Here's a way that I am different from when I was younger: I appreciate that there are a variety of paths to happiness, not just the one I had my heart set on.
After a record five lit mag rejections in one week (there could still be more! It's only Thursday!) I have decided to pursue some other avenues. I submitted two demand articles ($7.50 an hour isn't nothing) and applied for a fiction reviewer gig at another online mag. Fingers crossed. I also played around with an idea for another funny piece. Not sure yet where it will end up, but it's percolating.
When I was younger -- like up until last year -- I would decide what success needed to look like and all else would fall away. For example, plowing through an art degree even though I never could picture myself as a working artist. It was because "going to art school" was the only way to succeed, then.
This year, I opened my possibilities to going for an MA, and was happy all season. (But man, I'm so glad I got into the MFA!!) it's not about settling--which is what I always used to think--but being more flexible about outcomes, defining the goal rather than the path to it.
Ways I am still the same: painfully socially awkward at times; poor filters; care too much about being "liked" for my own good; wildly reactive and overly reactive; &c. I also pick up concepts faster than details; I have to DO to learn; my body is much stronger than I give it credit for. I try to compensate for my coldness and lack of sentimentality with as much consideration and generosity as I can think of. My role as outsider serves me more effectively as a writer than it does as a person.