Millennials and Gen Z are the first two generations to have lived entirely online. They are ‘digital natives’: the Internet has been a constant presence in their lives, and the way they use technology is different and more advanced than previous generations.
It should come at no surprise then that these generations also look to the Internet for life advice. But sometimes the Buzzfeeds and Teen Vogues of the world don’t cut it. Nothing beats lived experience, and so it’s common for young professionals to take to forums like Reddit’s /r/AskReddit to share personal perspectives and ask for advice from average people just like themselves.
A recent thread on /r/AskReddit was shared by the Reddit Instagram account itself as a perfect example of the wholesome potential for social media. A young ‘Redditor’ put the call out to older Redditors for their most valuable life advice, and got brutally honest but incredible wisdom in response.
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Some key themes emerged from responses in the thread – let’s dive deeper.
You Need To Work Hard In Your Relationships
“Maintain your friendships,” one wise commenter advises.
“In twenty years you will be so grateful for those people who saw you through marriages, children, illness and health. People who will go for a trip with you, love your kids, remember you as a young person. Friends are essential but they require work. Don’t be alone just because you don’t want to be the person who reaches out to others.”
“Align expectations to reality and appreciate those who love you for who they are. Or find new people,” another shared.
Yet another pearl: “You will have to deal with people. Learn how to leave them happy to have been in your presence, and you will not lack for friends and loved ones.”
The most heartwarming piece of advice?
“Don’t fall for the trap that your life needs to be one long narrative that you should be building. Life is best when it’s a bunch of happy moments that just happen to be connected. Don’t try to make your life into a novel, make it a book of poems.”
Avoid Toxic People
Another key theme was how you need to stay away from toxicity.
“You cannot change someone. Whether a friend or a partner, their faults will not “get better” and you cannot rescue them. Don’t waste your life on toxic people.”
“It is okay to not like someone,” another says.
“It is also okay to have someone not like you (people are going to not like you for no reason. That is okay. It’s a ‘them’ issue and not a ‘you’ issue). Don’t be an ass to everyone and give them reason to dislike you, but also know that you are under no obligation to put up with someone else’s bad friendship.”
It got pretty harsh at times:
“Just because someone is a blood relative, it doesn’t mean they’re worth a sh*t. If your parent, sibling, or child is a complete asshole unworthy of your attention, don’t waste further time on them.”
“You’re only young once,” many commenters related.
“Relax, enjoy the ride, work to your goals but remember none of it matters if you can’t enjoy it along the way,” said another.
A superficially hilarious but genuinely sage piece of advice was to “use up all of your vacation / sick time at work”.
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A 2016 report by The Australia Institute found that almost 40% of Australian workers did not fully utilise the paid holiday leave to which they were entitled in 2015: about 48 million unutilised holiday days, worth about $11.1 billion.
While ‘chucking a sickie’ is a time-honoured Australian institution, the stats suggest that we don’t take nearly enough advantage of our time off. (That said, the report found that a third of working Australians aren’t entitled to annual leave, which is another issue entirely…)
The point of the advice is not to take advantage of your employers, but more about enjoying life instead of just grinding away at work. All work and no play makes you a dull boy, don’t you know.
“Don’t stop doing the things you love… there is no reason to become a miserable old bastard!”