Things I wish I knew at 21

Let’s face it, at 21 or so, we feel like we own the world, know everything and don’t need any advice from anyone. OR, life goes though ups and downs, we sometimes get confused and feel lost.

If you are 21 or younger and reading this post, your life doesn’t magically make sense at 30. It’s always going to be a little confusing and challenging. Once you accept this, it becomes much more enjoyable and hopefully some of the points below will help you with some of the cross roads. There are things I wish I knew at 21.

Try to take care of your body, you might need it after

In my younger years, my body was a disposable resource. There was no outlook to think about the health going into my midlife as each day I had the attitude, ‘I’m here for a good time, not a long time’.

Putting my body through years of smoking, binge drinking and drugs has surely done much damage which is taking a long time to repair. Even things like not using sunscreen with getting hardcore sunburn, weekends of sleep deprivation due to partying and extremely poor eating habits has taken its toll.

You realise when you have more to live for than yourself, taking care of your body is so important. So just think, if you don’t have responsibilities now, doesn’t mean in years to come you still won’t. You can use all the good health you can get, when the struggles of life hit.

Enjoy the relationships you have as they will diminish

Deep connections we friends, partners and even family is so rich when you are younger. You not only have the time to have more of these connections, but you can share deep and meaningful bond. Not too say as you get older you won’t have these types of relationships, but they will reduce in quantity.

Somewhere in life, when you may start a family, new career or other life absorbing activity, its likely your friends are too. With this there is less time to enjoy amazing experiences together and they can become lessor or non-existent.

It’s important to accept that this is just a part of life and enjoy the times you do get to spend together. Ensure you do make the effort to work on these relationships you have left.

You’re not losing friends, you find out who your real ones are
I guarantee the party list on 21st birthday is not going to have all the same people on it on your 41st. With some relationships diminishing, you can start to realize who your real friends are even if you don’t see them regularly.

These special friends in your life, are there through the tough times and the good times. You value each other’s time, phone calls and messages.

It’s ok to switch career paths, you’ve got plenty of time

I’m currently 36 and have switched career paths about 5 times with the possibility to do it again next year. When you’re stuck in the ‘Career Bubble’, it may seem that like you’re on a hamster wheel trying to progress. If you constantly feel plateaus or reach the next steps in your career and still not happy with your daily grind, you may want to swap it out.

If you have no career path and are worried, read some life changing books and try as many different jobs you can. If you fail at them or don’t like them, just get on to the next one.

It’s not about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.
-Rocky Balboa

Do what you love, not what brings the cash in

I think there is a point in life where income becomes important to support a family. If you can make cash doing what you love, it won’t feel like work.

If you currently do what you love to do every day, but don’t bring any income from it, find out how you can use this passion to make money. Simple thing like making an online business is easy to learn and cost effective.

Travel and Experiences

Opening your perception of life is hard to do if you’re stuck in the same town you’ve known your whole life. It great to see how the rest world lives and values their lives.

Traveling is the best way to expand this part of your mind and explore not only different places, but learn more about yourself.

Make travel experiences diverse and not just a holiday. Work in different countries, meet different people and if you can, learn different cultures.

When the time comes in life and you finally have a more disposable income, don’t buy the flash car, pay for experience which will enrich your soul. You become more established in maturity and build more life skills that will serve you in the future.

Get out into nature more often

Build a relationship with the outdoors and make sure you stay grounded. The superficial life will be calling you over and over in your younger years. Don’t let it grab you and take you away from where you belong.

Having a constant connection with nature will not only keep you calmer, but healthier as you go through changes in your early adulthood.

Save some pennies

Even if it’s a little, have a savings account that creates good interest locked down with no withdrawal will serve you well. In my twenties, payday would always be so far away and I use to dispense my earning very quickly. One of the best thing my parents taught me, was to save a few bucks out of each paycheck no matter what.

Even if you only make $100 a week, save $5-10. Over a year that adds up and over 10 years with a good investment plan, it can be cash you need for life changing investment. I only wish I invested more now.

Invest in yourself

If you do have the money to spend, invest in learning and developing yourself. There are tonnes of cost effective courses online or in person where you can progress your health, career or other life skills.
At any age, we should continue investing in ourselves, but making it habitual and even doing things like reading books will keep your brain young. Reading at least one book a month will have a massive impact on your future.

Sit in silence for 10 minutes every day

Technology is quickly changing our brains and the next early generations will be programmed for easy distraction.

Just ten minutes of meditation everyday will help you combat distraction and help develop your focus for development.

Meditation has been one of the profound game changers in my life and saved me from an anxiety disorder. Scientific evidence is now proving all its benefits meditation and it’s FREE by the way.

It’s ok to feel lost. Enjoy being lost but not for too long

You can’t continually couch surf, party and drag on a pathless life for ever. Life without meaning or direction if often filled with anxiety or depression. If you are stuck in trauma or lack purpose, read Claim your power by Mastin Kipp.

Its ok to been in this limbo for a while and its very natural to be in this state. When you are here, this is the best time to invest in yourself and learn how abundant life can be.

