1. The phone numbers of people you should never have the option to contact again if and when temptation strikes, social media connections with people you feel you have to constantly prove yourself to, and the general presence of those who you’ve simply outgrown.
2. The timelines you crafted for yourself in the past. There’s no right time for anything, and what’s most painful is being attached to what’s “supposed-to-be” as opposed to whatever is.
3. Speaking ill of people for leisure. Making commodity of someone’s life over drinks or at a party is not only something you shouldn’t have done in high school, but should have left back there if you did.
4. Waiting for a relationship to save you, because doing so is a dangerously unstable foundation on which you’ll end up building the rest of your life.
5. The old stuff on your résumé, like the service work you did in high school or the club you belonged to for a week your freshman year of college. Nobody cares about it professionally, and probably not personally either.
6. Remnants of former loves that you keep around because you’re still holding onto a part of them. You can say they’re sentimental things you’ll want to have in the future, but the reality is that if they only serve to remind you of something that’s missing in your life, you can do without them.
7. Feeling as though you are obligated to be the person someone else sees you as. It doesn’t matter if it’s your parents, your former self or someone you love, you can respect all of those authorities and still realize that you are not required to be anybody but who you choose to be in the present moment.
8. The need to always have the last word and win every argument.
9. Abusing your body with crash diets, dangerously excessive alcohol consumption, disregard for what nourishment means, etc. It doesn’t prove that you’re cool because you’re “reckless but in control”– it just shows that you aren’t being responsible or realistic about your body or health.
10. Financial dependency, because there’s a difference between receiving help when you genuinely need it and using someone under the guise of it.
11. Deciding who you are based on upward and downward comparisons to people, or worse – believing that you are the projection of what you assume other people think of you.
12. What success means. Not being able to pursue a passion in the same way you support yourself is not a mark of failure. But not being able to incorporate those passions into your life outside of work usually is.
13. Excessive consumption, and spending as a means of validating self worth. You are not what you have nor are you what you can convince other people you are.
14. The idea that you’re “above” any kind of work. Entitlement regarding what kind of job you should have is a real thing. In my book, doing whatever it takes to provide for yourself is a success in that it’s a display of one’s resiliency and character.
15. Being too passive about things that very much matter to you and then getting upset when they go ignored by the people to whom you should have voiced your opinion.
16. Anxiety over the way your body fills out– or doesn’t– as you enter adulthood. Fat is not a thing you are, it’s a thing you have, and having too much or too little does not make you any less capable of the things that genuinely matter. The body is just a vessel.
17. The illusion of control. You can work hard, be devoted, care infinitely, and things could still crumble. Nothing hurts worse than spending your life desperately grasping at having a kind of control that is only viable by delusion.
18. The desire to settle because you’d rather not be alone. You will pay for it eventually.
19. Insulting people’s life choices out of your own resentment and bitterness. People who get married young, or work at jobs that pay well but aren’t fulfilling are easy targets, but are ultimately neither inherently sad nor wrong, though neither is doing the opposite. But the need to insult them is almost always a reflection of yourself (and p.s. I’m guilty of it).
20. Acting on the idea that any other person is beneath you, especially for what they think, feel or believe. There’s a lot to be said about a person who can discuss an issue with someone who inherently disagrees, and a lot more to be said about a person who can’t.