Recently I was having an in-depth discussion with my colleagues about how I wish when I was in my late teens and early twenties someone would have sat me down and told me to the amount life can and will suck. I wish they had told me my heart would be broken, depression will most likely try to creep in, and money is something I will probably always be concerned about. Alas, I was not informed of the negatives in life.
This desire may seem cynical and pessimistic, but the reality is the whole mentality that life is just a bag of lollipops is not beneficial for anyone. If I were a medieval knight going into battle, I would want to know if my enemy had wooden or metal swords. Wouldn't you?
So here is the moral of the story, life is hard. No matter where you are placed on the social ladder. Emotional, financial, and physical struggles are present unbiasedly across the board. Now they may look different in people's lives, and there seems to be envy for other peoples problems in our society but at the end of the day, everyone has problems in their lives, and they demand of the affected to rise or fall to the occasion.
So dear 20-year-old punk this is what I wish someone had told me.
~ Life is hard, make sure you do not medicate to deal with it.
Run head on into pain and show the fuck up every day. Fight like the Gladiator and think like Bertrand Russel. Do not cower in the face of adversity. Pursue your dreams with zeal. Fail. Make mistakes. Persevere. Medicating and running away from your problems looks like the abuse of alcohol, weed, tobacco, sex, and even things like video games. You have to make the conscious decision to work through your problems every day as they show up rather than delaying them till tomorrow.
~ Chances are there will be people in your life who will disagree with your decisions.
Get over it. Listen to what they have to say but stay loyal to your beliefs. Be humble enough to adjust expectations and actions appropriately but brave enough to go out on a limb and take calculated risks. You will learn more from failure than pondering hypotheticals. Failure is the best professor you will ever meet.
~ Love and be loved.
Do not allow your heart to flat line, allow yourself to feel the best of the best and the worst of the worst, this is a true emotional heart beat. To live is to have a pulse. Let that emotional heart beat. Embrace the emotional journey and do not assume that you are macho when you feel nothing. Associating masculinity with feeling nothing is merely a socially constructed fallacy that leads you only into the depths of unbeneficial realms.
~ Your fears are illogical.
You are riddled with fears that control most of the decisions you make. You most likely think you have this figured out already but as life unravels you will continue to find more and more fears and insecurities that lay in the depths of your being. Your childhood has more influence on you than you think. Get over the fact that you don't know everything and just be willing to figure it out as you go.
~ Find mentors.
This's hard for some easy for others, but at the end of the day, you need to get input from people who are on the other side of the mountain you wish to cross. Find an author you respect, listen to a podcast that inspires you, work for a successful businessperson, or just simply talk to someone older than you. The art of getting knowledge from others is essential to your happiness. Sure you can figure things out on your own, but would you like to build a car or drive one someone else already took the time to create? Learn how to start on others ceilings.
~ Work on yourself before changing the world.
What I mean by this is it is effortless to be cynical and judgmental of the world you reside in and think that you could make it better. People who live that way do not have their shit together and look to blame other factors for their instability. If you want to alter the reality which you reside in, do what Gandhi said: "Be the change you wish to see in the world." The Bible said it pretty good too in the new testament "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" The moral of the story is this, the only thing you truly can control and change is you. If you learn to self-improve and grow, I can guarantee you that the world around you will change.
Well, I could go on and on, but I think these points hit the essentials. Dear 20-year-old punks I just want you to know you got this. Do not let life make you its bitch. Take life by the balls.