Somewhat recently on Quora, someone asked "What are the top 10 things that we should be informed about, in life?"
Justin Freeman, self-described as someone who is "great at stuff nobody pays for", gave an excellent response to this question. I know I'm only 26, but I like to think I've learned a few things in life. And those few things I have learned seem to align perfectly with these excerpts from Justin's response:
Realize that nobody cares, and if they do, you shouldn't care that they care. Got a new car? Nobody cares. You'll get some gawkers for a couple of weeks—they don't care … Three weeks in it'll be just another shiny blob among all the thousands of others crawling down the freeway and sitting in garages and driveways up and down your street … Got a new gewgaw? New wardrobe? Went to a swanky restaurant? Exotic vacation? Nobody cares. Don't base your happiness on people caring, because they won't. And if they do, they either want your stuff or hate you for it. (emphasis added)
A Select Few Will Actually Care
You will encounter a few people in your life who will defy the odds and break the general rule that "nobody cares". They won't care about your stuff, but they will care about you. As for the stuff you care about?
… if they value you, they'll value that you value it, and they'll listen. When you talk about all of those things that nobody else cares about, they will look into your eyes and consume your words, and in that moment you will know that every part of them is there with you.
I married one of these rule breakers, and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. But you don't have to marry them. You can befriend them, work with them, or spend time with them. No matter how much power you have, you cannot make other people sincerely care. So, as Freeman says, gather close the ones who do.
Money is Expensive
Money … it's difficult to get your hands on sometimes—and you never know when someone's going to pull the floorboards out from under you—so don't be stupid with it. Avoid debt on depreciating assets, and never incur debt in order to assuage your vanity. Debt has become normative, but don't blithely accept it as a rite of passage into adulthood—debt represents imbalance and, in some sense, often a resignation of control. Student loan debt isn't always unavoidable, but it isn't a given—my wife and I completed a combined ten years of college with zero debt between us. If you can't avoid it, though, make sure that your degree is an investment rather than a liability—I mourn a bit for all of the people going tens of thousands of dollars in debt in pursuit of vague liberal arts degrees with no idea of what they want out of life. If you're just dropping tuition dollars for lack of a better idea at the moment, just withdraw and go wander around Europe for a few weeks—I guarantee you'll spend less and learn more in the process. (emphasis added)
Personally, I spent two years wandering around in Mexico before college. I learned more about the meaning and purpose of life there than I ever did in four years of college.
Freeman makes some other good points worth reading. You can check out the post on Quora.