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I wish I'd known...

Hi all! I'm in my early 20s and I'm starting to get serious about taking care of myself long-term. My mom is always going on about things she wishes she had known when she was my age, and I was hoping y'all might have some good advice.

I'm specifically interested in things related to my health, but any other insights are welcome.

Thu. Aug 3, 11:25am

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i wish i had paid more attention to the adage "you are what you eat". all of the deli-meats and processed foods i ate in college, all of the alcohol, the deep-fried late night snacks, these may not show up on your physique right away, but do not be fooled!! there are artery-clogging fats, there are many impurities for your organs to filter out, there are hidden costs to enjoying these "foods" as much as i did in my early twenties.

Thursday, August 03, 2006, 11:35 AM

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I wish I'd known about the impact of birth control on bone density (long term use) and consumed more calcium in my teens and twenties. Now I'm at an age where I begin to lose and I wish I had been more mindful.

Thursday, August 03, 2006, 11:43 AM

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I wish I had applied sunscreen more regularly to prevent aged skin and reduce my risk for skin cancer.

Thursday, August 03, 2006, 11:47 AM

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The more active you are through your childhood, teens and early 20s, the easier it will be throughout your life to get back into shape after slacking off. That "muscle has memory" concept is so true...even 40-year-olds who haven't worked out since college still have the build of a football player or swimmer or whatever they did back then, and can get it back way easier than those of us who, uh, played chess or whatever.

And do your lifetime finances a favor by cutting back to a single credit card with a self-imposed limit around $5K. Yes, there are physical health implications to this - from avoiding joint surgery because you can't cover your bills during recovery, to burying your concerns with cheesecake.

Thursday, August 03, 2006, 12:36 PM

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Few questions for some of the above posters.

What do processed meats do to you and do they include deli meats that they cut straight off the bone?

What type of birth control causes bone density issues? The pill or depo or all? Will having more dairy in your diet help you now, for the future?

Thursday, August 03, 2006, 2:17 PM

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To the BC question....

All of them to some extent - Depo is worst since it is all Progestin, but all birth control contains some amount of progestin. So Depo is worst, but the pill has same effect. They don't decrease bone density, but they can keep you from building bone density (by making it more difficult for your body to absorb calcium) in your 20's and then when you start to lose bone density starting in your 30's you are at an immediate disadvatage - espeicially if you have not been getting adequate calcium (and calcium is best absorbed by the body when you get it in your food).

The makers of Depo warn that due to this effect women should not take depo for longer than two years.

I have been on birth control for nearly 15 years and have not paid very serious attention to my intake of dairy or green leafy vegetables and as such I seriously doubt I have gotten enough calcium to make up for the years I was on BC. This puts me at a greatly increased risk of osteoperosis, broken bones and joint problems as I age. Sure - I can try to do more now, but the years where it would have been most effective are gone and that's just the way the body works and ages.

Thursday, August 03, 2006, 2:30 PM

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Hi all, OP here: Thanks for the great advice! I can definitely use it. Keep it coming!

Thursday, August 03, 2006, 2:34 PM

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well, when i was in my early twenties (almost 20 years ago), there were not as many alternative choices for deli meats as there are now-such as low-sodium, fat-free, "lean", i ate lots more salt and saturated fats than necessary. also, the added condiments have lots more fats, sugars, salt than one really needs. i think one can probably eat more healthy food these days from a deli, and with the flavored mustards and mayo substitutes and with a wrap instead of a roll, one has more options now.

Thursday, August 03, 2006, 2:47 PM

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about the deli meats-not sure about the bone kind you are talking about, but the majority of deli meats available have sodium nitrate in it, a preservative that is very bad for you. get deli meats at a natural food store and most will say "no nitrates, no antibiotics etc". read labels fiercely!!

Thursday, August 03, 2006, 3:23 PM

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Thanks for the birth control advice! I was thinking about starting a calcium supplement even though I'm only 23... I think I will. I'd try to get more dairy, but, I already try that and I typically fail.

Thursday, August 03, 2006, 3:33 PM

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at your young age, you can ask for a bone-density test from your doctor and the results will enable you to better calculate any bone-density issues/changes in your future. get a test done now, then again in maybe 5 years and compare the results.

Thursday, August 03, 2006, 3:42 PM

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i wish younger people would know that a slender physique does NOT equal healthy. if you don't eat well and do some form of exercise, you are hurting your future self and forming unhealthy habits. chances are that your quick metabolism will eventually slow down and you won't have the healthy lifestyle to maintain a reasonable weight and reduce your risk of disease.

i always had a fast metabolism so i was small, and thought i didn't have to watch myself. now i regret it.

