11 Things You Do In Your 20s That You’ll Regret When You’re 40 [Friday Faves]

Let’s face it: we all make stupid decisions. Like choosing a fifth over a review session, or bringing that guy home…who stole our iPod in the morning. That’s part of college life… and a big part of what makes it so memorable. But there are some choices that have longer lasting repercussions; things we do now that will haunt us later.

So here are the 11 things from your 20’s you will most definitely regret when you’re 40.

11. Risque Internet Photos: What’s the point of having technology if you can’t use it to send a naughty pre-shower photo to your BF? Nothing will turn him on quite like a naked photo popping up in his inbox while he’s brushing up on his Stats knowledge. You trust him, so what’s the worst that could happen? How about a break up? Or the “forward” button? No matter what you think, those photos are going to come back and bite you in the (naked-with-a-spot-of-cellulite) ass. Just show him the real thing and let him turn to his imagination (or internet porn) for a mid-class pick me up.

10. Trendy Tats: You totally love butterflies/stars/unicorns now, but I can bet money that you won’t want them plastered on the top of your foot or your lower back forever. No one wants to see a mom with a rose tattoo on her left shoulder, so think before you ink.

9. Choosing guys over your girls: You get caught up in your relationship sometimes and blow off the girls. Fine, we get it. But when sometimes turns into “What the hell ever happened to Mary?” there is a problem. Especially when Mr. Douche Bag finally breaks up with you and you come crawling back to the girls with a tub of Edy’s and a box of tissues and they aren’t there to wipe the snot from your cheek. Do you really want to spend the rest of your days holed up in a dirty apartment watching your man play Rock Band and chug Natty Light? Learn the balance, honey.

8. Getting married too young: I’ve seen it too many times – people graduate, freak out and hold onto whatever they can of their youth. And they get married.  And become super lame married people. It may be pure bliss now (and lots and lots of kitchen-ware), but just think about all the awesome stuff you will miss by being tied down in your twenties, all that freedom: to travel when you want, to take a job wherever you want, to sleep with whomever you want, to party as late as you want, to discover yourself, to sleep with whomever you want…. Plus, do you really want pictures of your friends doing keg stands in your wedding album? I thought not.

7. Smoking: Mmmm tobacco. It feels so good when it hits (and consequently blackens) your lungs. Especially after you’ve had a few Rum and Diets. And you look so cool doing it. But you know what doesn’t feel good? Chemo. And you know what doesn’t look cool? Your wrinkley face or your kids stealing the pack from your tobacco stained purse and trying it for the first time. When they are 6. This sh*t will kill you, so stop it. Right now! Seriously, put down that Marlboro Light, sister.

6. Not traveling enough: Trust me on this one – you will never have the time, money or freedom to travel like you do now.  Pretty soon you’ll be working late nights and counting down the minutes until the that will be chock full of grocery runs and Bed, Bath and Beyond trips. Try finding time in that busy schedule to jet-set to Europe and “find yourself.” Pack your bags and see the world now, before you’re too old to experiment with drugs in Amsterdam and enjoy a ping pong show in Bangkok.  Pick up a travel book and start planning!

5. Bad Credit: You can’t live without that Coach bag right now. You just have to have that DVF dress for the date party. Everyone else has an iPhone and you want one too. You’ll just charge it and worry about it later, right? Wrong, bitches. Ruining your credit now on stupid stuff (yes, I am telling you that bag is a stupid investment) will totally eff things up for you in the future. Things like getting a house, a car, a boyfriend (bad credit is a total turn-off) and sometimes even a job. Spend wisely, ladies. That bag is going to be out of style in .25 seconds anyway.

4. Not finishing school: Do we really even need to mention this one? Could you think of anything you’d regret more when you are 40 and working the checkout lane at your neighborhood Wal-mart? That is, assuming, you can even get that job in this economy.

3. Pre-vacation tanning: You tell yourself that you just want to get a base tan before Spring Break in Cabo. Sure, you will look fiiiine in that white shift dress for the 6 days after you return, but that wrinkly, skin cancer-ed mess is not going to look so hot when you’re 40 and you look like a Sharpei.

2. Stilettos: Part of becoming a woman is rockin’ the hottest pair of the highest heels. They make your legs look sick (that’s a good thing), make the men beg, and your jeans are too long to wear with anything lower. Why wouldn’t you wear them? I’ve got one hyphenated word for you: hammer-toes. You want to spend the later part of your life looking at that in a sandal?  Make your Feet Happy with these ultra comfy and cute socks..

