Regardless of what society would have you believe, your 20s are the best years to make mistakes. You should have no regrets making mistakes now, because every mistake can be a learning experience. With fewer responsibilities in your 20s, you are also in a unique position to more easily start over. Failures and missteps are often crucial in finding what works for you, so don’t fret, especially if you’re in the middle of the following 12 key learning experiences.
1. Get too drunk
Feel no regrets if you have too many one night; your twenties are when you should learn your limits. Sure, you might act a little foolish, but wouldn’t you rather figure out where your line is with friends now, rather than with business associates later? That being said, absolutely make sure you have a safe way home, or a sober friend along with you for the night. Safety is a crucial quality in keeping a fun night fun. Additionally, our bodies recover better from all types of wear and tear when we’re young, so you’ll feel less destroyed than you will if you party later in life.
2. Sleep with the wrong people
As dead end as it sounds, sleeping with the wrong people should give you no regrets. There’s nothing wrong with a few bad one-night stands, especially when you’re figuring out the world in your twenties. First off, you have a clearer picture of what to look for when you’re with someone who just doesn’t fit. Plus, you’ll start to figure out what type of person you are in bed, and what will make you satisfied. While a strong emotional bond is absolutely key in relationships, complimentary qualities in your sex life are crucial too. It’s completely normal to learn things by trial and error in other areas in life, so have no regrets if your sex life is the same.
3. Trust the wrong person
Similar to learning what you don’t need in bed, it’s okay to find out who you don’t need as friends too. Trusting the wrong person will undoubtedly hurt, but you will be more alert to red flags when making friends in the future. It’s particularly useful to find out how to spot a snake in the grass now, since you’ll likely have a lot more at stake, personally and professionally, in your 30s and 40s.
4. Let go with no regrets
It is okay to feel heartbroken over letting someone, or something, go in your twenties. Invariably, you will grow in different directions than those around you in life. Learning how to let things go with grace now will be an invaluable tool for adult life. Whether the loss is sudden or expected, it’s important to know how to move on.
5. Cut off friendships
In a world of ever-increasing connectivity, it can be tempting to keep up with every acquaintance you’ve ever met. However, if other people are taking too much time away from your life, there’s no need to feel bad about trimming your social circle. It’s natural to grow in different directions from your friends, especially those you knew when you were much younger. Streamlining your social life can do a lot for making you more productive and focused, and shouldn’t be seen as self-centered. Your life is yours, and it’s important to have people around you that contribute to your goals, not take time away from them.
6. Pursue the wrong long-term relationship
Just as important as learning how to let things go is learning how to let people in. Even if your first few long-term relationships don’t lead to a lifetime together, loving and committing to someone else can be scary and nerve-wracking. If you can learn to love and trust other people now, you’ll be more confident, and selfless, in your relationship when you find the one.
7. Spend money on experiences
We all know we should save every penny, but don’t underestimate the value of splurging on experiences while you’re young. Certainly balance your spending with responsible money management, but spending on a once in a lifetime experience now is irreplaceable. Even if your goals include higher income in the future, you never know what responsibilities will come with it. Traveling and seeking new experiences will teach you valuable lessons you’ll use for the rest of your life, even if others are critical of your spending.
8. Experience failure
In your twenties, you have less responsibility than you’re likely to have in the rest of your life. Among many other reasons, that makes your twenties the ideal time to experiment. Follow ideas or pursuits that might fail, even if you’re scared. In failure, we learn innumerable important lessons. Plus you never feel quite as vulnerable afterwards. By failing now, you’ll lose less than if you crash and burn later in life. If you’re struggling with failure now, try to be excited: you are setting yourself up to be more skilled, and more able to manage risk in the future.
9. Pursue a passion in place of work
Everyone should have the experience of doing what they love. You never know what the future holds, so seize the day now. Regardless of whether it’s a hobby or professional venture, following your passion can lead to incredible places. You might not have the freedom to pursue anything you choose later, so have no regrets following what you love now. Even if friends and colleagues are immediately pursuing professional options, there is no rule for when you must begin your career. Following a passion over financial gain should give you no regrets.
10. Sleep too much
Again, you never know what the future holds. Whether it’s a demanding career, kids, or multiple jobs, you have the rest of your life to lose sleep over responsibilities. Let yourself feel no regret over days when you sleep a lot in your 20s. Sleep is essential in performing well, plus you’re likely to have more demands on your time during your 30s and 40s. Enjoy the reprieve now–there’s no shame in taking time to relax.
11. Take a horrible job
Much like dating the wrong person will better inform you on who you’re looking for, taking the wrong job will give you a better view on what you want to do. Working the wrong job should give you no regrets, especially if you’re someone who isn’t sure what career to pursue. Being unhappy with your work will give you motivation to look elsewhere. It may also help reveal what you do like. Instead of regretting your decision to take the job, use the time to consider exactly what makes it so horrible so you know what to look for next time.
12. Follow someone else’s dream
Following the wrong dream can reveal a lot about yourself. Not only will following the wrong dream better show you what you want, you are better able to cut and run in your twenties. If you don’t learn what the wrong dream looks like now, you might fall into the wrong life plan when you’re older–and in less of a position to start over. Have no regrets over taking a wrong turn now, as you’ll be more able to find the right road, and be content later.
Featured photo credit: university student group/www.audio-luci-store.it via flickr.com