Thursday, August 03, 2006, 6:03 PM

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Other people cannot make you happy if you are not happy with yourself...

Thursday, August 03, 2006, 8:47 PM

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There's a cheese for every bread; an ass for every chair. (That's how my friend tells it). For me, that means don't compare yourself to other women when it comes to finding a boyfriend or partner. We're all different, and there will always be someone who we think is prettier, smarter, thinner, but none of them are as unique and special as YOU. You just can't compare apples and oranges and it's just negative and destructive. Don't participate (which is tough because many of our girlfriends do it constantly).

I wish I had been more self-aware about my body. When I was young (teens) I *knew* I was fat (I wasn't, and I was very fit). Then I got really fat, starting in college and through my 20's, and didn't know it. I just ignored it until I was shopping at Lane Bryant and in their biggest size (24). I'm a pretty girl and I really wish I didn't let myself go during my 20's because I missed out on a lot of opportunities, especially dating. Take care of yourself and keep yourself healthy and attractive for you, not to please others, but know that the better you look, the more opportunity you have (true, even if we don't like what it says about society). When you have more opportunity, YOU get to choose what's best for you and you have more control.

The financial advice in an earlier post is good (don't get into credit card debt!) Also, start saving money for retirement now. Even if it's only $5 a week to start. I didn't start until my 30's and starting earlier makes a big difference. Having your own financial security means you will never have to rely on anyone, very empowering!

Learn to be kind to other women, especially the catty ones. If they're that mean, there's a reason, and it's not your problem. Take the high road--you'll feel good and you will be admired.

#1: Don't give a rat's @ss what anyone thinks about you. Be a good person, love and care for yourself, learn to be happy no matter what and you will be the richest young woman ever.

Friday, August 04, 2006, 9:59 AM

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8:47 poster...

Amen, sister. :)

Friday, August 04, 2006, 11:04 AM

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OP: Thanks all! There's so much I've never even thought of. Keep 'em coming!

Friday, August 04, 2006, 3:36 PM

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When is a good time to start taking a vitamin? Does it matter what kind I take? Do they really help?

Monday, August 07, 2006, 10:41 AM

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I wish I had just stayed out of the sun....period. A temporary tanned face isn't worth the premature aging. I also wish I had taken better care of my facial skin. I used to just use whatever body lotion I had on my face. At the time it didn't seem to matter, but now I can see how the skin around my eyes has suffered because of that. Also I wish I had taken my makeup off every night and washed and cared for my face every night.

Monday, August 07, 2006, 4:59 PM

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Yes! to the skin care comment

I'm 35 and look 10 years younger than my friends because I use sunscreen and am very careful not to burn, not to spend too much time in the sun. I go to the beach, and the Caribbean, but ALWAYS use sunblock. Even my sister says, 'your friends look so OLD' (yeah, not a lot of tact, that sister o' mine). Thank you, sunscreen!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006, 11:33 AM

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I started saving for retirement relatively early (late 20s), but earlier would have been even better. Even if you are still in college, you can put money into an IRA (as long as you are earning the money rather than just being supported by the folks). The very second you have a job that allows you to put money into a retirement plan (usually called a 401K or 403B), put in as much as you can. When you are 65 years old, you won't miss the fact that you skipped a few overpriced evenings of eating out and drinking, but you will be very, very, very unhappy if you are sitting on a park bench eating cat food (unless your idea of a good time is sitting on a partk bench eating cat food).

Financial stability is actually good for your health - stress over paying the bills, considering bankruptcy, not being able to afford to live in a safe neighborhood when you have kids will all take a toll on your well-being. And with a little bit of financial security comes choice - the ability to buy organic food, to pay for a trainer if you need one, to afford a convenient gym.

A great place to start putting your financial life together is the book Get A Financial Life: Personal Finance In Your Twenties And Thirties (Paperback)
by Beth Kobliner. It costs less than $10 on

Tuesday, August 08, 2006, 11:23 PM

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Here's my 2 cents

Say yes to retirement & if your company matches what you put into it then put in the maximum amount they match to. It's free money!

Travel now!

Make life goals, & plan them out so that you are actively working toward making them become a reality.

Don't wait for life to happen to you, you make life happen!

Take care of your knees & treat them well in all you do. You will need them for a long, long time.

Say yes to sun screen min of SPF 45 for the face & 30 for the rest of your body. You will be glad you did when your attend your 20th yr highschool reunion.

Live w/in your means, don't rely on credit cards. If you can't afford it then you don't need it or if want it bad enough then save for it, it will be that much better when you get it.

