10 Worst Mistakes Young People Make In Their 20s That Ruins Their Lives
What You Should Really Know
Youth is a time of unbridled passion, unchecked impulse and roaming imagination. The feeling is like that a bird in captivity release from its unfamiliar surroundings and set loose upon a wide open world. It’s a wonderful experience almost any adult would want to relive but it also marks the time when we are most likely to make unforgettable blunders that come back to haunt us in our adult lives and boy, how we rue those ugly moments!
It is little wonder then that Benjamin Disraeli sought to capture the essence of youth and its impact on the later part of our lives in those insightfully cutting words “Youth is a blunder, manhood a struggle, old age regret’’
So if you are young (and I wish I were in your shoes) it’s about time you knew some of these life-ruining things that older people did in their youths that has lead them to a death bed of regrets and Jim, please take this seriously – more like an eye opener.
#1 Not Having a real purpose
A lot of people advocate that young people live in the present and I’m all in favor of it. But it’s equally important that young realize that how they spend the present will have a significant bearing on their future happiness. We are supposed to use the moment to figure out what exactly we want to do with our lives and go for it. But it’s regrettable that most young people today don’t realize this early but are rather content with following the crowd, joining the me-too bandwagon only to discover at the twilight of our lives that we’ve wasted our youthful lives chasing butterflies. Youth is a time of self-discovery and building upon what we find. And there is nothing worse than it could have been to quote Florence nightingale. Decide today what you really want and stop playing caboose….now that is one of the keys to live-long happiness.
#2 Not learning how to say “No”
Too much flapping with make a bird lose its feathers…
Youth is a time of idealism, and almost all of us, have visions of changing or making the world a better place even if it means giving off the only shirt on our backs. Now there’s nothing absolutely wrong with that. It’s what keeps us centered in an imperfect world. So as part of making our world a better place, we may consistently bend over backwards to please others even when it means forgoing our own plans. But soon enough, exploiters will start taking advantage of your unending kindness and unbelievable naivety all because you weren’t taught to say “No” sometimes. Being a yes-man sucks!
A friend comes to you and says “please Jane, can you lend me the 50k you’ve been saving for your start-up, I’ll pay you back soon” and you just reply with “sure thing, anything for a friend” when it took you nearly 5 years to save that money. Now it’s time to launch that business and you still haven’t got the money back.
So what about peer pressure, when friends can talk you into doing any “shit” you aren’t comfortable with just to have their validation. First it begins with a flew harmless glasses of vodka at a friend’s birthday, one thing leads to another and the next moment you are being asked to do drugs leaving you in “further deep shit” (you are so unlucky that in your first trip, you are locked on by law enforcement and now you are the latest jailbird)
Being young means it’s alright to stand up for what you believe in, to be selfish at times and all on top it all, to say “no” to the demands of others you aren’t comfortable with. Next time, just say “no” and it will all go away. Be insistent and assertive.
#3 Getting into an addiction.
When you are young (we tend to be more of pleasure seekers), our dopamine levels, solely responsive for why we prioritize pleasure over pain are its highest. That leaves us on an endless roller coaster for the next-pleasurable thing until we get hooked on an insidiously devastating addiction. Addictions may seem like no big deal at first but when you keep feeding them, they will get out of control while eating into every aspects of your personal live and ultimately affect your physical and psychological health, work-life, relationships and quite possibly lead to your early grave. And early though the laurel the laurel grows, it withers quicker than the rose. (A.E Houseman; To An Athlete Dying Young)
So what kind of addictions am I talking about here. A few glasses of alcohol can act as a timely pick-me-up but an overconsumption can be the ideal knock-me-down. You’ve got cocaine too, cannabis and the endless list of feel-good drugs that can open the door to substance abuse. And there is again the matter of our smart phone and social media addiction which can impact our lives negatively leading further to depression and anxiety. Now use your head!
#4 Letting others define you
Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions, a quotation – Oscar Wilde
This is one mistake you must avoid as a young person if you are truly going to attain your full potential. You won’t ever find who you really are by following someone else’s path or trying to live up to the expectations of people who really don’t matter in point of fact (truth is, you never measure up). There is not a single person on the face of the earth with your power of observation and unique perspective. We are all gifted with minds of our own so you can think and act for yourself not outsource that to other people. If anyone can define you, they can put you in a box and do whatever they want with you. Don’t ever play second fiddle to anyone, instead be yourself and live up to your own expectations. Choose whatever career that you are most passionate about, don’t outsource that decision to anyone else or you’ll be miserable for the rest of your life. Be the best version of yourself.
