3 Difficult Life Lessons You Should Learn in Your 20s


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Many have tasked themselves with a list of life goals to achieve before age 30. Whether you scrawled them in a notebook at age 15 or are constantly adding to the list as you chart life’s course, almost everyone has a mental image of what they expect the big 3-0 to look like. Hidden in these milestones are the challenging life lessons you can’t plan for—ones that truly shape who you are as a person. In an effort to create some sort of map for the unpredictable road ahead, Inc. recently chronicled the tough life lessons you should learn before reaching the three-decade mark:


You’re constantly fielding new experiences in your 20s—from landing your first “real” job to moving out of your childhood home, life becomes a series of “firsts” that can leave you feeling terrified, exhilarated, and, most importantly, humbled. Unlike in your brazen teenage years, you start to gain a sense of perspective and can clearly see your place in the world.

“Very few people get through their 20s without some serious soul searching and questioning of fundamental beliefs and habits,” writes Inc. “This is the best time in your life to be making mistakes, which gets steadily less socially acceptable as you progress in age.”


What goes around truly does come around, and you’ll find it’s much less stressful in the long run to just be honest and forthright upfront.

“The truth has a way of rearing its ugly head,” explains Inc. “So the sooner you can find integrity with yourself and the world at large, the sooner you’ll be able to start working towards what you really want and who you really want to be.”


Anyone who’s experienced a two-day hangover in their 20s can attest to this fact. Health and well-being become more and more important as you age, and your liver will surely remind you of that fact.

“Just because you can stay up all night drinking doesn’t mean it’s not taking a toll on your body. Have your fun, but remember: They call it excess for a reason.”

Check out the full breakdown of tough life lessons on Inc., and shop this book on turning 30 for more insight.