1. The city you thought you had to live in. As we grow up, we realize that the “big city” dream is kind of an empty one: aside from a more robust job selection, smaller cities and lesser-known parts of town are more conducive to community and financial independence and so on. Untie your dream life from logistical nightmares.
2. The ideal job you’re still waiting for. Work is work, whether you like what you do or not. Your dream job is whatever you decide it is. If you don’t learn to like whatever you do now, chances are you’ll feel similarly later. (Wherever you go, there you are.)
3. The clutter you’ve just been too lazy to get rid of. The papers that need to be shredded, the old clothes and cluttered closets that you’ve left to just keep accumulating junk… these things aren’t little things, they are everything, and they affect your life more than you realize.
4. The person you think other people want you to be. Inconsistencies make people uncomfortable, which is why we feel apprehensive to changing ourselves. But the risk of stepping out of other people’s comfort zones comes with a reward that’s more important than anything else: getting to be who you really are.
5. The idea that life is still in it’s “dress rehearsal” phase. When we’re in school, we’re kind of taught that everything is just “preparation” for the future. There is no seamless transition into waking up and realizing that it’s just time to live.
6. The debt you took on to become someone you’re not. There’s a difference between a wise (albeit large) investment, like a student loan, and a maxed out credit card that is nothing but the product of your crippling belief that you aren’t enough.
7. Friends you’ve kept out of proximity, not connection. Spending your time with people you don’t actually like, doing things that don’t actually fulfill you may seem innocuous, but letting it become a habit will drain you in ways you probably won’t even be aware of.
8. The fear of discomfort. If you spend your life avoiding discomfort, you’ll spend your life avoiding growth.
9. A spotlight complex. Nobody is thinking about you the way that you are thinking about you. In fact, nobody is looking at you the same way either. You’re likely not a celebrity, an maintaining the idea that you are makes you behave as though you are, when really, it’s a kind of entertainment that cripples, rather than bolsters, your self-image.
10. The love you’re still waiting for. Whether it’s the one that got away, the friends you think you need to have, or the popularity you’re still trying to build… the love you’re waiting for is just a projection of the love you’re not already giving yourself.
11. The idea that success is the ultimate end-goal. If being wealthy or popular is your #1 priority, you will likely have to sacrifice a lot on the way: your relationships, your sanctity of mind. If that’s what you want, fine, but if it’s not, be aware of what you’re working toward before you arrive somewhere you never wanted to be.
12. The way you thought your life would look. The way you thought your life would be was only a projection of what you knew at the time. It’s not a matter of changing it so it better suits what you once thought it would be like, but changing your perception of the present.