Well… it finally happened. About two weeks ago, a quarter of a century crept up on me before I even knew it. I feel like people have been warning me for months about what happens when you turn twenty-five (not that I could do anything to avoid it). It was honestly kind of scary and I mean I wasn’t exactly jazzed to be in my mid-20s. But, as the day came and went, I didn’t feel much different. Not that I was expecting a cosmic shift, but I was definitely expecting something.
I’ve done some soul-searching this last year and I can’t help but be thankful and grateful for all of the many things that I’ve learned. Even though learning some of them wasn’t the most fun. So, in reflection of the past two and a half decades, here’s a few lessons learned.
1. You are more powerful than you could have ever imagined. Don’t let anyone else tell you or treat you otherwise.
2. Every single person in different, so don’t dull someone else’s shine because it doesn’t burn the same as yours. The world would be an awfully boring place if we were all the same. Learn to embrace the differences between other people and learn from them.
3. While people may be different, they are all equal to one other. Enough said.
4. Your dreams may change. If you feel like you are clinging on to some wish or dream just because you used to want it, but don’t want it for yourself anymore, let go of it. It doesn’t make you a failure, it’s simply going to make you happier in the future. It’s okay to change lanes.
5. You can in fact sleep when you’re dead, but sleeping now is cool too. Everyone cops out to say lack of sleep is okay because they can sleep when they’re dead, but living bodies are also meant to sleep. That sleep you need helps keep you healthy, motivated, and ready to take on the next twenty-five years. So, just get some rest.
6. Napping is not a way to escape life. I understand being stressed and needing to take a break. An occasional hibernation or 15-minute cat nap is okay, but cut the crap and stop taking four hour naps regularly. You’re just going to wake up more stressed out and confused… Y’all know that post nap confusion that I am talking about.
7. Grey’s Anatomy is nearing it’s end. I’m sorry, I love Meredith, but it is time to let her go. Or maybe I’m still bitter because all my favorite characters keep dying.
8. Ice cream tastes better straight from the carton. I am a professional when it comes to ice cream and I am telling you right now that the flavor is better when you eat it straight from the container. Pro tip: there’s no dirty bowl.
9. You are strong. Mentally and physically. It is amazing the things that you can do. Don’t be afraid to push yourself. And the whole time that you think you can’t do it, reassure yourself that you can.
10. Not everything is “goals.” Let the trend die to say that everything someone is doing is “goals.” Stop glamorizing lifestyles that do not line up with your values. “Hot Mess Goals.” “Drunk Goals.” “Jobless Goals” How about we start a new trend of real goals? “Motivated Goals.” “Role Model Goals.” “I Washed My Hair Today Goals.”
11. Don’t let someone relationship shame you. It’s hard to be in a relationship with someone. The ups and downs. If you truly know that you are meant to be, then be. Don’t let others tell you otherwise or try to dictate your feelings. If for some reason, you know that the other people are right, trust your instincts and listen to them. You may not have found the one.
12. Be single, baby. If you haven’t found your person yet, don’t compromise just so you don’t have to be alone. Life is too sweet to spend it with a person that doesn’t treat you the way that you deserve to be treated. One of my closest friends always tells me that the most she has ever learned about herself has been while she was single. Embrace it.
13. Trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Listen to yourself.
14. Take the time to travel and see things that you are curious about. You can’t take the money with you, so you might as well spend it. Out of all the money I have spent, I have never regret a single dollar spent on an adventure. Buy the plane ticket and go, go, go.
15. Don’t ever let someone make you feel dumb for loving the things that you do. The world is full of so many fascinating things. If you are passionate about something, don’t let someone try to make it feel insignificant to you. It’s okay to be “weird.” Some of the best people I know just happen to be the weirdest.
16. If you know someone is bad for you, feel comfortable letting them go. I feel like people are often too afraid to let someone go, even if they are toxic, because they are clouded by guilt. You should never feel guilty for making the decision that is best for you. I can promise you there are tons of people waiting in line to fill their shoes.
17. Not every relationship is going to last forever. Romantic relationships. Friendships. The cliche, “Nothing last forever,” has proven to be true. Due to this, live in the moment and when you feel like a relationship is coming to a close, remember all the joy it brought you. Also remember the heartache. Learn from both.
18. Dress for the job that you want. Norts and fraternity t-shirts don’t jive in the real world. Show up in real clothes. You may think that they don’t, but people notice. Same goes for washing your hair. It’s noticeable.
19. Speak Up. Let your voice be heard. Silence is golden. But, a voice with something to say is platinum. There is a time and place to voice your thoughts. Be sure that you are choosing the right time, but do not let someone silence you. Your words, feelings, and thoughts matter. If you are surrounded by people who don’t care to listen, find a new room.
20. People are going to be mean to you. It’s a harsh reality, but nonetheless a reality. Give them a dirty look or text your best friend. Whatever you gotta do to make you feel better. But, please realize, meanness from others is unavoidable. Don’t let it affect you and the way that you choose to treat people. Hatred is not a blanket, don’t be a part of the fabric.
21. Stop making excuses for people. If someone isn’t following through with what they are supposed to be doing, don’t excuse their actions. Give them a get out of jail free card and then start calling them out. Hold people accountable. With that being said, hold yourself accountable. You need to also follow through with what you say.
22. Love your family, even on the days that it’s hard. As you grow up, you start to see your family members as real people, not just family. It is a difficult balance, but at the end of the day they are your family.
23. When you find your people, love them hard. Your life will be blessed with the most incredible people. You’re lucky to have them, just like they are lucky to have you. Love each other. They’re just as important as your family.
24. Don’t let the world make you hard. It is hard to stay soft and caring and loving in the world that we live in. Please, don’t feel like showing compassion is a weakness.
25. Love yourself. You are your most valuable resource. You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself. At the end of the day, you are the one who is living your life. Fall in love with yourself over and over again. Some days will be harder than others. But, on the days where you truly feel loved, proud of yourself, and confident in your decisions it will all be worth it.