1. Friends matter. Don’t move around without considering the value of the community you have already made.
2. Work is good. Get that first “bad job” and read the manager’s manuals. Figure out how your company operates. Suck even your low level retail job dry of information. Credit cards are mostly bad. Don’t borrow money except for a house or more education.
3. Don’t live for weekends, they are only 2/7 of the week. If your life is that bad, time for changes. Travel as much as you can in light of duty and sacrifice. (This is a great chance to go someplace and do hard labor for the poor with some friends.)
4. If you are bored, pretty much ever, there is something wrong. We live in the most fascinating culture of all time with almost unlimited chances and choices. Perhaps you are only living for self and not for a cause bigger than you are? I know, I know. It sounds Commencement-y, but you cannot be happy living only for self.
5. Time to stop playing (very much) with toys. Growing up means (partly) finding your pleasures not in bigger toys, but in a life well lived. Have kids (don’t wait past your twenties if you can) and play with toys again as a matter of duty!
6. Getting married is good, but being single is also good. Let the people in your life who know you well (parents, pastor, friends) speak into your life to let you know when you are “ready.”
7. You are an adult. You don’t have to prove it by disregarding every piece of advice older people give you. (Read the story of Rehoboam in the Bible.) Side line: do read the Bible daily. It is a good habit. Try reading a Bible like the King James version that will expand your vocabulary and sentence structure, not dumb itself down for you. Read a translation and not a paraphrase. The best modern version is the ESV.
8. My being “happy” is not worth making someone else miserable. Your forty-something self will have to live with the scars you place on your soul now.
9. Television? Media? Canned music? Try to get no more than an hour a day of the stuff. Read, read, read. (The difference between reading good stuff linked to on our home page or some other leader’s site and watching endless you-tube videos is one of the differences between shepherds and sheep.)
10. Go to church every Sunday (at the least) and participate. Join a small group there and discuss a great book. Church is a “free” way to find community, join a cause bigger than self, and find a moral system that you cannot just discard when it is convenient.
Join a church with many older people in it (as long as they have a lively faith). Look for a pastor who is at least thirty years older (not close to your age). This seems like strange advice, but most of us are too peer dependent and need to be with (and hear) the ideas of older and wiser folk. Avoid the church of “what’s happening now.” You can get that from television.
Find a place with a doctrinal statement with some teeth. If you don’t have to believe anything much to join, then there is nothing to argue about! Dialectical growth comes from pushing against hard and bright lines.