20 Voices Reflect On The Twists And Turns That Defined Their 20s

Published 2 months ago

The r/AskReddit online community, known for its diverse and candid discussions, recently took a deep dive into the realm of personal regrets.

In a thread that garnered thousands of responses, members shared their stories about actions they took in their 20s that left them feeling like they had squandered precious time. From career missteps to relationship woes, the revelations were as varied as the community itself.

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Image source: detective_kiara, Monstera Production / Pexels

Too scared of my parents to stand up to them and live life how I want.


Image source: ghostfacestealer, Inzmam Khan / Pexels

I always thought i was already too old. “Uh im 25, Im too old..”.


Image source: Vinny331, Becca Tapert / Unsplash

I did a PhD. The first time I made more than $30k in a year, I was 31 years old. F**k academia.


Image source: SapphireEcho, Pragyan Bezbaruah / Pexels

Being too shy.

To anyone younger reading this, TAKE RISKS! Ask that person out. Go to that local event you’ve been eyeing. Strike up a conversation with a cool-looking stranger. Get up on stage at a karaoke night. Volunteer. Join a club.

Life is not a movie and there is no magical special person that will notice you and come pull you into the light. You have to do that yourself.


Image source: mario9577, Specna Arms / Pexels

Fighting endless wars, Somalia, Afganistan, Iraq, Syria, and everywhere else around the world. Wasted my 20s, all my 30s and half my 40’s fighting. For what you ask? I have no idea now.


Image source: bad_robot_monkey, Bayu jefri / Pexels

Your 20s are about finding out who you are. Nothing is wasted.

I used to think time playing videogames was wasted…. But when I quit for a while I missed my friends, and I missed my instant stress outlet.

I used to think I wasted money…. But I had a hell of a good time.

I used to think I got a late start on my career from fumbling around…. But I got a new career at 35 that owed in part to my varied background, and I’ve been progressing through for over a decade.

In short, none is wasted. Live every day like it is an opportunity.


Image source: Extreme_Today_984, Lamar Belina / Pexels

No ambition. Lack of foresight. No goals.

I spent so much time stressing out about my future that I never actually lived in the present.


Image source: Pale_Net8318, Alena Darmel / Pexels

I spent the entirety gripped by an eating disorder.

Obsessed with food, weight – in and out of hospital, harming organs, teeth, mental health.

Such a waste of a prime decade. Wish I could turn back time.


Image source: spoonplaysgames, Towfiqu barbhuiya / Pexels

By getting fat and then getting so depressed by that that i effectively cut myself out of everyone’s lives cause i was too embarrassed to be seen by old flames, friends, or people who knew me a certain way.

do not recommend.


Image source: Xeavor, MART PRODUCTION / Pexels

Depression is a b***h. I have vague memories of my childhood. I have good memories of the past couple of years.

I don’t remember a thing of the years between 18-25. I just sat at home, played some games, eat, sleep and just.. existed without anything significant happening at all.

EDIT: Since alot of you are asking how I came out of it, I’d like to shamelessly copy + paste a comment I wrote earlier. So here’s my advice:

Pick something you want to do, and go do it.

You’re probably already at one of your lowest point in your life, it’s not like it’ll get much worse.

Want to learn the piano? Why not, atleast it’ll be good distraction for a while.
Want to do sports? Sure! At worst, your physical condition will improve.
Want to travel? Grab a backpack and go somewhere.
Want to punch a shark in the face? Where the nearest ocean at?

Who knows, maybe by the end of your lil bucketlist, you’ll learn to love life again. Or maybe not, but atleast you can tell people you’ve punched a shark, which is kinda cool ngl.

For me personally, I always wanted to learn cooking. Taught myself how to cook, then did some volunteering work cooking for elderly people. Opportunities came, and stuff happened, and right now I’m working full time as a chef, about to start school again to get my diplomas, and I’m doing great.

You never know what might happen along the way, but nothing will start if you don’t do something, no matter how small it might be.

EDIT 2: It has come to my attention that punching sharks is a big no-no, and I profusely apologize. Dolphins, Barracuda’s and Triggerfish are a-okay appearantly, so punch away!.


Image source: fslashd, Trinity Kubassek / Pexels

Treating the love of my life all wrong because I thought I was all right.


Image source: randomusername_815, Wendy Wei / Pexels

Thing about your twenties is, no matter how you spent it, you’ll wonder about the other path.

Party, get wasted, spend everything you earn travelling the world, you’ll wish you’d been more studious and built better foundations.

Study hard, work diligently, build good foundations, you’ll wish you’d partied and had more fun like the others did.


Image source: anon, Karolina Grabowska / Pexels

Being scared of people and letting people take advantage of me. People would borrow what little money I had, with and without permission and never pay me back.


Image source: StAliaTheAbomination, Isabella Mendes / Pexels

Drinking heavily. Heeeavily. Will never get those years back.

Thankfully, I realized while I couldn’t go back and change the start, I could decide to change the ending. Ten years sober this month.

To anyone else struggling or in recovery. There is help. There are people who will help. The thing that dawned on me is that I was despairing for the future because I thought it would always suck. But my drinking was also making it suck. I decided I had no right blaming the world for a terrible future if I also contributed to make the future terrible. So I decided to do everything I could to make it good. And then when it still was terrible, THEN I could hate the world. Funnily enough… The future got better, and I didn’t need to hate/blame the world OR myself.


Image source: Kwando-D-Hornblower, Karolina Grabowska / Pexels

I pursued a career in a field that wasn’t right for me.


Image source: FrederickDerGrossen, nappy / Pexels

For me, it was too much ambition early on in life, and then by the time my 20s came around, I became very disillusioned. I felt like life was mundane, and nothing brought joy to me anymore, so I hardly did anything. Literally wasted a bunch of time doing nothing.


Image source: angryrubberduck, Matheus Bertelli / Pexels

I think a lot of people need to see this:

Between 20-29 I did the following:

Met a girl, married said girl. Got the job I wanted my whole life. Bought a house. Got 3 cats and two dogs. Had 2 kids. Bought a new car then a new truxk. Moved with my job and bought a bigger house. and specialized in the area I wanted to. Went to the arctic. Traveled to parts of the world I wanted to. Climbed some mountains. Started learning a new language. Made friends, lost friends, seen friends get married.

And I still feel like I wasted my 20s. So don’t have any regrets. The fact that you’re alive at the age you are is awesome. Living life and experiencing joy is the point of life. Keep doing what you’re doing. You’re great.


Suffering from severe clinical depression, I barely left my bedroom. The years feel intangible to me. I might as well have been in a coma.

Image source: march_rogue


Image source: sn1per50MT, JESHOOTS.com / Pexels

Spent too much time watching tv/movies and hanging out with myself alone. Spent too much time and money on alcohol in my late 20s. Oh and watching way too much p**n.


Image source: anon, Ron Lach / Pexels

Far too much time spent on my career and not nearly enough on friends and family. Can’t say it wasn’t financially rewarding, but I’d give that all up for more time with friends and family who have since died.

Saumya Ratan

Saumya is an explorer of all things beautiful, quirky, and heartwarming. With her knack for art, design, photography, fun trivia, and internet humor, she takes you on a journey through the lighter side of pop culture.

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20s, advice, life advice, regrets, things people regret, wasting time in 20s
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