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What was your life like at 21

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At 21 I was nearing the end of an emotionally abusive relationship. I was engaged and quite frankly lost. Luckily I came to my senses ended the engagement, and re evaluated my self esteem, such as why I would allow myself to be put into that situation.


What I would tell myself at 21: Take life with a grain of salt. Some things such as friendship and love doesn't last forever. Don't rush and contemplate too much on the future, take life as it comes. What will be, will be and that's okay.




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I had just finished college. I had an apartment with my emotionally abusive and unfaithful boyfriend at the time. I started working two jobs after graduation to pay his way because he didn't feel like working. Later that year I moved to England 1. Because I had always wanted to spend time there and 2. I wanted to get as far away from him as possible. I stayed in the UK for 2 years and I loved it. So, my 21st year started off really shyte but ended on a good note.

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At 21 I'd been married for two yrs to a guy I was liking less all the time. I married him to escape my mother who was a verbally and emotionally abusive person towards me. I wanted a new last name, so when this fellow asked me to marry him early in our relationship I thought I was smart enough to know what I was doing and therefore I said yes. What I was, was terribly naive. I can't believe I was that stupid, that insecure, had such low self esteem and generally felt thankful that someone actually wanted me so I better grab this guy while I can. I just shake my head when I think about those days.


I left him at 23, got divorced, stayed single for a long time and met my current husband and married him at 30. By then I was a LOT smarter.

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Seriously I could go forever, but here's my biggest regret:


I wish I would've stayed OUT of relationships. I wish I would've casually dated many different guys. I wish I would have made them actually date me, as in pick me up and take me on a PLANNED date. I wish I wouldn't have tolerated the losers who would show up and say "well, what do you wanna do now?" I wish I would've been more firm in saying "Oh you're 24 and don't have a job? BYE."


I wish I would've spent more time having fun with friends. Group trips, girls night out, and building those relationships. Here I am now about to get married and my "girlfriends" aren't even close enough friends that I want them in my wedding!


I wish I would've WORKED MY BUTT OFF and put ALL MY MONEY AWAY before I had bills to pay. I wish I would've lived at my parents house longer so I could've saved more money.


I wish I would've been a better daughter and never lied to my parents about where I was or what I was doing. Now that I have my own daughter and feel the motherly love for her, I understand how they felt for me.


I wish I would have been stronger with my sense of self, less influenced by those around me. I wish I would've surrounded myself with better people.


I wish I would've realized that most of time, what felt like a mountain was actually a mole hill.


I wish I NEVER would've gotten black out drunk. I wish I would've been more involved in church. And I wish I would've known that the best way to enrich my life is through relationships and experiences. Meet as many people as you can and appreciate them for their originality.


And I've realized all this in only 5 years. Hindsight is 20-20 I suppose.

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I could drink almost anyone under the table, talk my way into and out of any problem, set the curve in class despite having never attended, press more weight with arms and especially legs than some men, and support myself financially, if unreliably.


That said, it took me nearly a decade to get my head on straight and get out of college.


80% of life is showing up. This. Believe it. Most leaders in large corporations are smart enough, responsible, and task-oriented. They are nothing special; only that they went to class and followed the path up and out of college and into business - a path that exists for anyone who shows up regularly and introduces herself or himself to people who are higher up/smarter than/other than oneself.


The brilliant minded, responsible rule followers make less money than the irreverent mercurial top performers. Nothing substitutes for energy and intensity. Learn to be neither quiet nor mercurial, rather to always be out in front and then balance it with humility by serving others.


Make serving others a habit. Make your team look good. Make your boss look good. Make it easier for the people around you to take that next step. Make this a habit and you will succeed.


Oh and this:

- study relationship texts by John Gossman, about how to make marriages work, all of it. We ought to teach this.

- If its a head versus heart problem, the answer is neither.

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I'm 21 now, I believe my life is quite good, I study and am lucky to have a job that is well paid (for a student job), I entertain myself with my interests and have few good friends that like the same stuff I like.

I could say that I'm in pretty good place right now, all I'm lacking is a bit of courage, but I'm working on that.