Find a man worthy of you. He must treat you w/respect & as an equal. If you act one way around him & another around your friends then he is not the man for you. If you can't be yourself around the man you love then who? Beware of the Man that your parents, siblings and friends don't like. This means they are seeing something in him you do not because you have your blinders on or he is hiding something from you. Think of a Man whom you admire & respect his qualities, could be a coworker, relative or a friend of a friend. Then look for those same qualities in a husband when the time comes. Last of all, a lover should be your true & loyal friend & the rest will follow.

Don't procrastinate. Always have a firm hand shake and look people straight in the eye when talking to them.

Be in the moment.

That about covers it.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006, 6:15 PM

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Everything in moderation. The worse the food is for you, the smaller the portion should be. The better the food is for you the bigger the portion (usually, keeping in mind moderation).

Wednesday, August 09, 2006, 6:17 PM

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From a 33-year-old:

Wear your sunscreen (and no, the one in your moisturizer is not enough).
Know that you are beautiful.
If you love someone, let them know. I tell my friends I love them everyday, it is how we end our phone conversations.
Floss. A lot.
Never go to sleep with makeup on, even powder. Even if you are just napping. That is what those wet wipe thingys are for.
Absoultely do not get over your head in debt. It is an ugly thing, and can create a tremedous amount of unnecessary amount of stress on your life.
Create a life's to-do list. Go back in one year and see what you can cross off of your list.
When I think of more, I'll get back to you.
Good luck in the meantime!

Thursday, August 10, 2006, 12:31 AM

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Check the link.

A positive attitude can make your life better and can make you feel better to. There is an old salesman's trick: when you smile, it relaxes your voice AND makes people have a better opinion of you!


Tuesday, August 15, 2006, 11:50 AM

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I wish I'd known....

Not to worry so much about little things

To go for my passions and intuition and ignore the naysayers in terms of careers

To learn to let go of dying relationships sooner rather than holding on and trying to make them work

That there really are more men out there

That worn down heals can really be damaging to your feet

That anger can not be just released and then it will be gone

That grandmothers might not make it to see your wedding day, and sometimes not mothers and fathers

Wednesday, August 16, 2006, 5:36 AM

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This is old, but it looks like a great idea. Anyone else got any?

I saw this in a magazine: Nothing is worth more than today.

Sunday, November 26, 2006, 11:40 PM

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I wish I'd known that everything does always work out the way it's supposed to. That way, I would forfeit the stressful path to get there which would have reduced my wrinkles.

Monday, November 27, 2006, 8:55 AM

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008, 11:52 AM

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I wish I didn't lay out 24/7 and use tanning beds in my teens. Now, in my early 30's, I've already had 2 spots of skin cancer removed.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008, 12:05 PM

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how ironic - i just told a co-worker yesterday that I wish I could relive a block of time from my junior year of college until the day I got married:

* pay attention to your finances and be more frugal about money
* never let a fight go on two years with a very good friend
* don't let alcohol make stupid choices for you or use alcohol as a mask for other issues going on in your life
* don't give into drama
* stay true to yourself and find out who that person is
* education comes first
* being alone is better than being in an unhealthy relationship
* forever is a long time
* the choices you make now will ultimately affect you in the future
* ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS learn from your mistakes
* wear sunscreen
* never go peroxide blonde unless you are in the music or entertainment industry
* find a hobby that you can do by yourself

Tuesday, August 05, 2008, 1:26 PM

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Keep 'em coming! I just turned 22 and I'm finding all this advice helpful and informative.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008, 1:29 PM

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1:26- * never go peroxide blonde unless you are in the music or entertainment industry
hehehe I resent that! I am very far off from the music or entertainment industry but I love the blonde locks, blame it on watching too much Baywatch as a child. But I have to admit it's a pain in the butt to maintain. I have naturally dark brown hair and after getting high lights for the majority of my high school and college years I finally went bleach bottle blonde on my 21st birthday. It's been over 4 years, and while I am still uber blonde and love it, I know that when the day finally comes to go to brown it will be a long process and will cost me many hairs in the process!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008, 1:49 PM

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I wish I would have known that I'd still be paying off student loans nine years after college.

If I would have done it over again, I would have just worked my way through and paid as I had gone, no matter how long it would have taken me.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008, 3:18 PM

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"Don't be afraid to take a big step. You can't cross a chasm in two small jumps." (David Lloyd George) I wish I'd started earlier to dive into the things that I really wanted to do, not to be so timid and hide behind a false practicality. I still measure things, but I'm much more willing to grab opportunities now.

Learning who you really are and being yourself will bring more true friendship, love, and happiness into your life than any attempt to remodel yourself to fit some outside concept. Be the best of yourself that you can.

