We all know that wisdom takes time. Just like when you’re a child and burn yourself with an oven, only to realize some surfaces are hot and you’d better stay away from them, so are the other things that require years of constantly learning through your own experience.
So when someone asked a seemingly simple question “What do people learn too late?” on r/AskReddit it immediately resonated with everyone. With 76.4k upvotes and almost 20k comments, we have some of the most illuminating answers below.
From protecting your ears from loud music if you don’t want tinnitus for the rest of your life, to realizing that salary is not the entirety of an equation when it comes to your job satisfaction, these are the things people wish they hadn’t learned the hard way but known it from the beginning.
You’re not obliged to have children of your own. You can be happy and fulfilled without reproducing.
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Don’t worry if you aren’t living an exciting or extravagant life. It’s okay to live simply and quietly. It doesn’t mean that you’re wasting your life.
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Learning when to say no.
Learning how to apologise when it’s your fault, and how to not apologise when it’s not your fault.
Image credits: OneSalientOversight
The value of walking away from someone toxic in your life, even if it is your parents and family. If you are thinking of it and are scared and have somewhere where you can land in a safe place, then do it. It hurts like hell for a long while, but it gets better and one day you realize how peaceful your life is and you find you only miss the family you wish you had had.
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Not everyone is going to like you, no matter how hard you try.
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A cat on his back inviting a chesty rub is a trap.
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Many college degrees have no job market.
Trade school is a financially solid option out of high school.
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Take care of your teeth.
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That it’s possible to do everything right and still lose. Just life innit.
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That’s being wrong and changing your mind is actually nothing to be ashamed of.
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Don’t ever think it’s ok to “talk” to yourself in a manner you wouldn’t let another human being talk to you.
The biggest abuser I ever had in my life, was my constant companion: the thoughts in my head.
We often take care to choose our words when correcting a child or friend… but if anyone had talked to me, the way I talked to me for 30 straight years, I would have murdered them… and probably got away with it too.
Be nice to yourself, you’re the only you, you have.
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That mental & emotional abuse are a real thing.
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That it’s never too late to learn.
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The value of a good/unconditional friend.
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That being a parent is not always “the most rewarding thing in the world”.
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How to manage their finances.
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Knowing when to NOT be nice.
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What not to share on the internet.
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How soul crushing, unproductive, impotent and wasteful worrying about things is.
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That the cliche “you never know when it’s the last time you’ll see to someone” should absolutely be remembered for every occasion. My best friend just died in a car accident this past Saturday, and the last time I saw him we got in an argument and he left and we didn’t speak after that. I’m destroyed by it
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That hating people who are different makes you nothing but unhappy.
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How dangerous driving a car can be.
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That some things can never be undone.
The actions you take and the words you speak will come back around sooner or later.
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How short life is.
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That you might be wrong sometimes. Some never learn.
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Sitting on your ass all day is not good for your health at all.
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The sun is the worst thing for your skin, it burns you, causes cancer, and gives you wrinkles. SPF is your friend.
That happiness usually comes from a diverse range of interests, hobbies, and commitments. You are not your job. Your romantic partner cannot be your everything, etc. It’s so easy to get sucked into a life where your career is everything or where you wrap your entire identity around your partner. There is nothing wrong with celebrating your loved ones and being close. And there is nothing wrong with caring about your job…you just need more to thrive. I see this so often in relationships. Two people meet and fall in love. They each inspire one another based on their interests and achievements, it’s part of what makes them fall in love. But slowly, over time, they let those hobbies go. Stress gets in the way. Bills pile up. And then one day they find themselves wondering why they ever loved this person in the first place. Instead of being sexy and interesting they’re just part of a routine.
TLDR: Diversify your interests and activities to be happy. Don’t rely on a single person, hobby, or commitment to give you everything you need.
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To appreciate their youth.
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“Everybody you fight is not your enemy and everybody that helps you is not your friend.” – Mike Tyson
Interest rates, credit cards, credit score, money saving techniques, 401K. In other words anything that keeps you from being trapped by poor money management.
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How to communicate.
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Saying “I love you” or wanting to reach out to your family, friends, and loved ones, but crippling anxiety stops you. You never know when it may be too late to say these things, so be in the moment, and live/love in the present authentically.
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There aren’t actually any hot singles in your area.
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The importance of education. As a kid your always hear generic statements like, “This will help your career” but nothing specific enough to be useful.
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To stop being afraid of asking or pursuing the things you want in life
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Pulling out is not an effective method for birth control.
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How to not give a [damn] about how others see you.
Seems simple enough for me now in my 20s, but back in high school there were many f**ks given about how others saw me. Ironically, those people that didn’t care how others saw them were often the more respected ones.
Social media can consume your life. It’s not all real, and not everyone posting pictures is having a great time, and not every “I LOVE YOU SO MUCH WE SHOULD CATCH UP” is genuine.
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You are your biggest limitation.
Image credits: AtilaMann