Birthdays have never been a stressful time for me. Usually, it’s just an excuse to spend time with my friends and get showered in gifts. Today I turned 25 and I have been in full-on crisis mode for weeks. I have a lot that I want to accomplish and I feel like time is flying by. While there are a number of things that I want to work on and learn in the next 25 years, I thought I would share a few lessons learned in the first 25.
10 Lessons I’ve Learned in 25 Years
- Your view of the world isn’t the only one. Get out there and meet people that think or were raised differently from you! Not only does it help you to make better-informed decisions, but you’ll also experience so many new things that you wouldn’t pursue on your own.
- Don’t let anyone make you feel less than you are. I’ll admit it, I’ve let a ton of people get away with treating me poorly. I’ve had friends talk down to me and discount my goals. I’ve let a guy who didn’t own hand soap ghost me. That behavior is unacceptable and by letting it slide I’m sending the message that they can continue to treat people that way.
- Don’t let YOU make you feel like less than you are. You are a beautiful and talented person and there is absolutely no reason for you to think otherwise. You’ll make mistakes and do shitty things, but talking down to yourself isn’t going to make things better nor is it going to make you better.
- Knowledge is power. I can’t stress enough how important it is to keep learning and growing. Specifically, know yourself. Save yourself an existential crisis by figuring out what you like and who you are as early as you can. Additionally, educate yourself on what’s going on in the world. I’d absolutely love it if I could avoid another conversation about world issues where I am completely lost.
- Spend time doing things you love. I always call myself the “Queen of Hobbies”. There are so many cool things out there to do, and I make it a priority to try as many as I can. Last year I joined a bowling league and it was so nice to have something to look forward to each week. It helps break up the monotony of working every day. You get extra points if you do something you love with people you love!
- Stay in contact with the people you love. I lost my maternal grandfather and paternal grandmother a few years back and one of the things I regret is not calling them more regularly. My maternal grandmother is my only grandparent left and I can tell that it makes her happy when I call each week. I’ve been able to get a lot closer to her in these last few years than I had before. She even not-so-secretly refers to me as her favorite grandchild.
- Take care of yourself. Get health insurance, see a doctor, go to the dentist, know your family medical history, and acknowledge when something is wrong. A lot of young adults neglect their health because of the cost because let’s face it, it’s EXPENSIVE. The only reason my boyfriend bit the bullet and signed up for health insurance is that he almost broke his leg snowboarding last year. Don’t wait until you’re in a bad situation to realize that you should have done more to prepare.
- It’s not all about you, but sometimes it should be. The first part of this advice is pretty well known. You aren’t the center of the universe. It’s important to recognize that and prioritize others when they need it. Sometimes you need to be the priority though. If you’re working overtime and people are adding to your never-ending to-do list, tell them you don’t have the capacity. If you are co-parenting, make sure you aren’t carrying the entire load yourself.
- Don’t change yourself for others. You can’t please everyone. No person is worth changing yourself for. When I was dating my first boyfriend, I played video games and listened to screamo music even though I was not into either thing at all. When that relationship ended, I had to spend time recovering who I was while recovering from heartbreak. Absolutely miserable situation.
- You don’t have to stay best friends forever. This is probably the most important lesson I’ve had to learn. There are people in your life that you are going to outgrow or just grow apart from, and that’s okay. We all have different paths, goals, and values. There’s no need to hang onto people who are discouraging you from being yourself or aren’t pushing you forward.