Believe it or else, I was a 20-something once, too. Over the twenty-plus years since that time, I've learned a lot of lessons. Trust me, you will hopefully have the opportunity to learn some lessons of your own along the way; however, I was once pretty misguided and wished that I had learned some of these things earlier. In the interest of hoping to save you some pain, I'm passing along some of the stuff that I learned along the path of my life. Enjoy!
This is the biggest piece of advice I have to give. Even if you read nothing else on this list, you have the ultimate life changer in this point. If you love yourself, you will save yourself from so much heartache in your life. Trust me. Self love is paramount in making good decisions in life, love, career and more. Truly loving yourself and being okay with your own company keeps you from picking the wrong partner (see point 3) and collapsing under rejection. Loving yourself means you won't settle for anything harmful to you, your body or your soul. If you love yourself, you'll want what is best for yourself. This truly makes a difference in everything that you do.
2. Question everything
You will be presented with points and counterpoints to every single thing or thought in your life. You're going to meet people from all walks of life (hopefully) and each one will have their own opinion of how everything operates or should operate in the world. The news media is the same - different presenters will have different viewpoints. If you take everything you see, read, hear or watch at face value, you're doing yourself a mighty disservice. This is a great time for information so look up all that you can find and get out in the world to learn and make educated decisions for yourself.
3. It's better to be happy by yourself than miserable with someone else
This is an offshoot of point 1 as someone who loves themselves won't put up with the shenanigans of a terrible partner or friend; however, sometimes we have to learn this lesson before we can learn to completely love ourselves. The fact is this - NO relationship (love or friendship) is worth being in pain to accomplish. if you have to suffer in any form or fashion (physically, emotionally, monetarily, etc) then it is not a real relationship. If they cannot give you proper love and respect, they're not worthy of your time and your heart. Walk away and work on point number 1.
4. No one is guaranteed to see old age
Surely this is a "no brainer" since people die at all ages and for all reasons, but it bears repeating. Why? Because no one can escape death. All life comes to an end and none of us know when that day will come or how. I've known too many to leave this earth in all kinds of ways and at all ages. So what lesson do you get from this? Firstly - that death is inevitable and natural... While it sucks, it's normal. Secondly: be sure you're living while you are here. Cherish moments and create memories because we all have to face the end, someday, and no one ever faced death and wished that they had spent even longer hours at work.
5. You get the right to pursue
One of my favorite cheesy 80's movies had a line in which the female lead, played by Dolly Parton, says "Even the Declaration of independence only gives you life, liberty and the PURSUIT of happiness. It doesn't guarantee you'll be happy - just that you have the right to pursue it.". Ladies and gents, if your happiness in life hasn't magically appeared via Amazon Prime then - guess what - you have to go pursue it. Whatever that bliss may be, you need to get to the pursuing part.
6. If it seems to good to be true, it is.
There are no overnight millionaires. No cream will get rid of cellulite. The world is filled with empty promises and they're just that. See point #2.
7. Groom healthy coping skills
Learning how to get through tough times, challenges or other issues in life is paramount to surviving whatever comes your way. Make art, journal, walk, talk to someone - there are countless ways in which you can deal with life in healthy ways. The more healthy, helpful coping skills that you have, the less stress and strife you have to carry on your shoulders. Also, healthy coping skills can keep the temptations of searching for answers with the wrong people or things that will ultimately capture and destroy you from the inside. Healthy coping skills are instrumental to self strength. Unburden yourself.
8. Telling the truth is a loving act
While we all love to be liked and praised in life, it takes true love for someone to speak with you honestly. Being surrounded by "yes" men will do nothing for you except give you a false sense of reality. It can be as simple as someone loving you enough to tell you there is lipstick on your teeth to someone sitting you down to let you know that you need to let go of a bad relationship or addictive crutch so you can make a better life. When they love you enough to have that often difficult conversation, cherish and respect it. While you may get a little butthurt by it at first, if it comes from a place of love, you should be able to see it's value in time.
9. Surround yourself with your aspirations
There are countless people who have all walked before you and achieved things in life that you are looking to get to. Surround yourself with those who have more education, more history or more advice to give - especially if they're going to provide you with some honest feedback so that you can grow from it.
10. Take care of your body
Remember - you only have one to get you through however long you're to be here so do your best to keep it nurtured. Understand balance and moderation and do your best to not poison it with awful habits like smoking. We all felt immortal and strong in our 20's but the 40's come along and we realize that the body has begun to struggle with the things we once thought were easy. Anyone who partied too much on their latter birthday years like their early years can attest to this. Develop good self care and maintain it and be aware of what you're doing to your physical person. These things matter.
Thanks for reading.