Things To Do in Your 20s To Avoid Regrets in 30s and 40s
As we grow up, we realize that transitioning into adulthood is nothing but a trap. The wild and carefree teenage years fly by with the hope that the coming 20s will bring independence and freedom. The coming of age for young adults is a pivotal stage in their lives. For many, it is a season of curiosity, responsibility, maturity, and hard-hitting life lessons.
Adulthood forces us to take new and difficult decisions as well as introduces us to new people, places, and opportunities. It also makes us question certain processes, society, ourselves, and the point of existing in this world. As we learn to accept ourselves, draw a path for ourselves and work towards improving ourselves, we hit the 30s.
Another decade has passed by and by now, you’re accustomed to the process called adulting. For most adults, their '30s' is the time when they tend to strike a balance between their personal and professional lives. You see them starting families, buying their dream homes or cars, or venturing into a business. Probably the time when most adults start to live and do what they want to do.
And so the years pass by. One thing, however, throughout your life you will find is that most adults or elders tell you what to do, should do, or should not do. This is mostly because they learned through their mistakes that regrets are hard to carry and want you to not carry them. A study by Mike Morrison, Neal J. Roese lists down 13 sources of regrets that an average American has, these are family, education, career, romance, finance, friends, health, self, spirituality, community, leisure, and others.
What You Should Do in Your 20s To Eliminate Any Regrets in Your 30s and 40s
Following the narrative, we have accumulated all the pieces of advice offered by the wise elders so that your 20s are more guided and you don’t carry the baggage to your 30s and 40s.
1. Live, With All Your Might
As cliche as it sounds, living and not merely existing is the key to being in control of your life. To live is more than just breathing and getting through the day. Living your life while being fully aware and conscious of the present can sometimes become challenging. When you hit rock bottom, it becomes difficult to get outside of your head. It becomes difficult to take charge of your life. In such situations, people make bad choices and decisions. Decisions that they do not want to make or whose consequences end up being hurtful. However, it is not impossible to regain control of your consciousness.
To live is to experience each situation in all its essence. Even if the situation is painful and scary, to be able to go through the experience while being fully aware of the pain is what will make you strong. If you find yourself not feeling present, try to figure out things that get you back to reality. The minute you realize your thoughts are drifting, stop them. And bring yourself back to the present. Do this every time you start to zone out.
2. Learn, With All Your Heart and Soul
It is close to impossible to always be correct, to make the right decisions. One is bound to make mistakes as one goes through their life. And hence it becomes important that one learns to embrace the downside and squeeze every drop out of such mistakes or failures by learning from them.
Learn not just the consequence of the situation or decision but also the reasons, causes, and everything else. Even if the situation is gruesome, you must look back on it to take away the key learnings that you must avoid or do to make better and more informed decisions.
3. Don’t Regret Not Taking a Chance
The thing about one’s 20s is that it is the period in one’s life in which they are the most daring and unbound by circumstances such as family responsibility or restrictions, or financial ambitions. Therefore you have to optimize these years by taking the risk of following what it is that you want to do.
The simple act of trying is a lot more difficult for some people. The time and energy lost in the hesitation eventually lead to, in most cases, abandoning the very idea of that activity. But as the years go by you will realize that too many opportunities have been lost while hesitating.
What if I don’t succeed? And what if I do? There’s no shame in falling, but you have to get up, dust yourself and move on with more determined strides. Take the chance, believe in yourself, and try out whatever it is that you wish to do. Say yes to the possibility that success has to offer.
4. Leave the Fear of Failure Behind
Most often the reason why most of us don’t try new things or take chances is that we’re afraid of failure. Modern-day society is not very accepting of failures. Everybody wants to succeed.
It begins in school when you are expected to be at the top of the class, get straight A’s in college, land a job as soon as you graduate, etc. It becomes challenging to break the norm and follow your heart. So what if it takes longer to achieve? So what if it takes multiple attempts to get through? So what if you don’t pass in a subject or two?
It hardly matters how long it takes or how many attempts it takes. What matters is that you followed your heart and did your best to make it work. The mere act of trying showcases that you dare to believe in yourself and that matters a lot.
5. Heal and Let Be Healed
Most of us have had some traumatic experiences while growing up. The traumatic events that took place when we were kids or teenagers, get buried deep in our minds. We might consciously bury them to protect ourselves from the pain and suffering associated with the event. To give you an example, the constant belittling that a kid went through in her childhood from her cousins made her self-conscious and socially anxious.
Similar events may have an impact on us during our early adulthood years. Therefore you must take time to understand the root cause of your insecurities and fears. And try to heal from such events. To forgive yourself, accept yourself, love yourself and be proud of yourself.
6. Fear Not Going the Extra Mile
No more wasted nights, a little One Ok Rock reference. But trust us on this when we say that the only way to not have regrets is if you dare to step out of your comfort zone. That's where the unexplored and thrilling world is.
You can get back into your comfort zone anytime but the only time you might be able to do challenging things is in your 20s. That's also the time you will grow as a person, gain important skills, and learn about finances and the world at large.
7. Prioritize The Person Who You Are
During your twenties, you will explore the world around you. All these amusements will satisfy and fuel your curiosity and these might lead you to a maze. When you are in your 20s and are new to taking responsibility, the world sometimes seems overwhelming.
You might be tempted to prioritize your loved ones and their well-being over yours. While this is completely natural to care for those around us, it should never be at the cost of our well-being. Never let anyone else make decisions for you in your stead. Speak for yourself and prioritize what you want to do. Achieve your goals, set new goals, and be a little selfish.
8. Prioritize Your Health
The reckless teenage years and the hopeful early 20s are the prime years of most people. This is mainly because they are at the prime of their physical health. But we also come across people who exploit their bodies, making them fragile.
Since your body is at its peak, it is obvious that in the coming years the curve will start to decline. And hence you must take care of your physical as well as your mental health. Try to build a healthy lifestyle by limiting the intake of junk food, and alcohol and increasing the intake of fruits, and vegetables. Try to build a routine that includes exercising or working out and limit your screen time. Take time for your mental health and connect with people and nature and yourself.
No matter how much advice and caution the elders give us, we’re likely to make stupid mistakes. But the key point is to believe in yourself and try new things without letting the fear of failure hold you back.