Criticizing, judging, blaming and gossping are the seeds of a bitter old age. Serving, accepting, loving, and encouraging are the seeds of lifelong contentment, satisfaction, and joy.

People are drawn to those who make them feel they are amazing--or at least wonderful. "Amazing" is my friend Pat's word. She is always surrounded by friends because she makes you feel like the most incredible being on earth. At 42, I'm still trying to learn how to shut up about myself and act more like Pat.

Credit is evil.

There is nothing wrong with responsibility, duty, or committment. Just don't go overboard, because there's also nothing wrong with creativity, imagination, or sponteinaity.

Eat fresh things. Eat green things. Eat natural things. Eat a lot of them.
Eat things made in kitchens. Skip things made in laboratories, even laboratory kitchens. Wholesome food does not grow in boxes or cans or plastic bags! Once in a while won't kill you...but a steady diet will affect your health.

Read up on health, but use your head. Recognize that even fields of science and medicine have trends and fads. Avoid fads. Also, read _Take Big Bites_ by Linda Ellerbee. It will help balance the boat.

Learning to love what you have to do is at least as important, and maybe more important, to your well-being as getting to do what you love. Because you won't get to do what you love 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. My dad was great at this, and I wish I were more like him. He was, and is, fundamentally a teacher, but for 25 years he operated a pest-control company and loved the work, because it was honorable work that fed his family, and because he got to meet a lot of people. He is able to find something to enjoy in anything he does, and I am convinced he is happier even than someone who makes a career of the thing they love. Because life happens, unexpected things happen, and you end up doing something else for a while...and it's important not to be miserable if you can't do what you love every minute of your working life.

The most important thing isn't to do a particular kind of exercise. It's simply to move. And to keep moving.

Know what refreshes you. Know what can boost your mood in ten minutes. Make sure you do it often.

Take in the best, healthiest everything. Food, conversation, music, movies. Looki for the good stuff, and skip the crap.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008, 3:56 PM

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Wow this was a good question and wonderful responses!


Tuesday, August 05, 2008, 4:29 PM

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Funny, a friend and I were just discussing this ...

she and I have known each other since elementary school and we were recently talking about what if any, regrets we had. Neither of us had any major regrets but I definitely wish I'd known to steer a lot more clear of boy drama! I always had boy drama in my teen & early 20 years - I was clearly attracted to boys who would feed a drama habit b/c I had one after the other for a good 10 years.

I should definitely have cut a few boyfriends loose LONG before I did! In my mid-twenties I learned that it actually felt good to walk away from relationships BEFORE they were dramatic and that breaking up with someone was NOT the end of the world!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008, 4:42 PM

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I wish

I had never have gotten drunk and made out with my best friend...who is a girl...and we are both married who also happens to be my sister in law...haha!!! Other than that...I wish I had started eating healthier earlier on in life like in my teens..but I am 22..and feeling frisky!! Obvioulsy

Tuesday, August 05, 2008, 4:50 PM

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well.. I'm 19 and I just have to say thank you to everyone who has posted! I will be drinking more milk, using sunscreen, and utilizing the rest of this great advice!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008, 12:33 AM

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i wish i had known i would gain all this weight and i would have prevented it .lol

Wednesday, August 06, 2008, 8:14 AM

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This is truly the BEST thread. I wish I'd known!! Love love love it.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008, 10:20 AM

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Other than the earlier responses, debt, eating healthy, skin care, which I all agree with 100%, I wish I had spent more time helping and volunteering in my younger days. I'm actively pursuing this now with a couple of different ventures but I wish I had known the personal benefits of these activities earlier.


Wednesday, August 06, 2008, 10:48 AM

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I wish I had known years ago that I COULD lose all this weight and that I didn't have to go through my childhood and high school years as the fat kid with the bad self esteem. I especially didn't know how hot I was going to look! LOL!

I wish I knew I HAD athletic ability and that I actually enjoy running!

I wish I knew I loved to eat healthy foods, fresh veg and fruits and that just because they are good for you doesn't mean they have to taste bad!

I wish I knew that my mother wasn't immortal and that I had one more day to tell her how much she meant to me before she passed away. I was a "selfish" teenager at the time and really really wish I could go back and change that now!
Lesson here, tell your family everday how much you love them and how much they've meant to you in your life. Your moms especially because you only have one of those and that relationship is so special!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008, 12:44 PM

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-Dont put a lot of weight on "gotta have a guy". It can make you miserable and needy. the right ones will come along when you are ready.
-Take care of and love yourself. You have needs and a future to tend to as well.
-Volunteer. There are so many in need of help and so many wonderful people that you can meet. It makes one feel so awsome to know that you helped others.
-Be honest
-be loyal
-Read, do puzzles. Keep your mind stimulated.
-Talk lots of walks and discover what goes on around you. Talk to your neighbors, smell the flowers, hike up the mountains, smell the air
-The more you appreciate the happier you will be
-Dont sweat the small stuff. Dont make mountains out of molehills.
-Be creative in a way that only you can do.
-Smile often, laugh even more.

