Advice I'd Give My 20-Something Self


Advice for My 20-Something Self

If I could give my younger self some advice, I’d tell her this…


Do you ever wish you could go back in time and tell yourself something you’ve learned through the years, to help make life a bit easier? What would you say? Personally, if I could give my teenage self some advice, I’d tell her a couple of things:
Advice for My 20-Something Self

1. Don’t take people’s opinions (of issues, politics, other people, etc.) as fact.

Ask pointed questions – dig! – to find out what a person really believes. Often, you’ll find that people are just repeating things they’ve heard without really understanding it. For example, if they say they’re “fiscally conservative and socially liberal” ask “why fiscally conservative?” – what specific things do they think the government should cut back on? What social initiatives do you think the government should fund, and why?

Which brings me to:

2. Learn about politics.

It matters. How they feel about welfare, women’s rights / pay equity, and other issues is a reflection of that person’s core values. Ask them why they feel that way. It’s often difficult to find out what a person’s core values are other ways – talking about politics gets to the root quickly.

And speaking of politics, get involved on a local level. Vote, and voice your opinion. You CAN enact change!

3. Don’t waste energy stressing about anyone you’re not going to marry.

And don’t worry about finding The One, because when the time is right it’ll be 100% obvious to you. In the meantime, don’t worry about having a boyfriend or lover or what he’s thinking or if he likes you. Pick up some hobbies and learn to love yourself and your alone time.

Advice for My 20-Something SelfNo matter what your relationship is like or how much time you’ve put into it, if he can turn off his compassion for you and doesn’t treat you with love in the middle of a heated argument (or if he likes to argue), then ditch him. Same with if he doesn’t say sorry quickly. A mature man will apologize for hurting you and try to see things from your point of view, even if he didn’t think it was his fault. Don’t put up with that kind of shit, you’ll just end up regretting it.

Wasting time with guys who aren’t your soul mate just increases the chances that your soul mate will come and go while you’re distracted with some guy who doesn’t matter to you. That said, don’t be on the hunt for your soul mate – it’ll make you more likely to settle or project “soul mate” status onto someone who doesn’t deserve it, just because you want it too much.

Foster friendships instead. This will help you to see a guy for who he really is, over time. Go out with him and his friends – what are they like? When the The One comes along, you’ll just know, and it won’t be based solely on a feeling, it’ll be because he’s kind, intelligent, and right for you — and because of a feeling.

 A mature man will apologize and try to see things from your point of view, even if he didn’t think it was his fault.

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A writer, artist, and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary taught herself code and created Urbanette when she was a teenager. Currently, she lives in Monte Carlo, but spent the past decade living in NYC, still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. She's always traveling, looking for hot new topics, destinations, and life hacks to bring to Urbanette readers.

Reader Discussion: 79 Comments

  1. My advice for my 20-year-old self is, FUCKING STUDY! I regretted my waste of time when I was in my early 20’s. I neglected studies and wasted my life in a low paying job and burning it all in alcohol and vices. I suck i know but i turned a new leaf and have been sober for 5 years now.

  2. cassy white

    if I can advise my 20-year-old self. I’d probably beat her senseless and say “don’t be lazy! that big paying job won’t make you happy work on your passion and stick with it”

  3. Most important line written in history: DON’T WASTE ENERGY STRESSING ABOUT ANYONE YOU’RE NOT GOING TO MARRY.

  4. Alexa Falquet

    I am 20. I like reading a lot of articles on the similar topic because I am trying to learn from other’s perspective on life and experience. This one is special because it formulated as a warm advice. You made me consider voting for the first time in my life. I tried meditating once. It helped me immensely, and now I have the motivation to do it regularly. By the way, I’m bookmarking this! 😀

  5. Hannah S

    Really touching advice — and so on-target! I wish I’d known these things when I was younger…

  6. Jenny Garett

    I wish it wasn’t too late for me to follow your wonderful advice and to make one for myself. You know, i want to share an read this to younger people today. It was definitely exhale worthy and touched a part of my soul that needed to hear it. Thank you for this beautiful post. I like your list very much.

    • Thanks! It’s never too late to make positive changes and try to grow as a person. I’m always trying to grow — every day…

  7. Merry Robinson

    Loved all the advice. Brilliant! 🙂 I really enjoyed this article because it made me think. I really see where you are coming from and I connect with every advice you said. I want to read this to everyone I know. Great list, some real wisdom to be found. love lots! 🙂

  8. Elsie Spurlock

    This is a great article. After reading, I instantly felt relieved of some of my stresses and inspired to be thankful and happy. Accepting the things you can’t change is utterly important. If you start accepting the things you can’t change then you start accepting the people who won’t change. Thank you Hilary, it was good indeed, especially the last page which was the best.

  9. Kimberly Vigil

    These are not the regular tips/advice. You approached the issue from a different dimension. It was really great actually, my fave are nos. 1 & 3. Perfect to have all of this in one place. Thanks, Hilary!

  10. Esther Earl Harris

    Very well explained article! inspiring and interesting. one must read it! (:

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