Hands up if you’ve ever listened to advice from one of your elders and thought “yeah, whatever…” That’s probably just about all of us at one point or another in our lives, as it’s very standard issue behavior for young people to completely ignore the wisdom older folk try to pass down to them.
However, beyond some of the cliché “it wasn’t like that in my day” lectures we’re accustomed to avoiding, there are actually plenty of lessons we could do with learning when we’re younger that we either don’t have a chance to or ignore at all costs.
Adult life brings with it plenty of hidden surprises and harsh realities that you’ll end up wishing you were more prepared for, but what are some of the big ones that are better to know about now rather than find out about later?
The importance of all things money
Money matters. More specifically, sensible and responsible money management matters as you get a bit older and boring financial factors come into play.
While we all get basic lessons in budgeting through our youth through the odd PSHE day or via our trials and tribulations with pocket money, understanding the fundamentals of things like the importance of your credit rating, mortgages and saving for you pension should probably make it into the school curriculum.
For now, it’s best to do some reading on your own to learn about what’s ahead – even if it’s not the most inspiring stuff.
It gets tougher and tougher to keep up with “the kids”
The next time you throw your uncle a funny look for not knowing an extremely popular music artist, know you yourself will almost certainly be in that position one day. Adult life comes with so many essential responsibilities and a busy enough schedule that it’s very easy to lose track of a lot of pop culture related things.
Also, to add to that, you’ll probably find you simply don’t care about a lot of that stuff anymore, leading to plenty of disparaging comments from those younger than you (which you probably won’t care about, either).
You’ve got to look out for number one
As time goes on, you’ll realize that a lot of people, systems and institutions don’t necessarily operate with your best interests, or even fair interests, at heart. Understanding this sooner rather than later can be a real blessing, as it’ll help you to safeguard you against being treated unfairly, taken advantage of and generally being caught out.
There will be times in life when you’ve got to really put yourself first in order to protect yourself. This could be anything from standing up for yourself in a work environment, claiming against an accident that wasn’t your fault or even just calling someone out who’s acting unfairly on a personal level.
As a side note, this doesn’t mean you should act selfishly and only look out for yourself to the detriment of others in general, but rather be aware of situations where it’s important you put yourself first.
Adults definitely don’t have it all figured out
Pretty much every child grows up thinking adults have everything in their lives together. They know all the boring stuff inside and out, have their career paths set and know all there is to know about all important life issues, right?
Of course, once you get there yourself and start panicking that you definitely don’t have the above figured out, it’s a great relief (or maybe a concern) to find out that no one else does, either.
Most people can get to 30, 40, 50 or even the end of their lives without having most stuff figured out, so if you hit early adulthood and are worried you don’t have a career path in mind or don’t know how to deal with a certain situation you think you should, do not fear – we’re all sort of making it up as we go along.
Friendships may come and go
At school, you might have hundreds of people you’d call a friend. Through college and university, you might clamp down on that number a bit, but still have an extended social network that features a huge number of acquaintances and old pals.
Once you get out into adult life and the 9-5, however, it’s an unfortunate reality in almost all cases that most of those friendships will fade away organically, leaving you with a much smaller, but hugely important core group of people you’re still close to.
With adult life being busy and packed full of responsibilities, it’s tougher to make friends (you probably aren’t looking to in most cases, either) and tougher to keep hold of them. What’s important is you still have a network of real friends who you can rely on when you need them, even if you don’t speak as much as you used to.
Your parents and co. were probably right
The older you get, the more you tend to realize that those pearls of wisdom your parents and others attempted to pass down to you, which you actively took pleasure in denying the truth of, were largely accurate.
As youngsters, we tend to believe we’ll follow our own path in life, but the reality is we’ll go through many of the fundamental things our elders did, so it might be a good idea to heed their advice on them, even if such issues don’t affect you right now.
Something to really look forward to – once you get to a certain age, you’ll start passing on your own little advice gems to people younger than you, and then you get to enjoy watching them glaze over as you used to in your youth.
So, what is there to know about adult life as a younger person that you don’t know already? The answer is a heck of a lot, and the reality is you’ll probably end up learning about most of it when you come to face it.
Still, that’s part of the fun with adulthood, so maybe we shouldn’t worry too much about burdening our youth with the less exciting truths about growing up.