Turning 30 is a huge milestone—but it’s not the end of the world. Any bigger anniversary is a time to reflect on the past, evaluate your present, and make plans for the future. And as it happens, hindsight is always 20/20: sometimes we wish we could go back in time and give our past selves a few pieces of great advice to make life more joyful and far less problematic.
Though we can’t help our past selves (we just can’t get that darn Time Machine(™) to start working, so it’s back to the drawing board for us), what we can do is make others aware of the biggest pitfalls we’ve encountered. That’s what some redditors did in a very informative and enlightening thread on r/AskReddit.
Scroll down to read their life advice for anyone who is 30 and under that will most likely make you far happier and more at ease than you are now. We’d love to hear the advice you’d give someone younger as well, Pandas, so drop by the comment section to spread some of your hard-earned wisdom.
Suzanne Degges-White, Ph.D., kindly shared her thoughts about how to stop worrying about work so much and how to let go of past regrets with Bored Panda. “We never get do-overs in life, but we can use prior errors to guide us to better choices moving forward,” the Licensed Counselor, Professor, and the Chair at the Department of Counseling and Higher Education at Northern Illinois University told us. Read on for our full interview with the professor.
“Once our brain gets fixed on a regret or a mistake from the past, it can become like a broken record—we keep playing it back over and over again. Sooner or later, some new thing will come along that takes enough brain power that lets us let go of the worry, or else time does its trick and lets us put it in the past.”
Professor Degges-White, from Northern Illinois University, explained to Bored Panda that while a worry or a regret is still fresh in our minds, it can be helpful to remind ourselves that we did the best that we could at that moment in time.
“We all are going to make mistakes—whether it’s a bad decision or having hurt someone or missing out on an opportunity. But we all make the best decisions we can at any point in time— none of us intentionally try to screw up our lives!” she said.
“Reminding yourself that we all make mistakes, we all have regrets, and yet we all have to live in the present may help us focus on making better choices in the here and now and using past mistakes as learning opportunities to do things ‘better’ in the future.”
Spend time with your parents,. You never know how much time you have with them left. Until they are gone you have no idea how much you will miss them.
According to Degges-White, we actually make it harder to enjoy our leisure time and our work if we spend all of our time stressing about our jobs.
“Every job we hold is an important job as it’s a stepping stone to the next one, but we also have to remember that if we don’t manage to keep our emotional tank filled, we’ll run out of gas before we get to our ideal job,” she said.
“Work/Life Balance is a catchphrase that gets a lot of airtime, but it is truly a concept that we should consider when we’re making decisions about saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to commitments or ‘opportunities’ that translate into ‘obligations.'”
The professor told Bored Panda that the average person holds over 12 jobs in their lifetime, so it’s important you don’t get so stressed about your career.
“It’s a winding path for most people now, not a straight shot at the same place for decades! Don’t be a slacker, however, or your next move might not be the one you want.”
Relationships do take work but they shouldn’t feel like a chore. Don’t stay with someone who treats you poorly, it’s better to be alone than in a bad relationship.
The biggest pieces of advice that yours truly can give you, having leveled up to 30 this year (thank you, thank you, you’re too kind, Pandas) might sound a bit cheesy to you. But I thought I’d share ‘em with you nonetheless. You know us grognards, we love a good audience and the sound of our own voice or errr pixelated ink in this case.
Tip number one: small bits of effort daily are worth far more than their weight in gold. We tend to underestimate the power of small steps and instead dream about big gestures, big steps, big chunks of time dedicated to the pursuit of our goals. Here’s the thing, though—life gets in the way. School, family, work, friends, hobbies, heck, even cooking, all of these things (however pleasurable or otherwise) get in the way.
So we’re left postponing our ambitions till the weekend/Monday/next week/next month. Y’know, until we have the time, energy, not to mention motivation to really give it our all. That happens incredibly rarely. We’re far better off doing something for even 15 minutes each day, consistently, than postponing our happiness.
