Find a Way or Fade Away, Because The Most Important Life Lessons Aren’t Taught in School

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It seems impossible now, but sure enough, one day you are going to be a much older version of yourself with a collection of missed opportunities and regrets you’ve picked up along the way. Hopefully not too many. Though you can’t reach through time and get a preview of life’s most difficult lessons and spare yourself the heartache, but you can learn to navigate some of life’s complexity. Most of us will grow old wishing we knew then what we know now. Unfortunately some of the most important lessons you will ever learn will happen outside of the classroom when you are least prepared for them, and they will hurt. Badly. This is about giving you a window to the lessons that will hurt the most. We sincerely hope this brings you some wonderful insights today ❤
 

1. Stop Choosing Things Over Friends

Life is too short to waste on plastic and polyester when you could have heart and soul for free.

 
People tend to think in extremes, like unless they’re consistently choosing to go shopping over hanging out with friends then, and only then, will they be guilty of this one. But it doesn’t work like that. The act of choosing things over friends is much broader and subtler than that, and permeates a lot of seemingly mundane everyday decisions you make. Choosing friends over things means that out of every moment you spend building your wardrobe, working over-time, updating your makeup routine, shopping etc. you are spending at least twice as much time with the people you love. Few of us realize just how much more important our friends are until it’s too late. In fact, the number one regret people report having on their death-beds is not spending more time with the people they care about. We know that there’s something incredibly satisfying about buying a new pair of shoes, or creating a new Pinterst board dedicated to our next haircut, but giving it up for a few hours with a friend is so much more valuable than that. Just think about all the things you bought, and the new friends you’ve made over the last 10 years, and you will quickly realize that only the friends really matter to you (and if that’s not the case, then you should definitely go into emergency buddah mode and get rid of all our belongings, because they’re doing you no good). Life is too short to waste on plastic and polyester when you could have heart and soul for free.
 

2. Everything Matters Less Than You Think

How did we all get so jaded by the world around us that we lose sleep over a deadline, but don’t bat an eye about the fact that at this very moment you are hurling through space at 67000 miles per hour.

 
Put it this way, right now, as we speak you are on a slinking ship. The boat is going down my friend and you’re wasting your time worried about how that one thing you said made you sound stupid. You are an unimaginably tiny speck of dust in an infinite universe filled with mysteries so great your little dust-speck human mind will probably never evolve to truly comprehend it. And with all this unbelievable wonder and mystery around you, you’re choosing to spend your time freaking out about accidentally pressing “reply all.” Every single thing that’s keeping you up at night today, will completely cease to matter a few years from now. Hell, while we’re at it, even you yourself will case to matter in a few decades. We all too easily forget how strange and miraculous it is that we’re even here on this planet, a bunch of intelligent apes that can love, and create art, and understand what the glittering lights in the night sky even mean. How did we all get so jaded by the world around us that we lose sleep over a deadline, but don’t bat an eye about the fact that at this very moment you are hurling through space at 67000 miles per hour.
 

3. Always Have a Lifeline Skill

One of the worst things that can happen to you in later life is to be tied to a certain job or lifestyle you hate just because it’s the only thing you’re qualified to do.

 
Time runs away from us. For anyone reading this in their early 20s right now, there’s no way for you to know this yet, but I promise that in the blink of an eye you will be 30 years old wondering how it all could have happened so fast. The biggest mistake young people make in their 20s is not nurturing, building upon, and growing one marketable skill that they will be able to fall back on later in life. Don’t be the person that has worked retail so long that you’re not qualified to do anything else. Don’t be the person that has been doing receptionist work so long that it becomes impossible for you to get a promotion. Little by little, at your own pace and time, nurture something that will become like a ladder from the sky, helping to propel you to a greater horizon should you need it. One of the worst things that can happen to you in later life is to be tied to a certain job or lifestyle you hate just because its the only thing you’re qualified to do. If you love art why not develop some website design skills, if you’re a photographer why not broaden into video editing as well, if you love math why not try some computer programming, if you love to write why not learn the ins and outs of content marketing? One day, this type of side-education could save your life.
 

