Things your parents never told you. Life advice for young people.


So I set about doing this post specifically for a young lady who didn’t have the best guidance. Her lack of parental interest left this huge gap in her understanding of how the world worked. It then occurred to me that we only know as much as we are subjected to. My parents never invested in the stock market so I never understood it until I was older.

This goes for taking care of yourself, fixing things and generally navigating the world. So I wrote down some things that “I wish someone would have told me” and then I reached out to friends on Facebook and asked them what life advice they would have for a young person just starting out on their own. Then I copied the sentiments of a few of those inspirational quotes and here we are. This is the result.

Feel free to comment the thing you wish someone would have told you.

Personal Care:

  • Whatever skincare you do to your face do to your chest as well.
  • Never try waxing hair at home.
  • Never get your hair cut the day before a big event.
  • Better to be a little overdressed than a little underdressed. This goes for fashion and temperature.
  • Ladies, keep two tampons in your bag at all times – periods love surprises.
  • Losing weight will be twice as hard 10 years from now.
  • No one is going to notice your pimple and if they do, they don’t care.
  • Exercise. Being lazy ages you more quickly. Even if it’s a daily walk around the block or a bike ride.
  • Don’t start smoking.
  • Take care of your health!  Before you leave your parents insurance, schedule everything; physical, ladies exam, eye doctor and dentist. Prevention is the best way to protect your health.
  • If you find a shirt or jeans you absolutely love, go back to the store ASAP and buy another.
  • Drink lots of water and curb the sodas, you’ll feel way better.
  • The guy in the video is right. Everyone’s free to wear sunscreen.
  • Don’t wear shoes that hurt no matter how great they look.
  • Don’t eat just because you’re bored.
  • Sometimes the best makeup can be found at the drugstore, and sometimes expensive lipstick tastes terrible.
  • Don’t wear makeup to the beach, it will bake into your pores. Use SPF, tinted chapstick, a hair tie and some rocking sunglasses.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • If you’re invited to do something nice, wear a clean shirt, take a shower and run a comb through your hair. If you don’t you’re guaranteed to run into your ex or your crush.

Self Care:

  • There’s only one person who will travel this whole life with you, yourself. So be good. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Love who you are.
  • It’s hard, but know when to ask for help.
  • If you’re blocked on a decision, start writing down the elements in pros/cons fashion. Flip a coin, whatever you hope it will be in midair is what you should do.
  • Rushing into something usually ends up being a bad decision.
  • Find a place that makes you happy. Return as often as you can.
  • Be brave. Try the weird food, sing karaoke, ask out your crush.
  • Meditating isn’t for everyone but find that one practice where you can zone out.
  • A fulfilling hobby brings joy, try a few to see what suits you.
  • Keep your dreams in front of you. Start an inspiration board or a list of goals. Refer to it often.
  • Life isn’t fair. Get over your disappointment and keep marching forward. Life gets more fair when you stack the odds in your favor. Work hard towards what you desire. Hard work in itself is gratifying and makes you a better person.
  • Sometimes you have to make sacrifices for what you truly want. Make sure what you want is worth it.
  • Most people won’t ever be rich or famous. It’s OK to want to join that club but remember there are sacrifices that have to be made to get there and there are downsides to all things. Famous people can’t just go get dinner out, they’ll have no privacy.
  • Bullies are making up for their own inadequacies and they pick on you to feel better. There will always be bullies, learn to defend yourself physically and emotionally.
  • Take a break each day to just enjoy and be grateful. Spend a few minutes breathing in the smell of a bakery, ask to pet a dog, get your favorite chips. Find joy each day.
  • If you’re feeling vulnerable roll up like an armadillo. Take care of yourself. Nurture your wounds. But don’t stay there. Pretty soon you have to unroll and start moving forward in order to regain your strength.
  • Getting high and playing video games all day in your mom’s basement might seem cool but you’re burning daylight.
  • No one likes a downer. We all get sad. But if you are constantly negative and creating drama no one will want to be around you. Seek professional therapy.
  • Stay away from toxic people.
  • There will be people who don’t like you. That’s their problem not yours, unless you’ve wronged them. Then make it right if you can.
  • Look for the bad in things and you will find it.
  • No one’s perfect, everyone messes up, just try not to do it publicly.
  • Don’t take anyone’s shit. Take their advice, take their feedback, but no shit.
  • Treat yourself. But only occasionally or its not a treat.
  • Don’t be envious of another person’s life, you have no idea what they deal with.
  • We are not the sum of our missteps, our feeling of self worth comes from our ability to see our own strengths.
  • Operate with an attitude of gratitude. Many dream of what you take for granted.
  • Go out to eat/ to the museum by yourself. It’s empowering and allows you to go at your own pace.
  • Don’t let people tell you what to believe.
  • Don’t focus on Bob and Jane’s business. Life’s too short, focus on yourself!


