25 Lessons You Learn The Hard Way When You Graduate

  1. Unless you happen upon some high-paying, prestigious, prominent position as a venture capitalist, you can expect to see a significant drop in your disposable income. “Pay Yourself” first, and take care of your obligations.
  2. If you’re single (and an asshole, like me), you will have a lot of sex with people you don’t care about. For ≈ 75% of these occurrences, you will be highly intoxicated, and will use this detail to justify your actions to both yourself, and your closest friends. You will experience feelings of self-loathing immediately (or shortly) after the event, post-coital cuddling notwithstanding.
  3. You will lose touch with the people you said would stand in your wedding. This will help you specify those who truly matter to you. The people you would strangle a puppy for, if it meant their joy.
  4. You will come to the unpleasant realization that dreams you had whilst getting shitfaced in frat house basements for four years were both childish, and unrealistic. This is one of the hardest lessons you will learn. Albeit, you will still (at times) entertain these ideas in the back of your mind when you are drunk, depressed, or both.
  5. People will use you, and you will use them in return. Quid-pro-quo.
  6. You will envy one (or more) of your successful friends. Whether they are grossly overemployed, have an enviable sex-life, make a shit-ton of money, have beautiful children, get married to the “love of their life”, actually enjoy their job, publish an important novel, et cetera—you will be resentful. What’s important here is to take time to think the worst of them, imagine that they are miserable, and lying about their salary and overall happiness. This helps you feel better about your own dejected existence, and allows you to sleep better, and smile more.
  7. Time will pass quickly. You will experience the sensation of others passing you by, while you stay in one place. On bad days, you will be convinced that you are an unlovable dickhead. On good days, you will err on the side of optimism, and tell yourself that when Sinatra sang “the best is yet to come”, he was right. And then you’ll start drinking.
  8. New responsibilities will overwhelm you, and you will learn what your father meant when he talked about balance. In fact, a number of the lessons your parents tried so damn hard to impart on you when you were younger will come into play. Your respect for them will grow, and you will view them in a new and sensational light.
  9. You will learn to be mobile, and this will create opportunities for you. Say YES when you would ordinarily say NO.
  10. You will struggle with the idea of intimacy. This is related to #2, above. You will develop a fear of spending the rest of your years fucking, eating, living, farting, and breathing with someone whom you will eventually resent. You will initially feel pangs of jealousy when friends marry in haste, but you will silence your jealousy by imagining how much their legal fees are going to cost when their marriage ultimately fails. Instead of getting married, you will have a lot of meaningless wedding sex, and you will hate yourself regularly. Chin up—divorce rates are right around 50%.
  11. You will experience a shift in your priorities. This includes (but is not limited to) paying your bills on time, getting “ahead” at work while still maintaining your integrity, living a healthier life (e.g. not drinking 6 days a week…in “excess”), not getting anyone slash yourself pregnant, and not buying things you can’t afford, to give friends and acquaintances the illusion of your own private success. This is important.
  12. If you didn’t before, you will probably begin to give a shit about politics.
  13. You will not save any money. Whether your salary is $30k/yr or $80k/yr, you will not save a dime.
  14. You will masturbate regularly (I hope), and learn to love yourself more. Sometimes, this will be the highlight of your day.
  15. Your self-esteem will be largely determined by your relative success. This is to say, the more confidence others have in you, the more confidence you will have in yourself.
  16. You will (at some point) experience a messy and complicated break-up with a friend, or romantic partner. Ultimately, this will be conducive to your happiness. Additionally, this will be expensive, painful, and especially hard on only you. The lessons you will learn here, are precisely what you don’t want in a partner.
  17. You will be ripped off by your elders. The solution to this is to be highly suspect of everyone and their interests. Similarly (and although it’s cliché), remember that if it’s too good to be true, it isn’t.
  18. You will be lied to—a lot. This is payback for all of those times you told your parents that you were spending the night at Jesus-Fearing-Jake’s house, when in reality you were stealing beer out of garages, and pretending you knew how to put a condom on correctly.
  19. You will receive a discount on your insurance premium when you turn 26, and this will be the last birthday you will want to celebrate.
  20. You will become more intuitive. This will result in social gains, and losses.
  21. You’re going to make a lot of mistakes. What is important to remember is that when you do fuck-up (which you will invariably do), fuck-up proactively. You will miss a payment, you will overstep your boundaries, you will blame the guiltless person, and you will choose the wrong one. Learn to analyze your mistakes, and wash your own mouth out with soap. You’re not allowed to thank yourself for this until you’re 30.
  22. You will learn to admire hard-work in others, and in yourself. Surround yourself with others who get-off on sweat, and their ethic will be contagious. Remember that intrinsic motivation is fruitless.
  23. You will be ordinary, and this will have a poor impact on your sleep schedule. You will discover that you are the center of Nobody’s universe. You will spend money you don’t have on almond-milk, and Bret Easton Ellis novels, and will tell people that you’re authentic, not unique.
  24. You will not utilize the majority of your education. Initially, you will be upset that your understanding of the complex relationship between Heidegger’s being and Being is not useful in the workplace. However, it gets easier. Plus, you have your weekends and evenings to learn more/talk about impractical shit that won’t pay your bills.
  25. You will feel alone more than you ever have before. What is important to remember is that you are most certainly not. TC mark

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