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25 things I wish I knew when I was 20

Updated on August 16, 2013
Sante Fe, New Mexico - Doors
Sante Fe, New Mexico - Doors

How many times have you heard someone say, “If I only knew then what I know now”?

As you get older you begin to understand what that means. Call it experience. This hub offers you the benefit of my experience. All twenty-five will not apply to you, but if one helps you avoid a big mistake, then you win.

So let’s get started.

If you can’t explain something in a few sentences, then you don’t understand it. You can easily test this one yourself. Ask some questions. See what you get back, long and windy or short and to the point. Generally the longer the answer is the less substance it contains. Pay attention here if you are the one talking.

Friends are the best currency. You cannot make new old friends. Only time and experience can build true friendship. Keep in touch with your friends; they are the currency of your life.

Challenge yourself, no one else really will. No one can push you like you can push yourself. They will try, but only you can do it.

Love is only the beginning. I will not even attempt to explain this one. Go see for yourself. Think commitment.

Mistakes are learning tools. Mistakes happen. You can’t take back what’s done or what’s said. Take responsibility for what you did and move on. Learn from it. Apologize if necessary, but learn from it or you will repeat it. Taking responsibility for the mistake puts you in control.

You only have one family. Yes they are yours. They are not going away. Get use to it.

Every little bit counts. A little each day will get most things done.

Education only begins with graduation. It never ends.

There is always more than one side to anything. The biggest mistakes you will ever make will be taking actions or making decisions based on one side. Period. Get the whole story.

Most communication is not verbal. Shut up and observe.

Everyone has an agenda. If you know yours, you control yourself; if you know theirs, you control them.

Laugh at yourself first. If it is funny, it is funny. So what if it happened to you.

Learn your job. Whatever your job is, learn it. Be the person co-workers come to when things go wrong.

What people remember about you most is how you made them feel. We are emotional beings.

Do what you say you will do. This is an important measure of a person; do they do what they say they will do? Do you do what you say you will do?

Ethics are what you do when someone is looking. Morals are what you do when no one is looking. Ethics are imposed. Morals come from within.

You will never understand the opposite sex, just enjoy them. I would like to say more but that is all I know.

If you have children, you have a lifetime responsibility. They are eighteen once, but yours forever.

You will get older. Time is not your friend or your enemy. Continue to live, learn, love, laugh, and you will make the best of it. How you spend your time says more about you than your age.

If you want to argue bring up politics or religion, otherwise don’t. You are not going to change someone’s politics or religion with a conversation.

You can learn something from everyone you meet. If you cannot learn from someone, it is your fault, not theirs. It is your loss, not theirs.

Admit your mistakes and share your successes. This is not as easy as it sounds, but it pays future dividends.

Everyone has an ego. Too much or too little is guaranteed trouble. Put simply, don’t believe yourself, believe in yourself.

If someone continually says the same thing over and over, you can bet it is not entirely true. Examples: I don’t drink that much. I don’t fool around on my wife. I do most of the work around here.

If someone talks about others to you then they talk about you to others. You can only trust a gossip to gossip, use them when you need to. Don’t be one.

One last bit of advice, it is easier to learn from someone else’s mistakes, but it is not always possible. If you read one of the 25 and think, “What fool didn’t know that?” Grab a mirror and take a good look and memorize that one for future use.

Enjoy your mistakes as well as your successes because that is life!


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    • GNelson profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Florida

      Thanks, You are going to have a great life!!

    • profile image

      Will Bryan 

      3 years ago

      As a 17-yr old, I'm still just trying to figure out why to do, after reading this hub, I may now be better equipped to navigate the vast roller coaster we call life. Thank you for the hub!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Lot of useful thoughts!

    • GNelson profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Florida


      Thanks for reading.

    • Brian Burton profile image

      Brian Burton 

      7 years ago

      I'm not going to pick one out and say that was my favorite because there are too many good ones to choose from. Very nice hub!

    • GNelson profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Florida

      Injured lamb, Thanks for taking the time to read.

    • Injured lamb profile image

      Injured lamb 

      7 years ago

      Thanks for the sharing Nelson, it's always a wise choice to keep them in mind...enjoy this hub of yours much...cheers!

    • GNelson profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Florida

      Gypsy Willow, Thanks for reading.

    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 

      7 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Excellent summary of life! thanks

    • GNelson profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Florida

      CMerritt, Thanks for the comment. Learned most of them the hard way.

    • CMerritt profile image

      Chris Merritt 

      7 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      I think you came up with some pretty solid "things" to go by....

      good hub!

    • GNelson profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Florida

      ShyeAnne, glad you enjoyed it. Thanks.

    • ShyeAnne profile image


      7 years ago from Deep Bay, British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you for the hub.

      Well written by you and truly enjoyed by me!