  • Never get into a relationship just because you’re lonely. You’re doing a disservice to them and you.
  • Keep two condoms in your wallet at all times. You never know. Oh and check the expiration date occasionally.
  • Stay away from people who suck the energy and joy out of you, no matter the relationship.
  • Surround yourself with the type of people you admire.
  • Negativity is contagious, avoid negative people as if they have a head cold.
  • Be extra nice to people that have difficult jobs.
  • If your friend is not there to defend themselves, that’s when you show what a true friend is by sticking up for them.
  • Just because they are an authority figure doesn’t mean they are right.
  • Be the one who reaches out. Extend invitations to spend time. People love to be thought of and asked to join.
  • Communication and transparency are they key to any good relationship.
  • Wave at toddlers who wave at you.
  • No ones too busy. If they aren’t texting you back, your conversation isn’t important to them. “Thought I replied” works once. No response is a response.
  • Putting an end to a relationship/friendship is difficult but you have to do what is best for you. Be clear about why you’re leaving. No one deserves silence.
  • If you see someone struggling with a task, ask if you can help.
  • Being thoughtful is one of the nicest things another person can be. So make that person you.
  • You can’t buy friends, and if you do they will leave when the money leaves.
  • Don’t let the ghosts of old relationships enter your new relationship. Every new partner deserves a clean slate and to not be measured against the previous partner.
  • Don’t change who you are to make someone like you. You’ll just end up resentful they don’t like the real you but you didn’t show them who that is.
  • Don’t fake orgasms, you’re only hurting your sex life.
  • Don’t leave a voicemail that just says “I need to talk to you” be specific so the recipient isn’t making up stories in their head.
  • If someone tells you they love you on the first or second date…. RUN.
  • Before you exchange vows, exchange credit scores and have a conversation about money and how you feel it should be spent because it’s the number one factor in divorce.


  • Not returning clothes that didn’t fit in time is a giant waste of money.
  • Don’t let a salesperson pressure you into spending more than you are comfortable with. This goes for the makeup counter, car dealerships, day spas and Bass Pro Shop.
  • Don’t buy an ill fitted item just because you love the brand. Never buy a too small item with the intention to fit in it one day.
  • Don’t put silly things on a credit card.
  • If you don’t understand personal finance, get a book about it. Mastering this will change your life.
  • Start adding to a retirement account as soon as it is made available to you. Even if it’s only a few dollars a week.
  • Unless you have a lot of big ticket items, having a yard sale isn’t worth it. Donate or list online.
  • The stuff you own won’t care for you when you’re sick, or cheer you up when you’re down. Stuff is a burden. It takes up space and doesn’t pay rent. Only keep the stuff you need and a few things you want.
  • It’s fine to play lotto occasionally for fun but don’t let the dream get in the way of practicality. Don’t spend too much hard-earned money on a pipe dream.
  • Invest your spending money where you spend your time. Good shoes, a good mattress, a good work chair. You get what you pay for with these type of things – get the best you can afford and don’t fall for brand names.
  • Care Credit allows you to visit certain doctors, dentists and vets and pay 0% interest on money borrowed over $200.
  • Don’t be dazzled by discounts on things you don’t need.
  • Sometimes credit card companies will lower your interest rate if you ask. Can’t hurt.
  • Check the “unit price” when shopping at the grocery store. Bigger packages don’t necessarily mean best value.
  • Impulsiveness will leave you broke.
  • Plot a budget. There are great free apps you can use to monitor your spending.
  • If you live like you’re poor you’ll stay rich, if you live like you’re rich you’ll stay poor.
  • If you’re tight on money don’t set up your bills to auto draft. Pay them individually and you can move things around. An overdraft fee is the dumbest way to lose money.


