Skip To Content

    "It's One Of The Biggest Mistakes You'll Ever Make": 22 Adults Are Sharing Helpful Pieces Of Advice That Younger Folks Should Keep In Mind

    "I kept thinking that life would begin for real and I'd be happy and enjoy it after I finished school, finished university, had a good job, was in a relationship, had more money, etc. But it doesn't work like that; life is happening all the time..."

    As a Gen Z'er, I always try to be mindful whenever older people give me advice, especially if they were once in my shoes. I personally love being bestowed with new "life lessons," so when I asked the BuzzFeed Community to drop some advice younger generations should know before it's too late, I wasn't disappointed. Here's some of the most candid advice I read:

    1. "Celebrate the little moments in your life. When you get a promotion at work, celebrate! When it's your birthday, celebrate! You can celebrate anything in life; celebration comes in all forms, and you can enjoy the memories from it for years to come."

    Three people at a table indoors, one opening a gift, with bouquets and a cake suggesting a celebration

    2. "If you are single, don't spend the time wishing you were not. Instead, invest in yourself, explore, try new things, and enjoy your time. If you are intentional about making the most of your freedom, you might find that you have new dreams."

    —K, 36, London

    3. "START SAVING FOR RETIREMENT AS SOON AS YOU START WORKING! Don't be one of those people who says, 'I just need enough money to live on.' That is not true; You need enough to be able to save some from every single paycheck. I can't even begin to tell you how many retirement-age people I know who didn't plan ahead and are now in serious financial straits. Also, don't plan to 'work until you die.' People have to stop working for many reasons, so plan for retirement now and don't wait!"

    Two people reviewing finances with calculator and documents on a table

    4. "I've learned through the years to let the guilt of the past go. You cannot undo the past. Others may forgive you, but you have to forgive yourself in order to heal."

    —Debra, 69, Indiana

    5. "As you get older, losing the ones you love becomes more 'common.' Sometimes, you don't know if you'll be seeing someone for the last time. So my advice is to let the ones you love know how you feel. I lost both my parents with so much left unsaid, and the 'I'll tell them later' obviously never came to be. I wanted to tell my parents so much, and I'm sure they wanted to hear from me just as much. So do what you need to do and say what you need to because tomorrow is often an unfulfilled promise."

    Two women embracing in a kitchen, expressing affection and comfort

    6. "Do things when they need to be done. Tell someone you love them, apologize, go to the doctor, break up with someone if you know they're not the person for you, look for a new job, etc. If it needs to be done, do it. Life will be better for everyone involved."

    —C, 82

    7. "Don't rush into a relationship or give in to emotional blackmail. Please know that heeding a red flag and walking away from something is one of the best things you can do. Don't be afraid to do something for your benefit, and trust your gut when faced with tough decisions. You know the right thing to do, so no matter what, do it."

    Woman relaxing on a couch with headphones, eyes closed, surrounded by indoor plants

    8. "Don't let injuries and pain go untreated if you have the means (time, money, resources, etc.) to get help. I've had chronic pain from injuries I got when I was younger, but I never really attempted to get it addressed until recently. Because I put off taking care of my pain, it's going to be a lot harder for me to undo the damage I've done to my body."

    ambershoey

    9. "Don't obsess over keeping the house spotless while your children are growing up. Instead, find a hobby to share, play a game together, cook or bake something, take a bike ride, or go on some kind of adventure with your children. Those types of activities will become their childhood memories."

    Man lifting a happy child beside an open car trunk at a house, with others nearby

    10. "Don't let five minutes determine your whole life. Walk away and think it over first."

    —Anonymous

    11. "Don't get into a serious, committed relationship until age 25. Have fun, be safe, be sex-positive, and stay free until you're truly ready to settle down. You don't have to learn how to have a healthy relationship the hard way (trial and error) — learn yourself and know what you want and need. And most importantly, don't get into a relationship until you can YOURSELF grace. If you're constantly putting yourself down, questioning your worth, picking yourself apart, and feeling constantly anxious and insecure, you absolutely deserve love, but maybe you shouldn't pursue a relationship."

