I don’t feel I’m old enough to start making wise pronouncements, but I can summarize what I’ve learned so far, presented in the most starkly drab Midwestern prose I can muster.
Life is uncertain, but fortune favors the persistent. The world is chaos, and it will knock you down again and again. The people who prosper in the end are not the most talented, or the strongest, or smartest, but rather the most stubborn. Stubbornly refusing to quit is a shockingly effective life strategy.
Each of us enjoys some advantages by accident of birth. For those to whom advantages fall, do not neglect to develop character — it will be that much harder to prove to yourself that you’re worth a damn. For those without advantages, never betray yourself by coveting the advantages of another don’t place others on a pedestal, as you may enjoy an advantage they don’t. Fortune is random. Don’t take life personally.
Rich or poor, good or bad, we all end up in the ground eventually. We are not guaranteed to make it to retirement. We are not guaranteed even one more day of life. Everything is urgent.
People come and go. You likely have far fewer friends than you think. When the shit hits the fan, you’ll find out who they are. Try to develop friendships with people you admire. Mutual respect is the only foundation for friendship.
You’re always the warden of your own prison.