4. Feed Your Addictive Personality

As bizarre as it sounds, you can proactively choose to get hooked on something good so you don’t end up getting hooked on something destructive down the line.

 

A lot of people have addictive personalities, it’s nothing to be ashamed about. We all have something we probably shouldn’t indulge in as often as we do. The thing no one ever tells you is that you can proactively feed that urge with pretty much anything, from yoga to baking, because if you don’t, your subconscious will choose something for you – alcohol, drugs, shopping, nail-bitig or over-eating, your body will find ways to self-soothe if you don’t beat it to the punch. Why not get hooked on something that’s actually good for you? As bizarre as it sounds, you can actually choose to get hooked on cold-pressed juices so you don’t end up getting hooked on something destructive down the line. The point is to keep your mind and body engaged, and filled with things that are good for both.

 

5. Choose Experiences over Comfort

Memories are life’s greatest currency, and the stories we tell are our prizes for having lived a full and remarkable life.

 
Have you ever noticed how the most interesting people you meet have extraordinary stories to tell? So many of us cower away from extraordinary experiences usually because they are scary and uncomfortable in the moment. It means actually talking to that weird stranger that’s always playing the musical saw on your way to work. It means dipping into your rainy-day savings and going on a completely irresponsible last-minute trip to LA. It’s about renting a car and driving it clear across the country, stopping at every rundown diner, and 60s motel along the way. It’s waking up at 3am just so you can hike to the peak of a mountain to watch the run rise. None of these things are comfortable. They’re exhausting, scary and irresponsible. These are the kind of experiences that will have people asking, “have you lost your mind?” and “isn’t that a little dangerous?” If there’s one golden rule, it’s that your worst mistakes, your most embarrassing decisions, and moments of greatest discomfort will make the very best stories later on in life.
 

6. Know When Love is Not Enough

Knowing the definition of true love is the most important thing you will ever learn, it puts everything else in life into crystal clear focus. If the people you “love” are making you feel small, if they’re stunting your growth, stabbing you in the back and tearing you down every chance they get, then they don’t really love you.

 

Love in all it’s forms, from friendship to marriage, is the most complicated human experience there is. In order for it to work a large number of things have to line up – mutual respect, shared values, communication style, a sense of humor, personal integrity, their ambition (or lack thereof) – any of these can ruin a relationship. You can be in love with someone, and that someone can sincerely love you back, and it’s still entirely possible that the relationship isn’t good for either of you. This goes for friendships as much as romantic partners. The whole thing about love is that it’s supposed to make you a better version of yourself. It’s supposed to teach you patience, kindness, compassion, it’s supposed to give you a small glimpse of an ideal to strive towards. If the people you “love” are making you feel small, if they’re stunting your personal growth, stabbing you in the back and tearing you down every chance they get, then they don’t really love you. I know it sounds terrible – even ridiculous to suggest, but it’s true. Real love is about nurturing someone’s physical and emotional growth, even if doing so is uncomfortable, time consuming or expensive for you. If the end doesn’t result in your or someone else’s spiritual and emotional growth, then you can bet that the glue that’s holding you together isn’t true love but attachment, tribalism or inertia. Learn to recognize real love for what it is, before you suffer any more heartache.

 

7. It All Falls Into Place The Moment You Stop Trying

Stop trying to help, improve, and refine yourself, and just accept that your flaws are as much a part of you as the color of your eyes. It is the most liberating thing you will ever do.

