In “Young Adult,” Diablo Cody’s new film opening Dec. 16, Charlize Theron plays Mavis, a divorced novelist who returns to her home in small-town Minnesota determined to rekindle a romance with her high school boyfriend. Mavis may have gotten older, but she hasn’t exactly grown up or figured out how to let go of the past.
Luckily, we have! In addition to the lessons we’ve learned about love and friendship since we were tossing our caps in the air at 18, we’ve also gleaned some pearls of wisdom about life in general. Check out the seven things we’ve learned about life since high school after the jump!
1. You’ll have to kiss a lot of frogs — career-wise. Just like in love, it can take awhile to find your prince of a job. Having a crappy work situation at 19, 22, or even 32 is nothing to freak out about. You may do lots of stuff before you decide what you really want to do with your life. It can take awhile to find your stride.
2. Speaking of which, nobody knows what they’re doing. The people who seem to have their lives figured out at high school graduation are actually often the most clueless. Some of our classmates who took off for Ivy Leagues and declared a major in their first semester ended up dropping out by sophomore year. We took our time and look at the raging bastions of success and happiness we are now!
3. Workplace decorum can be catty and juvenile. Some people behave in the workplace a lot like they do in high school: power struggles, bullying, self-centeredness. The good news is that most people you work with will have matured.
4. Money complicates everything. Having it, not having it, saving it, spending it — it’s not as simple as it looks once you have it or need it. Luckily, happiness comes from your experiences, not your things.
5. You can’t change your family. You will save heaps of mental anguish if you stop getting hysterically upset at family members who do stupid things. Just accept the fact that people you care about will do stupid things and you are (mostly) powerless to stop them.
6. But you can You can create your own family if you decide yours sucks. Whether you get married, have kids, or develop a group of friends who feel as close as blood, your idea of family has the ability to grow the older you get.
7. Life goes in cycles. Everything that happens in your family dynamic (most likely with your parents) will be repeated throughout the rest of your life in your relationships with other people. So the stuff you do? And the reason you do it? No, you’re not crazy. You just need to examine and possibly unlearn the stuff you picked up.