20 Tough Lessons Your 20s Will Teach You


My dad died when I was 20. I’ve cheated and also been cheated on before. I graduated from college. I worked a couple of jobs that dulled my mind. I’ve learned a crapload the hard way. Here’s what my 20s have taught me.

1) People change.

You may be the one who changes the most in your friends’ eyes. Values are going to differ. Ideas are going to clash, and the things you want to do will be disagreeable to your friends.

And it will hurt.

2) You will fall out with some friends.

Even ones you were once very close to. As surreal as it sounds, you will not want to talk or even see him or her anymore. It can be that bad. Don’t be surprised if it’s with your BFF you knew for years.

3) You’ll screw up in a relationship in ways you never thought you would.

It’s so true that you’ll learn the most about yourself in a relationship, even if that means exposing your darker side. In situations where emotions are running high with someone you love, there’s a high chance you will do or say things you don’t mean. And that’s hard to swallow.

4) “Bro” doesn’t cut it anymore with your bros.

Because bros are for college kids only. Sooner or later, you guys are going to grow up. You can’t “bro” your way out of everything and expect everything to be cool. This is when you or your friends change. Be prepared to move on to greater things.

5) Credit-card debts will always be back to haunt you.

So don’t be too willing to keep paying by card and the supposed ease it brings in not paying with real money yet.

6) Success is relative, so don’t compare yourself to others.

It’s normal to want to compare yourself against your friends, especially after college. We all wanna see who’s driving the nicer car, who’s drawing a higher pay, or who’s buying the most rounds of drinks. It’s easy to get lost in the competition. Do yourself a favor and stop comparing. Your life is your own, so find your own success and be happy with it.

7) People cheat.

It’s sadly becoming very common nowadays. People would even go all out to justify it.

8) Breakups happen, and they hurt a lot.

And it can come out of nowhere. Give yourself some time if somebody you love left you. Breakups hurt, but you’ll be fine. Be there for your friends when they go through the same.

9) Some people work with attitude of, “I’ve scratched your back. Now you have to scratch mine.”

The danger in this is that these people will be extremely nice to you at first. And you may not be the wiser. You can be sure that they will be back for favors, which are usually out of proportion to what they did for you. The bigger lesson here is that it can be disappointing to know that people you look up to or think are nice or even inspirational can turn out to be real assholes.

10) Some people use flowery language to manipulate.

To extend the last point, some people decorate the mask they’re wearing by using flowery language. This is when they say stuff like, “I don’t normally do this for anyone, but for you I will” or “That’s exactly what I was thinking too, champ!”

Or your boss will say, “You don’t work for me. You work WITH me,” but he doesn’t give you anything important to do. It may sound obvious enough, but when it’s happening, it’s easy to be fooled.

11) Big, bad things may happen in your life.

Losing a loved one. Cancer. Accidents. Tragedy. Foreclosure. Fights. You name it. I’m not trying to be overly pessimistic, but the protective bubble you were living in as a kid has will finally burst in to your twenties.

12) Assholes do NOT apologize.

So even if you and everyone else knows that you’re in the right, you’re not going to get the apology you deserve or some form of justice. It’s best to simply let it go and not let toxic people get to you.

13) Your big idea is not enough to create a successful business.

I know, I know. You have some cool idea for a startup. You’ve spotted a crack in the industry and you’re going to fill it up. But that’s not going to be enough. If it were so easy, then everybody with bright ideas would be in business. Learn what constitutes demand and see how you can add consistent value along with your product.

14) Passion doesn’t magically solve all your problems.

Even though many successful people like to say that passion is vital in whatever you do, it doesn’t work that way. You still need to play by the world’s rules in order to survive and make it big.

15) Sometimes you need to learn when to quit.

Because you’re not good enough and it’s not meant to be. But also because you’re meant for better things that’d lead you to your true destiny.

16) Your teenage angst will be around still.

You may still have to deal with issues which you’ve been dealing with since like a long time ago. It can be depressing, but use that knowledge to reflect and snap out of it.

17) No, your body isn’t what it used to be.

You’re gaining weight fast. You tire out easily. You can’t last that long in bed and you most certainly can’t drink as much as you used to. And your hair may even start falling out. Yep. Your twenties are when your body starts to go downhill. You’ve got to put in the active effort to stay fit and trim.

18) Your degree or diploma doesn’t live up to its promises.

You have to deal with student loans, learning on the job, and a variety of other problems. This is when you wish you could be young again.

19) The amazing friends you swore you will never lose contact with somehow disappear.

Everybody has to move on. People are getting married, having kids, or just plain busy working. If you guys want to stay tight, it’s going to take some real effort.

20) Articles like this don’t really help.

So get out there and make your life happen. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

I love to write. And I’m a B-Boy.

Keep up with Alden on Twitter and alden-tan.com

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