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Things I Would Tell My Early 20’s Self

Life · October 5, 2018

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Lately I have been thinking a lot about my early 20’s. Not in a longing way or a way where I wish I could go back or change something. More like wow I can’t believe that was a decade ago. When I see a song come on the radio and it says “2008” I think “no way that was yesterday!” It got me thinking about what I would tell myself in my early 20’s. I have also written letters to my single self and 18 year old self.

Things I Would Tell My Early 20’s Self

Dear Early 20’s Neely,

10 years from now you will look back on this time and laugh so hard at the things you thought were a big deal. You will be jealous of that girl with all the time to nap, watch TV, and still feel like making mistakes was OK. When you are coming up on 35 some of those mistakes may get a side eye or two.

Your early 20’s are a time to travel, explore the world, and take chances. Stop trying to make it move so fast. Stop, enjoy it for a second. Enjoy those nights with no plans and all the Netflix DVD’s but I promise Netflix gets way better. Enjoy those days by the pool with the girls, but please please wear sunscreen. Enjoy the nights out at the bars dancing with friends because one day that will seem like a horrible idea. You will rather go to bed early and read a good book. Enjoy the days where you can leisurely walk around the mall, or sit in Starbucks and read for hours. Again, stop trying to make it all go so fast.

Spend more time with your mom and dad. They are always there for you and will continue it more than you can imagine.

Don’t worry about dating the wrong guys. I promise you need to. The right one will not only make you appreciate all the wrong ones but you will be so grateful for those experiences because they make you who you are. Broken hearts, and hurt feelings make you stronger and make you more independent. Don’t worry about going to a wedding with friends instead of a date. Who cares?ย  Don’t worry about going months without dates. Date yourself!

Travel as much as you can now! On that same note, don’t rack up credit card debt. Although, doing it the one time will give you a good lesson and it wont happen again.

It’s OK to have zero idea what you are doing with your life. You will get there. Contrary to what you think, not everyone knows what they are doing with their lives. The career you end up having doesn’t even exist yet. Keep trying new things.

As far as friends go you have some that you will still have a decade later and some that will just be some good memories. It’s OK. Not everyone is meant to be in your life forever. They all teach you lessons good and bad you will be glad for them.

Learn to be alone and independent as MUCH as possible.

Your life will turn out completely different than you expected or planned and it’s the best part.

In the words of Brad Paisley:

And I’d end by saying have no fear
These are nowhere near
The best years of your life


Neely at 34

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  • 19 thoughts on “Things I Would Tell My Early 20’s Self

    1. Jill

      So much truth in this letter! Hindsight is an amazing thing and I often laugh with friends about some of the stuff we thought was life shattering in our 20s.

    2. Kabi

      I’m currently 20 years old and I love reading letters like this because they allow me to re-evaluate my priorities when i start to stress out about things that i don’t need to be concerned about right now! thank youuu <3

    3. Atinuke

      Thank you so much for sharing this, I’m in my early twenties and things are somewhat cloudy.
      So, this is more of a letter written to me!
      Thank you!

    4. Kristine Nicole Alessandra

      This is such a beautiful and well written article. I am on my mid 30’s and if I am going to tell anything from my early 20’s I will tell her to stop trying things so fast and enjoy every moment with yourself and with your parents.

    5. Amy (Loving Our Messy)

      Love, love this! I also am jealous of that girl who had time to invest in hobbies, nap, even sit in the quiet and take it for granted. ๐Ÿ˜‰ And I would also tell myself to stop complaining about being tired. That was NOT tired. Haha!

    6. Robin

      For the most part, I’d tell myself many of the same things – especially not racking up credit card debt! I realize in retrospect that having a credit card before your brain is able to fully weigh future consequences is a terrible match ๐Ÿ˜‰

    7. silvia cosma

      Loved this post, and as I’m approaching 30 (still have a couple years to go), your letter really hit a note with me. I especially loved the ending quote- so , so true, and something we rarely realize in the moment.

    8. Clarice

      I totally agree with what you said and will tell my younger self the same things too. We should definitely try to learn how to appreciate alone time and independence. You’ll miss it especially if you have kids.


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