What I Would Tell My 20 Year Old Self

Well, it’s here, the big 3-0. I didn’t think I would feel any different but the truth is, I do.

I guess when you’re in your 20s you feel like you can get away with a lot. There’s no pressure to rush into life and you can pretty much do what you want without anyone judging you. You can still party with your mates on a night out without feeling old and your body can still handle bad food and alcohol.

Now I’ve begun my 30s, I feel like these next 10 years are the years of action. The years when you step up and stop messing around. As always, this is my opinion, not everyone feels like this, I get it. I’ve always strived to better myself and become a better person year on year, and I feel like now it’s time to step it up a gear.

I also think when you’re that age you’re very much guided by other people. You’re young enough to be coerced into things, that maybe you don’t really want to do but feel like you should (uni/careers is a big one!). When you break out of your early 20s and realise that you can (and should) do what you want, you finally feel free. I think your 30s is an extension of that, you have developed a lot of tools to help you find your way, and then you set out to find it.

When I think about me at 20, I think how young and naive I was (naturally). I was still living at home, still going out drinking at least twice a week, eating crap and not really bothered about my appearance. I guess I was your absolute typical 20 year old man.

Since then so much has happened and changed me. As I look back on what I’ve learnt, I wanted to share a few thoughts/words of wisdom to tell my younger self.

1. Listen To Everyone But Don’t Follow Everyone’s Advice

I was (and still am a little) a people pleaser. I would do things, change plans, even make plans to please others before myself. If someone had some advice they felt was good for me, I’d do it, even if I knew in my heart it’s not what I would do.

I guess I thought they knew me better than I know myself.

So, what I would tell myself is to listen to everyone, because everyone’s opinion is valid. But don’t follow their advice IF it doesn’t feel right to you. Easy to say, but did I do it? Hell to the No.

2. Don’t Feel Bad For Following Your Dreams

Not everyone will agree with your dreams and that doesn’t feel good. You’ve found something you love to do and people are telling you not to do it. Listen, these people DO NOT get you. They think they know what’s best and are trying to help. But don’t feel bad for ignoring their advice and doing it anyway.

And if your dreams change? Don’t worry about the onslaught of “I told you so’s”. You’re making progress and the very fact that you have found a second passion for life means you’re lucky, some people don’t get one.

3. Things Can Change In An Instant

You literally do not know what’s around the corner. Go through life expecting something incredible to happen that will change your life forever. That’s one of the beauty’s of life. Know that you can guide your life in anyway your want. If there’s something you want in your life, know that you can get it. Imagine it, dream about it. Don’t concern yourself with when or how it will happen, just know that it will happen when you least expect it.

4. Friends Will Change, And That’s Okay

You’re not the only one with dreams. If they move away or change direction in life, let them. Just as you don’t want to be judged on your life, don’t judge them on theres.

As you all get older, your interests will change and you might not have as much in common as you used to. This might change how close you are with them, understand that they’ll always be your friend despite any path they follow. New friends WILL come along that share your common interests. They’re not replacements, they’re people to help move you on with the next stage of your life.

5. You’ll Do Dumb Stuff, Learn From It And Know That Your Future Will Be Better For It

You won’t enjoy hurting someone’s feelings when you do dumb shit. But these things happen, and you can’t change the past. The biggest piece of advice I can give you is to forgive yourself. The quicker you can do that, the quicker you can move on. Sure, you can think about what you would have done better and that’s okay for a very short time. But then it’s time to pick yourself up, and crack on. It’s like they say:

“There are no mistakes, only lessons.”

Know that your life will be better for these lessons.

6. Forgiving Others Unlocks Opportunity

Other people will do dumb shit too. Now forgive them like you forgave yourself. Believe me when I say that when you do this, something inside you will be unlocked. You’ll stop hanging on to the past, and this paves way opportunity for the future. Good things will only come from forgiving others. Best part about this? You don’t even have to tell them, forgive them in your head. It is literally as easy as that (but you can tell them if you want).

7. Look After Yourself As Best You Can

Sure, your young body can handle those burgers and beers without it showing on the outside. But inside, your body is crying out for some bloody veg. So have as much as you can handle. Oh yeah, and stick with that gym membership for more than 3 months. You’ll be kicking yourself that you didn’t train your body to gain muscle and lose fat when you’re older.

Take a bit of pride over your appearance too, don’t be impatient with trying to look good. The extra time you take to get ready or put a decent outfit together makes literally the world of difference (inside and out). It might also land you a number on a night out.

Oh and buy a moisturiser. They’re awesome.

8. Try As Many Hobbies As You Can

You won’t know what you love to do unless you try as much as possible. Start up everything and drop what you don’t like. People will think you’re crazy, and that’s a pretty sweet feeling. When you’re older you can say you tried all this cool shit.

9. Make The Most Of The People Around You

Friends, will drop off, Family too. Make the most of them whilst they’re here. Just because they’re round the corner and you can see them anytime doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t make the effort. Savour it. Because one day you’ll kick yourself for not doing more with them.

I didn’t plan on ending this article with a little downer like that but it’s all true. I wouldn’t even restrict it to my 20 year old self. I’m gunna try and follow this stuff now man!

If you’ve found this useful, give it a little share. If you haven’t, I’m surprised you got all the way to the end 🙂

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