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Dear Wendy

words of advice for someone whose turning 22?

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  • #336459 Reply

    On the money thing… consider all your options, look at what you like and dislike to do, and then pick one of the ones that you like (not necessarily love) that pays enough to have a good life. In my case, when I was in high school I loved english, writing, and drama. If I could have followed my dreams, I would have been a writer or actor or something. Or an archaeologist! But that just doesn’t pay, realistically. Luckily I was also really good at math and science and enjoyed it well enough. So I took engineering. My job is fine, it has interesting bits and annoying bits, but I don’t hate it. And it pays really well. The stuff I’m passionate about, I can do on my own time. So think about that when you’re trying to figure out your career. You don’t have to love your job. You do have to not-hate or, ideally, like your job.

    Follow your gut when it comes to sex/relationships. You can afford it. Some commenters above said they wish they slept with more people, but if that’s not you, then don’t do that. If it is you, then go nuts! Now’s the time. Just make sure to take a step back once in awhile and check-in with yourself whether you’re happy. I wasted about 5 years in an on-and-off thing with a guy who ultimately wasn’t a good match for me. Remind yourself that if it’s working, it won’t be on-and-off, and it won’t be extremely difficult. If you find yourself in that kind of situation, better to end it and move on, rather than sinking more time and energy (and ultimately, heartbreak) into it.

    #336460 Reply

    Oh, and start saving money now! I know it’s hard to do when you’re this young, because it seems like you have so much time. But you really don’t. In the next 10 years you’ll probably want to buy a home, or get married, or have kids, etc, and having a bunch of money socked away is going to make a huge difference in what you’re able to do. And right now you’ll be getting into your first real job (hopefully) and getting your first decent paycheck, so taking a chunk out of it will be unnoticeable. Don’t even think about it as income. Just take it off the top and consider it gone. If you do this for the next ten years, you’ll be pretty well set when it comes to your next set of major life decisions. Someone advised me to do this when I started my first job, and I’m so glad I did. Probably the best financial decision of my life.

    #336461 Reply

    1. Start working out if you haven’t already – it’s a good habit to start and it only gets harder to stay in shape the older you get.
    2. Eat as well as you can on your budget. If you can only afford a few veggies a week, get a few veggies a week. Don’t live off ramen and easy mac.
    3. Don’t open store credit cards if you don’t absolutely need them.
    4. Save money when you can but still buy fun things you deserve.
    5. Don’t stay in relationship longer than you should. (Learned that at 28)
    6. Travel within your means, but see the world if you can.
    7. Treatyoself within your means. If that means a manicure or a vacation or a 4 dollar bottle of wine? Do it.
    8. Appreciate your parents. The older you get, the older they get and they aren’t going to be around forever.
    9. Birth control. Be safe but have fun.
    10. Try new foods you’ve never tried.

    Enjoy your 20s, they fly by fast

    #336464 Reply

    Sleep around, get the partying out of your system and experiment within reason, save money, make lots of friends with a wide variety of interests and ages (best thing about leaving high school and college in my opinion), try to be happy and focus on the small things that bring enjoyment, and travel!!

    Also, you don’t need to have the perfect job right away.

    #336487 Reply

    1. birth control!
    2. Accept yourself. You are good enough.
    3. You are much cuter than you realize now. see #2.
    4. Save money whenever possible, and don’t use credit cards if you can help it. And if you do use them, pay them off every month – which will build your credit.
    5. Live on your own if at all possible before you move in with someone. There’s something to be said about having your own space before you share with someone else.
    6. As for jobs and school, everyone is different. Looking back, I really wish I had taken something simple in college, like a basic accounting certificate as back up. I’m not a career person, but it’s hard to change industries with no schooling to back it up. Something like accounting is used in all industries. I’d rather be happy than have money, but being comfortable definitely helps.
    7. Learn how to communicate with everyone, especially significant others. Learn how to say the hard stuff, and work through it. Unfortunately the only way to do this is to just keep trying until you find what works.
    8. If you drink, find out what your limits are in a safe environment before you go party. Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
    9. Try things that scare you.

    i’m sure there’s more!

    #336526 Reply

    @RedRoverRedRover said “The stuff I’m passionate about, I can do on my own time.” I should’ve followed that advice. My job doesn’t pay well, and although I’m probably the only person among my friends who did what they’ve wanted to do since they were 9, I would major in something different if I could re-do college. Although I met so many amazing people in my major, but in practical terms and career-wise, I didn’t make the best choice. I wish I had just kept my passion as a hobby instead.

