If we didn’t change as we aged, as we gained experiences and stepped away from the things we knew as a child, I would think something was wrong. We’re not the same people we were as children or even teenagers or young adults, and with those new experiences comes a new way of looking at things.

These 13 people are considering just that question, and ruminating on which of their perspectives have really been changed as they’ve grown.

13. Disney is a liar.

Love is not enough. It’s not going to pay your bills.

Im an older dude (+30) who’s trying to stand on his feet but know that i’m poor and cant guarantee a future for a family. Thats why i dont even try to date/search for a girl. Sigh.

12. Everyone is faking it.

When I was a kid, I used to think “adults” knew so much more and were so much more mature.

As I’ve gotten older tho, I’ve realized soooo many so-called “adults” are literally just big kids who never learned how to be emotionally responsible or empathetic.

11. Enjoy where you are.

Be the age you are and the more education one has doesn’t mean they will be able to work. I spent all my highschool years going to highschool full time college full time working part time during the school year and then adding a full time job during the summer while going to college full time during the summer. I didn’t have much of a teen life because I grew up hearing from parents and family that one can’t have enough education. I found out that’s not true you can have to much. I graduated at 22 with a master’s degree in psychology and couldn’t find any job that didn’t require me to have 10+ years of experience in the field. I had worked so long and so hard on my education that I lost being a teenager.

I was 20 and found out I had cancer and they were able to remove it, bit no place wanted to hire me because of a preexisting condition. At 27 I had a total hip replacement due to osteoarthritis, again preventing employment due preexisting condition, and at 35 I was told I have heart failure 20% function, now definitely not employable. There are times I just cry about how hard I worked during my youth and now I have nothing to show but a piece of paper that said I missed my time to be a kid.

10. You can ask for help.

That you don’t have to struggle alone to be strong. Took me a long time to realise the strongest thing I could do was admit I needed help and take steps to surround myself with people to help and support me instead of trying to push them away.

One of the best things I’ve ever done for myself is learn to say “I don’t know what that is. Can you explain it?”

People realize that even if you’re very knowledgeable about a subject, you won’t ever know everything about it. Not many people are gonna look down on you for not knowing something.

They’re just excited to explain their interests to someone who also either enjoys those same interests or is at least willing to sit through a quick rundown of that interest. And I get to learn a ton about the world we live in.

Win win.

9. We can’t all be special.

You don’t have to be special.

As kids and young adults it’s easy to fall into the trap that you have to be in some way exceptional or special, particularly if you’re a smart kid. In trying to encourage you to use what you have, the people fumbling their way through nurturing us often make the mistake of instilling some kind of expectation that Great Things will someday occur.

You don’t have to start a company, invent something exceptional, become famous, be an influencer, make waves, be the best at anything, be someone with a wikipedia page. It’s OK to be average or a little above average, that’s not failure, that’s life.

All that matters is that you are happy wherever you find yourself. You can allow yourself to be happy being who you are and being good at whatever it is you find yourself doing. Sometimes being the best doesn’t mean changing the world, it just means focusing on the thing in front of you right now.

I failed to understand this for far too long, and I don’t expect reading this will flip that switch for anybody. But when you come to terms with the fact that you’re never going to live up to the unrealistic expectations you have for yourself, it’s like a burden is lifted and your actual life can really begin. I still have goals, they’re just ones I can attain, instead of dreams.

Dreams are toxic, and punish you for not attaining them, whereas goals just keep you moving forwards and give you happiness when you get there. All I want now is a nice house, a job I like doing, and more board games that I can play with the woman I love. Simple things that let me live a life focused on happiness.

8. Seriously. Faking it.

No one really knows what they’re doing, at any stage in life. We’re all just going along, hoping that what we’re doing will work out in the end.

7. A romantic checklist.

What I’m looking for in a partner.

Looks were at the top of the list. I put up with mean girls treating me badly because they looked like models. It affected my confidence and trust in the long run.

Looks matter a lot less now. Character is now at the top.

6. Deep thoughts.

Loneliness doesn’t stop when we are surrounded by people. It stops when we are seen for who we truly are.

5. Looks aren’t everything.

I dated a girl that made my life miserable for 2 years in college. 2 hour phone fights if I couldn’t come see her at the drop of a hat, feeling like a human fly swatter anytime we went to parties or anything.

Met a nerdy girl in a foreign language class with a pixie cut and glasses who helped me study for a test.

We played super smash on N64 and smoked weed and after studying and the rest is history. I eventually started wishing I was kicking it with her instead of walking around the mall with my GF so I dumped her and now pixie cut is my fiance and I have way more fun.

Compatibility over looks.

4. Don’t wait.

“When I’m older..” never comes. I’ll learn how to do that, when I’m older. I’ll go travelling, when I’m older. I’ll buy that thing, when I’m older.

Do it now. Don’t wait or else you’ll be saying, “I wish I did that when I was younger.” Trust me.

3. On The Simpsons.

I used to think Bart was the star. Now I know it’s Homer, and always has been.

In the first season or two the Simpsons really did focus heavily on Bart but the creators eventually saw that Homer had the most potential for entertainment value.

2. You can’t see the future.

I’ve been saving my money for early retirement but I’ve come to the conclusion that a trip in my mid 20s is not the same as early 30s and if kids enter the picture it changes again.

I mean mid 20s you stay in a cheap place, survive off of nothing walk around all day then drink half the night and do it all over. Now that I’m 30 I’ve mostly given up drinking doesn’t seem as fun as it used to be, my trips involve my SO and not my friends, when kids enter the picture that seems like I’m doing something for them.

I mean my career is definitely better off and my savings are great but it now looks like retirement money will come when I have kids less being able to be a fun bachelor.

1. Make your own big decisions.

I had two people in my life at different times that I trusted very much. One was nothing less than a mentor to me in my late teens/early twenties. The later one gave me bad advice that I’m dealing with years later and it’s annoying. But it was family, and he sounded like he knew what he was doing.

The “mentor” is someone I shouldn’t have listened to. I realize now there were so many things wrong with our relationship. I took bad advice. Terrible advice. And I fed their ego to boot. They fed off being my superior. And it pisses me off looking back on it.

I guess what I’m trying to say is: I wish I knew years ago that you, almost no matter what age, are the only one who should make big decisions for you. Advice is great. But holy shit. You’re the only one dealing with it for rest of your life. I should have believed in myself more, and trusted people less just because they were older and “cool.”

I’m going to spend some time considering this question myself and hoping I have some good answers.

How would you reply? I want to hear your responses in the comments!