Sometimes the best things you can give a person are wisdom and advice, and the BuzzFeed Community has tons of it. Recently, readers shared the life advice they wish they'd known sooner, and younger generations should probably listen up. Here are some of the most eye-opening and enlightening responses:
1."Work hard, but play HARDER. Work to afford the play time, then enjoy it to the max. Work is not who you are, it's just what you do. Never forget the difference."
2."If all your friends and family are saying that someone is not good for you, believe them."
—Lolo, 63, California
3."College isn't just about learning facts — it's about social growth and how to function in society. College teaches you how to be independent and accepting of ideas that may be different than your own, so if you're able to go to college, use your time there wisely."
4."Ladies — don't let the world, your doctor, or even your mama gaslight you into believing that they know you better than you know yourself. You'll end up with a marriage, child, career, or life in general that you might forever regret just because some other miserable fool doesn't want you to be happy and free."
5."Your mental health and your physical health are equally important. There is no shame in taking medication for mental health, just like how there's no shame in taking medication if you have the flu. Finding the right medication can be a pain in the ass, but feeling like yourself again is worth it."
6."Set boundaries so that people don't confuse your kindness with weakness."
7."Take care of your body consistently! I'm 41 and feel like I'm 70. It's my own fault — bad posture at a desk job, lots of happy hours, and lots of fast-food lunches. You don't realize how hard it is to get started with physical fitness if you don't have much experience with it, and it's so easy to gradually slip into bad shape. You don't have to do bodybuilder-type routines at the gym or anything; just walking 30 minutes a day made a difference for me."
8."Someone being an asshole doesn't automatically mean they're wrong, and just because it's someone you love, it doesn't automatically mean they're right!"
9."Saying no is its own form of freedom. When I finally figured this out, it changed my perspective on so many things!"
10."Walk away from a violent partner. They won't change."
11."I received this advice once, and it's probably my favorite bit of advice ever. 'Practice makes permanent.' Obviously, no one is perfect, so the saying 'practice makes perfect' is completely unrealistic. But, if you do something one way enough times, whether it's the right or wrong way, that will eventually be the way you always do that thing. I think this saying applies to any aspect of a person's life, and I think it's such a beneficial perspective to have."
12."One of the hardest lessons I've ever had to learn is how to forgive myself. I still beat the hell out of myself for any mistakes I make, big or small, but I give myself grace. If you would forgive someone else for making that mistake, why wouldn't you forgive yourself?"
13."Don't get married just for the sake of getting married. Only get married if you truly want to be with your significant other for the rest of your life. There is nothing wrong with never getting married. I have a female friend in her late 60s who never married or had children, simply because neither option seemed right for her. Being single in her late 60s has its pros and cons like any other life choice, but at least it's her choice."
14."Save money regularly for an unknown emergency. Put it away in an account, then forget about it. You'll thank yourself later."
15."Make friends with your parents if you're able to. In spite of the generational differences, be respectful and start seeing them as people, not just your parents. My father became my best friend before he passed, and I wish our relationship became that way sooner so that we could have spent more time like that."
16."If you ever find yourself in the position to hire someone, hire for character and train them for skills. The quality of one's character is far more important than knowing the skills required for a job at hand. Skills can always be taught, but a jerk will always be a jerk."
—J. Y. Chew, 75, California
17."Sometimes we lose connection with family members, and we grieve because we're taught that family is the most important thing in our lives. But sometimes, you have to recognize that family can also be the most toxic part of your life."
18."Spend more time with your parents. I wish I'd spent more time with my parents after I turned 30. Both of them have passed, and I wish I could go back and ask them about what their lives were like growing up. It remains the biggest regret of my life."
—Lorraine, 65, Germany
19."Don't be afraid to change careers, maybe even more than once. It will broaden your experience and outlook on life. I've been a marine, a social worker, and a high school math teacher. I loved and learned from all of them."
20."Being alone doesn't necessarily mean you're lonely. Finding peace in your alone time is important because, at the end of the day, you really only have yourself. It's still important to establish a good and genuine support group whenever possible, but you can learn so much about yourself when you take the time to just be alone. It's not as scary as it sounds, and you might even discover that it's your favorite form of self-care."
—Raquel, 26, New Jersey
21."Don't take your body for granted. Protect your hearing from loud noise and music. My husband is all but deaf from playing in a rock band when he was young, and my skin has paid a high price from being in the sun too much without protection. I wish I'd known. Also, take care of your teeth — it's part of your body, and it's money well spent. I have friends who look decades older than they are because of their teeth, so take your dental health seriously!"
22."Being popular is NOT the same as having good friends. I knew all the 'important' people in college, wrote for the college newspaper, was on the student council, and was a senator and commissioner for external affairs. I was well-known and knew many people, but you quickly find out the differences between friends and associates when you face challenges and adversity. Share the best moments and successes in your life with your FRIENDS, and don't pay attention to the rest."
23.And finally: "Live your life the way you want to and don't worry about what other people might think of you. Often, what you think people are thinking isn't actually true. I learned this the hard way. It took me until I was 40 to come out as gay. I was so afraid of what other people would think of me, so I kept it in. I've never dated anyone or have been in a relationship, and now I'm 42 trying to figure out how to do all this. In many ways, I feel like I wasted my 20s and 30s not experiencing love and not being honest about who I am. So, don't waste 20 years of your life trying to please other people."
Do you have any advice you wish you'd known earlier in life? What are some things you think the younger generations should know? Let me know in the comments, or you leave an anonymous response using this form!
Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.