Being a teenager is a roller coaster of feelings, hormones, and experiences—and while it can often feel like you have at least a vague idea of what's going on and how the rest of your life will go, as you get older, you quickly realize that's not the case.
Inspired by the /r/AskReddit thread "Teenagers of Reddit, what is something you want to ask adults of Reddit?" here are just a few of the life lessons you learn as you begin to enter adulthood.
1. BFFs aren't always forever.
The friendships you have as a teenager often feel indestructible: They're magical and infinite and weird and perfect in ways you can't imagine ever giving up. But while you might end up keeping a handful (or fewer) friends from your younger years as you get older, you learn very quickly that most friendships don't last forever. Whether you failed to keep in touch, or you suddenly woke up one morning realizing you and a friend no longer had anything in common, people drift apart—and that's OK. You make new friends as you get older and as you become more yourself, and you'll discover these friendships have their own kind of magic that your high school friendships maybe didn't.
2. Rejection isn't the end of the world.
No one ever likes to be rejected, but at some point, you begin to understand that a little bit of rejection is actually good for you. You also begin to learn that fear of rejection shouldn't be the reason why you don't pursue something: Fuck letting fear get in the way of your life.
3. Your priorities will change.
In fact, they'll likely never stop changing. What matters to you at 16 will probably look very different to what matters to you at 26, 46, or 66. This is how it should be. Aside from what should be your basic needs (and, hopefully, basic morals and basic etiquette), the specifics of what matters most to you will evolve over time.
4. Heartbreak doesn't get any easier.
Breakups are brutal no matter your age, but over time, you learn what you need to get through them.
5. It's OK if you don't end up with your "dream job."
And even if you do end up with your "dream job," it will still feel like work at least some of the time. This is perfectly normal. It's a myth that there's some perfect job out there that will make you happy every day for the rest of your life. As your priorities change (see no. 3), you learn what you need to be happy with your job. For some people, it's just being able to tolerate the work. For others, it's how much you get paid.
6. Nobody really understands how to do their taxes.
Or, at least, a lot of people will make it very clear that they're just as clueless as you are. Luckily, there are tons of resources to help you vaguely figure out what's going on—until you eventually give up and start setting aside money to pay someone to help do your taxes for you. (Save those receipts, y'all!)
7. It's important to take care of your mental health.
Taking care of your mind is just as essential as taking care of your body. This is something most people don't truly understand until they get a little bit older but it makes all the difference. Never be ashamed to ask for help if you need it.
8. Taking care of your physical health gets harder with age.
When you're young, unhealthy habits don't hit you in the same ways that they do as you get older. Fixing what's broken only gets more difficult with age, and while there's little that can be done about that, you do eventually begin to understand that it's good to start forming healthy habits at a young age. (Or, you know, at least going for walks, or eating a vegetable every now and then.)
9. It can always get worse...
The older you get, the more apparent it becomes that most things are completely out of our control—and just when you think things can't get any worse, they often do. Life works in mysterious ways, and sometimes those ways are flaming Dumpster fires covered in horse shit. (I highly recommend Ellen Bass's poem "Relax" if you ever find yourself in this kind of downward spiral.)
10. ...But you're more resilient than you think.
After you repeatedly survive the things you thought you'd never be able to, you begin to recognize your own resilience. It may not make the shitty things any easier, but it certainly helps you to push through and get to the other side.
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.