Thursday, August 07, 2008, 12:19 AM

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You cannot control other people, and you will never really understand them.
So chill and cut them some slack until you've learnt a bit about their motivation. Some of those you immediately write off may turn out to be the best friends you ever have.
Go a bit crazy but always stay safe; there are boundaries but they're not where you think at first.
Learn who your real friends are and be loyal; you need these men and women in your life, they are the only ones who will pick you up when you're down and pull you down when you're about to go too far.
Read more varied books, you will learn about life.
Never forget how to play.

Thursday, August 07, 2008, 4:30 AM

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follow your heart

In terms of your career, follow your heart. Let your mind find and figure out the many options before you, and choose with your heart.

Thursday, August 07, 2008, 11:28 AM

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hmmm - well, in addition to 11:28's comment. If you should find that following your heart gets you a crappy 'McJob' that you hate (raises hand), don't be afraid to try something you NEVER thought you'd like and/or have any talent for. It might just turn out to be your life's greatest passion (this actually goes for men and jobs). Sometimes a 180 degree turn about in life is exactly what you need.

Thursday, August 07, 2008, 11:37 AM

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I'm 22 and I have another year left of school and I'm pursuing something that I'm not interested in but just doing it to please my parents and to have a stable, good paying job when I graduate. In addition, I have no idea what I want to do with my life. I have some ideas but being unsure of how to reach those goals and the money issue always deters me. Advice? Thanks!!!

Thursday, August 07, 2008, 12:02 PM

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Don't sweat the petty things

and don't pet the sweaty things.


Friday, August 08, 2008, 6:22 PM

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A good job doesnt always make for a happy life. Considering the fact that you will be in the working world for at least 40 years, that is way too long to deal with if you are not enjoying it. Stress and depression or unhappiness can actually ruin and sometimes shorten your life, so is it worth it? Plan for your retirement as soon as possible by beginnig an IRA with your first job and keep putting money into it at every paycheck. You will be glad you did even if you do get a well paying job with retirement benefits.
Dont be afraid of change. Be open to it. Whether it be in your career or where you live. Be open to opportunities, you never know where they may lead to.

Friday, August 08, 2008, 9:49 PM

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stay out of debt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
if you can't pay off a credit card charge this month, do with out whatever it is.

don't quit exercising-ever...

Saturday, August 09, 2008, 10:31 AM

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Use it or lose it.
Doesnt matter what. If its stuff around the house, use it or get rid of it. With your body, exersize and do your best to stay healthy. Keep up the exersize or lose your mobility.

Saturday, August 09, 2008, 12:35 PM

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Can someone give my advice about losing weight and getting my body back? I have nearly 20 pounds to lose. I'm very active and in good shape but the extra fat makes me people not assume that I don't swim, run, walk, strength train, etc. The eating part is the hardest. I'm in my early 20s...can someone just enlighten or even lecture me about getting rid of this weight now..while I'm still young so I don't regret it.

Saturday, August 09, 2008, 1:42 PM

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I don't think this is the right thread for that. Maybe you could start another one that addresses your question.


Saturday, August 09, 2008, 3:58 PM

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Yeah I've started threads about that one but I don't seem to get much of a response....but this thread is popular and I just want someone to wake me up that I only have one life to live so I better start achieving what I want to achieve...based on their experiences of regret in the past when they were my age.

Saturday, August 09, 2008, 4:25 PM

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This thread is brilliant! Also, it kind of reminds me of the song "Everybody's free (to wear sunscreen)" by Baz Luhrmann - it's an entire song of advice, and well worth listening to the lyrics, or just reading them!


Saturday, August 09, 2008, 7:27 PM

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Oops, just realised that last site doesn't have the full lyrics to the song, this one does though =)


Saturday, August 09, 2008, 7:30 PM

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If we're going to get into lyrics can I just add;

Pace yourself so you can face yourself, run hard, you really only race yourself.

Am considering getting this tattooed on the inside of my wrist so I can see it when I get discouraged.

Love this thread.

