Remember when you were a wide-eyed little kid and the thought of turning 25 seemed far far away? Then your teenage years rollaround, out of nowhere you hit the 20+ club, and suddenly 25 is staring you down?
Yep! That’s the perch I’m sitting on!
Last Saturday I turned 25, and while I had my fair share of pre-birthday cries: how I was going to have a quarter-life crisis and how I was getting old too fast…things suddenly shifted. The realization hit me like a trending tik-tok video; how as I lamented those digits, I became more thankful, more grateful at how blessed I am to be here and functioning when so many aren’t.
For sure, I’ve learned a lot of things during my quarter so don’t mind me if I’m feelin’ a lil’ bit reflective. What stands out the most? Well for starters, all of my experiences (both the pleasant and not so pleasant) have played a part in shaping who I am and who I can become.
So here’s to 25 Things I’ve Learned By 25. It might inspire you, it might make you chuckle, but I really hope you’ll resonate with at least one thing on my list and be inspired to write your own!
- Record your life
I cannot tell you how many times I trip over an old photo or note that reminds me of something from my past I’d completely forgotten. From photos, vcr tapes (or, as my mom would call them—blackmail on a film), journals, cards, you name it! Aim to have something you can look back on later and smile about.
- Use your voice
We need to ask for what we want, express our expectations and set boundaries! It doesn’t mean you’re being mean, instead it’s actually about communication. Do it for yourself…and do it for others who may need a little nudge in the help category. I call it giving a voice to the voiceless!
- Think about what kind of college you’d like to attend — and be open to the kind of college you can happily or at least comfortably afford
If you choose to go, and I truly encourage all (if you can) to try and take a class or two. There are so many amazing ways to go about furthering your education and or skills. Think community college, on-line certifications, apprenticeships, and more. But while education on any level is amazing, so is a lack of debt when you get that diploma. So plan your work and work your plan!
- Be confident about what interests you
Whatever makes you happy — Oxford commas, Nickelback, practicing make-up tutorials, classical music, twerking, studying Old English — pursue it, love it, enjoy it, share it. In other words, don’t waste too much energy on people who may try to convince you that what you love isn’t cool. Who does that?
- Take time to daydream and bask in solitude
You’re about to face new challenges and stressors (sometimes it will be on a regular basis). As a matter of fact,things might get more chaotic or complicated so take time now to give your mind, body and soul a rest. Think of making mental restfulness a daily habit.
- People are in our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime
Sometimes it’s hard to realize, at first, which category someone in your life falls in — and that my dear friends can lead to some tough moments. But if you can shift your understanding to one of acceptance of the reason for a season mantra, you’ll see that every relationship teaches you something important and once you can embrace that moment the sooner your spirit will thank you.
- Extend kindness
It’s so easy to extend small or kind gestures every day. Choose to be consciously kind to the people around you.
- Time is the most valuable thing we have
Say this with me “My time is not renewable, and it deserves respect.” Once I avoided wasting time on stuff or situations that really don’t really matter in the scheme of things or move the needle toward bringing me joy, life got a little easier.
- You don’t need to wait on people to start doing things
Seriously. If you find yourself constantly saying to yourself, “I would do ‘x’ but my friend/cousin/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend/co-worker doesn’t want to,” please rethink that thought. I mean, what if they can’t or don’t want to be your ride-or-die at an event or outing? Go anyway.
Yes, the experience might be more fun with people you know (although I’m not completely convinced that’s always true ), but having an experience on your own can be pretty gratifying and better than not having it at all.
- Adulting doesn’t have to be boring
There’s retreats, fairs, road trips, theme parties, charity runs, zip-lining, wine tasting, snow-tubing, site seeing, music festivals, just oodles and oodles of things to experience. Find what floats your boat and take advantage of any opportunity to explore it. Besides, who says fun is only for kids?
- Don’t stress about the little things
That thing you’re stressing about today, is it something that will be relevant in a few days, a week, a month, or even a year from now? Worry when you need to worry, and until then…bring it down a notch.
- Someone else’s success doesn’t diminish yours
We really need to stick together, lift each other up, and be happy for other people’s happiness. Big or small— a win’s a win!
