1. You know how they say that family are the people where, if you go there, they have to take you in? Yah, sure, okay, but also: family are the people who don't wait until they have to take you in.
2. The people who love you, don't love you because they think you're perfect. Anything you do that's based on keeping the people who love you from finding out that you're imperfect is probably a pretty shaky idea.
3. Showing up and giving a damn isn't enough for everything, but it's a good start. And it's enough for an astonishing number of things.
4. Meaning well is all very well, but meaning well and doing a little research is even better.
5. If you are more than two years out of high school, the people you went to high school with do not exist. They have been replaced by 20-year-olds (30-year-olds, 40-year-olds, 70-year-olds...) with very different lives from what they had in high school. You can stay friends with them as you both change, or you can make friends with them again later, if you want to. You can be cold or cordial to the people they've become. But "showing them" is not going to work, because the "them" who are to be "shown" there does not exist any more. You may as well wish to prove yourself in the eyes of the unicorns.
6. Anything you do -- anything -- can be cast in a negative light if someone really wants to. That "someone" includes yourself. Don't be ashamed of the people, places, or things you like because someone might sneer at them. Someone sneers at everything. If you take a large enough sampling of people, you will find jerks. But they aren't your life -- you can't let them be -- and you certainly shouldn't strive to do their work for them.
That's not all I've learned, but it's a start.