Today, I turn 26. And to be honest, I’m not sure I’m quite ready to accept that. It seems like just yesterday that I was turning 25. I know everyone says that on their birthday, but this year, I truly mean it. Twenty-five was a year of full of many highs and even more lows, yet I wouldn’t change a single thing. I learned a lot this year – about myself, my relationships, my career, and life as a whole.
Here are 25 things I learned when I was 25.
1. People will disappoint you
People you trusted will screw you over. They’ll talk badly about you behind your back, give you a bad reference even though they promised a good one, and will hurt you every chance they get. And even though your gut tells you to give them another chance, let them go. They’re no good for you.
2. People are flawed. See the good in them.
No one is perfect. Everyone has their flaws – including myself. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t see the good in people. Choose to focus on what makes someone amazing, and you’ll be surprised at how your perspective changes.
3. Not everything is what it appears to be
Jobs, relationships, and experiences will disappoint you. Something that seemed like an amazing opportunity may turn out to be a huge disappointment. That dream job could turn out to be a trainwreck. It’s part of life, but it’s not the end of the world.
4. Even if something doesn’t go your way, there’s still something to be learned.
So you get fired from your job. Your dream job turns into a nightmare. You quit your job without another one lined up. You’re unemployed for three months. (All true stories here, people). Sure, you may feel like a feel like a failure at the time, but just remember to grow from these experiences. When life doesn’t go your way, learn from it. It’s the best thing you can do.
5. Save your money for a rainy day
See above. You never know when something bad is going to happen or when there’s going to be an emergency. Don’t underestimate the value of a savings account (with plenty of money in it).
6. Wedding planning is not as glorious as it appears in the movies
Wedding planning puts a strain on your relationship – not just with your significant other, but with your family and future in-laws. Do your best to go with the flow, but don’t hold back the tears when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just remember to pick yourself up and move forward. At the end of the day, if you get married to your best friend, your wedding was a success.
7. Relationships are hard work, but they’re worth it
Relationships with your significant other, family, and friends are hard work. Make time for the people you care about, and take the time to reach out to them to see how they’re doing. Relationships are a two-way street. You can’t expect to sit back and have everything fall into your lap.
8. Spend your money on experiences
Take the family trip you’ve been talking about for years. Visit a new destination. Plan your dream honeymoon. Don’t waste your money on drinks at the bar. Instead, use it to build experiences that you’ll remember for a lifetime.
9. If you’re not happy about something, change it
If you don’t like your job – leave. Unhappy in your relationship? Move on. You control your own happiness. So if you’re not happy, do something about it or stop complaining.
10. Be fearless
The best things in life happen when you step outside of your comfort zone. Take risks. Do things that scare you. Your life will change dramatically when you don’t hold back and go after the things in life you were once afraid of.
11. It’s okay to splurge every once in awhile
If you have the money, it’s okay to splurge every once in awhile. Buy that expensive makeup you’ve been eyeing. Lease your dream car. Get a new iMac. There’s nothing wrong with investing in nicer things, and don’t let anyone make you feel bad about it.
12. Good things come to those who hustle
No one owes you anything (yes, even the boss that fired you). Work your butt off, prove yourself, and good things will happen. It may not happen today or even next month, but if you keep hustling, you’ll be rewarded.
13. It’s okay to be upset
There are going to be times when you’re unhappy, and that’s okay. Spend some time alone, cry, or have a meltdown. No one will hold is against you. And if they do, screw them. Just know when enough is enough, and do your best to move forward with a smile on your face.
14. You will make unpopular decisions
Whether you take the job everyone told you to avoid or you choose not to invite certain family members to the wedding, you’re going to make decisions that people don’t like. These decisions may lead to resentment or cause you to lose certain relationships. Do your best to mend as many relationships as possible, but don’t spend all your time doing it. In the end, the people who stick around are the ones worth keeping.
15. Back up your computer. Frequently.
No explanation needed.
16. Stay humble
Being egotistical and bragging all the time about how awesome you are isn’t cool. And it’s not going to make people like you more. Work your butt off, and let your actions speak for themselves.
17. You’re not going to like everyone. And everyone isn’t going to like you.
Not liking one of your coworkers (even though everyone else worships him) doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you human. But don’t be surprised to find out someone doesn’t like you very much either. You don’t have to be friends with everyone, but it’s still important to be polite. Trust me, it will make life easier.
18. It’s okay to stay in on a Friday night
So you’d rather Netflix and chill than go to the bar and get wasted. You do you.
19. Don’t be so hard on yourself
It can be difficult to give yourself a break when society has such high expectations. But being hard on yourself all the time will wear you down, and eventually, it will have a negative effect on your work, life, and relationships. Don’t be your own worst enemy, and forgive yourself when things don’t go according to plan.
20. Love your body exactly the way it is – and change it if you want to
It’s okay to feel good about yourself even if you’re not a size 0. It’s also okay to love your body and still want to lose weight. Feeling sorry for yourself or putting yourself down won’t do you any good. Don’t ever feel the need to conform to society’s beauty standards. Instead, love yourself exactly the way you are. And if you want to make changes, do it – and don’t feel guilty.
21. Don’t be a Negative Nancy
It’s really easy to get caught up in the negativity of other people. What starts out as innocent gossip between friends can transform into a full-on negative outlook without you even realizing it. Negativity is contagious. As hard as it may be at times, choose positivity. Take the high road. And don’t let negativity control you. It’s not flattering.
22. It’s not always easy to take advice
If you’re the person people go to for advice, you know how frustrating it is when they don’t take your advice – until you’re in their shoes. It’s so much easier to give advice than receive it. You don’t need to take everyone’s advice all the time, but be sure to have an open mind.
23. Don’t be afraid of rejection
All too often, we avoid doing things out of fear of being rejected. But you’ll never get anywhere if you’re not willing to leap out of your comfort zone. Apply for your dream job, take on a new project, and don’t worry about whether you’ll get it or not. Just do it. You never know when you’ll get a “yes.”
24. Sometimes, adulting really sucks
Like when you have to pay the bills, run errands on a Saturday, or schedule your own doctor’s appointments. But it also means you’re getting things done. So, maybe it’s not so bad after all (just kidding – it’s awful).
25. Being 25 doesn’t mean you have it all figured out
When I thought what 25 would be like, I envisioned having everything all figured out – working at my dream job, enjoying financial stability, and living in a house. But guess what? None of those things are true for me. And while it’s frustrating at times, I know that it’s not really a big deal. Who said you had to have it all figured out at 25 anyway?