I just turned 25. For years now I have paid very little attention to birthdays, but this year felt different. 25 is one of the last real milestone birthdays you get, you’ve shifted into the second half of your twenties, and can now literally claim the term “quarter life crisis.” I know this doesn’t make me old be any means (as my 30+ year old friends roll their eyes) but it does feel like there is now a little extra pressure to be figuring it out. If you’ve ever read through those articles online with titles like “25 Things to do by 25” you’ve seen some of the lofty goals laid out by some very ambitious people. Honestly, most days I am just happy to have made it this far without any major malfunctions. So in light of this trend, I’ve come up with a list of the 25 Things I’ve Learned by 25 (and wish I knew sooner)…

  1. Stop setting strict timelines for your life. Set goals, but don’t count on everything going according to plan, because life is not meant to be a set timeline. If you are not married or running the company or making six figures by such and such age, it’s okay. You are allowed to backtrack, change direction, or completely start over – whenever you want. In the words of the great F. Scott Fitzgerald, “It is never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be.”
  2. Debt is a part of life. An unfortunate part, but almost inevitable. It can be hard to come to terms with, but I am also learning that you can’t constantly deny yourself based on the fact that you have some sort of debt, because there will always be something. So #treatyoself (occasionally).
  3. Spend time with your family. Especially your parents. We often forget that as we are growing up, they are also growing older. If you are lucky enough to have a good relationship with your family, hang on to that.
  4. On that note, your parents were right about everything. Whether you’re ready to admit it or not.
  5. Read more. In this day and age where we are almost constantly staring at some sort of screen, it’s more important than ever to take a break and dive into a good book. Fiction, non-fiction, magazines, comic books, whatever you’re into.
  6. You don’t need to drink to have fun. My 21 year old self is laughing at this statement, but it’s the truth. I’ve been caught up in the party lifestyle, and while it was certainly a blast believe me,  you don’t need to get drunk at the movies or party 6 nights a week.
  7. Do not cheap out on hair-cuts. Also, spend the extra money on good shoes. Quality over quantity.
  8. Take care of yourself. Both your body and your mind. You only get one, and though they are awfully resilient, they can only withstand so much. Exercise, eat well, get enough sleep, and get outside.
  9. Book regular appointments to see your Doctor and Dentist, and actually GO.
  10. Nostalgia is a dangerous drug. Try to live in the present as much as possible.
  11. Never stop wandering. Whether it’s to a new county, city, part of town, or just around the block. Keep things interesting.
  12. Get OUTSIDE. I didn’t grow up in an overly outdoorsy family, but if there is one thing I wish I had done more of over the years, it would be this. Hiking, swimming, camping, gardening, snowshoeing, whatever gets you out there. Just do it.
  13. Chocolate and a good sleep will fix just about anything. 
  14. You will never be done learning. Not after highschool, or university, or post-grad. Even when you become an expert in something, there is always more to know.
  15. Let go of people. Not everyone is meant to be in your life forever, and that’s okay. Friends grow apart, people change, and so do relationships.
  16. But hold on to the good ones. Life can get all kinds of in the way, so it’s important to make the effort to stay in touch.
  17. Yoga will do wonders for your body and your brain.
  18. You will fall in love again, and it will be even better.
  19. Take care of the planet. This is something that has always been a value of mine, but is now more critical than ever. This means recycling and composting whenever possible, avoiding unnecessary plastics, taking public transportation, voting for leaders who also value this.
  20. On that note, VOTE. If you are living in a Democratic society, it is your responsibility to participate and use your voice.
  21. Bed Bugs are just a tragic reminder that bad things happen to good people. It will be traumatic, but you will get through it.
  22. People aren’t mind readers – you need to ask for what you want, and express what you don’t.
  23. Don’t be afraid to hustle and work hard, but make sure to take time for yourself. Trust me, if you don’t your brain and body will force you to.
  24. Be careful what you put on the Internet. Once it’s out there, you can delete it but you can never take it back.
  25. “The Days are Long, but the Years are Short” – Gretchen Rubin.

Things I still haven’t learned:

  • To manage my finances, how a mortgage works, and how to do my own taxes (thanks Public School)
  • How to change a tire.
  • Even half of the million formulas in Excel that will make life so much easier.
  • To cook, really. (This is more a personal lack of interest in the matter, food tastes better when someone else makes it)
  • To deal with confrontation.
  • What I want to do with my life.

One thought on “Quarter Century Club

  1. Lauren, your humour and honesty are really touching. And your tips are dead on, especially the spend more time with your parents. Thank you for making me smile. ~ Alison


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