Since I recently turned 30, this is a particularly timely question for me!
Here are the myths I’ve let go of over the last 10 years:
1. Being in a happy relationship means that you will never again feel_______(insert depressed, lonely, scared, insecure, etc).
As an awkward girl who spent most of high school and college dateless, I often thought that being in a relationship would somehow “solve” all my problems. Thinking that being in a relationship will instantly solve your problems is a pipe dream. A happy, loving relationship is one life’s greatest joys, but it can’t solve the things you don’t like about yourself. You have to do that, with work.
2. Being good at school means you’ll be good at work. Achieving academically by no means guarantees workplace success. I’ve had to swallow a big humility pill as I watch former fellow students who struggled through classes I breezed through now massively outpace me in career achievement. Being a great student does not mean you’ll be great in the workplace. And that’s OK.
3. Physical fitness doesn’t matter, being thin matters. Being skinny does not matter. Being physically fit really, really matters. Eat lots of healthful food and get tons of exercise. Ignore the scale.
4. Everyone has to like you. Inevitably, someone will always dislike you. I wish I had figured this out a lot earlier and stopped trying so hard and worrying so much about it. I could have used all that time and put it to doing something far more fun and interesting, like learning a new language or playing the piano. Heck, watching Project Runway reruns would have been a better use of time.
5. Quit something when you fail. Just because you fail at something does not mean you should quit, especially if it gives you joy or stretches you mentally. Everyone fails. Keep trying.
6. Getting rejected is the worst thing that can happen. It really isn’t. In fact, it can be a really good thing. Whether it was getting dumped or getting fired from a job, looking back I can honestly say that rejection taught me far more and had long-lasting positive benefits beyond whatever successes I’ve had. Getting fired from my first office job made me realize that no one in the working world cared about my kickass 100 page honors thesis on Jonathan Franzen and that I better learn some real workplace skills, fast. Getting fired and waking up the next day as usual made me realize that failure isn’t the end of the world. Getting dumped taught me the difference between a good and a bad relationship, something I already knew inside but refused to accept until the bad relationship was over. Getting dumped made me a better person for the amazing man I get to be married to today. When rejection teaches you something new and positive, then that’s actually a pretty great thing.
7. Talking is more powerful than listening. I’m a lot quieter and more introverted these days and happier being so. Not all silence needs to be filled.
This question originally appeared on Quora: What myths do we most commonly realize are false in our 20s? More questions:
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