the most effect in your life. She should have the same level of skills, income and responsibility as you and has also worked hard to make achievements.
7.Be aware of the three ways to learn about dealing with challenges in your life: 1. Think about actions and the consequences. 2. Observe what other people have done and the consequences they face as a result. Learn from the mistakes of others. 3. Just go ahead and do something stupid. Pain is the great teacher! Try to lean by #1, if not then #2. Avoid #3!
8.Avoid being idealistic. The world is not fair and there is evil in it. There are some people who are privileged and many who are not. Accept reality and learn to work with it.
9.Something young men need to know about is the damage divorce can do to them. Divorce is one of the main causes of bankruptcy and midlife male suicide. Statistics show that the serious problems children are likely to develop in a fatherless household is many times greater than from a household with both parents or even just the father; suicide, homelessness, drugs, pregnancy, crime, school drop out, etc.
10.Don’t stay in a job where you aren’t advancing in pay, position or knowledge. Every job should be a stepping stone to the next one.
11.Stay away from drugs and alcohol and people that use them to excess.
12.Stay away from “fringe” groups. Like radical religious or political groups.
13.Take care of yourself - eat right and exercise!
14.Don’t ignore the education advise in the first topic!