#5 Not taking care of your health
When you are young, it’s easy to ignore your health, and to want to experiment with things that are a little hazardous to your health. “How about a few sticks of cigarettes?” “Not a big a deal!” “And eating lots of junk food?”, “well, everybody does it”. But can’t you see you are overweight and out of shape! You won’t even go to the gym to exercise, and “oh, I was too busy hanging out with friends” was your reply. Your body is given to you on loan with interest, if you don’t pay the monthly installments, one day the interest rates will pile up to high heavens and downhill you’ll go. For everything you ignore about your health when you are young, you’ll feel the after effect most when you getting old. Stay in shape, keep the fitness levels high by going for a run, jog, swim and workout. Keep junk food intake down. That’s how to stay healthy.
#6 Staying in crappy and abusive relationships
Relationships are a lot of work, misunderstandings are recurrent and it’s no different when you are young. Not quitting too early is often laudable but you have to draw the line somewhere when it’s turning abusive. If he does so much as lay a finger on you, he ceases to be your soul mate but if you still insist, you might turn out to be his grave mate. My rule for life is “if it aint broke, don’t fix it” but when it comes to relationships I’m all for “if it is broken, it aint worth fixing”. Make no mistakes about it, letting go is the hardest thing in life but it’s also the most life-compounding habit you can ever have. He brings you flowers and says he is sorry but you are scarred. Let him cry you a river. And If you let yourself get pressurized into relationships just because your friends are in it, the chances are, you’ll more than likely end up with the wrong person.
#7 Neglecting the advice of your elders
“So why are they telling me all this?” “I’m an adult, now and I can make my own decisions”. I get it, you are young and it’s natural to be headstrong and unheeding to the warnings of those who have the benefit of age and experience on their side. “Independence”, isn’t that what we’ve lived our entire teens daydreaming about? But being independent doesn’t mean you have to be island unto yourself, not listening to counsel from life’s veterans. Ask yourself this question “Does this person advising me really love me and do they have my best interests at heart?” if they do, then they are probably acting out of their love for you and you should lend them an ear. Why should you learn from your own mistakes when someone else has paid for the entire thing with their own lives? They have the benefit of hindsight and what have you got? Don’t cut off the bond between you and your parents all in the name if your newfound intoxicating independence. There’s still a lot they haven’t learnt about life…
#8 Having unprotected sex
I don’t know what your views exactly are on sexuality and I couldn’t care less if you are all for ditching abstinence. It’s your life and you can do whatever you like with it. You are young and your testosterone hormones are hyper-active. But you have to be careful playing the field with every stranger you meet without protection. You are already looking at the risk of an unwanted pregnancy and quite possibly getting an infectious disease that could cut your life short (you could get Aids, or STD). I’ve seen young people ruin their lives for this same reason. Don’t throw your beautiful life away. Do not take risk.
#9 Hanging out with the wrong groups
When you are young, there’s this overpowering sense of loneliness that tries to run your life. So it’s natural for you to want to belong to something, join a peer group and most notably seek their validation. But you have to be careful who you hang out with. You are the average of 5 people you spend the most time with, so make a clean break with toxic, purposeless and negative people. When you are in a group, you are often open to the group’s influence, positive or negative and it can be hard to say no to something illegal if everyone in your peer group is doing it. They will drag you down to hellish levels and to your untimely ruin. Believe me, you don’t want to turn out like Thomas Mann in the Preppie Connection.
#10 Doing anything illegal
Growing up, I once thought it was cool to be a gangster (I played too much GTA and assumed that was the ideal for people my age). But as a law graduate, I now know only too well the high penalty for indulging in petty crimes – it’s jail time. And once you are convicted for the slightest of offenses, that makes you an ex-convict, schools and colleges would hold out on offering you a seat and this goes too for prospective employers. Don’t barter your freedom for anything in the world. Shun crime in whatever coloration – you are just too good for that!