- The best moments often happen without a plan
The best moments, heck the best nights are often the ones that came together at the last minute, without any plan or expectation. Embrace more of those and watch your carefree meter soar to a happy place.
- Plenty of us still don’t have a clue what we’re doing
Ever feel like you have no idea what the heck you’re doing? Or, worse yet, why does it feel like nearly everyone else has their stuff together? Truth is nobody truly has their stuff together all the time. And to be honest, keeping up with things like that can send you down a path of no good. If you don’t have a clue, the only thing you owe to yourself is to stop, pause, reflect, and try to find what lights your soul on fire. It might take more time, and changing paths but you can’t be afraid to take risks.
- Surround yourself with positive people
You’ve heard it a million times but life…well it really is short. When you start to look at it through that lens, you may find yourself getting pickier about how and who you spend your time with. Make it count.
- Animals are the best…especially dogs
We don’t deserve them, but oh do we love them! I mean, who wouldn’t want a bouncy little fluff ball prancing around at the mere sight of you? Even, if only as a volunteer, pet sitter, or park watcher consider spending a little time with or near a furry friend. Their unconditional love is joyously contagious.
- Don’t doubt your greatness
If I had a dollar for everything I doubted I could pull off, I could’ve retired on my 25th as a real estate mogul with condos from here to the moon. Seriously though, I’m still learning to embrace the thought of being enough and so far, the rewards are worth me never forgetting it.
- I will not change my core no matter how many daggers come my way
There’ll always be people in the world who get up in the morning ready to breed trouble (as in ruin your day). My initial reaction to these downer folk is that scene from Mean Girls where Cady tackles Gretchen.
But fear not, better angels prevail because I picture that scene, let it go and move on.-You can’t take back actions or mean-spirited words, so be the bigger person and flaunt that restraint.
- Stay on top of your health
Not only is it important to get those workouts in (don’t penalize yourself for skipping a routine, affirm yourself for trying) it’s equally important to pencil in those check-ups: yearly physicals, dental visits, mammograms, pap smears, vision testing or any change that seems out of the ordinary. And by all means don’t neglect mental wellness too. A healthy life depends on you making them all a priority.
- Our hardest times often have the most to teach us
Why must we keep getting lessons even after we finish school? It’s because life is the ultimate lesson plan that keeps giving especially if you open yourself to noticing the teachable moments. Not sure you know how to spot one? Try to keep a journal, snap pictures, get more reflective…you’ll start to see some really cool things.
- Sometimes all you need for a better mood is a good night’s sleep.
Change up your nighttime routine. Relax before bed. Get some real rest. You’ll be surprised how much more pleasant your days are when you get enough sleep.
- “No” is a complete sentence
I’ve always struggled with creating lame excuses for why I didn’t want to do things. But during my junior/senior year of college, I started to realize that I don’t actually need excuses…“no” works just fine.
- Families aren’t perfect
Despite television’s portrayal of picture perfect families, they’re far more rare than you might think. Perfect example is that ole’ saying ‘blood is thicker than water’. Well, hate to break it to you but it’s not always true (the actual saying is ‘blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb’.
Huh? Was my first reaction to learning I’d been wrong about that idiom for a good 25 years! It translates to the thought that ‘kin’ or friend connections can be stronger than ones of your blood family. I say, there’s room for both. But if you feel closer to your friends than your relatives, don’t feel guilty. At the end of the day, that life is short thing starts to sink in and your happiness truly does matter.
- Don’t lose your hobbies to the hustle
These days, everything is on an endless loop of busy! When you’re not working your main job, you’re grinding your ‘side hustle’. As a result, we can feel like our switch is constantly on.
Take a moment and think over some of the hobbies you use to do that somehow seemed to have disappeared from your routine. Now’s the time to rekindle the good feelings they brought or even explore some new ones!
- Love yourself
At the end of the day, the love you give yourself not only feeds your soul but also reflects back on other people. So, never forget you have so much to offer this person called you! Be kind to her, flaws and all.
Ready for some more reflections? Check out the rest of my adulting and lifestyle posts:
- Breaking Up With Friends
- Thoughts and Unrest
- The Ambivert Struggle
- Changes and Control
- Be a Great Date… For Yourself