1. It’s better to have loved and lost than never loved at all.
Humans were not made to be alone. As much as we like convincing ourselves that watching Netflix in the darkness of our bedrooms every Friday night is normal, the truth is, it’s not. It may be easier than facing the prospect of rejection or heartbreak but being lonely is not worth the trouble in the end. If you don’t take the leap, you’ll never experience the joy of the fall. A few cheesy photographs and a cheap carnival teddy bear may not seem like much of anything when you’re crying over the one who gave them to you, but they’re worth more than a heart completely devoid of romantic experience.
2. You can’t stop people from talking about you.
People are mean. They will make judgments about you right off the bat without any prior knowledge and they will try to mold you into a character they deem worthy of respect. If you construct your identity around the criticism of others, you will end up being a very boring person. It is not until you’ve stripped yourself of your personal opinions, only to have someone find fault with your new identity, that you realize how little other people’s opinions matter. Someone will build you up only to tell you that you’re doing everything entirely wrong and sometimes, that’s the only way to realize that people will talk about you no matter what you do. Long story short: you won’t satisfy everyone, and if you try, you’ll either end up dull or crazy.
3. Trust is the hardest bond to earn back, but it’s totally worth it.
Trust is a wonderful quality. It allows you to fully love a person without restraint and without questioning your level of vulnerability. Unfortunately, the only way to fully appreciate this feeling, and to fully recognize its importance, is to break it. Not all the time. Just once. I’m not asking you to do it. I’m saying that you will. At some point, you will lie to your parents about your whereabouts or what you’re actually doing on Friday night. At some point, they will find out, most likely when you stumble back into the house at 3AM and vomit on the dog. You will look up and see the toxic mix of anger and disappointment in your parents’ eyes. This look and the feeling of regret that comes with it will last for weeks, if not months. There will be times that you think your parents will never look at you the same, that you will never regain that level of understanding. Truthfully, you might not. But this is how you will learn what trust is. It’s not an enjoyable process, but it’s not supposed to be.
4. What you say or post on the Internet matters.
The Internet is no longer just a fun place to rant. Like any work environment, it has rules, some of which are unspoken. Publically bashing your boss or sharing your one-night-stand story on Facebook is no longer appropriate. You will underestimate the Internet up until one private email leaks and makes you a public spectacle. At that point, you will realize the importance of privacy, even among your closest friends. When you’re faced with a comment or picture that you can’t erase, you will think twice next time you post something.
5. It never hurts to ask.
When someone gets the job promotion you wanted, you will regret not asking for it first. When your best friend asks out the boy of your dreams, you will regret not voicing your interest. When you get socks for Christmas, you will regret not requesting the Xbox 360 you wanted. And when someone breaks your heart, you will regret not asking why. Because not asking hurts, and you won’t realize it until you watch what you want go to someone else.
6. Don’t hold onto someone for the sake of companionship.
You can learn this the hard way or the harder way. Basking in your own misery is one thing but dragging someone else down for the sake of having company is not fair to you or the person you’ve latched on to. When you settle for someone so you don’t have to explain to your mother why you’re still single, you’re giving your company away for the wrong reasons. Everyone deserves to be with someone that they love, not someone that they like well enough. Maybe you realize this when your significant other proposes, and you hesitate. Maybe you realize this 10 years into a marriage. When you do, it will make you appreciate true love that much more.