Whether you want to admit it or not, you at one point felt like you were someone special. Even when you knew what the rules of the world to some degree, there was part of you that felt like they didn't actually apply to you. As you get a little older you realize that, this isn't actually the case. That blind optimism fades away, and you're what you're left with is a much more realistic and practical view of the world.
Imagine you're walking a street that's covered with dog shit: Would you rather pretend that dog shit doesn't exist and ruin your shoes or would you rather acknowledge that it's there and step around it. You may think that you're happier in life thinking that all the bad stuff out there doesn't apply to you, but the truth is you're just setting yourself up to be blindsided. Learning to acknowledge how terrible everything is might seem like it will make your life sadder, but in reality it just helps you navigate all the shit in the world.
I will occasionally check the iTunes charts just to see what the kids are listening to and I every time I do, I might as well have been looking hieroglyphics. I have no idea what's going on anymore. Rock sounds like folk, pop sounds like screeching, and rap sounds like what would happen if the world was overrun by failed clones of Lil Wayne. At a certain point, I just had to accept that I'm out of the loop when it comes to pop culture, and you know what? I've never been happier.
When I was younger, I always told myself that I'd always keep my finger on the button of what's happening. Now that I've taken my finger off said button, I've realized that I've spent more time focusing on stuff that I actually like. When you're younger, the stuff you like is driven by the subconscious desire to show the world what kind of person you are. When you stop keeping track where things fit into the grander scheme of pop culture, you stop trying base what you like on what it says about you. You start basing your opinions on what you ACTUALLY like, and you become a lot happier for it.
Last friday night, I ordered Chinese food, watched a little TV, then passed out at 10 pm with the aid of some Sleepy Time tea. Two years ago, if I had done this, I would have felt like an utter failure. Sure, there would have been times when I would have been in the mood for a night in on a Friday, but I'd always force myself to do shit anyway because that's what I was supposed to.
At a certain point I just accepted that I sometimes don't have the energy do things, and I was a lot better off for it. Accepting that I can only do a certain amount of things had forced me to make better choices with how I spend my time. Going out is more fun because it's not this obligation I have to prove to myself that I'm making the most of my life. Staying in is more fun because I know that it's a decision that I've made, not a failure to live my life to the fullest. I do the stuff that I want now because honestly that's all I'm capable of anymore.
Have you ever looked at a bunch of kindergarteners and thought "Wow, I can't believe I was ever that young." Well the truth is, that 10 years from now, you're probably going to look back at your current self with a similar sentiment. Humans are always dumb, and the dumbest thing we do is act like we have any idea what the fuck we're talking about.
Though odds are you'll never not be an idiot, you will learn to accept that you don't know it all, and when you do, it's actually quite freeing. Not only is there less pressure on yourself to try and have an answer for everything in the world, but you also stop trying to create answers that are objectively wrong. 10 years from now, you're still gonna wonder how you were ever so dumb, but you won't cringe with regret as much as you used to.
Yeah, it's depressing, but death is a part of life. No matter how old you are, you're always travelling toward the same end point, and that's a nice long dirt nap. When you're younger, you can ignore death because it's so far away that you don't think it applies to you. As you get older though, your mortality becomes less avoidable, and as morbid as it sounds, that's actually a really good thing.
Death is actually a great motivator. Knowing where you're going allows you to figure out how you want to get there. When you start to realize that your time is limited, you start to appreciate how precious the time that you still have is. You make smarter choices and learn how to prioritize better. Obviously, you shouldn't dwell on your own mortality, but when you get to an age where you accept that it exists, you start to learn how to live better.