1. I think it’s in your twenties when you finally realize that life is finite. As a kid life is just this thing that goes on forever. Consequences don’t matter as much because the future in unfathomably far away. It’s a good time for making bad decisions but as you progress through your twenties you start realizing that the future is coming up fast and how it looks actually does depend on what you do now.
You learn that relationships aren’t like in the movies, that they take work and thought and that everyone is flawed and damaged and that they’ll probably kick you in the gut at least a dozen or so times.
You learn that the friendships you took for granted as a kid actually fall away pretty quickly if you neglect them and that even if you don’t, time has a habit of changing people and your best friend from school is different since he got married or that guy you did a bunch of blow with at university never really got the hang of stopping that and isn’t as much fun anymore.
You learn that being healthy isn’t an autopilot thing anymore. That if you eat shitty food and sit on your couch too much, shit will start to hurt and you’ll feel more tired and grouchy. There’s a similar lesson with booze and drugs.
You’ll have known more people who are now dead, or hear of more deaths than you used to, even if they’re not someone you knew particularly well and, as you get to the end of your twenties you’ll realize that there’s a good possibility you’re a third of the way in and that’ll freak you out a bit but it’s a good thing.
2. Don’t spend more money just because you are starting to earn more. Lifestyle inflation creeping in is a bitch.
If you don’t keep working out and start eating well, you’re going to feel like 45 once you hit 30.
Drink less alcohol. Hangovers will get exponentially worse every single year.
You are not invincible. Stop driving like an idiot and stay out of unnecessary physical altercations.
Do stuff that makes you happy instead of doing stuff that makes you look cool.
3. About two years ago I was stricken with loss when my dad died while I was overseas. Didn’t know what to do and I drove myself nuts. As humans we have constant ongoing goals no matter how big or small, important or miniscule, and it leaves us to think tomorrow will always be there. It won’t. Eventually, there is no tomorrow for you, and your family is left to stand above your bones.
Coping with loss is an extremely difficult thing to do, and for some, it’s impossible. To confront a loss…I dunno if there’s a correct way. There’s a certain solace in it though. I’ve finally become content with it, and I hope when the next loss comes, I can grieve normally, then breathe easy knowing I did my part instead of exuding guilt, regret, rage.
Loss sucks man.
4. First thing my partner and I did when we moved out was start an emergency fund. Our cars have had multiple break downs, we’ve needed sudden trips to the doctor, we had to recover from a break-in… each of those incidences just took a couple weeks to recover from because of our emergency fund. It is so, SO helpful. I was lucky because I had stipend money I could shove away immediately, so I won’t act like we’re amazing budgeters or anything. But if you can (and many people really can’t)…. it’s so worth that peace of mind.
5. The Now I know why unprotected sex is risky lesson
The Work your ass off for that advanced qualification then start at the bottom of the career ladder and be gratefullesson
The I shouldn’t have got a loan for something I couldn’t afford lesson
The I misplaced my trust in someone and got fucked over lesson
The Always have a plan to get home lesson
The Drunk tattoos aren’t ideal lesson
The Boss will steal your ideas, take credit for your hard work and you’ll suck it up lesson
The You can eat whatever shit you want and remain slim til you’re 20 and never again thereafter lesson
6. You will have to make very practical (sometimes very cold) decisions about what you want from life and what you’re willing to give up. And if you don’t make them then life will make them for you.
7. You will become fat, unless you try not to.
8. 30 comes fast so that “one day I’ll do such and such” or “one day I’ll start such and such” mentality turns into 10 years ago already.
9. Get used to waking up early. Seriously. Crucify any love of sleeping in you have now.
10. Only lend money that you’re prepared to lose. If it’s returned, then that person has earned your financial trust. If it’s not, don’t hassle them about it, but don’t ever lend them any more. And don’t end friendships over it.
11. How to stand up for yourself, particularly against authority figures, in a way that gets your point across but is still respectful.
Sometimes your boss will be an utter ass and make your work place hell, so you need to tell them to back off or they’ll keep doing it.
12. You aren’t special and you won’t always get your way. The real world is not fair and it does not care about you. You are in fact capable of accomplishing anything, but it’s not going to be easy.
13. Here is one thing that I should have learned in my 20s and it took me till my 30s to do: It’s ok to ask for help. I’ve had on and off crippling anxiety and only recently have I been able to reflect on my past and realize how much it’s held me back. How all encompassing it has been. I’m getting some professional help now, hoping I can turn things around and have a much different 30s than my 20s.
14. Friends come and go
15. Most people are basically decent, but don’t rely on it. Really try to see people for the individuals that they are and not who you would want them to be or fear them to be. If your significant other says they love you while treating you as worthless, they are lying. Would you accept such behavior from a stranger? Would they? Honesty is not as valued, particularly in the workplace, as you may be led to believe. Don’t give up on it. The people who value your integrity are priceless and you won’t know who they are without it. The others are less important than they think they are. Most people don’t give you any thought and neither care who you are nor what you can do. Providing the world with a million selfies will rarely change that and, if it does, you will most likely learn the difference between famous and infamous in the most unfortunate way.
16. Even your dream job sucks sometimes. Even the love of your life gets on your nerves sometimes. There is nowhere you “should be by now.” All life paths are different and equally valid. Happiness is a practice. It isn’t something you achieve and then you’re good.
17. Life doesn’t end at 30.