Life will go in ups and downs when your young, but it also does when you older. Get used to it and enjoy the roller coaster ride.

My last words are failures lead to learning. Learn how to fail better and you’ll develop success in all aspects of life.


If you had had the chance to go back in time, what advice would you tell yourself? Please drop a comment below.

50 Comments on Things I wish I knew at 21

  1. You’ve got some awesome advice going on here. I love the ‘invest in yourself’ part. Plus ‘do what you love not what brings in cash’

    I have learned a lot of this through painful experiences. I would really be a much better person today had I known all of this. However, we still have enough time to change all that for the better. Where there is life there is hope.

    Thanks for this great article

  2. Hi Vince, this is awesome. It’s like a beautiful reflection. In retrospect, wouldn’t it be lovely reading something now written by our older self? That’s what I felt reading your article. I imagined myself a few years back.(not so long ago…hehehe). From all those advise you shared, taking care of one’s body is the best one for me. We will earn money, lose money, create fun and sad memories, switch careers.. etc, but nothing can bring us back to our present state of health. What we do to our bodies now will greatly affect who we are in the future. For sure, the environment will play a great amount of impact on our health, but that we cannot control (at least directly). But it is how we take care of ourselves consciously will definitely make or break us as we face the future. Thanks for your awesome and brilliant article brother =)

    • Thanks for your great feedback JR.
      My current actions now always include forward thinking. I think what would my 50 year old self need to here. This has helped shape the direction I’m heading in life.

  3. Loved your post. I really wish I knew some of this when I was 21. Not being sure of what I wanted to do for the rest of my life was one of my grave concerns at that age. Totally agree with you on the ‘take care of your body’ part. Thought we were invincible at that age, didn’t we?

  4. Hello Vince,
    I adored how you were talking to your younger self. The idea of pointing out what works at 21 is not how your world will be at 41 including friends. I think this is a primer that I hope more 21 year old’s will read.
    And thank you for including meditation. I have found it to get me through life’s challenges with ease and a much more opened mind frame. And it lead me to understand that life’s drama is only something that happens to us, it is not who we are.
    I really enjoyed reading this article. It just showed truth and heart.
    Will you be doing more articles on meditation?

    In peace and gratitude, ariel

  5. This post is amazing. The sections about cherishing your current relationships and changing career paths touched me the most. At such a young age, it is easy to take things for granted. I wish I had something like this when I was that age. Awesome stuff Vince.

    • Appreciate your comment Chad. I wasn’t expecting such a warm reaction from visitors, but I think as this writing this, it hit a place in the heart that seem to strike everyone.

  6. Great article. I am currently 28 years old and definitely agree with what you are saying. Especially the “sit in silence for 10 minutes per day”…technology has become a must in this day and age but there is so much value and peace in being able to disconnect!

  7. Great article. You got some nice advices. I agree with all the things you say. I especially love the one says do what you love, not what brings the cash. I always tell people if they don’t enjoy what they do, move on and do something else. I often hear people say, but I need the money. Well, yes money is important. But it’s really up to the person to decide which is more important, happiness or cash. For me, I choose happiness over cash at any given day. We only live once, what is the point for having money when you are unhappy and depressed. Everyone needs to read this article. Great enlightenment.

    • Thanks Hong for your comments. Happiness is over cash is a hard one for many of us change. I too see the importance of supporting my family but also want the benefits of happiness. I think it’s important to find a balance of these this things.

  8. You provide some very sound advice here. I’m sure that younger people, if they listen will benefit greatly from it. Your suggestion about doing what you love, I think is very profound. They say if you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life. Thanks for sharing. All the best, Tom

  9. Hello Vince
    Lovely post. I loved all of your suggestions and I feel that wish I knew about them when I was 21. Specially taking care of health because that is the core part of our life and we realize that later lol. Also so true about relationships so many of them diminish because everyone becomes so busy huh this is life and that’s one fact. Thank you for sharing, I really enjoyed it.

    • Thanks for your comment Raman. Relationships feel like they need a lot of work when you get older. Special efforts should be made to conserve what you’ve got.

  10. Man. I’m the same age and can relate to so many of these “wish I woulda” … especially saving $ and traveling. I have finally started traveling in my 30s but could have seen so much more of the world right now with better planning. Thanks for an incredible post.

    • Good that you’re traveling now so you can’t say the same in your 40s and 50s. I’m trying to think of the ‘wish I woulda’ in 10 years time which leads me to much more action these days.
      Thanks for stopping by Penelope.

  11. Hey these are some great advise for a 21 year old, which I was like last year. You are absolutely right about investing in yourself to make yourself better. I liked the meditation part because technology has been big distraction towards young generation today. All of those are great qualities to have but most people rather just enjoy their life.

  12. Vince, THIS. This is perfect. I am 40, and I so wish I could go back and talk to my 21 year old self. Unfortunately at 21 I was about to go through a divorce, but I’ve come a long way since then. As we are growing up, we can’t wait to leave the house and live on our own not knowing what this really means. I often times say “If only I could go back I would change so many things”. And as my pastor always says, “It’s ok to be lost, but it’s not OK to stay there.” Love this article.

