20 Things Nobody Tells You About Growing Up

Life.

It’s a journey of twists and turns, peaks and valleys, mountains to climb and oceans to explore. Good times and bad times. Happy times and sad times. But always, life is a movement forward. And no matter where you are on the journey, in some way, you are continuing on — and that’s what makes it so magnificent.

What nobody ever tells you, though, when you are a wide-eyed child, are all the little things that come along with “growing up.” The things pull you down from your dreaming cloud and force you to plant your feet on the ground.

1. Most people are scared of imagination.

They’ve disconnected with their inner child. They don’t feel they are “creative.” They like things “just the way they are.”

2. Your dream doesn’t really matter to anyone else.

Some people might take interest. Some may support you in your quest. But at the end of the day, nobody cares, or will ever care about your dream as much as you.

3. Friends are relative to where you are in your life.

Most friends only stay for a period of time — usually in reference to your current interest. But when you move on, or your priorities change, so too do the majority of your friends.

4. Your potential increases with age.

As people get older, they tend to think that they can do less and less — when in reality, they should be able to do more and more, because they have had time to soak up more knowledge. Being great at something is a daily habit. You aren’t just “born” that way.

5. Spontaneity is the sister of creativity.

If all you do is follow the exact same routine every day, you will never leave yourself open to moments of sudden discovery. Do you remember how spontaneous you were as a child? Anything could happen, at any moment!

6. You forget the value of “touch” later on.

When was the last time you played in the rain? When was the last time you sat on a sidewalk and looked closely at the cracks, the rocks, the dirt, the one weed growing between the concrete and the grass nearby. Do that again. You will feel so connected to the playfulness of life.

7. Most people don’t do what they love.

It’s true. The “masses” are not the ones who live the lives they dreamed of living. And the reason is because they didn’t fight hard enough. They didn’t make it happen for themselves. And the older you get, and the more you look around, the easier it becomes to believe that you’ll end up the same. Don’t fall for the trap.

8. Many stop reading after college.

Ask anyone you know the last good book they read, and I’ll bet most of them respond with, “Wow, I haven’t read a book in a long time.”

9. People talk more than they listen.

There is nothing more ridiculous to me than hearing two people talk “at” each other, neither one listening, but waiting for the other person to stop talking so they can start up again.

10. Creativity takes practice.

It’s funny how much we as a society praise and value creativity, and yet seem to do as much as we can to prohibit and control creative expression unless it is in some way profitable. If you want to keep your creative muscle pumped and active, you have to practice it on your own.

11. “Success” is a relative term.

As kids, we’re taught to “reach for success.” What does that really mean? Success to one person could mean the opposite for someone else. Define your own Success.

12. You can’t change your parents.

A sad and difficult truth to face as you get older: You can’t change your parents. They are who they are. Whether they approve of what you do or not, at some point, no longer matters. Love them for bringing you into this world, and leave the rest at the door.

13. The only person you have to face in the morning is yourself.

When you’re younger, it feels like you have to please the entire world. You don’t. Do what makes you happy, and create the life you want to live for yourself. You’ll see someone you truly love staring back at you every morning if you can do that.

14. Nothing feels as good as something you do from the heart.

No amount of money or achievement or external validation will ever take the place of what you do out of pure love. Follow your heart, and the rest will follow.

15. Your potential is directly correlated to how well you know yourself.

Those who know themselves and maximize their strengths are the ones who go where they want to go. Those who don’t know themselves, and avoid the hard work of looking inward, live life by default. They lack the ability to create for themselves their own future.

16. Everyone who doubts you will always come back around.

That kid who used to bully you will come asking for a job. The girl who didn’t want to date you will call you back once she sees where you’re headed. It always happens that way. Just focus on you, stay true to what you believe in, and all the doubters will eventually come asking for help.

17. You are a reflection of the 5 people you spend the most time with.

Nobody creates themselves, by themselves. We are all mirror images, sculpted through the reflections we see in other people. This isn’t a game you play by yourself. Work to be surrounded by those you wish to be like, and in time, you too will carry the very things you admire in them.

18. Beliefs are relative to what you pursue.

Wherever you are in life, and based on who is around you, and based on your current aspirations, those are the things that shape your beliefs. Nobody explains, though, that “beliefs” then are not “fixed.” There is no “right and wrong.” It is all relative. Find what works for you.

19. Anything can be a vice.

Be wary. Again, there is no “right” and “wrong” as you get older. A coping mechanism to one could be a way to relax on a Sunday to another. Just remain aware of your habits and how you spend your time, and what habits start to increase in frequency — and then question where they are coming from in you and why you feel compelled to repeat them. Never mistakes, always lessons. As I said, know yourself.

20. Your purpose is to be YOU.

What is the meaning of life? To be you, all of you, always, in everything you do — whatever that means to you. You are your own creator. You are your own evolving masterpiece. Growing up is the realization that you are both the sculpture and the sculptor, the painter and the portrait.

Paint yourself however you wish.

This article originally appeared in Inc Magazine.


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