Some people get their sh*t together a little too early. Others get it together right on time. I was in the second camp.
It was probably for the best.
A lot of 20-somethings get overly invested in the illusion that they know everything already.
Watch: The worst advice we've ever given. Post continues below.
Getting carded at bars feels like an insult, not a compliment.
This leads me to the first thing I’d tell myself:
1. Stop trying to look like an adult.
The older you try to act, the younger you’ll look.
People will judge you whether you give them a reason to or not. So don’t give them extra ones.
You’re already doing this. Keep it up. Don’t ever take a first-class flight anywhere. Don’t spend your vacations in hotels. Spend them outside, getting dirty and wind-whipped.
3. Don’t rush through young adulthood.
Enjoy your freedom and independence while you can. Relax, the soul-crushing responsibilities are on their way.
4. Memories matter more than anything.
You’re right to go out there and do all those things that sound like a bad idea. There’s a gap between timid and reckless, and that’s where you should want to spend most of your time.
5. Find a way to say what you’re thinking.
Pandering and people-pleasing makes you look dumb, but you’re not. You’re smart. So say the smart things in your head, instead of the little wishy-washy lies you think sound easier on the ear.
Don’t let anyone speak for you.
Which leads to…
6. Stop being afraid of your intelligence.
If it intimidates other people, that’s their problem. They need to learn how to deal with their own insecurities. Pretending to be less smart than you really are erodes you from the inside.
7. You’re more mature than you think.
People treat you like you’re 17 because that’s how old you look, even in a suit. That doesn’t mean you have to act 17. Don’t put up with anyone who insists on talking down to you.
8. You’re worth more than you know.
You can’t stop everyone from underestimating you, and you can’t stop them from taking you for granted — at least in their own minds. You don’t always have to prove everyone wrong right now. But don’t let people’s doubts about you turn into your own.