15 Brutal Truths about Life Everyone Learns in Their 20s

10 September 2021

You Learn Many Important Life Lessons in Your 20s. Here Are 15 of the Most Brutal Life Truths That You Learn.

Your 20s are so much fun. If you’re doing it right, you’ll be stepping out into financial independence, connecting with your social tribe and finding out what you are really good at, and what makes you tick.

But there are some crushing truth bombs that also land on you in your 20s, the type of thing you wish someone might have prepared you for in school. But here at Alux, we’ve got your back and together we can help make these truths slightly less brutal.

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Don’t be brutal on yourself by trying to read this boring article till the end. Switch out to the fun video version of this article:

Okay, so let’s rip it like a band aid, here are 15 Brutal Truths About Life Everyone Learns in their 20s.


Nothing Is Free

Yup, this one is probably the one we all start noticing as soon as you start paying for everything yourself. Everything costs money. Even the things you didn’t think about. Like a dish drying rack, or new car tyres, or a hook to hang a picture on your wall. Yup, there are no free tickets when it comes to living independently.

Thankfully a lot of these things you will keep for life, so accumulate quality items that you really like and you won’t have to replace.


Life Isn’t Fair

This one’s another doozy. Suddenly your moms not there to make sure everyone gets the same amount of M&M’s or that the chores are equally divided. You might be in a house share situation with total slobs, and a “beat em or join em” is going to mean you live in squalor.

Same goes for your “luck”, maybe it’s not fair you didn’t get the job, or your girlfriend moved towns and broke up with you, or that your car got towed. But saying “it’s not fair” doesn’t give you more control over the situation, it gives you less. If you’re older than 12, time to ditch that phrase for something more becoming of your age.


You Don’t Get a Prize for Participation

Showing up isn’t enough. All those participation prizes in school were a lie. The world doesn’t just give you a prize for showing up. Showing up with a great idea, a novel approach, a new skill, yes. But just rocking up and thinking the world will rain money and opportunities and prizes is a lie.

Sadly, in line with this, just getting a degree doesn’t guarantee you a job. It’s what you do with your degree, how you are able to sell your skill and prove that with that degree and your skills and personality you are a great addition to a team.


Doing Your Best Has Nothing to Do With Succeeding

Another dumb piece of advice kids get fed is “just do your best.” That is the worst idea ever, unless your best is A-aggregate worthy. Otherwise, you can do better.

And while your mom, and maybe even your teacher will tell you that you did a great job, success in the real world is based on much more than your best effort.

What does spell success? Well, first off, you need to do what is required. If your boss wants everyone to draw up a quarterly expense report and you paint a brilliant picture of an octopus, then your best is still wrong. Next up, once you know what the instruction is, you need to ace it. Complete the task on time, accurately and of the highest quality. Now you’re getting closer to the prize.

If you want to be successful, don’t forget to check out 10 Most Important CORE VALUES for SUCCESS.


Sitting on Your Butt in an Office Everyday Will Lead To Weight Gain

­Now that you have your first job and aren’t walking between classes every hour, playing varsity soccer and dancing until 2am twice a week, you’re going to notice you’re getting unfit. Add that to the sitting 8 hours a day in front of a computer in an office and you’re going to notice your jeans are a lot tighter.

The brutal truth is that you’re going to have to adjust your calorie consumption to suit your more sedentary activity levels. French fries eaten in your car in the work parking lot are a lot different to sharing a plate with 4 friends in the cafeteria. Don’t fool yourself, you didn’t eat and move the same when you were younger.


Maintaining Stuff Costs More than You Think

Scraping together the bucks to buy a new washing machine or a car is only the start of the costs. It’s a brutal truth when you realise just how much maintaining all these items costs. Servicing, fuel and electricity, having the right soap and replacing parts is all super expensive.

Maintaining your health and your social life also needs finances. Be sure you have enough money set aside to be able to join your friends on a holiday or get an Xray if you need one. You shouldn’t have to choose, both are important.

Give yourself a maintenance savings account so that these things don’t crush you.


Don’t Dwell On What Didn’t Work Out

Some things fail. Relationships, jobs, projects. Sometimes it’s your fault, sometimes it’s not. It’s hard to realise that there is often little success in mulling over your failures forever. Once you have identified what didn’t work that’s about all you can get out of the flaming wreckage. It’s time to learn and move on.