1. “It feels better without condoms” sex: You’ll probably regret this one right off the bat as you spend your senior year chasing a kid around the dorms, but you’ll seriously regret it later when you look back at your life and realize how much you missed out on because you were busy changing diapers and bouncing a kid on your knee. Oh, and no one likes a woman with a bumpy vagina. I’m just sayin’; those genital warts will never go away.

[Lead image via Yun Yulia/Shutterstock]



  1. amy says:

    this is honestly just depressing

  2. cherylbirch says:

    Actually, for many people, genital warts do go away. Young women often fight off the virus effectively within 2-3 years of contracting it. If a person catches a strain of the virus that causes warts, the warts often resolve themselves within a year or so. People should be much more concerned about viruses like herpes, which significantly increase your risk of contracting HIV if exposed.

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  4. Zoe says:

    I know plenty of people over 40 who proudly wear ink on their skin. Sure, getting "DGAF" or a butterfly tramp stamp might get old pretty fast, but it is very possible to love your tattoos your entire life if you're smart about them.

  5. Ashley says:

    Sadly the majority of people our age do most or all of these things. Proud to say the only ones I do are not traveling enough [because who can honestly afford that in college?] and tanning. Our generation need to look at things long term and stop thinking about how things are in the moment. And the no condom thing is HUGE people, wrap it up! Birth control pills are not 100% especially when you don't take them at the same time or miss pills.

  6. Britt says:

    The nice thing about marrying young: not having to wear condoms :-P

  7. Samantha says:

    When I see an article like this, I really just shake my head. Why are you wasting time generalizing about what a twenty-something should and shouldn't be doing? Every person does what's right for them. If it turns out to be a mistake, they'll learn from it and move on.

  8. Virginia says:

    When else will I have the money to travel? As a student, I most definitely don't have the money to travel right now–unfortunately most of my funds are devoted to tuition and living expenses before I even earn them. Agree with a lot of the other ones though, especially letting your relationships with your girlfriends fall by the wayside for guys.

  9. Anon says:

    Agree with Samantha. No one should be telling others how to live life. If someone wants to get married after college, let them do it. There's nothing to regret, if they find the right person.

  10. Liz says:

    Cherylbirch is right – genital warts do go away. Also, most girls are on some secondary type of birth control these days, so babies are not a huge issue. Use condoms anyway doe.

  11. Mom just turned 48 says:

    Those of you commenting about warts going away, okay with no condoms and/or okay with ink are obviously under 40. In 40 years, our nursing homes are going to be full of women with tramp stamps hanging below there buns (that's what gravity does regardless of how much you excercise) not to mention, how are you going to explain to your 16 year old grandkid its not a good idea to put his girlfriends name on his chest even though they are on kid #2 because it felt better without a condom. As for being married I've been married 25 years. I love my man, we have a wonderful marriage but at 23 I had no clue what I was getting into.

  12. Mom just tunred 48 says:

    When you get married you need to go into it knowing there is no other option but death to separate you (and suicide or homicide don't count). If you believe there are other options to marriage you should not be getting married. Being in your 20's is a fabulous time in your life. Fill it with positive and wonderful adventures. Go skydiving, stay up all night and watch the sunrise, take pictures of you and your girlfriends making funny faces. Take your dad for a drink and mom to a football game, look at the stars with a child, go out in the country and ride a tractor, watch the waves roll in at night while sitting on the beach. Let your imagination go! Most of all remember When you are 20 you think everyone is watching you, when you are 40 you don't care who is wathcing you and when you are 60 you realize no one was watching you to begin with. Enjoy Life!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Guest says:

      Ride a tractor….you live that dream girl!

  13. Guest says:

    I couldn’t agree more with your article. Don’t get married too young! And yes, many people have student loans in their 20s but I you can save a bit of money for the flight, travel can be done cheaply. Save money somewhere else (like not having a huge wedding) and see the world. It changes you in ways you cannot get from staying in the same country you were raised.

  14. Needed to draft you the tiny remark to say thanks over again with the magnificent

  15. Jen says:

    I've never done any of those except this one: “It feels better without condoms” sex. But I don't have a kid. I never got pregnant when he pulled out.

  16. Bianca says:

    I’ ve done atleast sm of those stuff, sm which I regret doing n sm i don’t..i agree, getn married in your 20’s is a mess..who are you gonna keep borrowin money till your finally stable? your parents or in- laws?or your ever drunk husband? guyz thnk thrice b4 getn yoself into tricky circumstances

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