As we reach adulthood, we see the future with great hope and expectancy; and we see little of its demands for suffering and sacrifice. Youth has its cushion of optimism. The following quote by Charlotte Bronte, describes how reality makes itself known. I had to read this over a few times to really appreciate her insights but I think it's right on target; and I love her last line.
"At that time -- at eighteen-- drawing near the confines of illusive, void dreams, Elf-land lies behind us and the shores of Reality rise in front. These shores are yet distant: they look so blue, soft, gentle, we long to reach them. In sunshine we see a greenness beneath the azure, as of spring meadows; we catch glimpses of silver lines, and imagine the roll of living waters. Could we but reach this land, we think to hunger and thirst no more: whereas many a wilderness, and often the flood of Death is to be crossed before true bliss can be tasted. Every joy that life gives must be earned before it is secured; and how hardly earned, those only know who have wrestled for great prizes. The heart's blood must gem with red beads the brow of the combatant, before the wreath of victory rustles over it."