Monday, August 11, 2008, 6:33 AM

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This thread is popular because of the topic I think. If what people have written here is not enough to help you, I don't know what else you're looking for. It seems like you have all the facts, you have one life to life, etc. We can cut and paste the above comments and put exclamation points at the end if that will help:-)
Good luck!!!


Monday, August 11, 2008, 11:39 AM

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The advice I preach to my daughter all the time:

1. use sunscreen on your face/neck/chest - every where else too but those places you must do every day, rain or shine/winter or summer.

2. Trust your gut, it will never be wrong, the sooner you learn to listen to it the better off you will be. So many people tune it out until they are old and can't hear it any longer.

Monday, August 11, 2008, 3:56 PM

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learn to put away 10% of your income for yourself, do it not matter how much you make. If you learn this habit early it will pay off huge. I started when I was 20, I am 42 and have now saved (with interest growing) 100K

Monday, August 11, 2008, 3:58 PM

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from one of my favorites songs... anyone remember it?

12/06/1999 - 1 week at #1 - 16 weeks on chart

Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’97
Wear Sunscreen
If I could offer you only one tip for the future,
sunscreen would be it.
The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists,
whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience
I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth, oh nevermind,
you will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded.
But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself
and recall in a way you can’t grasp now, how much possibility lay before you
and how fabulous you really looked,
you are not as fat as you imagine.

Don’t worry about the future, or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum.
The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing everyday that scares you


Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts,
don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.


Don’t waste your time on jealousy, sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind,
the race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.

Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults,
if you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements.


Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life,
the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22
what they wanted to do with their lives,
some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t.

Get plenty of calcium.

Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t,
Maybe you’ll divorce at 40,
Maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary
What ever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either
Your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s.
Enjoy your body, use it every way you can, don’t be afraid of it,
or what other people think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room.

Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly.

Brother and sister together we'll make it through
Someday a spirit will take you and guide you there
I know you've been hurtin, but I've been waitin' to be there for you
And I'll be there just helping you out whenever I can

Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for good.

Be nice to your siblings, they are the best link to your past
and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but for the precious few you should hold on.
Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle because the older you get,
the more you need the people you knew when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard,
Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.


Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise, politicians will philander,
you too will get old, and when you do you’ll fantasize that when you were young
prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund,
Maybe you have a wealthy spouse; but you never know when either one might run out.

Don’t mess too much with your hair, or by the time you're 40, it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it.
Advice is a form of nostalgia,
dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off,
painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen

Monday, August 11, 2008, 4:03 PM

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OMG, I totally forgot about that song!!!!


Monday, August 11, 2008, 4:57 PM

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One piece of advise I have is to pick some sort of exercise (bike riding, walking, going to the gym, a very active sport) no matter what it is and stick to it as much as you can. I rode a bike everywhere I went all 4 years of high school. Due to this I was able to maintain a weight of 212 all through high school (yes, overweight). I did the party sceen and could have gotten much bigger. After high school when I got my first car the bike got parked. Now, 42 years old, after two kids and a horrid 327 pounds I am back on the bike, walk, and go to a gym 3-5 days a week. I am happy to say that I am down to 226 today and looking forward to my 25th year class reunion in October.

Point I am trying to make is that IF I had continued to ride a bike or some other type of exercise I would never have seen 327 pounds and wouldn't have the health issues I am fighting today. Regardless if you are thin or over weight or whatever, just remember that exercise and watching what you is the key to feeling good about yourself.

Good Luck!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008, 2:39 PM

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1. Get an education. It opens up so many opportunities that you wouldn't otherwise have.

2. Get out and do things. Even if you have to do them by yourself. Every time there is an event you can go to... go!!

3. If a relationship is not right. End it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008, 1:02 PM

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Wear a good supportive bra

Wednesday, August 13, 2008, 1:42 PM

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Thank you everyone for your responses. This is a very inspiring and informative thread.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008, 3:24 PM

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My father always told us kids that having good credit was more important than having money.... I wish I had listened! That way I wouldn't have gone through hell the first seveal years of my marriage and jumped everytime the phone rang or the mail came!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008, 4:43 PM

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Dont be reckless with other people's hearts and dont put up with other people who are reckless with yours.

Thursday, August 14, 2008, 9:27 AM

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I love that "song". I heard that on the radio a few months ago (I was shocked to hear it, as I haven't heard it for many years). The song made so much more sense now that I"m 26 and not 15 (the year it came out).

What I've learned until now:

-don't take life seriously
-tell the people you love that you love and appreciate them
-take risks
-love yourself right now

Thursday, August 14, 2008, 10:13 AM

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I wish I knew that there wasn't a "mold" I needed to fit. I am a professional at work but outside of that I'm learning that I can be a totally different person. Now I ride a harley and am mountain/rock climbing etc. which it totally out of character for me and I'm looking for other interests that are out of the norm for me. My point is spread your wings and fly, try new things don't be put into one category and really experience life!

