Our 20s are a time of self-discovery, adventure, and, let’s be honest, some pretty questionable decision-making. From ill-fated escapades to ill-advised relationships, these tales serve as reminders that wisdom often comes at the cost of experience. So, grab a seat, prepare to cringe, and join us as we relive those unforgettable, facepalm-worthy moments from our formative years. All content has been edited for clarity.
“I Wished I Never Met Her”
“I met my old girlfriend through my younger sister. I was 20 years old at the time and was studying to become an accountant. We were very happy in the beginning, and my friends and family loved her. I was just as close with her family. She was two years younger than I was and had just finished high school when we met. Fast forward a year, and my girlfriend started dropping proposal hints. As I said, we were happy and started discussing it. She started a job in logistical administration and I had a work-study agreement with a big accounting firm in my hometown. They didn’t pay great, but the job covered all of my tuition fees.
We eventually got engaged on the 31st of December at a party with our families in attendance. Everyone was on board despite our age, because they saw how happy we were. Little did they know what was about to go down.
A few months later we find a place of our own and moved in together. The first two months went well. Afterward, the situation went south.
Whenever I started any conversation about planning and saving up for the wedding we would have after my graduation, my girlfriend would shut me down immediately. Instead, she started talking about going out with her friends and how I didn’t like drinking with her. At the end of the day, we did what she wanted and we would spend practically our whole paychecks on drinks for her. Plus, I was always the driver, so I could never drink when we went out. This then forced me to take money out of my savings to cover rent and food costs. This went on for a month or two until it worsened.
She reconnected with her old crush in month four of us living together, and they start spending more time together. At this point, I stopped going out with them, as they want to stay out late during work nights. She started doing drugs with her old crush, too. Whenever I brought up my issues, she turned abusive and verbally and physically assaulted me. The last time she did, she broke my nose after repeatedly hitting my face.
My financial troubles set in after I depleted my savings having to pay rent, buy food, and put fuel in my car to drive her and myself to work and back. She never contributed a thing and spent her money on going out and drugs. I eventually ran out of money and did not have money for fuel. At this point, I was terrified of her and I couldn’t tell her I didn’t have any money. I started taking my license plates off, filling up my car with gas at the station, then driving away without paying. I did this a few times until I was caught with security footage posted on social media.
During this whole time, I was too afraid to go to my parents to ask for help, because of my pride I couldn’t swallow. I ended up losing my job, and subsequently, my studies.
When my girlfriend found out, she ended things with me and moved back to her mom’s. A few days later, she came to me and told me how she was pregnant and how she thought the baby was mine. I took her to the doctor and paid for the visit, the scans, and the tests. This was all for her to turn around and come clean about how it was the high school crush’s child after he asked for a paternity test.
They are still together, and I got my life back on track. I finished my studies and am an accountant now. I paid everyone back who I had stole from, and they did not press charges after I begged and pleaded. I am married now and couldn’t be happier. I just wished I never met her. The relationship was the dumbest thing I got caught up in during my 20s.”
“I’m Lucky To Be Alive”
“In 2007 I was living in Santa Maria Zapotitlan in southern Mexico helping out a colleague with his PhD research on the archaeology of the Chontal people. After a few weeks, the village council asked us to find the source of a stream flowing from within a mountain, so they could tap into it as a clean water source. They said to start at the back end of a large cave about an hour’s hike away. We got to the cave, got to the back of it, and saw two small caves honeycombing into the floor that was just large enough for us to crawl into. We brought several headlamps, dust masks, and chalk. The two of us made our way down these caves, which began honeycombing even more into three to five passages per intersection. We drew arrows on the cave walls to help us find our way back. Some parts were large enough to walk through, others narrowed to the point where we had to crawl or shimmy through.
Eventually, we lucked out and found a small passage, again enough to crawl down, where we found the stream flowing. We even found some small, intact ceramic disks at the bank of the stream. They looked like small discs to burn incense. The fact that people hundreds or even thousands of years before us did the same thing, and knew where to go given the potential for many dozens of passageways, blew my mind.
Looking back, there were so many different ways to die and never be found in those caves, and the entire purpose seemed overboard since they could just tap into the stream by running a pipe a hundred feet up the mouth. Ultimately, I suppose we just wanted to survey a cave as archaeologists on the off-chance of finding something.
It was complete ignorance of the danger on my part, rather than an informed decision. It was my FIRST time caving, ever. It was an amazing experience, but looking back, I’m lucky to be alive.”
Train Station Trouble
“In my 20s, I jumped from an express train going nearly 30 miles per hour. When I found out the train wasn’t stopping at the station I wanted to get off at, I wanted to leave. So, I jumped when the train entered the station.
I somehow landed on my feet. I could hardly believe it! I smirked, looked up, and spotted a policeman standing nearby. Never in my life had I seen a policeman at this particular station.
The policeman, menacingly looking down at me, ‘Did you just jump from the train?’
I went blank.
He continued, ‘Okay, come with me. You’re going to the station.’
Then came the fun part.
It was early morning. Since the police station was within walking distance from the train station, two policemen walked me back to the station. One of the officers stood in front of me, and the other stood behind me. In the middle of the train station, there was a small market. People in the market stared and laughed at me while the police walked me through. I lowered my head from embarrassment and tried to ignore people’s laughs.
After reaching the station, one policeman said, ‘Since it’s Saturday, either you pay a fine, or you’re stuck in jail until Monday. If you choose to stay until Monday, you’ll have to speak to a judge.’
I begged a bit, acted sincerely, and made sure the policeman knew I was well-educated. Finally, one of the senior policemen let me go with a bribe.
I was lucky to get out of the police station and lucky enough to even escape the situation alive.”
“I Struggled To Trust Anyone”
“In my 20s, I got married to the wrong woman. If I had known she didn’t truly love me, I would not have married her. She was damaged and needed space, I just didn’t know at the time.
My marriage ended with my ex-wife explaining, ‘I just want to go dance and party like I used to without you,’ and ‘I think I was confused on our wedding day.’
For all I knew, our relationship was great. I certainly wasn’t confused on our wedding day. Her words destroyed me, and still, 10 years later, I struggled to trust anyone. I had to realize some people were damaged goods, and they just wanted to damage other people.
It was nearly impossible to move on after this. It was one of the biggest mistakes of my 20s.”