    • I used to say the same thing all the time “If I could go back…’, but now I try to think more how my actions today affect the future.
      Thanks for sharing some of your story with us Michelle and such great feedback.

  13. i love what you did, it was very informative and advisable information. i do agree with about the advice we should provide for 20s people. i am 31 right now and I wish i had someone to tell what i have missed.

  14. Hi Vince, this is a great post I must say. What I would tell me to do different being 21, I am now 54 lol, I think first I would tell me to take care of these knees while doing motocross. They really hurt today and I often didn’t wear the kneepads.
    Other than that I am quite happy how it came and would not know any details I should change to get the same joyful result. By the way, when I was 21 I was traveling north and south America for 18 months. I wouldn’t wanna miss that!

    • Great advice on the Knees Stefan and glad you have had a successful journey so far. Appreciate your comment and thanks for stopping by.

  15. What a superb article. Haven’t read any article like this with a lot of nice advices about a happy life. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article and learned a lot from it.. and I will share this with others for sure..

  16. As they say, hindsight is 20/20. The good news is; we can tell the younger generation on the dos and don’ts. Thing is will they listen. I have always wondered why we were blessed with strength and energy in our youth and no brains. And on the flip side when we get older we have all the brains and less energy and strength

  17. hi- this is a good post. I have liked many parts of your article particularity the ”Do what you love, not what brings the cash in” as due to economic difficulties we face sometimes we go for what brings money in and end up not enjoying what we do-great post

    • Thank Kwacha for your comment. Life can make you a slave to income and happiness can take the back seat sometimes. It good to find a balance.

  18. As someone who is twenty one, I found your advice really helpful. Every day, I realize more and more that my time is precious. It is the true nonrenewable resource in my life. I will take your advice to heart.

    I do have a question though. Would your advice be any different for someone at age twenty five or older? Thank you in advance and I hope you have a wonderful day!

    • Hi Alex,
      I think this advice is good for many age groups at not specifically targeted at 21 but some good models to work upon.
      Thanks for your feedback.

  19. I actually am 21! Good thing I’m reading this now and not 20 years from now.
    I think traveling is one of the most important things to do when you’re young. Gaining a greater understanding of other cultures, and seeing that things can be done in different ways than you may have always thought is an amazing life experience.

    When I traveled to Japan I had an amazing time, learned more about another culture than I ever did in school, and got to meet amazing people that didn’t even speak my language.

    Do you have any suggestions on places that would really open my eyes to a completely new culture? Also with a budget in mind, because I’m only 21, and I’m not making a huge salary, so disposable income is tight!

    Let me know,


    • Appreciate the feedback Isaya and glad you made it here to read this post.
      When it comes to travelling, you just need to go where cultures and scenery are different to what you’re used to. This will open the mind to take in new concepts and growth will be imminent.

  20. This is awesome advice Vince. I wish there was a way to show this to every 21-year old out there. The world would be so much better then.
    I like the meditation part. You can search my favorite on youtube. Just search for “soul sync meditation” from One World Academy.
    Hey, good job on putting together this list. I can see people love it!

  21. I think, after looking at your top photo, that my first piece of advice would be ‘stop wasting champagne (or bubbly as we Aussies tend to call it). Drink it and enjoy but don’t get everyone else covered with champagne and smelling like a winery!

    All your advice is good. Travel, have fun, make friends. If you can see someone once every 14 years and feel like you talked to them yesterday, you have a great friend. I have a few of these and love them all.

    Great article for youngsters and keep up these great articles.


    • Appreciate your comments Helen.
      I have friends that I don’t see for years and when I see them it feels like only days.
      All the best.

  22. Oh to be 21 again! To be honest, I wouldn’t tell 21-year-old me anything apart from “keep doing what you are doing” I was a bit of a wild one back then but I wouldn’t change a thing, I partied hard, worked hard and pretty much had the time of my life. OK, I have just recently suffered from a heart attack and been suffering from anxiety and depression for the last year or so but there are people out there that that lead healthy and calm lives and still go through the same thing as I have just gone through.
    Live life to the fullest I say, You only live once and I don’t want to be on my death bed wishing I did things in my life, I want to be there Knowing I had the time of my life!
    Some great advice here though, cheers

    • Thanks Matthew for your comment and love the motto. We certainly only live once on this earth and shouldn’t have to miss out on the great things in life.

  23. Hi, Thanks for this post. A lot of excellent tips. I know the feeling of not having enough time to spend with friends, during the start up of a family. The friends that last during this time of your life, are the ones to keep. Quality instead of quantity.
    I agree that everyone should invest in themselves. We only have one life and the years pass by so fast.

    • Cherishing the moments we have everyday makes them all more special with quality with freinds.
      Family life is special it self but can absorb your life where many other aspect can suffer.
      I appreciate your comment Mariska.

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