Thursday, August 14, 2008, 12:40 PM

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I am 23 and have LOVED reading all of these responses. This is a thread that everyone should keep up on. Thanks to everyone who has contributed their wisdom... you have helped me to re-evaluate how I think about my life :)

Thursday, August 14, 2008, 12:59 PM

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Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.

Friday, August 15, 2008, 2:08 PM

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I wish I'd known...

Hi I am 33 yrs old and will be divorced on Sept 22... I wish I had known that I needed to take care of myself first and i could be a better mother to my children,,,I guess my point is find out who u are and take care of yourself.. I am just finding out who I am ... Take care..

Sunday, August 17, 2008, 11:50 AM

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So often as young people we "live for the moment" but it is best to combine that thought with "and prepare for the future".

I also spent my life dedicated to others, taking care of kids, spouse, parents and friends. But when we got a divorce I had to start learning to take care of me. It is hard when others always come first to change your mind frame and say, "but I need..............................." Everyone should have at least some preparation for a career so that whatever happens you have something to fall back on, whether it is to help out the spouse or to get yourself on you own feet. While you give the spouse a pep talk and tell him/her "you can do it" " go for it" etc, dont forget to go luck in the mirror and repeat that to yourself. Still be kind and considerate and put others first, but dont leave yourself in the dust, either.

Sunday, August 17, 2008, 3:36 PM

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good thread

Sunday, August 24, 2008, 6:51 PM

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Bump :)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008, 12:15 AM

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Enough with all the threads on politics and how mean everyone on PT is... let's bring back this one is wonderfully supportive and encouraging.

Friday, September 05, 2008, 1:43 PM

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pp here: , it's*

Friday, September 05, 2008, 1:50 PM

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Be your own best friend

I'm 33 and spent a lot of time in my 20's beating myself up and was very anxious. I felt ugly and worthless. Luckily I stayed in school and graduated with 2 degrees. I'm now a scientist and love my career (I never thought i'd get here). I decided to think of myself as beautiful even on ugly days (that's a hard trick sometimes). I think of myself as intelligent and successful. The minute I changed my perception of myself things changed. I left a bad relationship, bought a house on my own, and found love. So my advice is while in your 20's love yourself and realize you are not fully developed. Allow for mistakes and keep going with your goals. Never quit! Also, trust your self and your intuition. One more thing...if you have a talent put it out there. Show your friends and family no matter how embarassed you might be. I started oil painting with out any art background and now I'm selling paintings to friends a coworkers.

Love yourself!!!!

Oh another thing...its ok to not be married and to not have kids! This is something I recently came to terms with. In fact, I'm so glad I have not married yet. My friends who married in their 20's are almost all divorced now. I have a friend going through a divorce right now.

Wait until after your 20's to marry!!!!! The older the better!

If you don't want KIDS, DON'T HAVE THEM!

Friday, September 05, 2008, 2:11 PM

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Wow, to the PP, wow great advice! I'm 22 and everything you stated, I can relate to. For one thing, I constantly beat me up and I'm a very anxious person, worrying about things and how people view me (well I do have anxiety). That's something I really need to work on. I also agree that you shouldn't get married in your 20s (especially early 20s). I know a lot of people in their 20s who are getting married and I'm like wow don't you want to have some freedom and explore the world, unattached?...I don't mean to offend anyone, but that's my opinion. And I also don't think I want kids but I think what happens is that I feel like I have to appease society's norms and think maybe I'll have kids in my mid 30s or adopt or something. Good advice!

Friday, September 05, 2008, 3:31 PM

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To 3:31 from 2:11

Thanks! Its nice to know you value my advice. I always thought I should get married and have kids because my mom wants me to and as a woman, it is expected of me by society. Well I don't feel that way anymore.

Plus it is such a relief to realize that it is impossible to always please everyone. The most important person to please is yourself...with a balance of course. There is a fine line between pleasing oneself and becoming selfish. Just trust yourself and you'll be fine. Enjoy the crazy explorative 20's!

Friday, September 05, 2008, 6:56 PM

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Learn to accept the important people in your life the way they are. Let go of the anger. Parents aren’t perfect, just accept that most of them did the best they could with what they had. It took me too long to learn that everything isn’t all or nothing and I severed a lot of family relationships that weren’t ‘perfect’.

Having said that, the key was healthy boundaries, and not letting other peoples’ dysfunctions take over my life.

