When does adulthood begin?
Scientists say that, biologically, adulthood doesn’t truly begin until 30, but socially, culturally, and legally, it’s 18. You’re free to leave the nest, make your own decisions (and mistakes), and take control of your life.
I turned 43 in March.
It’s not a milestone birthday by traditional standards — we Americans love numbers that end in fives and zeroes — but if 18 is the age when we become adults, then that means I’ve been a grownup for a full twenty-five years. A quarter-century.
While it often still doesn’t feel like it, I’ve compiled a list of twenty-five things I’ve learned in the past twenty-five years.
- No one is too cool for anything
- Time seems to accelerate with age
- As Marcus Aurelias said, “Be tolerant with others and strict with yourself”
- If you can load a weed whacker string, you can accomplish anything in life
- Anger has never improved a situation
- College may be the best years of your life but trying to extend them is a fool’s errand that could even diminish your memories
- You can’t out-exercise bad eating habits
- You can’t out-earn bad spending habits
- When you have a child you realize your parents didn’t know anything more than you do; give them a break — they were just doing their best
- Make reading a habit
- Enjoy the hell out of your 20s
- Discipline, rather than doing whatever you want, is true freedom
- Stop delaying that vacation or special trip for practicality — there will always be another home improvement project to do
- Cooking ingredients can be approximated; baking ingredients cannot
- A genuine “thank you” goes a long, long way
- Intellectual curiosity will separate you from nearly all of your peers
- There’s so much negativity in the world (especially online) — celebrate what you love rather than criticizing what you don’t
- Your time is worth much more to you than it is to others — protect it zealously
- It’s never the right time or financial situation to have a child so just have the child
- Worrying about what others think will destroy your mental well-being
- Raise the deck on the lawn mower — avoiding rocks and exposed tree roots is worth having slightly longer grass
- Communication is key, both personally and professionally
- Nostalgia can be a curse
- Happiness is something only you can give yourself; no one or no thing can give it to you
- Play the long-term, like Naval Ravikant: “All returns in life, whether in wealth, relationships, or knowledge, come from compound interest”
Bonus: Your choice of spouse/partner will have the biggest impact on your life.
See you in another twenty-five years!
Christopher Pierznik is the worst-selling author of nine books. His work has appeared on XXL, Cuepoint, Business Insider, The Cauldron, Fatherly, Hip Hop Golden Age, and many more. Find more of his writing at Medium and connect on Facebook. Please feel free to get in touch at CPierznik99@gmail.com.