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21, let's see, I was in a LTR with a man who was almost 40 years my senior. I was in college. Not yet working but I was studying and planned to apply to a healthcare job out of college to get more experience. I was also way more unhealthy than I am now in terms of eating.


Now I am 26, different relationship (no regrets about my past one, however), I drink about the same amount as I did when I was 21 (1-2 drinks max per week), and yes, I am working in healthcare. I am a lot healthier than I was and I am more chill.


Honestly, yes, some has changed but it's not a total 180. I have the same interests I did back then and I have pretty much the same priorities too. What has changed is my outlook on my health and my relationships with my family (changed for the better) as well as gaining new life experiences. That it's.

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Oh man 21 I was a wild one. Got lost in partying, got a DUI, which eventually led to hospitalization for my mental health. In and out of toxic relationships/flings...what a wreck lol. 8 years later, I am more sane and stable thank god lol, when I look back I just smh. Wish I cared more about myself then, wish I had more self love. Wish I didn't put my parents through hell, thinking I can do whatever the hell I want and not hurt anyone. So young, so naive and selfish geez I was a horrible person when I was in my younger years lol. I am truly sorry to all the people who were in my path of destruction during those years....Hmmm this thread has sparked a lot of self reflection

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Hmm at 21 I was in a long distance relationship with someone who was not great to me. Very toxic and I spent the subsequent next few years trying to get over him. I was in college. Aside from that relationship I was still very naive, unworldly, had a lot of growing up to do. I think most people party it up at that age but I was so focused on that relationship I didn't, which I regret. My 21st birthday was super boring because he was not very into going out, something I regret. I still think I have lots to learn and more growing up to do but I cringe on some of the mistakes I made or things I dealt with when I was 21.

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I joined this site when I was 21, now 26. My days of being 21 are ones I remember fondly because of my relationship back then. It was my first serious adult relationship back then. Most of the year I was involved with a woman a couple years younger than me that ended up breaking my heart badly. It was also a stressful time. I was going to a new college university, I got my license at that age and I had to buy a car, I had no job (yet), I didn't have a lot of things figured out with my life. It was just a tough time.


One thing I envy myself for versus then was even though my ex was the wrong one, man I think I was ready to love back then. I was so enthusiastic about this other person, I did EVERYTHING for her, I mean unconditional love. I no longer feel that way and don't know if I could ever feel that way again for someone after what that person did to me. I've been through years and years of rotten girls and it's made me really bitter and depressed with the world. I guess I never really faced reality back then that love does not come easy.


Days were a little more care-free back then as well. I didn't have quite as many responsibilities.

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At 21, I'd dropped out of college and moved from Boston to Orlando to work as a Promotions Manager for an indie record label (which was a lot of fun, but also a very unhealthy lifestyle). I spent a lot of time drunk...lol. But I also developed a bad eating disorder (anorexia) that sent me into treatment, eventually. I was back in Boston by 23, trying to get healthy.

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I was in college as an art major, soon to switch my major to economics and philosophy. Outside of school, I worked for carpenters, and then electricians. My boyfriend was a 22-yo ex-convict and his mom was schizophrenic who was prone to violent outbursts. I met him at a street festival and we ran away together to go swimming in one of the Great Lakes. We remained together for almost two years, at one point staying in some whacked out rooming houses because his mom was so crazy (even so, I painted her whole house and refinished her hardwood floors). I was stoned every single day, but managed to almost never buy drugs (acid was the exception to this rule). I drank too much. I skipped most of my classes but got by with my test scores and good projects. In general, I didn't like people and behaved like a miscreant. Things have changed a lot since then.

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21 was good. I was living in a studio apartment by the beach. I worked in restaurants at night and went to school during the day. I dropped more classes then I finished. I had a lot of friends and life was pretty good.

I had been a relationship from 15 to 18 that was abusive and was in no hurry to get into a another one.

I was however hopelessly in love with someone who was non committal. He played with my heart for a couple years and I tried to pretend I didn't care.

When he moved away for work for 6 months, I met someone I ended up engaged to. I swear while the guy I was crazy about was gone, I was on a mission to find someone, because while he was in reach I didn't give anyone a chance.

Now looking back I realized I married my husband to escape from the other guy because I didn't have the courage or backbone to do so any other way.

NOT a good idea.

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