Twenty-four years — four years more than two decades, and I still haven’t gotten a hang of this thing called ‘life.’ I don’t know how to do my taxes and I don’t know how to buy a house. I don’t even know how to tie shoes the right way (hell yeah I still do bunny-ears!). #noshame
Tomorrow is my 25th birthday; I’m turning 25 on the 25th. And, (I know I’m looking waaay too much into this occurrence) I feel like the universe is trying to tell me something. Like this is the age when I’ll start to make big changes and really discover who I’m becoming.
I would imagine that most people have their own lists of self-defining experiences — and hopefully we all realized a thing or two (or 25) about ourselves along the way. I feel it’s important to reflect on the existential tribulations that come along with age. But also to celebrate how much we’ve grown.
There’s definitely things I don’t know about life, but I do know a few things and they have gotten me through life just fine. Well, almost just fine. However difficult life has been in the past, I’ve survived through my teens and early twenties, and I feel like I’ve learned some wisdom along the way.
1. I know that life doesn’t stop when bad things happen. Things screw up and change direction. Sometimes there’s nothing wrong in the outer world, but we still feel miserable and shattered because our that date, job interview or relationship didn’t work out the way your planned. When you decide to work for anything important or special in life, you will face challenges along the way. A major secret to success in life is to change your attitude to challenges. Rather than see them as annoyances or problems with the power to overwhelm you, embrace them as an opportunity to learn new skills and pick up memorable experiences. When you reach your goal, your victory will be even sweeter if you had to battle for what you wanted.
2. Don’t neglect your needs for the sake of others. If you’re really exhausted or just craving some alone time, it’s alright to turn down the occasional party invite or after-work drink. Curling up in bed with a good book, doing some tidying or going to the gym and indulging in a little “Law and Order: SVU” while you’re on the elliptical (not that I do that…) can all be as fulfilling as being social.
3. Our parents are actually pretty cool. Back in your teens, your probaly used to fight with your parents as much as I did (ohmygoodness, I often question how my parents still talk to me!). You can enjoy them in your 20s in a way that you couldn’t in your teens. Recognize that and choose to have fun with them instead of fighting with them. Respect that they are getting older just like you and cherish every moment you’ve got with them while they’re still here.
4. Love will make a fool out of you! Try your best to learn from your mistakes and move on.
5. We can’t love someone else unless we learn to love ourselves (thanks mom!).
6. I know people and relationships are in our lives for a reason. They’re either a lesson or a blessing. To have a friend, you have to be a friend. There are countless clichés about friendship, but I find them to be true. If you don’t make time for someone, they will stop putting in the effort. Conversely, if a friend lets texts and calls go unanswered without good reason, it’s probably time for you to move on.
Toxic people are those individuals who drain you, depress you, and bring you down. They tend to be negative rather than positive, and they deserve no place in your life. Whilst it may be tempting to try and help negative people or get sucked into their downbeat conversations, you need to put your own wellbeing first. If you have realized that certain people make you feel ‘low’ or unhappy, now is the time to gradually cut contact with them. Otherwise you will waste precious time trying to raise their spirits, and feel your own lowering in the process!
At the age of 25 you still have a long way to go in life but you have all the experience you need to start taking full responsibility for yourself. Remind yourself of the eight points above and get ready to lead a life that is healthy, happy and satisfying.
7. Foster your creativity. Most of us aren’t lucky enough to make our passions our day jobs, so it’s important to cultivate creativity elsewhere.
7. We can’t think our way into a better life. Change usually only occurs when we initiate it. If you’re not happy, it’s time to reevaluate. Even if a situation is comfortable, make sure it doesn’t become stagnant.
8. I know that basic manners speak volumes.
9. Worrying about something that might happen is a waste of energy. Turning 25 can be quite a scary thing for some of us. We sit there, only a few weeks before our big 2-5, thinking, Where have all the years gone?! Let me just say that it has gone by whether we like it or not. We can’t turn back time. So don’t worry, and be happy. Start loving and appreciating future moments because life is too short for unnecessary stress.
10. I know to trust my instincts (even though I don’t always follow them) because intuition rarely lies. And intuition is a powerful thing. Learn to listen and act. You can take advice from family, friends and other respected individuals, but nobody knows you better than you know yourself. Listen to the gut feeling you get — it may tell you that he’s “the one” or it may tell you to run like hell. Either way, always trust yourself because you’re usually right.
11. Lots of problems can be solved if we just talk openly about what’s bothering us.
12. Always have a side gig. Even if you have a job , you never known when you might be let go. It’s important to have something else going on behind the scenes. Your side gigs doesn’t have to pay the bills! But anything that helps to gain experience is a plus.
13. When someone is angry at us, there’s usually something else going on that has nothing to do with us.
14. I know that how someone acts is more important than how they look. People always say that confidence is a huge part of what makes someone attractive, but I only really started to believe it once I got in my 20’s.
15. Withholding your opinion solves nothing. Being considerate of others’ preferences and needs is obviously a good thing. But you have the right and responsibility to express yourself in any relationship — romantic or otherwise. It’s hard to stop being an “I’ll do whatever” sort of person, but once you start asserting yourself people will respect you more for it. #SorryNotSorry.
16. We can’t get where we want to be without looking at where we are now.
17. It’s alright to change our mind about big things. This includes your job, your city and your life partner. Now’s the time. Your life doesn’t have to look the way you imagined it would at 18. It turns out, things rarely work out exactly the way you once thought you wanted them to anyway — and that’s usually a very good thing.
18. If we want different, we have to be and actively work to become the very change we seek.
19. There is no need to conform to others’ opinions of what we should be doing. You don’t have to tolerate anyone’s constant fault-finding. Surround yourself with positive influences, not ones that will always leave you second guessing. You will make some unpopular decisions. These decisions may even cost you a few friendships. But know that people who really care will stand by you even if they think you’re temporarily being an idiot. Don’t let people pressure you into deciding what you want to do with your life.
20. I know that the fear of missing out is worse than actually missing out. It’s impossible to do everything, see everyone and be everywhere at once, so there’s no point in making yourself crazy over it. And once you throw the FOMO out the window and stop regretting the thing you’re not doing, you can enjoy the ones you are a whole lot more.
21. We don’t have to be friends with everybody. Not everyone is going to immediately like you and you’re not going to like everyone. Also, accept that not all of your friendships from high school are meant to stay as strong as they once were. Save you’re energy on the real thing. Those friendships are hard to come by and worth investing in.
22. Every decision we make, no matter how small, shapes who we become and how we feel about ourselves.
23. Health concerns are real, so address them now! Health is important. You should always take care of yourself, not just when the damage is done. Whether it’s pinched nerve in your neck, a poor exercise routine or anxiety issues, your mental and physical health will only get more complicated if you don’t take care yourself now. Join a gym, get a primary care physician and find a therapist ASAP! Last week, I had surgery for a lump in breast that I knew was there for at least a year. It was only benign, but was something that should have been dealt with as soon as I realized the lump was there. Seems only fitting I dealt with it a week before turning 25.
The journey of life hasn’t and never will be easy. I still make mistakes. I am absolutely positive that I’m making mistakes right now, and that I will continue to make mistakes in the future. But the important thing is how much worth I feel at the end of the day.
One thing I positively know for sure: You don’t turn 25 every day, so enjoy it while it lasts.
+What are some of the things you know for sure? Let me know in the comments below!