I wish that I knew what I know now
When I was younger.
I wish that I knew what I know now
When I was stronger.
It’s been said that experience is a harsh teacher; she gives you the test before you learn the lesson. There are things I wish I had known when I was younger, or at least I wish someone had told me. Maybe I could have been spared the trouble of learning this the hard way.
1) High school and its problems are not the be-all, end-all of your life.
Contrary to Dawson’s Creek or Beverly Hills 90210, the crap that happens to you in high school isn’t that important. After graduation, you’re not going to care whether or not you were the Prom Queen or any of that sort of thing. Hell, you may not even care that you didn’t go to Prom. Once you’re out of high school, the high school drama simply doesn’t matter anymore.
2) Marrying your high school sweetheart is a pipe dream.
Yes, there are a few that do this and make it work but let’s be honest: Your first love isn’t necessarily “the one”. Whether you want to admit it or not, it takes some time to find the right person. You will make mistakes and love is no exception to this. The idea of marrying the first person you fall in love with sounds lovely in a fairy tale but in reality, it’s not a great idea.
3) Some relationships aren’t meant to last.
The idea of forever friends sounds great but sometimes it doesn’t work. Everyone changes and sometimes relationships change. The people who were your support group in high school may not necessarily be the same people who will support you in adulthood. Relationships change and sometimes they fall apart. It hurts–I know that firsthand–but sometimes you have to move on.
4) No, not everyone gets ahead in life through hard work. Some do it via butt kissing.
We’ve all heard the sayings about “pulling yourself up by the bootstraps”. Guess what? You’ll learn really quick that some people get promotions not through hard work but planting their lips on the boss’s backside. Yes, the cream might rise to the top but turds can float as well and you’ll learn that quick once you start working.
5) Your parents aren’t necessarily wise sages with infinite wisdom. They’re clueless mortals, just like you.
When you’re young, you idolize your parents. You think that there is no one smarter than they are. When you get older, you realize that this isn’t always the case. Your parents pretty much fumbled through adulthood, just like you’re doing. They screwed up, just like you do. They made mistakes while raising you. They weren’t perfect. They never were. Once you learn that, things start to make sense.
6) You won’t know what the hell you’re doing once you reach adulthood.
When I was a child, I thought that once I hit eighteen or twenty-one or whatever age is considered “grown up”, I’d magically know what to do. I’d know how to handle work and responsibilities and all that sort of thing. I’d know how to take care of myself. The bitter truth is that this doesn’t happen. You don’t wake up one day with the knowledge of what to do if your neighbors are parking on your lawn on Saturday morning. Adulthood is a learning experience, just like childhood and you’re going to screw things up. Be prepared for that.
7) Playing peacemaker between your warring friends is overrated.
This one I learned multiple times and the hardest of ways. I lost count of how many times I tried to smooth over ruffled feathers between people whom I thought of as friends but couldn’t stand each other. It was stressful and I often found myself in tears when I was done. If some of your friends don’t like each other, they don’t like each other. Trying to smooth over hurt feelings may not help the situation at all. In my experience, I discovered that if these people don’t like each other, they never will and it’s best if you stay out of it. You don’t need the stress.
8) Don’t forgive too quickly.
It sounds crazy but sometimes it’s best not to forgive everyone for everything. That lesson was taught by my cheating ex and I’m glad I learned it. Forgiving a toxic person and re-accepting them into your life will only set you up for more abuse. Be sure that the person you are forgiving is actually worthy of your forgiveness.
9) Age does not equate wisdom.
There’s a saying, “There’s no fool like an old fool”. It is true. I’ve met people in their 50s who had no zero common sense and I’ve met Millennials who were brilliant. A person who is older than you has lived longer than you and seen more of life but it’s what they do with that life experience that counts.
10) Don’t take things too seriously.
Enjoy your life. Yes, some things are pretty serious but not all of them. Relax and have some blasted fun every once in a while. The ride we take on this planet as it hurtles thorough space is too short not to enjoy, so do it. And don’t let anyone tell you you’re doing it wrong, either.
There are other things as well. But these seem the most important. I just wish I had known some of this when I was a bit younger. Things might have turned out a bit differently.
Oh, the roads not taken.