20 Life Lessons I Wish I Knew At 20 Years Old

How to make the most out of your defining decade

Michael Lim
5 min readJun 13, 2022


Photo by Simon Maage on Unsplash

Your 20s go by in a flash.

I’ve just entered my late 20s and I am struggling to understand where the time went. People in their 30s and 40s tell me time only speeds up. Yikes.

Throughout my 20s, I’ve made loads of mistakes and learned valuable lessons the hard way. But you don’t have to.

If you can implement even a few of these lessons, you can make your 20s better and set a solid foundation for your 30s.

  1. Heartbreak is the most painful emotion you will ever experience. You can let it define you, break you or grow you. You can’t avoid heartbreak in life but you can decide how it impacts you. Choose wisely.
  2. You don’t need permission. Asking for permission is an expectation in disguise. Stop asking for people’s permission. Start that podcast, blog, or YouTube channel. Let go of other people’s expectations and set yourself free. People will judge you either way so you might as well be judged doing something you love.
  3. There will never be a feeling of ‘arriving’. At 20, I thought I would have all my shit figured out by 27. I am now 27 and I feel even more lost than I did at 20. You’ll never feel like you’ve arrived. Life is an iterated game. The challenges you face only increase as you prove yourself.
  4. Most things in life are figureoutable. If you’ve got access to the internet, you’ve got the world’s knowledge at your fingertips. There aren’t many problems that can’t be solved with an hour of Googling. The means of learning are abundant, it is the desire to learn that is scarce.
  5. After high school, your friendships will change. Some people will be in your life for a reason or a season. Others will be there forever. Don’t try to hold onto friendships that don’t serve you anymore. Let go or be dragged.
  6. Don’t work a job for more than 2–3 years. This is enough time to learn the skills, gain experience and make networks. Anything longer and you’re repeating yourself. Your 20s are a time for moving and experimenting. Exposure yourself to new industries and sectors.
  7. Travel to a foreign country alone. When you don’t know the…



Michael Lim

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