17 People On The Most Important Thing They Wish They’d Learned Sooner

Thank you to everyone who helped me with this (and congratulations on finally learning these lessons!). Names have been changed.

1. Kelly, 32

“People are going to talk behind your back no matter what you do, and no matter how old you are. I thought it would stop in eighth grade, then in high school, then in college, then at my first job — it never stops. The people change, and the things they say are different, but everyone still talks smack. Even you.”

2. Mark, 25

“Not knowing how to cook is just about the dumbest thing you can do. I thought that it was ‘un-manly’ to cook, so I spent pretty much all of my years from 18 to 23 eating Easy Mac, Ramen, cookies, and maybe a frozen dinner if I was being really classy. And now that I make my own food, it’s way better and it’s not more expensive at all. And I don’t feel gross all the time.”

3. Carol, 53

“I couldn’t have made my relationship work, because we weren’t right for each other. I shouldn’t have spent 10 years questioning myself and trying to figure out what I didn’t do, because I got nothing out of it.”

4. Ellie, 27

“When you tell someone that you’re going to do something, you have to do it, even if it’s really inconvenient. I used to volunteer for everything with my friends, I would always be like ‘Yeah, I’ll definitely help you move’ or whatever, and then I would never want to do it and sometimes I would bail. Now I say no sometimes, but I always do what I say I’m going to do.”

5. Dave, 30

“If you get a rent-controlled apartment in New York City that you like, never, ever leave it. I left one at 24 because I wanted a tiny bit more space, and I regret it every day.”

6. Julien, 32

“You can’t un-give someone your phone number so make sure you’re ready for a lifetime commitment of annoying texts including, but not limited to, holidays, memes, ‘how you been?,’ and ‘what are you up to tonight?'”

7. Laurence, 25

“The people who really care about you will listen when you say you need to wait or take your time or whatever it is that you need.”

8. Tia, 21

“Not every great love is going to last forever, or even a long time.”

9. Stuart, 43

“If you don’t make a real effort to stay in touch with someone, you’re going to fall apart from them. It’s just the way it goes, and now with the internet, it’s so easy to stay close to the people we care about — and we still don’t do it. I had a friend die recently after years of not speaking, and not because we were upset, just because we were lazy. I’ll never forgive myself for that.”

10. Sarah, 38

“Kiss more.”

11. Drake, 22

“When someone invites you to do something that sounds really cool, you should probably do it. Otherwise you’re going to see pictures of how great it was on Instagram and really regret it.”

12. Norm, 41

“Telling someone you love them is always the best choice, no matter how much you feel like it might hurt. Having someone reject you honestly makes you a better person a lot of the time, and it’s always better to get it off your chest. Sometimes they love you back.”

13. Camelia, 29

“When someone gets a promotion and you don’t, if you really feel like you deserved it, start taking interviews elsewhere if you can. Don’t feel loyalty to a company that doesn’t feel a loyalty to you.”

14. Chloe, 49

“Always take the long route if you can. Get the exercise, and the fresh air, and change your view of things. I used to walk the same five blocks every day for ten years, and one day I took a different route just to try it, and it was like a whole different life.”

15. Nicholas, 27

“Internships are a huge waste of time, and unless it has a good chance of turning into a job, you’re probably just getting used. At least don’t do it full-time.”

16. Chris, 25

“Don’t spend so much time playing video games.”

17. Callan, 30

“Always enjoy what you like. Don’t be afraid of looking like you’re too interested or too excited or too honest. There are too many people who spend time hating things, and not enough who are just obsessed with what they enjoy. Find your thing, love it, and share it with people. It doesn’t make you look like a geek, but even if it did, who cares? The only people who make fun of people for being happy are sad people.” Thought Catalog Logo Mark

image – Thomas Leuthard

Chelsea Fagan founded the blog The Financial Diet. She is on Twitter.

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