    #336543 Reply

    I am almost 30 and I’d say, don’t compromise on anything when you’re 22. Life changes a lot in your twenties. You will not be the same person when you’re 30. So, don’t get married yet. Also, save all the money you can. That way you can be financially independent sooner in life and not later.

    #336700 Reply

    Happy Birthday!

    Enjoy it, and don’t worry, you’re never as old as you worry you are. But it’s not too early to save for retirement. Also, figure out what your financial goals are and how to save for them.

    #336702 Reply

    Such good advice! Except… @Veritek. The $4 dollar wine is a migraine maker (at least for me!) remember when it was 2 buck chuck? Anyone??

    I really second the living by yourself BEFORE you move in with a partner. Definitely one of my favorite stages of life!

    And yes, exercise now. Find something active you love to do and keep doing it. Your metabolism sloooooows as you get older. Also, it’s great stress relief. If you do it outdoors, the benefits multiply.

    Always wash your face before bed.

    Wear sunscreen. Do not go to tanning beds. Drink lots of water. (My secrets to looking young)

    #336703 Reply

    Diablo: I chased my dream and it has turned into a fucking nightmare. Trust me. Go for the money. Or plan to marry it — another regret. I should have been with the older rich guy who was so INTO me but I couldn’t be with someone I truly didn’t love.
    P.S. — He wound up with a truly TERRIBLE person only to drop dead of a heart attack barely two years later, leaving EVERYTHING — and we are talking beach house in Malibu, condo in Hawaii, country house in Maine! — to the meanest, vilest, bigger user on the planet… How much better my life would be now. How much better Alan’s last two years would have been… Hey, I like Alan — ALOT. I just wasn’t “in Love” with him… Newsflash… Mr Right NEVER came along…

    #336707 Reply

    I do sometimes find myself thinking I should have focused on money more… However, the main point is you need to be able to find out how important a certain lifestyle is to you and how you can do your best to secure it. Do you need a certain amount of money to be happy? If yes, then absolutely make sure you can make that money. This is especially true if you want kids, a house, etc.

    I’m one of those people pursuing their passion and have always been that way. Though there are definite downsides I don’ think I’d choose otherwise if I could get a do-over. What’s interesting to me is that I know lots of people with enough money who are super bored in their jobs and looking to study a different subject or taking up lots of hobbies. They have financial security and are able to support kids etc., but sometimes feel their lives are very rigid. On the other hand there are people like me doing things they find really interesting but not getting rich. It’s a bit of a dilemma unless your passion lies in a field that also pays really well. Again, it depends on your preferences. You just need to be able to be honest with yourself about what’s really going to matter to you. Plus, I wonder whether people in their 30ies and 40ies regret not having more money, while maybe people in their 50ies then are more likely to regret having wasted their time in a boring profession.

    At 22, I almost feel like the main advice is negative: Just try not to do anything that will wreck your life or present a huge burden to overcome. If you don’t have a baby before being ready, don’t develop a serious drug addiction and don’t accumulate huge amounts of debt, it’s all going to be OK.

    Looking back at my twenties, I don’t regret any of the more daring things I did, like traveling to Japan on my own and spending all of the money I had at that time for it, or going abroad for a semester to study. Those are actually among my best memories from that time. In terms of studies and work, I can’t even remember many things anymore, especially from the time before I started studying the subject I really love. I was often just trying to get by somehow and not really paying attention. I would advise you to pay attention and do things that really pique your interest, even if you need to get out of your comfort zone to do them. Combine that with pursuing a degree and getting some professional experience and you should be fine.

    #336708 Reply

    Oh, and then one thing I guess I would change is focus less on relationships. You may meet “the one” at age 22, but it’s unlikely. So don’t narrow your opportunities just because you’ve been with a guy for a year and he wants to live in X place, or doesn’t want to travel abroad, or whatever. Go for what YOU want until you’re ready to make a longterm commitment and the relationship has proven viable, and only if you don’t need to make sacrifices that will wreck you if the relationship still ends at some later point. I’ve seen so many women in their 20ies needlessly being held back by their relationships, and it’s sad to watch. (By that I don’t mean at all that you shouldn’t be in a longterm relationship. I’m just saying don’t make it the be all end all and don’t assume that of course you’ll get married and have kids and that therefore there’s no way you’ll go abroad or take a good opportunity in another city.)

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