  • If you are not completely alone, don’t talk on speakerphone.
  • Don’t go to class or work or anywhere if you have the flu.
  • If you think someone’s hat is awesome, tell them. Everyone likes a genuine compliment, and it could make their day.
  • No one likes the person that is always late. Even if they love you they resent your tardiness and will quit inviting you to things.
  • Learn to politely decline any unwanted gifts, invitations, and overtures. Peer pressure doesn’t go away, it just changes tactics as adults.
  • No one has ever been upset at receiving a thank you note.
  • If someone else is buying, don’t order the most expensive thing on the menu.
  • Tip well. If you can’t afford to tip for great service you can’t afford to eat at restaurants.
  • Don’t try to get people to do free for you, what they do for a living. Pay them for their work.
  • Unless you are physically needful, move your butt out of a bench or bus seat for elderly folks and pregnant ladies.
  • Don’t put drinks on wood furniture without a coaster.


  • Don’t be on your phone when you’re driving. It’s dangerous and illegal and you’re gonna hurt yourself or others. Plus you are driving like crap.
  • If you get a flat tire, watch how to fix it instead of just standing by, you might need to know one day.
  • Spare tires are usually smaller, called donut tires. They are only good for a limited distance and at low speeds. They are meant to get you to the tire store and not much more. Don’t be booking down the interstate on a donut.
  • Never drive on a flat tire, you will bend the rim and now you’re talking big money. Pull over in the first safe space and call someone.
  • Junkyards usually have the same fancy parts your car needs for 1/8 the price of the auto parts store, including batteries.
  • Carry jumper cables and learn to use them. Also a safety kit and first aid kit.
  • If you live in cold weather keep your gas tank above 1/4 tank.
  • If it can be avoided don’t get a car from a ‘buy here, pay here’. Their interest rates are outrageous.
  • If you let your gas tank get low too often, you’ll be investing in a fuel pump soon.
  • Make sure you keep the right amount of air in your tires, it’s safer and will cost you less in gas.
  • Do not use “fix-a-flat” it doesn’t work half the time and if you have tire pressure sensors it will kill them and you will be looking at about 100 bucks or more to install a new one.
  • If you spin out into a snowbank you can’t get out of, dig out your tailpipe so your car doesn’t fill with carbon monoxide.
  • Keep old shingles in your trunk for winter in case you get stuck. Put them under your tires to get traction.
  • Change your oil. A well maintained car will last forever.


  • Don’t go bananas in the summer and crank your air conditioning too cold. It’ll freeze up.
  • If your A/C quits check the thermostat. The batteries might be dead.
  • If you have a regular stove with coils, you can remove the coils and pans and the top lifts up like a car hood to make cleaning easier.
  • If you have a septic tank, flush a pack of yeast down the toilet once a month.
  • If you’ve never made a fire in a fireplace, you need to open the flue.
  • Wash your lint trap, fabric softeners build up and make the dryer less effective.
  • Clean the ducts attached to your dryer to prevent fires.
  • The Magic eraser really is magic. But don’t use it on surfaces that scratch easily like car paint.
  • Use parchment paper when you can instead of aluminum foil. You’ll get no stick pizza, anything with cheese or baked goods and makes cleaning the pan super easy.


  • If there’s someone in your life who fixes stuff, cars, plumbing, motors, etc . Watch them and learn. Most people are happy to show off what they know to an eager onlooker. Hold the flashlight.
  • Never stop learning. It helps you to relate to the world and gives you a sense of being well-rounded.
  • Be a student to everyone. Each individual knows something you don’t. Let them tell you what it is.
  • Research what your dream job pays before you pick a school. Ask people with your ideal job how happy they are.
  • Study like you’re paying for the privilege because in college, you are.
  • Learn to do your own laundry.
  • Learn to cook, at least the basics. Food is something you will always need and doing it yourself is way cheaper than take out. You have YouTube with the greatest chefs in the world at your disposal and cookbooks are cheap at the thrift shop.
  • Always follow an opportunity to learn another language.
  • If college is your plan, investigate every grant, scholarship program, and work benefit option out there.


  • Turning your passion in to a career isn’t always a great idea. Being told how and when you should do what you love might ruin your love for it.
  • Be a mentor, some people don’t have the great environment you do and could use your expertise.
  • At work you may be invaluable but you are not irreplaceable. If you suck they will find a way to do without you.
  • Apply for the job even if you don’t have 100% of what they’re asking. You take yourself out of the running if you don’t try.
  • Don’t call in sick and have your friends post pictures of you boating on social media.
  • Don’t take the last cup of coffee in the break room without starting a new pot.
  • Don’t steal other people’s food.
  • Bosses notice when you do what is best for the company and not just yourself/your team.
  • If you go home crying regularly, quit that job.
  • Never quit a job without lining up another.
  • Every great professional has been fired at least once.
  • Never put up with harassment or abuse. Report it or leave.
  • Learn to delegate – you don’t have to do everything yourself.
  • Don’t be a kiss ass. No one but stupid bosses like a kiss ass.
  • Assume no malice. People don’t generally do things to make others lives more difficult, only theirs simpler.
  • When looking for a job, benefits are import. Health benefits, sick time, vacation, 401K and paid holidays are great additions to a job. Factor in the cost when negotiating a salary.