      Make it a great day.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      7 years ago from Orlando, FL

      FB is a great place to meet up with old friends and meet new friends (Linda Bilyeu)

    • GNelson profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Florida

      Sunshine625, Thanks for reading. I got to get on facebook.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      7 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Excellent hub!!! I knew a few and learned a few. Thanks for putting it all together! Up and Facebooked!

    • GNelson profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Florida

      2uesday, Thanks for the worderful comment.

    • 2uesday profile image


      7 years ago

      Voted this up and useful, sorry it took me so long to find it. I meant that it was published a while ago, but also that reading it years ago would have proved useful too. Thank you.

    • funmontrealgirl profile image


      8 years ago from Montreal

      No words can describe how beautifully written and insightful this hub is. Thank you so much for posting this.

    • GNelson profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Florida

      Thanks for the wonderful comments. I don't get back here often. Most of this hub was learned the hard way. I should have listened more but I am still working on that.

    • Beth100 profile image


      8 years ago from Canada

      I have to admit that I have experienced every one of these and some lessons were learned the hard way. Perhaps if I had your wisdom on a card, I could have avoided it, but then again, I am who I am because of my mistakes and successes. Wonderfully written!

    • profile image

      Fay Paxton 

      8 years ago

      Someone asked me if I could begin life again, what would I take with was an easy answer: all the wisdom I've accumulated and the lessons I've learned throughout my life.

      Excellent hub.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great thing to learn. I like your vocabulary of life.

    • profile image

      8 years ago

      I am 20 and i just took each one of these pieces of advice to heart. thank you for this

    • Angela_1973 profile image


      8 years ago

      What a good read you have here, I wish I can have one day again when I am 20. I miss the carefree spirit.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Really good hub! I agree with everything you have said here 100%.

    • sligobay profile image


      8 years ago from east of the equator

      I voted awesome but would have voted wise if it was available. I am now following your wisdom.

    • C.V.Rajan profile image


      8 years ago from Kerala, India

      A good hub to read on Christmas Eve. Experience speaks!


    • Ingenira profile image


      8 years ago

      "You will never understand the opposite sex, just enjoy them. I would like to say more but that is all I know." This one really made me laugh !

      I like what you wrote so much and I am going to link it to my hub.

    • Robertbloggert profile image


      8 years ago from Oklahoma

      Very good hub GNelson, I particularly like your take on the love is only the beginning section. As you gave the best advice one can in using the one word, commitment.

      I'm sure you would agree the big problem with trying to give love advice is simply that most kids that think their in love also think they know everything about it. But then I suppose we all can say been there done that, And in the end I agree commitment is the best way to sum it up.

      Great advice though GNelson, Voted up and I hit every button I could on this one. And learning is always a good thing!

    • GNelson profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Florida

      Lorlie6, Thanks for the compliment. One compliment goes a long way.

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 

      8 years ago from Grizzly Flats, Ca

      Yikes! You are one helluva philosopher, GNelson, and have really summed up lessons only a couple of years can provide. I am very glad you found me, so that I, in turn, have found you!


    • GNelson profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Florida

      Atienza, We all learn in our own time. I know I took my time.

    • atienza profile image


      8 years ago from Northern California

      I'm in the process of learning these now. Some of them are tough, but you're absolutely right in every one. Thanks for sharing.

    • nikitha p profile image

      nikitha p 

      8 years ago from India

      wow! very interesting hub!

    • GNelson profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Florida

      Sunnyglitter, thanks for the 20-something input. When I was 20-anything I wouldn't have paid attention.

    • Sunnyglitter profile image


      8 years ago from Cyberspace

      As a 20-something, I really enjoyed this. Nice job.

    • GNelson profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Florida

      I know Nick, I needed it too. Still do.

    • Nick B profile image

      Nick B 

      8 years ago from Normandy, France

      Hmm, where was this hub when I was twenty-five years younger?

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Ohmigod - there are so many things here that strike a chord. I'm going to write a hub in reply!

    • GNelson profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Florida

      T Augustus thanks for the comment and your neighbor is right!

    • T_Augustus profile image


      9 years ago from Detroit, MI

      Great hub! I have a 19 y/o and it is so hard to make him understand what the decisions he makes today will mean to him in 20 more years. My neighbor has a great saying, "The older I get, the smarter my parents get".

    • riahskorner profile image


      9 years ago

      Well thought out hub! It was an excellent read for tonight. :)

    • GNelson profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Florida

      Peggy thanks for the comment. I also enjoy your hubs. Keep it up.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Wow! You hit almost every topic from which people can learn...if they are willing. You are obviously a very wise man if you employ all of what you have learned over time in your own life. Thanks for this primer of not only common sense but good advice.

    • The Rope profile image

      The Rope 

      9 years ago from SE US

      Great hub! Well said.


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