 
The most important truth you will ever learn about yourself is that the more you try to run away from an emotion, the more you will end up running in one place. The more you try to fix yourself, the farther away you will get from actually accomplishing anything. Why? Because the only way forward is through acceptance. The biggest problem with the concept of self-help is that it fails to take into account the single most important aspect of happiness – self-acceptance. Unfortunately, most of us approach self-acceptance through an if-then model: “If I lose 10lbs then I’ll finally feel good” “If I can learn to be a morning person, then I’ll get more done at work.” The moment you stop trying to lose weight and start listening to your body’s needs, the moment you just accept the fact that you procrastinate sometimes, that you feel anxious other times, you will miraculously start to feel happier.
 

8. Know The Depression Equation

People become depressed when they ignore their most fundamental needs. You need to pursue the things your soul yearns to do as much as you need air to breathe. You need to be understood and loved the same way you need to eat. The more you isolate and deprive yourself of your dreams the more depressed you will feel.

 
Unfortunately this may not apply to people who are not clinically depressed and in need of medical treatment. What we’re talking about here is melancholy, that generalized feeling of sadness we all feel from time to time, that hollow-hearted feeling that drains all the color from life. The reason most people fall into melancholy is because they are isolated from people they can be their true selves with, and they are not acting upon their truest desires. Essentially, you are ignoring your most fundamental needs and the things that define you. If deep down you’ve always dreamed of becoming a dancer, and you spend all day every day in an office chair without so much as listening to music, you will become depressed. If you are depriving yourself of the company of people that understand you, you will become depressed. There’s a simple formula to bringing the light back into your life, and it’s action. Do something. Anything. Take a sewing class. Learn to screen print. Take water aerobics. Ideally you will do something that you used to dream about when you were a little kid, but it doesn’t really matter if you don’t feel excited about what you’re doing. Do it anyway. And before you have time to realize what’s happening, you’ll find that hollow space inside you filling up.
 

9. Expect to Fail, Expect to Lose

Where did we get this idea that you can plan life? Where did the notion that there is anything predictable and certain about anything? Life is mostly a series of unexpected events.

 
We all love to plan things out. We plan our dream jobs out, we plot where we’ll live, how we’ll decorate our houses, when we’ll have kids, and the trip we’ll take. But most things in life have their own schedules. Things rarely happen when you think they should. Where did we all get this idea that there’s a natural course to life? There isn’t. Things come randomly. For some, like millionaire vlogger and beauty guru Michelle Phan it came quickly and swiftly, for others, like award winning actress and comedian Kristan Wiig things didn’t fall into place until she was 32. Expect to be thrown curve-balls, expect that things will fall apart, and not work out at all. Expect that you will have to wait a very long time for anything to happen.
 

10. Losing Friends is Part of Life

In order for you to thrive in life, you need to find your tribe, the people that will understand and value you for who you are, flaws and all.

 
when I was 16 my bestfriend’s mom told us that one day when were were all grown up we were no longer going to be friends. I remember we laughed at her nervously. “You’ll see,” she said, and we honestly thought she was crazy. But she was totally right. Brutally right. Growing up is painful and marked by dramatic changes. The one and only thing you can count on is that you are going to change, the things that you love now are going to lose their sparkle, and your friends will either change in the same direction as you, or not. Losing friends is almost unavoidable, but don’t look at it as a negative. The friends that drift out of our lives were simply not meant to be in it. In order for both of you to thrive in life, you need to find your tribe, the people that will understand and value you for who you are, flaws and all. As you age, your circle of friends will shrink and become stronger, more supportive and intimate than ever before. So try not to feel too broken hearted about the people you’ve lost.
 

Natalia Borecka

Natalia is the editor in chief and publisher of Lone Wolf Magazine. She founded the publication in 2012.

2 Comments
  1. I love your realistic, non pretentious and real articles. I’ve just bought my first Lone Wolf magazine and discovered this site right after that and I think it’s a breath of fresh air and it gives me a little bit of a feeling of belonging because of the point of view from where out this articles are written with its universal and holistic truths and the view of the power of the human being at a soul level and i imagine that this can also feel the same for other people who read this.

    I like it.
    Keep up the good work.

  2. I love this article too! You fine people have a way with words!

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