What Should You Appreciate More in Your 20’s?

A few things 40-somethings wish they appreciated more in their 20’s: your metabolism, your energy, your ability to bounce back from hangovers, your skin, your body, your mistakes, your freedom, sleep, independence, time, choices, sex.

And then there are the big ones — the one’s many women wish they didn’t take for granted in their 20’s and beyond  —  family, friends and your health.

“Be more patient with your parents. Something at 40 that I didn’t have in my 20s was patience with my parents. I work with a lot of kids in their 20s.  Be a little more patient and kinder because that time is precious when you’re in your 20s.  When you’re an adult, you can totally enjoy them in a different way. Maybe some people don’t have that relationship. But I wish I had started that process, the process of being friends, earlier with my parents then.” – 40-something, New York

“When I was in my 20’s I wish I understood how much my mother loved me. Now I am 44 with 2 kids who amaze me everyday. I never knew I could feel such love and adoration for another person (don’t tell my husband). Anyway I can’t help but feel bad for treating my Mom bad in those stupid selfish years. I miss her and have many regrets.”  — 40-something Michigan

Make sure you keep your friendships. Don’t let relationships get in the way of your friendships. I tell my girls that all the time.  I didn’t have a sister. You may hate each other now but your sisters, your friends, will be there forever. I will someday be gone, Boyfriends may come and go. They are your sisters. Treat them well.”  – 40-something, Ohio

This from a woman recovering from cancer. She was counseling a friend on how to deal with her 20-something, somewhat rebellious son. It’s so hard to be thankful for your health in your 20s….but I think this makes it real.

“I have been told to anticipate a lifetime of some type of chemo therapy.  No hair and now I’m losing my fingernails. Cosmetically I look like a monster but I’m blessed with a blind family who only sees how much I love them.   Maybe you could remind your son that you have your health – something that we all take for granted – and that what you all are dealing with is fixable.”

Of course no advice is for everyone. If you have family members in your life that are toxic, no matter how much love and forgiveness you give them , “if what that is for you is not healthy, it’s okay to distance yourself. If it’s what you need to do to survive.”

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