Here is a fun fact that no one teaches you in high school or in university. There are a lot of things that you will have to learn once you leave the comfort of university classes and binge drinking. Most of them (such as budgeting, time management, etc) you will learn when the reality of being a young adult slaps you in the face. However, there is one skill that is rarely taught to us despite the immense need for it in your mid to late twenties, and that — my fellow readers — is the ability to adapt to our ever-changing environment.
We all know that animals evolve at a rapid pace to adapt to changes in their environment. Humans (on the other hand) tend to push and resist change for as long as feasible before accepting things for the way they are and eventually going with the flow (aka adapting). This is an important skill to have when you hit your 20s and you realize that not only is change inevitable it is going to be the main constant in your life going forward (until you hit retirement and you no longer give a f*ck).
But instead of writing about how to ‘adapt and juggle the inevitable curveballs that life will throw at you, I am going to write about the 27 harsh truths that you do learn when you finally learn to accept and go with the flow, because if penguins can literally filter saltwater in real-time, then we as humans need to accept the harsh truths that come with entering our late-twenties.
1. You will no longer be able to wake up and be a functioning adult after a big night because hangovers will require 1–2 business days to get over.
2. Your friend group will get smaller and your waistline will go in the opposite direction.
3. Your social media feed will take a sharp turn from night-out posts to corny ‘I said yes to my best friend’ posts.
4. People you didn’t think would get married will suddenly rock up on your social feed with a mortgage and a kid.
5. You will start to feel the pressure to ‘settle down’ as well.
6. If you did not make smart financial decisions in your early 20s, your mid-to-late 20s will be spent making amendments to fix those mistakes.
7. Your choice of partners will change.
8. One minute you are ordering vodka Red Bulls at the bar and the next minute you will find yourself getting excited over a new air fryer.
9. Your tolerance for people’s bullshit will no longer be where it used to be.
10. You will learn the importance of prioritizing your mental and physical health.
11. You will start to revisit your values and even dispose of some of them if they are no longer applicable to you.
12. You will start to see your parents as individuals and/or equals as opposed to authority figures because as you get older you will realize that they were just trying to do the best they could with what they had.
13. You will make peace with not knowing how some aspects of your life will look in the future.
14. You will experience inner turmoil and find a way to make your peace with that too.
15. You may lose loved ones and will have to learn how to navigate through grief for the first time.
16. You may start to define or redefine your purpose in life.
17. You will do everything you can to protect your energy.
18. You will realize that not everything happens in accordance with the timelines that you had in mind and you will swallow that damn pill alongside your daily vitamins.
19. You will realize that job stability or any kind of stability in itself is an illusion.
20. You will realize that growth is actually an incredibly painful process that consists of rude awakenings and self-introspections.
21. You will shed parts of your identity and trade them in for different ones as you sift through different phases in life.
22. You will never have shit figured out but you will figure it out as you go.
23. You will realize that pain is a powerful emotion and it is one that demands to be felt. Running away from your emotions will no longer work in your favor because you would’ve experienced enough of life to know that running away from your emotions will get you nowhere.
24. One fine day you will wake up and realize that you now have to look after your parents because they are no longer as fit as they once were.
25. You may have stubborn body fat in places that are living rent-free and that is okay.
26. You will second-guess a lot of decisions in life.
27. You will learn to forgive yourself because you will come to realize that you are only human and making mistakes is an inevitable side effect that comes with making decisions.