I think young people are self-centered because they're too far from the end of their lives to look forward. They have no perspective. Their reality is immediate, and we can't fault them for that.
It's like jogging down a straight path with no landmarks and no end in sight. All you can do is concentrate on pounding the pavement step by step, until you see a signpost or a bend in the road up ahead. Then you've got a point of reference. "When I reach that sign, I'll turn back/veer right/speed up/slow down." When you've got some perspective, you can see the bigger picture, gain a sense of where things end up, if not where they end. I think this is why 12-year-old cancer patients manage to publish bestselling novels before they die. Age and wisdom are totally unrelated.
Here are some things I learned in my twenties:
Poverty (I'm talking studio apartment and Old Navy tees, not crackhouse and ramen noodles) is not a deal breaker.
Cheapness, however, is like rat poison for romance.
Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger. But it can also make you hard.
People treat you differently when you're thin.
Losing weight doesn't make you happy, it makes you suspicious: of all the friends and family who show you more love than they used to; and of all the strangers who show you more kindness than a stranger should.
A married man can only give you, at best, 50% of his attention. That makes him, at best, half a man.
Even beautiful people who have all their shit together feel fat, ugly and crazy sometimes.
Denial is one of the most powerful forces in the universe.
It's great to have friends you can lean on, but your own strength is like the backup battery in your alarm clock -- nobody can take it from you (it's part of the machinery) and you're never sure it works until you lose power.