There are some lessons that other people can teach you, but most of the big ones are things that no one really gets until they experience them firsthand. It’s sad, but true, because things would be easier if we could avoid all of the heartache that usually comes part and parcel!

If you’re interested in trying to learn vicariously through others, though, these 20 adults are sharing the biggest and hardest lessons they’ve learned on their own.

20. That’s just people.

And to add to this, even if you’re always trustworthy and do your best to stay out of trouble, people won’t trust you and will be irate with you over something that accidentally happens even if you 100% try for it not to happen.

Expanding on that. It’s ok that some people don’t like you. It’s totally fine, you don’t need to worry about it.

19. There are no guarantees.

That life’s not fair, you could be struck with injury or disease or death at any time.

Try and enjoy what time you have.

None of us are guaranteed 90 years or even 70 years or 50.

Live while you’re alive, we’re not guaranteed an afterlife either.

18. It really can be that simple.

A bit of discipline, and courage can help you overcome most things.

You can learn both discipline and courage. It’s not easy, but both are learnable.

For discipline, start by making a schedule and force yourself to at least show up to whatever activity every time you’re scheduled. Weightlifting worked wonders for me on discipline.

For courage, start to flirt with the edge of your comfort zone as frequently as you can (Within reason, of course. Don’t start out by base jumping with no training or something).

17. Go out and get it.

Another one: if you want meaning in your life you have to make it.

Everything does happen for a reason, there is a cause and effect but you make it and you will suffer the consequences or reap the rewards.

Finally, you are not in control of everything that happens in your life but you are in control of enough things that can make the difference.

16. You can’t expect it to be otherwise.

Life is unfair. You might be the most hard-working, smart, nicest, kindest, friendliest, thoughtful, healthiest, wisest, down-to-earth person and you still might not be successful and fail at achieving your goals or even having what is considered by many a normal life.

On the other hand you could meet someone who is the opposite, a terrible person, dumb, lazy, creepy, etc. who happens to somehow be incredibly successful for whatever reason.

15. Don’t overthink it.

The more I talk, the more I think I make myself look bad, but in reality, I’m overthinking everything I say or do to make the other person comfortable.

I always say that I am just a weird person to whoever I talk to, but they always say that I ain’t weird…

Basically, pls don’t overthink too much, or you will end up making mistakes that weren’t there in the first place.

14. Take care of you.

You have to be the one looking out for you. This doesn’t mean don’t look out for other, this doesn’t mean others never look out for you.

Your parents.

Your boss.

Your neighbors.

Your friends.

Your realtors.

All of these people can and will fail you in life, because all people fail at something at some point. You have to look out for you, and you have to do what’s best for you.

13. Be yourself.

Just embrace your quirks and don’t think you need to explain yourself or apologize for doing or saying something weird.

If you might have said something insensitive though, own up to it.

12. People are puzzles.

People tend to stay within a standard deviation of the example set for them.

Used to have neighbors very similar to my family. Couple with an infant, early 30s.

One night hanging out the husband told be about what a POS his dad was. Basically abandoned him and his mother. They were homeless for a month or two.

Meanwhile, his wife had confided in mine that he doesn’t really do much of the parenting “work” (diaper changes, bath time, bedtime, etc) but it otherwise a great dad. Always present and playful. Anyone could tell he clearly loved his kid, but he was missing the mark on that aspect of parenthood.

Apparently this was a big sticking point in their marriage.

It clicked for me that, given the example he had, he’s killing it as a dad. He’s way way beyond what his dad gave to his family, so to hear he’s not doing good enough obviously is incredibly hurtful.

This realization provided a very useful lens that I used to look at my complicated relationship with my dad, and it put many puzzle pieces into some kind of order.

Brought quite a bit of peace to me, and gave me a deeper understanding of what effects my examples will have on my son.

11. Also, love yourself.

Hardly anyone is gonna care about you or anything you do unless it affects them directly. Its up to you to care about yourself.

This goes hand in hand with:

Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.

— Maya Angelou

10. Don’t wait too long.

Nothing is ever guaranteed. I’d been in love with this girl and her in love with me since high school. Both of us knew, but it had never worked out, the timing had just been off every time, we’d always find ourselves at different stages in life and they never quite seemed to match up.

Through an odd set of circumstances I’d moved across the country to where she was, as she’d moved to the other coast about a year before. I was ecstatic when she’d contacted me, she was only about a state away. We made plans to meet up, get drinks, get an Airbnb. It was finally time. And then nothing, no text back, no call, no letter or email or cute twitter DM. Just nothing.

Until I saw all the “I miss you so much” “don’t let this be real” “come back to us” type posts on her social media. She had died in a car accident just a few weeks before it was finally going to happen. Before we were finally going to happen. The last, final twist. It sucked. And it’s been hard to get over.

9. Too many people struggle with this one still.

No is a full sentence.

8. This is the best rule to keep.

If it takes 5 minutes or less just do it.

do your homework now otherwise, you will forget it

7. Watch your own back.

Work is not your family.

And never trust your boss.

Never trust your bosses’ best friend at work either. Deadly.

6. I don’t know about “most.”

Most people are quite bad at being reliable and are happy to slack off and leave their responsibilities for you.

Most people are selfish when push comes to shove and most people don’t care about you as much as they say they do

5. Different strokes.

Some people have other goals and values in life than you and that’s ok. Just cause someone hates school doesn’t make them an idiot.

You may be the nicest, most well-intentioned person – but not everyone will like you or make any effort to get to know you.

4. There are many factors, many of which you can’t control.

Working hard doesn’t equal success. If hard work was all that was required, there would be a lot more millionaires.

Being a millionaire isn’t necessarily a good measure of success either. Although I wouldn’t say no to being a millionaire.

3. It’s sad, but true.

Some people are so ignorant that they’ll think you’re a dick for being too nice.

In some cases (definitely not all), I’ve seen people reacting this way to kindness due to having been previously manipulated by it, or raised with a certain world view that no one is truly altruistic (and hence will eventually want something in return).

It can be really sad to see. In some ways it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy because of the way they react to it.

2. Don’t go into it blindly.

Marriage is a legal contract and it’s much more expensive to undo that to say I do.

1. Bad things happen.

I’d like to add, that it also doesn’t mean that you will get or achieve everything you set out to get.

Sometimes life is just cruel and unfair. Bad things happen to everyone – good and Bad people.

Time is quite the teacher, isn’t it?

What would you add to this list? Tell us in the comments!