1. Some of your childhood dreams are dead, and they’re never going to be resurrected. Now don’t let anyone tell you this about all your dreams but the reality is many of them have expiry dates. It hurts a lot when you realized certain talents have been put to waste. But it hurts even more if you don’t learn how to let those go.
2. You have very few real friends. We’re social creatures and we all need human conversation and touch. Some more than others. But don’t think that everyone who grabs a beer with you will be there at 4 a.m. when you call. Learn to appreciate the person who grabs the beer though. In their own way, they matter too. Just not more than your 4 a.m. friends.
3. “Doing what you love” is great. Being paid to do what you love is better. Being paid a lot to do what you love is best. But you might not achieve the latter two. And the former might need to become a hobby or something that you work on and grow on the side, while making rent every month.
4. There is no such thing as a perfect job. No matter how much you love a job, there are going to be parts of it that you don’t like. And it’ll be easy to let go of great opportunities simply because you can’t see the big picture of your career path. Stay focused.
5. Some of your friends are going to be more financially successful than you. Some of them probably are already. Comparing your lives to theirs is a big mistake, however. Not only is finance not the only measurement of success, career paths are not created equally.
6. Money is important. Yes, even if it’s not the only thing by which you should measure your success. Money keeps the lights on, it pays for vacations, and takes care of bills that will somehow find their way to you on a random Wednesday when you least expect it. So try to figure out a plan to save more, earn more, and become financially healthy.
7. You’re going to have to take some calculated risks if you want to build a life that you want to lead. You’re also going to have to give up and sacrifice a lot of things. Not many people are cut out for this. And even if you are, it will not guarantee that the risks you take will bring the desired results.
8. You can work as hard as possible and still fail at something. Maybe it’s not as simple as, “some things aren’t meant to be.” But the reality is hard work may be a factor in success, but it is not a guarantee.
9. Sometimes it will still feel like life is one giant high school where people are trying to be the popular kids and care about the most superficial things. And you will be ashamed at the times you participate in any of it. Try to notice it, try to stop it.
10. You are going to feel left behind in some shape or form. Whether it’s realizing that people are making lifetime commitments of their love, buying homes, or simply doing more superficially “grown-up” things that most of us succumb to. Don’t let any of it make you inferior, however. Life is not a sprint.
11. Some of the people you view in life as completely “undeserving,” are in fact going to be some of the people living the life that you desire. You have to learn to manage not only your own envy but also recognize that you don’t know the full story of everyone’s life.
12. People you know are getting older. People you know are going to die. People you love are going to die. There really is no remedy for this one. All you can do is cherish the time you have with people you love. And try to not leave anything unsaid.
13. Love is the easy part, building a relationship and a potential life with someone is actually quite difficult. Conversations about where to live, the possibility of future children, religion, politics, etc. are big conversations you really start factoring in, when you think of what your potential future could look like. And many of these conversations won’t necessarily be fun.
14. People will disappoint you in even bigger ways than before. Whether it’s canceling on important things last-minute or not showing up at all when you really need them. You’re going to find out that self-reliance is a good friend to be acquainted with.
15. It’s really unfair that some of the objectively terrible people you know are going to find romantic love before you do. And you’re going to sit there and wonder what is wrong with you when this happens. But maybe try to be kind enough to wish everyone well. Even the people you don’t like.
16. The feeling of being misunderstood, unaccepted, not good enough, or any other negative emotions doesn’t just go away one day in adulthood. It is a battle that you realize you have to fight for the rest of your life. Let self-acceptance be your armor, and keep fighting the good fight.
17. You’re going to let yourself down. Sometimes it’ll be in many small ways and sometimes it’ll be in big ways. When this happens, it’s important to remind yourself to keep learning from your mistakes. And to keep trying, no matter how many mistakes you will make.