First thing I thought of: take care of your damn teeth. Floss, brush twice a day or more, get checkups. This year has been over $2k worth of dental work (and that’s with a huge family discount). I’ve had cavities filled, a root canal, a crown, rounds of antibiotics and steroids, and sooooo many sleepless nights because of jaw pain. I cannot stress this enough. It’s never too early to start taking better care of your teeth.
Don’t worry about being “behind” other people, whether it’s personal goals, career, financial, whatever.
Once you’re out of school, there is no timeline. Everyone does things at their own pace and there is no perfect time to do anything.
Everyone thinks they are behind in something in some way. So, if everyone thinks they are behind, no one is.
Tip number two, from yours truly: please, for the love of all that is (un)holy, take better care of your health. Eat more veggies. Drink more water. Look at fast food, processed goods, and snacks as occasional treats instead of the core of your diet. Lay off the sugar and caffeine. Spend more time out in nature, out in the sun (don’t forget your sunscreen, though!).
And, please, move more. Our modern way of life means that many people are often hunched over screens or lounging on sofas for far too long. A sedentary lifestyle is the antithesis of a healthy and happy body and mind, especially coupled with a bad diet. So do your future self a favor and find some forms of exercise that you enjoy the most. For instance, someone might absolutely hate running (yuck!), but that’s okay because they love playing badminton, dancing, or swimming. It’s all about finding ways to stay active. Human beings aren’t built for not moving for long stretches of time.
Recently, food expert Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin explained to Bored Panda that eating ‘mindfully’ helps us get more enjoyment out of our meals. It can also help us eat less but better.
“When you are eating, only eat. Don’t be walking around the kitchen. Don’t be scrolling on your phone. Don’t be watching TV or otherwise multitasking. Sit down with just you and your food and actually pay attention to each bite you are putting in your mouth. This will help you slow down, taste your food, and your brain will be more likely to acknowledge that you just ate, and ruminate on how you feel about what you just ate,” she shared with us.
If you drink alcohol a decent amount, or tend to only socialize with alcohol involved, I would advise to give up drinking for at least a year before you are 35. Learn how to socialize and have fun without drinking alcohol. The older you get the harder it is to stop, and before you know it you’re an alcoholic. Maybe a functioning alcoholic if you’re lucky, but often not. I’ve got a couple mates in their late 30s who can’t give up, they need to drink every day. They waste so much money on pointless drinking, they have burnt friendships, ruined relationships, and for what?
Alcohol is dangerous if you don’t keep it in check. Learn how to rewrite your relationship with alcohol otherwise it could end up in control of your life.
Take 10 minutes a day and clean a different part of your house/apartment. Do this every day until it’s a habit.
Also when you are done with it, put it away.
What’s more, Jessica suggested cutting out the fruit juice and sodas from your diet. Instead, embrace water!
“A glass of water and a piece of fruit is way better for you than a glass of fruit juice. A glass of water and a handful of candy or chocolate bar is way more satisfying than a glass of sugary soda,” she explained. “You can cut out a ton of calories without making a ton of sacrifices on your plate by kicking all the drinks in your fridge to the curb, and upping your water intake. Save the non-water drinks for special occasions only. Your body (and especially skin!) will thank you.”
Personal trainer and physiotherapist Paulius Lipskis previously told Bored Panda that it’s important to accept and embrace yourself as you are. He noted that nobody should feel like they’re forced to follow a healthy lifestyle. It’s something that we should want. “If you’re constantly angry, tired, and you’re low on energy—it’s an issue,” he said.
“Usually, our unhealthy habits are a result of constant stress and our behavior that’s meant to protect us from it. If we would have an honest chat with ourselves, we’d clearly see that we’re dissatisfied with ourselves only when we feel that we’re using our bad habits to cover our emotions,” the fitness expert told Bored Panda.
“However, if we accept that we’re not perfect, we’re not pressured to change. That’s when you start developing a natural desire and curiosity to find out what the best possible version of you is.”
