It’s true what they say: “You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.” Or, in the case of thirtysomethings: “You don’t know what chances/moneymaking opportunities/possible boyfriends you wasted in your 20s until you’re no longer in your 20s, sorry!”
Here, we got 15 men and women in their 30s to admit what they regret about how they lived their 20s. If you’re in your 20s, let these people’s stories guide you as you live out this decade of your life. And if you’re in your 30s, let these serve as a wakeup call so you can finally get cracking on the goals you put off. (Before you hit 40, hopefully.)
Thirtysomethings have held jobs long enough to realize that they should have gotten the money stuff in order earlier.
“This may sound boring, but I really wish I had started investing and paying for insurance earlier when I was in my 20s. Now that I’m in my 30s, I see the value of interest. Also, I wish I had stopped valuing quantity over quality for clothes earlier.” –Cait, 33
“I wish I had known more about investing in the stock market, the importance of setting aside funds for your retirement, and getting insurance as soon as you start working. By this time I would’ve saved a considerable amount of money and would’ve had enough to spend on luxuries like traveling and gadgets. Who knows, maybe I’d even get to start a small business and eventually give up my day job.” –Steph, 32
“I wish I had learned about stocks and investing earlier. I could have set aside a bigger portion of my income since I didn’t have as many financial responsibilities then as I do now that I’m married, and my husband and I wouldn’t have to work doubly hard to earn and save now because our money would be growing for us already.” –Ingrid, 33
Another common regret among thirtysomethings is not getting on the health and fitness train earlier, because now that they’re in their 30s, they’ve discovered that their metabolism has turned to shit.
“I wish I had started exercising and developing healthy habits when I was in college or even in my 20s! I took for granted that I could eat whatever I wanted, not exercise, and still keep fit, so I never developed healthy habits or had a healthy relationship with food. I see this same regret every day with my friends; we all talk about how much weight we gained or how we all plan to be fitter this year. Now that I’m 32, it’s not only physically a challenge to stay fit, but I’d have to work on discipline and consistency to take care of my health, too.” –Carmela, 32
“I regret not controlling my unhealthy eating habits and letting myself go. From 75 kg to 95 kg—the struggle to lose all that weight is real!” –Louie, 31
Thirtysomethings who spent way too much of their 20s partying wish they could take back some of those drunken days.
“I wish I didn’t drink that much back in my 20s. ‘Di sana lumobo ng husto tiyan ko. Drinking so much back then certainly took its toll on my body. You start to feel it once you’re in your 30s; that immortality you felt in your 20s quickly vanishes. Nowadays, mas pipiliin ko pang matulog kesa lumabas on a Saturday night.” –JR, 34
Single thirtysomethings in particular wish they had taken more chances in dating when they were younger, because if you’re single in your 30s, it can feel like you’ll be single FOREVER.
“I wish I had flirted more. Now that I’m in my 30s, I’m obviously so behind in the flirting game, I end up just being torpe towards the people I like. Kulang talaga ako sa landi, and sadly, daig ng malandi ang maganda.” –Ehm, 31
“I wish I had slept around more. There were guys back in college who I knew were interested in me, but I held back. Now I’m in my 30s, with only one sexual conquest to my name so far.” –Nora, 32
Married thirtysomethings, meanwhile, wish they had done things that being married now prevents them from doing…
“Now that I am 32, I wish I had taken advantage of a slimmer and sexier me to wear two-piece swimsuits at the beach, or signed up for artistic nude photography with a professional photographer back then. It’s really a no-no now since my husband is too conservative. A little cleavage exposure is all I get to do now and sometimes, my husband criticizes it when he notices it.” –Christine, 32
…And in the case of those who married young, that’s A LOT of things.
“I wish I had learned more about the world, traveled to different places, dated at least two other guys before getting married, and darn, I wish I didn’t get married at all in my early 20s.” –Wilma, 35
For thirtysomethings who spent a huge chunk of their 20s being dragged down by toxic people, it’s only now that they realize that they could’ve gotten out of that dark hole sooner with a little self-love.
“I regret investing my time and effort on toxic people. Being young and idealistic, I always had faith in people so I allowed myself to become a fixer, a problem-solver, and sometimes even a doormat. I had to endure broken relationships and learn the hard way that I should value myself first rather than keep on pleasing others.” –Jessica, 30
One of the great things about being older is learning to let the little things go, and thirtysomethings wish they had that attitude as early as their 20s, when every careless comment directed at you was enough to spark World War III.
“I wish I had a calmer demeanor and attitude in my 20s. Though being young validates being feisty, being calm would have let me pick my battles better.” –Yina, 36
Many thirtysomethings wish they had started traveling earlier because there’s nothing quite like traveling when you’re young and the world is your oyster.
“I wish I had traveled more. I started traveling solo only in my late 20s. Traveling changed my perspective; I experienced a 180-degree shift in the way I perceived the world and life in general since I started traveling. I don’t have plans yet to stop traveling and I have a goal to travel all over Asia and hopefully all over the world. However, I’m not getting any younger. It would’ve been fun to be able to travel when you are young and unattached, with your whole life ahead of you.” –Jeceli, 30
And while it’s never too late to make your dreams happen, thirtysomethings are here to encourage you to grab those chances before life takes you down a completely different path.
“I wish I hadn’t let adults and other ‘authority figures’ tell me what I should be doing with my life in my 20s. I realize now that the same people trying to limit you to a certain path when you’re young are the same people who didn’t get to experience much themselves when they were at that age.” –Ana, 32
“When I was a kid, there were a number of things I wanted to be when I grew up—paleontologist, chef, wrestler—but the one that seemed to be the most feasible was game developer, as I’d been gaming for as long as I can remember. But instead of choosing an IT course in college, I opted for a management course instead. Once I started working, I struggled to get into the gaming industry in whatever fashion, but without success. Every now and then I stop and think what my life would have been had I chosen that IT course instead of management. How different would my life be? It’s a lifelong dream that I’ll always keep on chasing and will never really fully achieve.” –Bim, 33