I’m not necessarily old enough to consider myself worthy of giving young people all that much advice but reading through these responses, I will say I wish someone would have shared this with me years ago.
The following AskRedditors responded to the question, “Adults of Reddit, what is something that every teenager should know about ‘the real world’?”
Interested in other responses? Take a look at the original thread at the end of the article.
That you’re perpetually still figuring it out.
It always feels like people 10 years older than you have it all together – but they don’t.
Whatever it is that you’ve achieved, you’re still plotting and planning for some next stage…no matter how content you are in your life, even at 60 you’ll still be thinking, “OK, what next?”
Groceries are frigging expensive, but eating out all the time is even worse.
lt f ele n et wy with nt tudyin in hih hl.
Wy le ele n et wy with nt tudyin in llee.
Nobody cares about your grades once you have a job.
You will have to find ways to motivate yourself, enforce structure and a routine in your daily life, or likely will have difficulty in all aspects of the real world.
Also, sometimes you’ll probably be bored. Learn to be okay with being still and not having all kind of stuff happening at once.
Life is not fair. Sometimes even when you do the right thing, you are still gonna get screwed over and there is nothing you can do about it.
You’re already in the real world. Being in school or living with your parents or working in retail or food service doesn’t make your life any less real, or difficult, or valid. Take things seriously. Take ownership for yourself and for your actions. Set smaller, achievable goals and work to meet them.
I think it’s damaging to refer to some time in the future as the “real world”. Everyone is different. You’re not “avoiding the real world” if you go back to school at 33 or get laid off and move in with your parents at 27 or haven’t had children on your 40th birthday. Your world is real, treat it that way.
Mental health or physical health issues can spring up at any time in your life and ignoring it doesn’t make it better. In the real world, you won’t necessarily have parents around to get you help. Keep a regular doctor even if you don’t think you need it, and address any mental health issues before they start to affect the rest of your life.
Nobody cares about your problems, and everybody cares about results.
It doesn’t matter if going to work is the hardest thing in the world for you where you have to overcome some crippling depression, or if it’s so easy you barely register the fact you were there before your shift ends. They only care that you were at work.
The sooner you stop justifying how hard something is and just do it regardless of how hard it is, the sooner you’ll make progress in life.
1. It’s grey. Rights and wrongs exist in a very basic pocket of the world that you learned in Kindergarten. But after that, it’s all grey. From the person treating you like crap at the grocery store to the problems you have with your family, there’s a deep seated reason that may not justify their crappy actions but makes them easier to understand.
2. If you want to be ambitious, make sure it’s the thrill of the chase that drives you, not the destination. Every time you achieve something there will always be more just out of reach.
3. Be smart with money, look for value in what you buy. Focus on stuff that lasts long and can guarantee security and minimal hassles. The 5% less you spend today, will have a shortcoming that proves its value. You almost always, get exactly what you pay for.
4. That being said, don’t underestimate the value of non-material things. Choose travel over material stuff cause once you’re settled, it won’t be an option. You can keep the same bad phone for an extra year and take a road trip. Don’t burn your money on 6 pints of Friday night booze when you can have 3 of them after a 6-hour drive outside the city. The world is huge but you need to make sure your world isn’t the tiny bubble between your watering hole, your school/college/work, and home.a
5. Try EVERYTHING. Martial arts, sports, dancing, acting, fitness and yoga, stamp collecting, hiking. As an adult, it’s far harder to try something new. And like #4 said, non-material stuff has huge value. Knowing a martial art can make your life a lot more comfortable as an adult. You’ll never know which of the 31 Baskin Robbins flavors you like until you try them all. Same with everything else.
6. Don’t try to build yourself up too much. Especially when it comes to someone you are genuinely interested in being with. If you build a better version of yourself in their heads, you guarantee a disappointment. Most of the people I know who’ve found love found someone who love their quirks, not their best attributes.
7. That being said. It’s ok to be alone. Start getting comfortable being alone. Because you aren’t going to have a person with you 24-7. Fate can separate even the closest of friends and lovers.
8. You’re not perfect, you never will be. But you can always try to make sure the next iteration of you is slightly better than the previous one.
9. Everyone sucks at something or the other. No one knows what they’re doing except a select few. Social media may give you the impression that they’re all having an awesome life. But they have just as many boring days as you.
Be willing to compromise. If you’re a ‘my way or the highway’ kind of person, people will hate you. Be flexible, have an open mind.
All the drama over girls and guys, friends being crappy, getting invited to parties or not, it’s all irrelevant crap and it doesn’t count in life. It’s such a tiny amount of time compared to the rest of your life. If someone is being a bad friend, just stay home.
The key is learning how to fall. When you’re doing judo they teach you this – how to fall, how to position your body in such a way that you mitigate the damage from being thrown around. This way you barely ever get hurt. You expect to fall, so instead of preventing it, you learn how to properly do it so you can get back on your feet fast and easy.
Same thing for adult life. You will screw up – a LOT. From small things like burning your dinner to big things like forgetting an important appointment for work. If you obsess about never failing, you will never learn how to fail; you will never learn how to fix mistakes; you will dwell on your own perceived incompetence which will have real implications on your worth to other people.
A good co-worker, friend, etc, is not so much a person that never makes mistakes, but a person that knows how to fix them. This is the key. Always prepare for the worst, always have a backup plan, always be prepared to fix your own mistakes. Learn how to fall, and your life will be a good one.
If you say you’re going to do something, do it. Nothing will burn bridges faster than not standing by your commitments. And if you absolutely have to break a commitment, let the person know well in advance. Ideally, as soon as you find out you can’t do what you said you would do.
Do not ever underestimate how horrible other people can be. There will always be bullies, predators, and people that will treat you as badly as they can get away with. You only see the side of people that they show you or that you find out about, there are all sorts of people who seem great in public but are twisted in private. The world is very, very dangerous.
You’re going to have to work really hard at friendships. Gone are the days of being thrust into a sea of people who you spend all your days with. You’ll be surprised how many friendships die off when you don’t see each other every day. You have to actually go out and find people with common interests that are good people. Then you’re going to have to work to plan around both your work schedules to actually see each other. You’re going to have to actually pick up the phone and call.
I was a social butterfly in high school. I had literally hundreds of people in my extended “friend group”. Went to parties every weekend and had a “crew”. Now I have about 4 friends. The quality of our friendship is much higher and I now have the best friends I have ever had. The pool of people to draw from will shrink dramatically as will the amount of time you’re able to devote to socializing. Make sure you give your time to good people who lift you up and positively contribute to your happiness. You don’t have time for toxic people you can’t trust. Once you become isolated as an adult, it’s much harder to break out of that isolation.
Nobody will go out of their way to help you. Or encourage you to do things that will improve your life like teachers and parents do. It’ll be up to you to make things happen for yourself. Life is something you have to participate in; it doesn’t just happen to you.
At work, there are three things that are important to achieve success:
- Being on time
- Producing quality work
- Being pleasant to work with
You only need two of those qualities to keep your job. If you’re all 3 you’re never gonna get fired. If you’re only 1 you won’t last very long.
YOUR BRAIN LITERALLY HASNT DEVELOPED YET, so chill you actually don’t know everything. And you have time to grow and change.
The American dream is a lie. Debt is your enemy. You should live to be happy and please yourself and live a life of joy. Don’t get trapped in the nonsense of corporate lies of how life should be. They don’t care and want your time and money. It’s a trap!