Twenty-Five to Life: The 25 Life Lessons I've Learned to Live By
Twenty-five. A quarter century. That’s how old I am. I almost can believe it, considering that I still remember being 15 like it was yesterday. The weird thing about 25 is that it feels like some sort of unofficial threshold for adulthood. It’s a whole six years past adolescence. In fact, at 25, you’re close to your thirties than your teens. Conversations stop being about what you’re taking in school and turn instead to life plans. People start asking about marriage, motherhood and mortgages, and it’s not weird anymore because you’re at a totally reasonable age to do those things. I’d be lying if I said this didn’t freak me out a little. But the last 25 years has been chockful of lessons that have prepared me to wade the muddy waters of adulthood and come out relatively unscathed. Here are the 25 things (in no particular order) that I’ve learned in my quarter century.
1. It’s normal to struggle
No one is strong all the time. Some people just hide it better than others. Be kind to yourself and do whatever it takes to get through.
2. Friendship breakups are real.
It sucks letting friends go when you’ve outgrown them or chosen different paths, but holding on for the sake of nostalgia never ends well. Keep it civil, part on good terms, and let it go.
3. But Drake was wrong about new friends.
If you measure the value of friendship solely on how long you’ve known someone, you’re cheating yourself out of amazing relationships.
4. Not everybody is for you.
In friendships, in love, in business – some people just ain’t for you. Don’t go mixing yourself into crowds you don’t belong in.
5. You’ll never lose what’s supposed to be yours.
I’ve lost relationships, opportunities, and material things, but they’ve always been replaced by something way better because the things that slipped through my fingers were never meant to be mine.
6. Work your way through your bucket list.
At the end of your life, you’ll be counting experiences, not dollars. Spend a little, live a lot.
7. Always cover your butt.
It’s not paranoia to be cautious. Get life insurance, keep your savings account stacked, and sign business contracts. Don’t let yourself get screwed.
8. Know your worth and ask for it.
Never allow anyone to convince you the problem is your standards when the real issue is their inability to meet them.
9. Sometimes a leap of faith is the best way forward.
A lot of the things I’ve accomplished happened because I said, “I can do it,” and then figured out how to get it done on the job. If you wait ‘til you’re “ready” you’ll be waiting forever. Make the leap.
10. Balance is everything
I’ve done the workaholic thing and it landed me in my sick bed every time. Hustle and grind, but don’t let the hustle grind you down to nothing.
11. Protect your vibes and your energy
I’ve been around people that sap the life out of me with their negativity. I cut them off and watched my life flourish.
12. No is not a bad word
I’m a born people pleaser, and “no” always feels dirty in my mouth, but for the sake of my sanity, I’ve learned to say it when I need to.
13. Timing is everything
Don’t get caught up trying to make things happen fast instead of well. Rushing is for football, not life.
14. There is no best, only better
I’m hard on myself because good isn’t good enough. There’s always someone better than me which means I always have a reason to keep pushing.
15. Love doesn’t conquer all.
I’ve watched way too many people accept things they didn’t deserve from people they loved. Love is not an excuse to take someone’s crap.
16. Don’t lose yourself in love.
My fiancé is not my other half. He is a whole person who complements me as a whole person. Codependence isn’t cute.
17. Life is short; do what you want.
Living your life for others is an express ticket to unhappiness. Live for you before you wake up one day with more items on your bucket list than days left to live.
18. Happiness is not store bought.
Happiness is about weeding out the less savoury parts of yourself to discover who you really are underneath all the band aid solutions the world has sold you.
19. Better overdressed than underdressed.
When in doubt about the dress code, dress up. If people are going to be staring at you because you’re dressed differently than everyone else, you might as well look phenomenal.
20. Turn jealousy into motivation.
If someone has what you want, don’t begrudge them. Use your jealousy to figure out the difference between where you’re at and where you want to be and let it push you to get there.
21. The world is a classroom.
Schools is not the only place to get an education. Google is free. Libraries are free. Conversations are free. Never stop learning.
22. Not everything deserves your attention.
Picking your battles and knowing when to let things go is the key to keep your blood pressure low.
23. There’s beauty in the little things.
Don't be too busy looking at the big picture to notice that beautiful things are happening to you every day.
24. Pride will cripple your progress.
Know when to apologize. Know when to ask for help. Know when to admit that you don’t have all the answers. A little humility will take you a long way.
25. Trust your process.
Every failure, every success, every setback, and every victory is a part of the process. Don’t get caught up in comparison. You’re right where you need to be.