I wish I had embraced the world of quality supportive undergarments sooner….there is no outfit, in any size, that isn’t improved by SPANX and a great bra!

Saturday, September 06, 2008, 8:14 PM

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I wish....

I never started smoking =(

Sunday, September 07, 2008, 6:39 PM

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Great topic :)


Friday, November 07, 2008, 3:58 PM

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You don't have to be the "good girl" and live your life to please other people.

Sunday, November 09, 2008, 11:03 PM

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great topic!

Monday, March 16, 2009, 10:08 AM

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I'm only 25, but I wish I had known not to get involved with credit cards. My credit card debt isn't really that bad, but now that my paycheck dwindles so fast because of all the rising costs of things around me, my credit card debt is just staying the same.

I loved the advice that this thread offered!

Monday, March 16, 2009, 1:56 PM

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I wish I'd known...

...The potential I had. That I was more beautiful than I ever thought I was.
...To listen to the little voice inside of you. Most of the time it's right. It will lead you to the right place more than your head will. It will keep you from marrying the wrong person.
....Opposites do not attract. It is really important to have similar values, interests and goals in life.
...The importance of finding joy in every day -a walk with a friend, a good cup of cofee, a movie, whatever.
...There are two things that are important in a marriage -- if you get the sex and money things down, you're ahead of the game.
...Feeding your body healthy, good-for-you foods is the best gift you can give your body.

Monday, March 16, 2009, 10:43 PM

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I wish I hadn't repeated dramas and played the victim over and over again. I wish I'd realized that we all invite every circumstance into our lives to learn unconditional love and forgiveness. I wish I'd learned earlier that there is an easy, fun solution to every problem and given my decisions to the Holy Spirit.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009, 12:00 AM

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I wish I had joined Cross Country back in high school. Then I'd be running in Boston sooner than later. =(

Tuesday, March 17, 2009, 2:31 AM

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Happy St. Patrick's Day Everyone ! Don't forget to celebrate with some corned beef and cabbage and all the veggies. This thread should be a handbook for all the 20-somethings everywhere. What priceless advice.
Practice forgiveness instead of revenge, Living well is the best revenge, Healthy eating, and daily exercise are well worth our time and effort, and can't be bought but must be earned. Life is short, pray hard. Let Go and Let God. Be aware that others' eyes are watching you, be the role model, because if there is help for you, then there just might be help for them also.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009, 6:08 AM

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I wish I had to ask for help. It's only recently that I've learned to ask for help. All the wasted time, frustration, energy that I expended feeling I always had to do everything for myself. No wonder I had a chip on my shoulder. Asking for help is not the same as begging, nor does it mean I'm incapable or inadequate. Asking for help makes the most of my resources, strengthens my relationships, and adds to my well-being. It seems so simple, but can be a surprisingly difficult thing to do. Hope this helps.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009, 10:46 AM

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-Half of disease processes are caused by smoking, drinking, or overeating.
-Get the best medical care available from M.D.s.
-Take a multivitamin a day.
-Sun, alcohol, and cigarettes are very aging to your skin.
-Debt can ruin your life, so don't carry credit cards with you and don't buy something unless you can pay cash.
-Marry a man that can support you, and loves you more than you love him.
-Get as much education as you can. More than high school... If you dropped out of high school, get a G.E.D. and get into college or a specialty training program.
-If you have a job right now, don't quit!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009, 10:09 PM

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I love this thread. Bump!

Monday, December 14, 2009, 1:21 PM

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I wish I would have known that I am stronger than what I realize.

One decison I did right was WAIT to get married. If you get the chance travel. If you can't travel than find something that stirs your soul and pursue that.

You are born with family and you die with family.

Monday, December 14, 2009, 3:33 PM

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I wish that I had travelled more.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009, 4:17 PM

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Take care of your teeth and eat lots of foods that have calcium.

Cut your hair regularly and don't abuse it. It may one day fall out when you decide to have a baby.

Do your best to not hurt your family and when they hurt you, tell them and make them make it right.

Believe in yourself. Don't allow others to tell you who you are supposed to be. Only you can give yourself self-confidence.

Walk ~ walk every day and walk far. It will benefit you in ways you can never imagine now.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009, 5:49 PM

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When I worked in a hospital, half the patients were there because of disease processes related to their smoking, or drinking, or over eating.

So my advice is... Don't smoke, drink, or over eat.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009, 6:37 PM

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From Science Daily..

'When you encounter temptations that conflict with your long-term goals, a self-control mechanism is to exaggerate the negativity of the temptation as a way to resist it.'

Wednesday, December 16, 2009, 10:18 PM

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