10 Things That Surprised Me About Growing Up

1) Nobody feels like an adult

Most of us are just faking it.

2) Many people do not care about their jobs

The idea of doing good work for good work’s sake is not universal.

3) Life goes faster every year

Luckily, someone explained this one to me when I was 9.

If we consider a lifetime as a unit of measurement, it stands to reason we can only ever comprehend ONE lifetime at a time.

Yet, what is contained in that one lifetime changes over time.

At 3 years old, it looks like this:

At 27 years old, it looks like this

We live longer, but everything is crammed into our one precious lifetime. Days go passing into years, and then years go passing day by day.

4) School taught me a lot of things that don’t matter

The mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell. I tried to explain to the IRS this knowledge was probably more interesting than filling out a tax form correctly, but they don’t seem to care.

Thanks for nothing, Mr. Smith.

5) Everything costs money

Food costs money. Electricity costs money. This chair I’m sitting in costs money. The servers used to host this article cost money.

I didn’t learn any of this when I lived in my parents’ basement.

6) Everything takes longer than you think

The gurus told me one piece of art could change my life. They said fame and fortune were just a click away on the Internet.

Today, after nearly 2 years of blogging, 300+ posts on Medium, a book, countless tweets, and 93 answers on Quora, I’m bringing in my first ever money from online work — $524 dollars in royalties.

I didn’t do the calculation, but I’m pretty sure that math works out to something like $0.06 an hour. Luckily, I’ve loved almost every second of it.

Related — How I Made -$57,799.16 Dollars Writing Online (And You Can Too!)

7) I know nothing

I used to think I knew a lot. Wrong.

Everyone I know is smarter than me at something. It’s my job to figure out what that is and ask them a billion questions about it. When that happens, the other person lights up because they never get to talk about something they care about, and I get to learn something new. Funny how that works.

8) I am still crazy about my wife

I am genuinely shocked at how much I feel for the woman who sleeps in my bed every night. I thought the blind passion would fade, and it has. It was replaced by unconditional trust, unquestioning love, and unwavering support.
Our relationship is unmatched by anything else in my life.

9) Life is not fair

People with lots of money get more chances to fail than poor people do. I grew up on beanie weanies for dinner most nights. I wasn’t going to sell an app for $17 million at age 16.

I was shooting basketballs through a hoop since I was 18 months old. I loved basketball. I played all the time. And then, when I tried out for the 6th grade team, I didn’t make it. Everyone on the roster was about a foot taller than me.

Genetics, am I right?

10) Life is not supposed to be fair

Because of my childhood, I learned to be introspective. I learned to entertain myself. I learned to appreciate what I have. I learned to write. I learned to read. I learned how to graduate college with zero debt.

Recently, a friend has taught me we find power within life’s unfairness. Now I’m just trying to be me.

It’s going okay.


Thank you so much for reading. In case you’re interested, I’m going to be doing a lot with my email list throughout the rest of the year.

If you want in on that (starting with 3 free goodies), you can sign up right here.

— TB