1. They learn to differentiate love and compatibility. They are separate, but both are necessary for a relationship to work. Without compatibility, love can’t thrive. Without love, compatibility is just friendship.
2. They develop discipline so they don’t confuse “not feeling like it” for being “incapable of it.” Everyone is affected by bouts of laziness or disinterest, but not everyone is held back by it. If you can do something when you want to, you can do it when you don’t.
3. They learn how to be wrong.
4. They are mindful about their social circle, and take their relationships to heart. They do not spend time with people by default, they invest in the people they want to share their lives with, even when doing so is more difficult or time-consuming.
5. They learn how to change themselves. They know how to differentiate “who they fundamentally are” from “what they can shift about that person to make life happier, easier or full of more love and joy.”
6. They keep in touch with people. They write “thank you” cards, send birthday texts, show up where they say they will. They learn accountability.
7. They learn tact, which is the art of investing not in what you say, but in how you say it.
8. They assume financial responsibility for their lives. Rather than being limited by what their salary affords them, they regard money as something they can always earn more of and manage more effectively. It’s a matter of shifting the mindset of “this is all I have” to “how can I make this work?”
9. They forgive their parents.
10. They develop a sense of self. By the sheer virtue of trial-and-error in work schedules, relationships, running their own house (or room) they identify
11. They utilize their brain’s last major growth period. They don’t regard their 20s as a throwaway decade, rather, they use the time to become the people they want to be for the rest of their lives.
12. They accept that they are responsible for how they feel, what they think, and how they behave. Realizing you are the only person that can deal with your bullshit is a burden before it’s a liberation, but the ends outweigh the means by a landslide.
13. They contemplate the hard questions. Clarity doesn’t just appear out of nowhere – even revelations are the product of many tiny realizations that add up over time. They consider the things most people avoid: what does my life mean? Who do I want to be? What do I want to do with my short, beautiful life?
14. They start making their own timing. It’s never going to “feel like the perfectly right time” to have kids or start dating again or check into rehab, and so you must stop waiting to feel ready, and learn to act anyway, for the sake of the bigger picture.
15. They keep their awe. Childlike wonder is something you have to work to maintain in adulthood – but it’s not impossible. Magic is something you make, not something you wait for.