It’s all about you:

  • The city/religion/job where your parents found happiness may be the one that stifles you. Go explore.
  • Don’t stop doing something you enjoy just because someone else doesn’t find it cool.
  • Conversely, don’t get in to something just because someone you like is in to it. I mean try, but don’t buy the team jersey if you hate the game.
  • Don’t let laziness or fear snowball your problems. If you get a traffic ticket, fight it or pay it. If you don’t you could get your license suspended, then you can’t renew your title and if you’re caught, even more problems. Deal with the problem while it is still small.
  • If you mess up, fess up. I have found this is a good guiding principle for work, relationships and everything else.
  • Don’t get a dog unless you have the time, love and money to give it the best life for 15+ years. Basic vet visits can be hundreds of dollars a year.
  • Don’t yuk someone else’s yum.
  • Mastery over your weakness is one of the greatest accomplishments most of us will achieve.
  • Some things you just aren’t going to be good at no matter how hard you try. That’s OK no one gets it all.
  • Don’t let anyone tell you how to run your home, your marriage, or your parenting if you didn’t ask for advice (If you have read this far you’re asking me).
  • Break the rules but not the law. – Ross Ledehrman. Breaking the law has serious consequences. Taking your dog to the sidewalk cafe doesn’t. They’ll just ask you to leave if it’s a No Dog place.
  • If you don’t ask for it, you’ll never get it.
  • Jump at any chance to travel if you can afford it. Travel broadens the mind.
  • There is an unmatchable joy in giving back selflessly to others in need.
  • Luck is when preparation and opportunity meet – Oprah Winfrey.
  • There’s no such thing as over-prepared.
  • Other people’s expectations of you shouldn’t guide you. You guide you. But if you trust and respect a person, trust and respect their intention for you.
  • There’s a lot to be said for momentum when it comes to reaching goals. Sometimes there’s no helping a sidetrack, just get back on the main line as quickly as possible.
  • Do some crazy stuff when you’re young so you have something to talk about when you are older.
  • Don’t let anyone diss your taste in music.
  • What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly.
  • It’s scary to start over but sometimes it’s the only good option.
  • Ignoring problems does not make them go away, it just makes them worse.
  • Stop procrastinating, you’re just stealing time from your future over and over.
  • Most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year, but grossly underestimate what they can accomplish in ten.
  • Don’t wish your life away. “I can’t wait for graduation” “I’ll be so happy when I retire” “Is it Friday yet?” Make the most of the Mid-winter Tuesdays in your life.
  • Always have something to look forward to. If there’s nothing in your calendar – plan something.

Practical things:

  • Always keep $5 hidden in your car, it has saved me multiple times at toll booths, gas stations and any place cash-only.
  • No one likes a mooch. Whether it’s borrowing tools or favors or a few dollars.
  • Never approach a horse from behind and never turn your back on a playful goat.
  • Don’t leave valuables in your car, it’s easy to smash a window.
  • The library is not just books. It has free DVD rentals, free wifi and sometimes classes and events.
  • Don’t pee on an electric fence.
  • Don’t feed bread to ducks. It’s bad for them. Feed them corn or halved grapes.
  • A large pizza is more pizza than 2 mediums. Choose wisely.
  • Don’t hang your damp shirts on wire hangers, in fact don’t use wire hangers they damage clothes.
  • Don’t try the frozen flagpole with your tongue like in the movie.
  • Practice spatial awareness. Not only will it keep you safer because you are alert but it will also ensure you aren’t blocking someone’s path.

Finally, get off your phone. There’s a whole world out there waiting to be conquered!
No seriously, this the end of the article. Put down your phone and go do something awesome.

One Reply to “Things your parents never told you. Life advice for young people.”

  1. I wanted to know who is Ross Ledehrman, who’s quote you have mentioned.

    ” Break the rules but not the law. – Ross Ledehrman. “

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