7 Things I’d Tell My 21 Year Old Self

high rise jeans

Today’s post is written by contributor Chelsea Becker, a San Diego native, living and writing in San Francisco. Follow her on Instagram & Pinterest.

Hindsight is the best and the worst because it allows you to see missteps and learn and grow from them. But on the other hand, it can just make you wish you could go back and do things over again. I honestly don’t feel like I’d want to do my early 20s again. That said, if I had the chance to whisper in the ear of my 21-year-old self, I’d definitely have a few tips and suggestions for her, starting with these 7 things.

No one cares what you’re doing as much as you do

All throughout college, I thought everyone was watching my every move. It felt like someone (I don’t even know who) was waiting in the wings watching to see if I’d screw up just so they could jump out and say I told you so. Why did I think people cared so much? In hindsight (there’s that word), it was definitely more of an internal pressure rather than pressure from those around me.

It’s all going to work out

In the moment, it probably feels like having to drop a class or break up with the person you’re dating is the end of the world. But in the grand scheme of things, they’re really not. Whenever it felt like the world was ending and things couldn’t get any worse, it would have helped to know that what I was going through was just a season. It was one small moment that ultimately wasn’t going to truly affect my future.

Start a savings account and do NOT get a credit card

If I could go back to being 21, it might just be so I could make fewer financial mistakes. Don’t get me wrong, it could have been a lot worse, but I certainly wouldn’t get a credit card the second time around. I would also tell myself to cook at least a couple meals at home each week and start saving – even if that meant $20 a week. I didn’t truly start saving until I was 28, and wish I started much earlier.

Do not settle on boys

It seems like part of going through your early twenties is meeting some really crappy guys. Like really crappy. Unfortunately, at that age, it can be very easy to convince yourself that whoever you’re dating is treating you right when in reality they’re the worst. As you grow and learn what you need from a partner, it gets easier to sift out the questionable ones. So keep your chin up and don’t settle for a guy that treats you anything less than amazing.

Have fun!

Now that I’m in my early 30s, I can safely say that the freedom you feel at 21 is something you’ll only have once. Even if you try to push responsibilities to the side as you get older, your early twenties really are a special time to have fun! I’d tell myself not to stress out about things that really won’t matter in the long run because once jobs and families start to come into the mix, you’ll never get that time back.

Your body looks great

Growing up, my mom always told me whenever I’d complain about my weight that when I got older I would wish I had the body I had when I first started complaining about it. And unfortunately, she couldn’t be more right. Enjoy where you’re at in that moment and don’t think about all the improvements you’d like to make to yourself. Luckily, I’ve grown to love and appreciate my body as a 30 something, but I wish I always had.

Keep learning

When I was first starting out my twenties, it felt like college was going to teach me everything I’d ever need to know. I couldn’t have been more wrong. And while I do value my education, I now think it was more about learning life things rather than it was academic. Which is why it’s crucial to keep learning and investing in yourself as you age. The world is never going to stop evolving and neither should you.

What would you tell your 21-year-old self? Is there something in particular you really wish you would have known back then? Share below!

BTW, how to not be so hard on yourself, and do you believe in fate?

How to Be Okay with Where you are Right Now
How to Set Yourself up for Financial Success this Year