Looking at this list, I can honestly say I made too many of these mistakes! After someone asked an online forum about what their biggest mistakes were when they were young and stupid, here is what they had to say.
1. Having Children With the Wrong Person
One of the top suggestions is “Getting pregnant and becoming co-parents with someone you don’t want to be with for the rest of your life. If you’re dating or married, it’s possible to end the relationship, walk away, and never talk to the person again unless you want to. However, if you are parents together of the same child, you always have that connection.”
2. Substance Abuse
An unfortunate relatable one is using drugs and alcohol. Did you know that people who begin drinking in their tweens and early teens will have a more difficult time with alcoholism throughout life than someone who starts drinking later in life? This is because younger brains are still developing and get wired more deeply for alcohol and substance abuse the earlier you start.
3. Marrying Too Early
Marrying too young typically means marrying the wrong person, and that is part of why there is such a drastic divorce rate. It’s not to say that some people don’t stay together, but you haven’t begun living and discovering who you are on your own at eighteen, or twenty, or for some, twenty-five. Brains aren’t fully matured until your mid-to-late twenties.
4. Consumer Debt
Consumer debt, or living above your means, is one of the biggest mistakes to start making when you’re young because it will likely follow you your entire life. “Things like bankruptcy and not paying your bills on time create extra life problems. It’ll be difficult to find housing with a low credit score.”
5. Not Saving Money for Retirement
Someone suggests their biggest mistake was not saving 10% of every paycheck or paying themself first. However, countless others flock to the thread to indicate that, for far too many, it is an impossibility in today’s world. Finally, some add that saving even five dollars is better than not saving anything.
6. Not Practicing Delayed Gratification
“Not having delayed gratification,” suggests one. “With delayed gratification, you wait to have more later rather than something of lesser value now. It means saving some income off the top of every paycheck. It means more studying in college and less partying. It even means waiting to ensure a relationship is right before marrying.”
7. Maintaining Toxic Relationships
This is a big one and something I learned much later in life, but not removing people who are harmful to you from your life is one of the biggest mistakes to make in life. Young or old. The peace that comes with releasing hostility, resentment, anger, and anxiety from entertaining toxic relationships is exhausting and bad for your health. This includes “family.”
8. Not Taking Care of Your Teeth
Not taking proper care of your teeth is an expensive and often painful lesson too many learn after neglecting care in their youth. Several older people in the forum warn against poor dental hygeine.
9. Not Taking Care of Your Skin
Similarly, not taking your skin is something countless folks in the forum suggests is a terrible mistake people make in their youth. For example, someone asks, “Why are so many men afraid to moisturize and exfoliate?” Additionally, not using sunscreen. Someone notes to put it on the back of your hands, and you’ll be grateful at 60.
10. Worrying What Other People Think
It’s a mistake to worry about what others may think about you. Be yourself. One confirms, “I’m on board with this as long as being who you are is not harming others. Being a proud racist is not a good thing.”
11. Trying To Grow Up Too Fast
“Trying to become an adult too fast. Or rather, doing something that forces you to become an adult too fast,” one user shares. Numerous others agree, and it’s only getting worse with technology. Kids are growing up way too fast.
12. Not Traveling the World
It is so much easier to travel without kids. One of my biggest regrets is not spending the money I wasted on substance abuse on some good therapy and then traveling.
13. Not Learning From Other People’s Mistakes
Why do we feel the need to learn everything the hard way? I can’t speak for everyone, but there are so many lessons I wish I had learned by listening to people who had gone through it before jumping right into things myself.
14. Getting Tattoos They’ll Regret Later in Life
Numerous individuals agree that too many people get tattoos at young ages without thinking about how they’ll feel about having them later in life. Not that all tattoos are wrong or that they are anti-tattoo. However, it’s undeniable several people have one they regret.
Additionally, there are spots on your body that change. For example, I contemplated getting a dolphin jumping over my belly button and a piercing through my navel. However, the artist warned me that my dolphin would grow to be a whale if I ever had children. I opted out.
But I have some elementary ink in places I wish I didn’t have, so I relate to this one. Nonetheless, I have a couple without regrets too. Neck tattoos scream, “I don’t care about employment,” according to many in the thread.
15. Not Maintaining an Exercise Routine
Finally, someone states, “Not starting and maintaining an exercise schedule. Your old body will thank your young body for putting some lean mass on your frame.”
This thread inspired this post.
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Elizabeth Ervin is the owner of Sober Healing. She is a freelance writer passionate about opioid recovery and has celebrated breaking free since 09-27-2013. She advocates for mental health awareness and encourages others to embrace healing, recovery, and spirituality.