    A woman comforts a man resting in bed; both appear content and at ease

    12. "Be nice to old people. Just because they are older doesn't mean they don't deserve to be treated as living, breathing, and thinking human beings, just like you. People forget that they will be old, too."

    jarocats

    13. "Forget about the whole 'What do you want to be when you grow up?' stuff. Your identity isn't your job. It's perfectly okay to find a career that's in demand, pays well, and that you don't mind doing. If you don't succumb to buying everything that's shoved in your face and are good at saving money, you can screw off whenever you want and do whatever you want. The old expression 'Youth is wasted on the young' is real. If you dream of doing something, do it."

    A woman in overalls flexing her arms and smiling

    14. "Sometimes you have to go with your gut. If it senses that something isn't right, listen! Don't pretend everything is sugar and rainbows if you have a bad feeling about something."

    lenaw4a651b06e

    15. "My advice to young people is this: Despite the pressure from society, you don't have to get married and you don't have to have kids. Don't do either of those things unless it feels perfect for you. One of the biggest mistakes you'll ever make is getting married or having a child when the circumstances are less than ideal. It changes your life forever. When in doubt, DON'T do it!"

    Smiling man and French Bulldog sitting on the trunk of a vintage car with a house in the background

    16. "I know this is going to sound hokey, but I'm 57, so bear with me: Practice gratitude. It doesn't matter if you're giving thanks to a deity, yourself, or the mouse in your pocket — feeling thankful for another day and for the blessings you have really is such a balm for the soul. I started practicing gratitude several decades ago after multiple tragedies struck my life. It made me focus on my great things and helped me get back to good. Be careful out there, everyone, and remember you are loved."

    unrulyfemale

    17. "If you're 'different,' don't despair! Eventually, you will find your people. Growing up, I was shy, anxious, and obsessed with books and paint-by-numbers sets. My mother despaired at my lack of social skills and would FORCE me to go to things like club meetings and synagogue dances. It felt so wrong. But as I got older, I began to meet people who were the same as me! During grad school, I experienced an awakening: Not everyone had to conform, and it's okay! So nurture your persona, let yourself grow, find the things you love, and stick to your guns! Chances are good that you'll discover others who understand you."

    Group of friends enjoying a book club discussion in a cozy living room setting

    18. "Take the time to develop hobbies and passionate interests. There may be times in your life when you're isolated from friends or family or not in a relationship, so finding good ways to occupy yourself can keep you positively focused instead of wallowing in negative thoughts. It can also help you grow friendships with like-minded folks and give you something to enjoy together. Oh, and read more books."

    meow_mix

    19. "If you are married or in a long-term relationship, try to remember that you were YOU before all that. Make time for friends and yourself, away from your family or significant other. It's not selfish to recharge for a weekend away with your besties with no responsibilities to worry over. I just took a three-day weekend trip with my friends — we relaxed, drank wine, ate junk food, and laughed until our stomachs hurt. I came home recharged and happier. You are still YOU."

    Person with a face mask and towel on head, lying down with cucumber slices on eyes, promoting skincare relaxation

    20. "Stop waiting for life to start. When I was young, I kept thinking that life would begin for real and I'd be happy and enjoy it after I finished school, finished university, had a good job, was in a relationship, had more money, etc. But it doesn't work like that; life is happening all the time. Even if you're stressed, overworked, or having a hard time trying to make the most of the moments you are in. There are very few times in life when things line up perfectly and all areas are sorted. In fact, it pretty much never happens. So even though it's not perfect, try to find a way to enjoy where you're at."

    —Anonymous

    21. "Wine isn't the only thing that mellows with age — you will, too. When I was young and all spit 'n vinegar, I went full speed all the time. Boredom was my enemy. Now, I welcome it. The things I'd always taken for granted — if I'd noticed them at all — were now the more important things to me. Birds at my feeder or watching the horses next door grazing give me great pleasure. My memories are fading, but I'll make new ones, not for me but for my grandkids. If I go to my grave knowing I've left them with memories of our upcoming trip to Disneyland with Nana and Pops, I'll die content."

    Group of excited people of various ages on a roller coaster with hands raised; clear skies

    22. Last but not least: "Chances are you will live a long life. So, if you don't succeed in your 20s or 30s, guess what? You can still succeed in your 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and 100s! I had a family friend who got her PhD in her 80s! As long as you are alive, it's never too late!"

    —Coleen, 46, Tennessee

    I don't know about you guys, but I will be keeping this advice in my back pocket. What are some life lessons you think younger generations should know? What advice do you younger folks should keep in mind? Let me know in the comments, or you can anonymously submit using this form!