Skip To Content

    40-Year-Olds Are Sharing What They Wish They Knew Earlier, And It's The Perfect Advice For Twentysomethings

    Finally, some actually useful advice!

    Hindsight is 20/20, and while those in their forties can't jump back in time and save their younger selves a lot of struggle and embarrassment, they can help out the next generation.

    Giphy: @RobertEBlackmon / Via giphy.com

    Reddit user u/Here4thehax invited those in their thirties and forties to answer the question: What piece of advice do you think twentysomethings should know?

    Here are some of the top-voted responses:

    1. "Don’t set down roots too fast, and travel. ... You’re still young enough to be able to sleep in airports, backs of cars, or even on the street if you happen to roll into Amsterdam on Queens Day without getting accommodations. I had been to 30 countries before I was 30 and I turned down some serious jobs to do that. That’s what your twenties are for. Absorb as much culture as you can; it will stay with you for the rest of your life."

    u/CharlieTuna_

    Giphy: @digg / Via giphy.com

    2. "I think the best advice is to cherish those you have around you. Grandparents, parents, even friends. Sometimes you have to say goodbye much earlier than you think. The biggest regret I know a lot of people have is devoting too much time to their job and missing out on the reason they’re working."

    u/ClassOnGrass1558

    3. "Branch out in your interests as much as possible. There is so much good stuff out there in the world and, with the internet, a lot of it is literally at our fingertips. For example, do you really like to listen to music, but only a limited variety of styles? Try some other stuff. If you think you hate country music, I guarantee there's an artist out there that you haven't heard yet who you'll absolutely love. Same thing with any genre. Rap, metal, pop, you name it. Same thing with movies. Love watching action movies? Branch out and try some dramas, or period piece films, or horror, I promise there's something there you'll fall in love with. Life is too full of amazing things and amazing art to just keep yourself in some box."

    u/Illhunt_yougather

    Giphy: @kareligomlekkralicesi / Via giphy.com

    4. "Max out your 401k ASAP. Take fiber supplements. Wear sunscreen on your face every day."

    u/AUCE05

    5. "Time speeds up as you age. You may be putting something off, you may say, 'Oh I can do this or that next year, there's always time,' but a day will come upon you without fanfare or announcement, and you will no longer have your youth. I'm not saying do things with reckless abandon...but don't waste your days."

    u/Consistscent

    Giphy: @tvlandclassic / Via giphy.com

    6. "Don't have kids you can't afford or with people you don't want to be attached to forever."

    u/literanch

    7. "You're going to have little situations with friends, family, and coworkers. You're going to feel hurt sometimes. People can be selfish, thoughtless, and rough around the edges. You can, too. Engage your empathy, forgive what can be forgiven, and let go of what can't be fixed. You ask others to understand the circumstances around your behavior, so give them the benefit of the doubt! Carrying a grudge just takes space in a pack that can be filled with much lovelier things!"

    u/Margot-got

    Giphy: @E4 / Via giphy.com

    8. "Don't compare yourself to others, everyone has a different life clock."

    u/AkwardLady

    9. "A good mattress is worth the extra money."

    u/Mr_Mojo_Risin_83

    Giphy: @IKEAUSA / Via giphy.com

    10. "Do not give a fuck about 'what people might say.' They won't have to live with decisions you make."

    u/AkwardLady

    11. "Don't use the people you know as a gauge of success. So many people inflate their reality to seem much more impressive. Find what you like, find what you resonate with, and strive to be good at it. Success is relative to every individual, and we should support everyone seeking their own goals."

    u/mmm-pistol-whip

    Giphy: @sagawards / Via giphy.com

    12. "Find friends that want to support you in your growth, not hold you back into their black holes."

    u/Skinnyspaghetti

    13. "If you wanted to go to college to get your dream job and didn’t get the opportunity for whatever reason, you can always go after your twenties. It’s harder, but it’s still doable."

    u/LunaFatali

    Giphy: @cehdtamu / Via giphy.com

    14. "Look after your teeth. Bad oral hygiene might not affect you now or even in 20 years, but it’s out there waiting for you."

    u/Mr_Mojo_Risin_83

    15. "Ask questions. It’s better to be curious than show up thinking you know everything."

    u/Skinnyspaghetti

    16. "You can always change your mind. Nothing is set in stone. Just because you make one choice doesn't mean it has to stay that way forever. Hate a job? Change it. Don't be afraid of change."

    u/you_are_marvelous

    Giphy: @theoffice / Via giphy.com

    17. "You can't control what you can't control, so don't lose sleep over it."

    u/itslumley

    18. "Building strong, genuine relationships with your entry-level work peers now will pay massive dividends10 years down the road when people have branched out and moved up."

    u/24KittenGold

    Giphy: @insecurehbo / Via giphy.com

    19. "BUY A FIRE EXTINGUISHER."

    u/MySoilSucks

    20. "Never go with just one estimate for major repairs on cars, your home, major appliances or systems, etc."

    u/DarthContinent

    Giphy: @Simpsonsworld / Via giphy.com

    21. "Stop talking about how old you are/how your life is over/how you've 'failed.' You are ridiculously young. You have plenty of time to start over or even start. I didn't figure out my current career path until 33. I hope to have another one in the works before 50."

    u/Instar5

    22. "Move at least once. There’s something incredibly liberating about starting over without your past looming over you."

    u/Mr_Mojo_Risin_83

    23. "Do your fucking taxes."

    u/dogsoverpeople77

    Giphy: @broadcity / Via giphy.com

    24. "If you haven't already, get a credit card and use it only for certain purchases to build up your credit. Never go over in a month what you can't pay back at the end of the month. When you finally get ready to settle down or buy a house, this will help so much with getting a loan from the bank."

    u/coffee_bean_teacher

    25. "Stand up for yourself. If you won't, why would anyone else?"

    u/dellik666

    26. "Do the therapy now."

    u/KaEcold

    Giphy: @BH90210 / Via giphy.com

    27. "Learn to roll with the punches. It's all good to have a plan and to try your best to set goals for yourself. However, life is far more complex and intricate than your plan. Sometimes, life doesn't go to plan — quite often, it doesn't go to plan. So have a plan, set goals, but be prepared to switch gears when it doesn't pan out as expected. Learn to adjust and to rework your plan or reset your goals when needed to fit the current unexpected event that's popped up. If life goes along with your plans, then great! Awesome, keep going. If it doesn't, then it's okay, and you're prepared to run with it."

    u/SuSu_CawChew

    28. "Anything you post online today has a chance to come back to haunt you 20+ years from now, if not sooner. Think about it before you post it."

    u/LittleLostDoll

    Giphy: @colbertlateshow / Via giphy.com

    29. "People in their thirties and forties are just as lost and fucked up as people in their twenties. Just 'cause someone is older doesn't mean they are smarter."

    u/Casual_Importance

    30. "Take advice from others with a grain of salt. Most people talk a big game but wouldn’t even follow their own advice if they were in a similar situation. Sort of like if you tell a story about a confrontation and your friend says something like, 'I would’ve quit on the spot,' or, 'Oh man, if that happened to me I would’ve punched that guy.' Like, really? I’ve never known you to punch someone in your whole life, and you're saying this would’ve been your moment? People are similar about advice."

    u/coolguytrav

    What life advice would you give your younger self? Let us know in the comments.

    BuzzFeed Daily

    Keep up with the latest daily buzz with the BuzzFeed Daily newsletter!

    Newsletter signup form