Sam Holstein

25 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Was 25

25 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Was 25

  1. Love songs are wonderful to listen to, but many of the people who write these beautiful songs are bad partners. They go through nasty divorces and bitter breakups. Feeling the way they do in love songs doesn’t mean your relationship is good for you.
  2. If you have a wave of strong feelings, you are not receiving a message from God or a vibe from the Universe. Nothing is communicating with you. Feelings are sensations generated by the body in response to external and internal environmental conditions, and that is all. Stop finding meaning in them that doesn’t exist.
  3. As a follow-on to the previous point, use your rational mind as your primary method for making decisions, not your emotions. Judge situations based on what the facts indicate, not based on how they make you feel. Learn to think rationally. Learn to spot cognitive biases. Learn when to disregard your emotions as unreliable.
  4. Life is far more unpredictable than you’ve been led to believe. Everyone’s plans for the future are little more than hopes. Work so hard your knees will buckle, but don’t get attached to any particular outcome. Even if the outcome is good, which isn’t guaranteed, it certainly won’t be in a form you expected.
  5. There is far less valuable knowledge in the world than the internet makes you think. Most of the advancements of most fields of science can be summarized in a few dense books. Block the endless deluge of pointless information in the modern world and focus on high-quality information only.
  6. Get a therapist the first time you have symptoms of mental health problems. You know in your heart there’s something wrong with you, even though everyone dismisses you and tells you you’re too young to know any better. By the time you’re old enough for anyone to take you seriously, you’ll have endured unspeakable suffering. Don’t wait that long.
  7. Rape, assault, drug addiction, violent crime, and other dangerous situations are not the fictions of faraway bad places. They are real and they are close. At any moment, you are only a few bad decisions away from them. You can easily accidentally destroy your life with one foolish indulgence. Make good decisions.
  8. You are not that smart. Also, you are painfully ignorant. Read a book.
  9. People are like natural phenomena. They will say what they want and do what they want and they will not take you into account. You can try to understand, and sometimes you will, but many times you won’t. You will feel at the mercy of those around you. You will be hurt. There are many things you could do to keep it from happening, but all of them are bad. Acceptance is better. People are good enough as they are right now, even when they’re hurting you.
  10. You are not living in the miserable “prologue” section on the Wikipedia page of your wildly successful future. You are just not doing well in life, period.
  11. Get comfortable with intense exercise. If you don’t, you’ll get old and tired alarmingly quickly.
  12. You can’t make new old friends. Take care of the friendships in your life. If something’s bothering you, don’t run away. Talk about it.
  13. Doctors have no idea what they’re talking about half the time, it’s true. But “alternative medicine” never does at all. Look for scientifically accepted treatments, not blogger mom ones. Again, read a book.
  14. Learn to love cooking. People who love cooking eat much healthier and cheaper over their lifespan.
  15. Silly health claims like “eat healthier over your lifespan” and “less fatigue” disguise some of the biggest gifts life can ever give you. Treat the health impacts of your choices with life-or-death seriousness.
  16. Being poor is not fun. It’s not terrible, but it’s far less fun than being rich. Get some money.
  17. You don’t need the top-end MacBook Pro. Or the newest iPhone. Or the newest iPad. Your Macbook Pro will last a lot longer than you expect. The amount of money you can save by not buying these things will pay for retirement. In general, strive to always buy the base model of expensive technology. You won’t ever need the extra memory.
  18. On a related note, always buy knockoffs when you can. Get those grocery-store checkout line knockoff AirPods. They will work just as well at a fraction of the price. (Invest the savings into retirement).
  19. Don’t make shopping a hobby. It’s an expensive hobby, and it teaches you to soothe emotional pain by spending money. One day you will need to soothe emotional pain and you won’t have any money to do it with. Then you’ll be hosed. It also teaches you to value meaningless things like “brands” and “fashion,” and you’ll use these meaningless things to make important decisions in your life, like who to love. You’ll make terrible decisions. Then you’ll really be hosed.
  20. Hiking is a great hobby. Walking is a time-consuming but incredibly effective exercise method. Walking can be done anywhere, anytime, but hiking is the most entertaining version of walking. Hiking is best enjoyed on warm summer days in state parks with several friends in tow.
  21. Your solopreneur growth is not unusually, painfully slow because there’s something more you need to know about business. It’s because there’s something emotionally holding you back. Put down the business book, pick up a self-help book, and get a therapist.
  22. Get good sleep. You already know this. Act on it.
  23. You have to let go of your dream that someone will love the pain away. You will destroy your life clinging to that fantasy. The feeling you get when someone loves the pain away temporarily is not love, it’s a high. I don’t know if I know what true love feels like, but it certainly doesn’t feel like that.
  24. Nothing is what you think it is. You are blind to the most important elements in every situation. Learn to ask yourself “What huge thing am I missing?” every time you feel you understand something. You will get stuck far less in life.
  25. Things don’t get better on their own. You have to make them better.