It wasn’t for you. Whatever the reason. Stop with the cycle of going back over in repeat and regroup yourself. Now move ahead.


You Don’t Actually Know SH*T

They say, “Hire a teenager, while they still know everything,” because when you hit your 20s it becomes crushingly apparent you don’t know everything. This is normal.

The truth is you only know what you know and it can be quite brutal to accept. So, eat a little humble pie and listen up.

Realising this young is a gift, it means you will have an openness to onboard new knowledge, and you have the advantage of many years ahead of you. The sooner you realise you know nothing, the longer you have to learn what you don’t know.

We believe life-long learners become the happiest, most successful people out there, and if you’d like to constantly learn and grow, learning how to learn is… pretty vital.

That’s why we created our new online course called, Learning Mastery where we’ll teach you how to grow your knowledge, stack unique skills and use them to thrive.

Learning Mastery  goes live this weekend at alux.com/courses.


You Often Have to Work through the Pain

Unlike your mom, your boss is less easy to con and get off your deadline responsibilities with a fake cold. And even if you do, your problem will be right there waiting for you when you return to work. In your 20s you suddenly have to work if you’re tired, sick or even sad.

Sure, some companies offer sick days, but that doesn’t mean that they encourage you taking them. It’s a brutal truth, but even if your partner breaks up with you, or your cat dies, you will be expected to report to work.


Things Don’t Always Go as Planned

You might have had your whole life planned out with great love and success, big bank accounts and bigger adventure, and by your mid 20s it might not all be shaping up. But that was probably a younger 18-year-old you, making these plans. Someone with no real-life experience or wisdom on how things work, or cost for that matter.

So, things don’t always go as planned -but that’s okay. Because your previous plans might need some adjusting as you go. And growing up is about learning to master things on the run.

The best way to succeed is to be willing to change and adjust your plans and goals as you gain knowledge and experience.


Leaving the Office Doesn’t Always Mean Leaving Work Behind

There are few jobs where you clock out at 5pm on Friday and not think about work again until Monday.

Emails are on our phones, time zones are international, and remote teamwork is around the clock. There will be calls you need to take, or a big client’s emergency that you will need to attend to. You might have to miss brunch or stay late a few nights or take a call at a bad time. And sometimes inspiration will strike in the middle of the night and keep you from sleep. That’s all part of building a career.

Which brings us to the next point:


There Is No Real Truth in Work-Life Balance

Like Sheryl Sandberg, the COO or Facebook explains: “there’s no such thing as work-life balance. There’s work, and there’s life, and there’s no balance.”

The balance is realising that when work is hectic, you will have to substitute some of your free time to make up the extra work hours. When work is slow, enjoy a rich home or social life. Riding the season that you find yourself in, is the best kind of balance you can hope for.  Don’t wait for your time to suddenly be perfectly divided and everything to stick to it’s time slot.


Drama Doesn’t End

Drama isn’t exclusive to the school playground. In your 20s you might realise that you’re experiencing the same childish dynamics you thought you left behind in your teens. The brutal truth is that drama is more a personality type than an age group.

But you now have the power to make choices that remove you from it or reduce it. You can distance yourself from people and situations that cause it. You don’t have to be at every family gathering if it is toxic, and you don’t have to sit through unhealthy conversations or spaces.

Basically, you can summarise this new mindset in our next points title:


Be True to Who You Are

Now that you have some living under your belt you probably realised that no one’s going to do a better job at living your life than you. Or as Steve Jobs put it: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” Your friends, parents or partner can’t actually influence how you live your life, even if you feel stuck in their expectations of you. Know that you have the freedom to walk out the door and into who you really are right now.

You probably don’t need to be that dramatic, but just knowing that can be the freedom you need to live your truth!


This Is Your Life Right Now

This life isn’t a test, a dress rehearsal or optional. This is the one you have been selected for, at this very time, at this very age and with all that is going on. Life is what you have right now, it’s doesn’t only begin when you reach your future goals.

There won’t be some big announcement when you can begin having fun, or when to take things seriously. You kind of just have to live your way through it and figure that out as you go. Don’t forget to live today.

And that Aluxers, is true gold in advice. Remember, subscribe for our amazing videos and hit that bell notification to get alerts instantly.


What was the most brutal truth you learnt in your 20s, or maybe learnt too late?