A baseball bat to the head and a knife in my best friend’s chest wasn’t enough to wake me up as a teenager.
We nearly died that night.
But the chaos my friend and I lived in didn’t stop there. Your 20s are supposed to be the time of your life. Many people end up making poor decisions that ruin their 20s and even 30s.
Here are the eight mistakes I made in my 20s. Try not to repeat them.
Acting stupid to get the girls
Movies teach young people to do dumb stuff.
In my 20s I jumped in front of moving cars, drove at 100 miles per hour in school zones, threw bottles out the window, made racist comments for fun, smoked like a chimney, and said offensive stuff to pick up chicks.
No wonder I was single for so long. Took me years to learn this…
If you act respectfully you attract all the best lovers.
Thinking violence was funny
Youtube was new in my 20s.
My friends and I loved to watch gangster videos of people beating the crap out of each other. We’d laugh when an innocent stranger got punched up by a group of thugs.
We’d watch rapper, Tupac, walk through the casino and smash faces in. Then we’d laugh. We conveniently forgot Tupac was killed in cold blood because of the violent life he led.
Violence isn’t funny. Sure, seeing someone get knocked out might seem hilarious because WWE wrestling tells us it is. Then over time your tolerance for violence increases.
My friends and I found ourselves laughing at people get shot … and even murdered.
Video games didn’t help. We played games like Counter-Strike that encouraged us to come up with the most violent executions you can think of.
We’d play out these fantasies in front of crowds of screaming gamers at LAN parties in rundown office buildings. A few of the players ended up acting out their violent fantasies on real humans.
Thankfully, we don’t have guns in Australia — although some crazies still got their hands on them and ended up in jail.
Someone else’s suffering isn’t entertainment. That’s how monsters are born.
Listening to gangster rap
Gangster rap would thump out of our car’s subwoofers.
We thought the word “hoe” was normal. Swear words flowed out of our mouths more than real words. Puff Daddy, Snoop, IceCube, and Xzibit were the soundtrack to our weekends. Whatever they did we stupidly copied.
It’s easy to become like your idols. So choose your idols carefully.
Violent, sexist forms of rap are probably bad for you.
Going to college with Coca-Cola
I never had energy in my 20s. So I’d spike my blood sugar by drinking Coca-Cola for energy. Then I upgraded to Monster Energy Drinks.
My health was disastrous. I couldn’t sit in college classes and concentrate. All I could do was mess around and play with my Nokia 3310 phone.
The nerds ate salad sandwiches. They didn’t cause trouble. They got A’s. I used to think it was luck or good genes. Now I know it was their diet.
Food affects our mood.
If we eat crap we act crap. If we eat healthy we act healthy. If you’re in your 20s think about what you eat.
All the processed junk food screws up your body. And it’s people’s full-time job to keep you addicted to this food using chemicals, so it’s hard to detox off.
Learning new skills requires energy.
Energy comes from drinking water and eating more plants.
Being around drugs
I’m not a drug taker. One puff of a joint at 16 scared the pants off me. I never touched drugs again after that.
But my friends did.
They did the hard stuff like Ice. I allowed myself to be around it. It started out as fun. Then the addiction got worse.
So nice guys and girls would need more money to feed their habit. Eventually they’d go too far and not pay someone back. That’d result in knocks at the door, heads being kicked in, and the house completely trashed.
The poor parents.
One drug episode became so bad that the dealers came to a friend’s legal practice and threatened him. They then took the keys to his $200k Mercedes and had words with his boss.
He lost his lawyer job and never worked in law again.
Even if you don’t do drugs, being around them has downsides. The people you spend time with are the people you become.
The nightclub life
Some 20 year olds might think I had the best life.
I spent my days working in nightclubs as a DJ. I got free alcohol, access to celebrities, VIP tickets to every show, and special treatment.
Sounds like a dream. Not really.
If you have to be out every Wednesday night at 3 am, chances are something is wrong. This isn’t normal behavior. In my case, I was avoiding much darker problems I was too afraid to face.
If you hang out in nightclubs for long enough you’ll either become a drug addict or an alcoholic. They’re the only two types of people I know from my clubbing days.
Their nightclub life was cool as hell in their early 20s. But some of these guys are now in their 40s and 50s.
They look like hell, can’t hear, have liver problems, and are mostly divorced because no life partner wants a playboy/playgirl to be the parent of their child.
Admittedly my hearing is screwed, so I didn’t escape early enough.
Treating education like it was useless
It’s cool to trash the education system. It is broken but there’s still a lot you can learn. The biggest lesson I learned is to become a life-long learner. Learn to love learning. See it as a challenge you’re never too old for.
Because some people still think education finishes at the end of college.
But honestly, that’s when education starts. You can’t keep up in this crazy online world unless you love learning. It’s why I do an average of two online courses a month.
Education has value. It just needs to (and will) be reinvented.
Not getting help sooner
My 20s were bad because I had a severe mental illness and a debilitating eating disorder.
The good years got wiped out. My youth was destroyed. This isn’t a sad story though. I thrived in my 30s because of the mistakes of my 20s. It’s never too late to seek change.
Ask for help. Be self-aware. See mental illness as a normal condition many people suffer from in silence.
Just don’t be an ass like I was in my 20s.
Take the Hollywood model of how 20-somethings should act and reverse it. It might just save your life — or someone you love.