Develop an ability to delay or deny yourself things that you want. Actions taken impulsively are often looked back on as mistakes. Sleeping on big decisions or purchases is like a cheat code to making better choices. The ability to resist impulse will be a big predictor of your future success.
You will overthink things. Fun things, big things, small things. Relax, take a breath. You don’t have to go hard all the time.
And tip number three from me would be a very simple encouragement to live your lives with more courage, Pandas. It’s very easy to get stuck in your comfort zone and not want to venture out even a little bit. But there’s a lot more to life than going to work, paying your taxes, watching TV, and eating pizza. Often, that means trying something entirely new and embracing all of the weird feelings that come along with being uncomfortable.
Life’s a lot more fun when you constantly challenge yourself in small ways, all the time. It’s about embracing fun and joy on the one hand, as well as putting in genuine effort on the other. One way you can live with more courage is to be kind to others, instead of focusing just on yourself. It takes guts to poke your head out of your Bubble of Comfort and put yourself in situations that might be awkward or embarrassing.
So help your neighbor, classmate, colleague, stranger, or family member in whatever way that you can, and make the world a better place. The best part? It doesn’t matter if you’re 30, 13, or 133 because age is just a number. What matters is what we do, consistently, not how old we are.
If you don’t make decisions and plans in your life, life will make decisions and plans for you. There is no auto pilot here. You must actively participate if you want a decent life.
Invest in your health by making good choices about nutrition and fitness.
Invest monetarily by saving money and not living outside your means.
Invest in your future by setting goals and putting in the work to get there.
When the stakes are not that high, don’t be afraid to take a chance. Failure is often fleeting and short, you will learn something, and the things you will regret later in life were the chances you didn’t take.
Work out regularly. As in, have a gym or exercise routine that is part of your weekly life.
The older you get, the harder it is to start.
The first thing that comes to mind is do not give a c**p with other people think of you. Do your own thing. A long time ago I did this and haven’t looked back. I have never been happier.
Get a dog. I never had one until I was 28 years old and she changed my life. Now we have 3. I never knew so much loyalty, love and companionship. They make me laugh every single day and I’m never alone. I’ll always have a dog now.
Always be open and honest. If your not happy with something don’t wait. Change it now.
We all make mistakes. That’s part of being human. Just have a positive attitude and smile and you really can do anything your heart desires.
Don’t devote all your time and effort to your career. It is important as it gives you the means to survive, but it is not where you should devote yourself to. I have spent the last seven years of my life focusing solely on my job, I wish I could go back and focus on living my life and finding out what brings me peace. Doing that now and couldn’t be happier.
Don’t fall for consumerism and spend all your money on looking good to others. Instead, invest in yourself and your future. Live way below your means until you’re financially independent enough. Don’t care what people say about your shitty car or apartment. Work your a*s off and build wealth. You’ll be way ahead of your fancy friends in no time. While they’re working 9 to 5 in their 40’s to 60’s and beyond to pay off their fancy car and house, you’ll be free to do whatever you want.
I don’t care how hot that person is, don’t take their s**t, and have respect for yourself. Never beg to be liked. Be with someone who likes you, instead of transforming yourself into someone they will like, which doesn’t work long term. Don’t spend years in toxic relationships, even if there’s amazing physical attraction and sex. It’s also not your responsibility to save someone. You can help them save themselves, but don’t be unhappy to make someone else happy.
Your 20’s are for you. Do everything you want to do; travel, study, party, whatever. Don’t settle and start a family until your 100% sure you got all that out of your system.
Don’t be afraid to fail. The only way to learn is to practice. You have to make mistakes in order to get better. No one is automatically great at everything. Let yourself love the journey of practicing and doing instead of the endpoint. If you concentrate on the endpoint, you’ll end up so miserable that when you finally get to the endpoint, you’ll feel let down. Try to have fun the entire time.
Note: this post originally had 67 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.