'Take off that trilby'


Hindsight is just the best thing, isn’t it? Looking back at how you were five years, or even five weeks, ago can make you wonder why you had that haircut, dated that person, or stuck around in that job. You would never make those mistakes now, right?

As you grow older, the urge to pass on your pearls of wisdom to younger people - even when you’re in your twenties and thirties - can feel overwhelming. As you muddle through your quarter life crisis, your brain fills up with information that you wonder why no-one ever taught you at school. Like the fact that white bread has almost zero nutritional value. Or that actually finding an exercise you enjoy before your lithe, 18-year-old body disappears is a sensible idea. Then there’s the awful realisation that you don’t suddenly wake up one day being an ‘adult’. In fact, almost everyone around you is winging it and clueless. 

So, to try to piece together the information neither your parents nor your school teachers had the time to tell us, we asked some people in their twenties and thirties to reveal the tips they wish they could give their younger selves. Here’s what we learned. 

Comparing yourself to others is tiring. Stop it.

"Don't sweat stuff that you're not as good at other people at and concentrate on playing to your own strengths,” said one 31-year-old.

“I'm quite a slow learner at first so when I did temp jobs when I was younger, like waitressing or data entry, I was always crap at them. But obviously those things ain't my calling. And I should have not been bothered about it.”

"Don't compare yourself to other people too much, it's unhealthy and will mess you up," added a 24-year-old. "That Baz Luhrmann song is right 'sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind - the race is long and in the end it's only with yourself'."

You’ll have to do your job for a really, really long time, so do something you enjoy

“Do what feels fun, not what you feel like you should be doing,” said one 28-year-old. “You'll succeed in whatever you do as long as you enjoy every minute of it and if yotwu don't at least you've had a nice time along the way. And don't take yourself too seriously, there is plenty of time for that.”

Look in the mirror for the love of God...


Luckily, our style can change over time (TomFullum/iStock)

“Take that f**king trilby off,” one 22-year-old told The Independent. “Honestly it's my biggest regret. And stop drinking Strongbow. Just sort it out, basically." 

...but then again, who cares what anyone else thinks? 

"Don't worry about what people think, they're all idiots. Being weird is cool. You're not fat so stop worrying about it and stop buying tankinis…" said one 30-year-old. 

Appreciate having a disposable income and save

"Save a bit more," advised one 33-year-old. "There is a tendency to think it's all a bit futile and that would be worse if you're a hardened millennial for sure. Sometimes it's easy to fall into the trope of not caring about spending too much."


Saving money isn't futile, said one 33-year-old (Getty Images)

And being brave enough to ask for a pay rise will make that easier

"Don't undervalue yourself," he added. "Ask for more money when you think the time is right."

Take equal care of your mental and physical health 

"Stop worrying about it and just do it. You are good enough. Also get therapy, like, NOW," said one 25-year-old. 

Travel the world because you will never have this much free time again until you're retired 

“DO something with your long summers. Six weeks is so much time and you never get that much off in one go again!" urged one 25-year-old.

Another wishes her younger self had explored the world earlier when she had fewer responsibilities. 

"Bloody get on the bloody plane to New Zealand because you will not want to do a 24-hour flight with two small children. Ever," chimed a 31-year-old mum. 


A 31-year-old said she wished she'd travelled to New Zealand sooner (aumphotography/iStock)

Allow yourself to have a hobby you're totally rubbish at 

"Learn to do things with the potential of enjoying them, even if you're not good at them. You'll miss out if you're always worried about trying not to fail. And failing sometimes isn't so bad, because it can set you on a path you didn't know existed, but is much better for you!" said a 24-year-old. 

Don’t take yourself too seriously 

"Those who you find most impressive are the best actors of all," said one 27-year-old. "Learn to take yourself less seriously and give people and their stories all the time you'd like them to give you."