Life is full of success and failure. What defines the difference between the two is what you learn from each experience. If you haven’t learned the following life truths, by now, though, you probably haven’t been paying attention:

1. Nothing tastes better in the microwave.

Take the time to put it in the oven. On that note, stop buying things that are microwavable. If a food is made to be cooked in 90 seconds or less, it is most likely full of cheese, sodium and saturated fat, and therefore terrible for you.

2. If he likes you, you’ll know, if not, you’ll be confused.

This holds true for both men and women. If you think there’s something shady going on, there most likely is. Trust your gut. Healthy relationships are based on good communication, and this means telling the other person that you care about them.

3. Your parents are usually right.

You shouldn’t have gotten that piercing in middle school and you definitely should have paid more attention when your dad showed you how to change a tire. They’ve been there, they know. Giving advice takes a lot of energy, especially when, nine times out of ten, it falls on deaf ears.

4. Your parents are sometimes wrong.

It’s a terrible feeling to go to your parents and realize that they don’t have all the answers or, sometimes, the answer that you want to hear. Part of becoming an adult is making your own decisions because, in the end, you’re the one who will have to live out the results. Parents, by nature, want to keep you safe, and sometimes life requires us to take risks.

5. If you don’t exercise and eat healthy, you will get fat.

Unless you are a 16-year-old boy, you cannot eat 11 White Castle burgers and not pay for it later. The Center for Disease Control recommends that adults need 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week and muscle strengthening on two or more days a week that works all major muscle groups. Running to catch the express bus once in a while does not count.

6. Too much sun is bad for you.

To quote Mary Schmich via Baz Lurhmann, “Wear sunscreen.”

7. Credit card debt is real and won’t magically go away.

In the United States, the average household credit card debt as of January 2014 is $15,270 dollars. Educate yourself about your finances because it is only going to get harder as you get older to catch up. Bank of America and Khan Academy collaborated on these great, easy-to-understand videos to get you started.

8. Age is just the amount of years you have lived, not how many you have left, or what you choose to do with them.

Change careers. Start a new hobby. Move to a different country. You get one life, and who knows how long it will be. Age is only as important as you make it.

9. No one likes the drunk girl/guy.

When you can start to afford nice clothes, you don’t want your friends throwing up on them, and when you can no longer sleep until your 2 p.m. class, you don’t want drunk texts waking you up at midnight the night before work. Drink in moderation.

10. Fear is just an idea.

This is one of the hardest truths to learn. The only thing keeping you from achieving your goals, is fear: fear of rejection, fear of failing, fear of success, and fear of accountability. The great thing about ideas, though, is that they can be changed, improved, and even forgotten.

11. Tomorrow always comes, and the unfinished work of yesterday with it.

The daily struggles of existing can be stressful enough without adding the feelings of having to rush to finish something because you chose to procrastinate. Face your obstacles and tasks as they are presented to you and move on.

12. Less is always more.

Less packaging. Less words. Less Justin Bieber, please.

13. You don’t spend enough time with your grandparents.

If you’re fortunate enough to have grandparents still alive, finish reading this article and call them. They have knowledge and wisdom beyond anyone else in your life and you will miss them more than you know when they are gone.

14. Not everyone goes to college, gets a job, and gets married.

Some people get married and then go to college. Some people never get married. Some people will never get a “day job.” The path outlined for us when we are young is far less linear than we’d like to think. It’s way more messy and confusing, especially when you realize you might not want these things once they are presented to you.

15. Commitment is the way to success.

This relates to relationships, careers, and general life goals. Jeff Goins explains it well by stating, “Greatness has a cost: commitment.” Being able to be patient and remain focused when things become challenging are what separate those who get what they want from those who end up with regrets.

16. Change is the only constant.

By definition, in order to grow we must change. All we can do is prepare the best we can and then ride the wave we catch, or the one that catches us.

17. You are the only one that can make yourself happy.

There are plenty of people in your life who want to make you happy and will try, but in the end, they can only do so much. You may not be able to change your physical circumstances, your past experiences, or how terrible your sister-in-law treats you. Many times, you cannot control the emotions you feel either. You can, however, control your actions. Everything you do is a choice between at least two options: there’s great power in accepting that.

Featured photo credit: little kids/Chivali Chopra via Flickr

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