By the time you read this, I will be 25, and I’m not gonna lie, it feels weird. Even when the husdude turned 25 last year, it felt like it was a far-off landmark for me, and yet, weirdly enough, here I am.
Don’t get me wrong – 25 is by no means old. It’s just completely bonkers to me what I thought I would accomplish by 25 when I was only 18 and starting college – but also what a different person I am at 25, and how much I’ve learned in that time.
So this is not an incredibly original idea – everyone’s internet big sister Jenna Marbles has done a 29 Things and 30 Things video for her last two birthdays, but I wanted to do something similar because it’s my birthday and I just want to be Jenna Marbles when I grow up, leave me alone fam.
1. Stop apologizing.
When I would come home from a bad day at work or a particularly frustrating encounter, I would rant at my husdude for a couple of minutes and then finish, “UGH, sorry for being crazy.” I realized that I was undermining myself with that kind of negative self-talk.
So instead, I try to remember to say “Thank you for listening.” This way, I’m not devaluing my feelings but I’m also expressing gratitude to my guy for listening when I’m ranting at him for the 304323294809th time.
So next time you’re late, try saying “thank you for waiting” instead of “sorry for being late,” or if you’re not getting something, say “thank you for your patience” to whoever is explaining it to you rather than “sorry for not understanding.” You’ll both walk away from that interaction feeling a thousand times better.
2. Get the haircut.
I’m not normally on team #YOLO, but I’ve spent far too much time in my life with boring hair because I was so afraid something would look bad on me. Just try it out. It’s hair. It’ll grow back. Also, beanies are always in style.
3. You might want to sit on that tattoo, though.
I’m not here to tell you how to live your life, but tattoos are practically forever, and a cute avocado tattoo now might look preeettty dated in ten years.
My rule of thumb is this – I write my idea down and I wait a year (yes, a year). If I still want it a year later, I get the tattoo, datedness be damned.
4. Get on a good sleep diet.
When I was in college, I had the hardest freaking time falling asleep and staying asleep at night. The #1 thing that has helped me with sleep is following a fairly strict “sleep diet” – turning off the TV and my phone an hour before bed, making myself a cup of tea, cracking the spine on a good book, and going to bed at almost the same time every night.
I know it sounds pretty dull, especially for you ladies who are still in college, but at some point, bad sleep will catch up with you, whether it affects your grades, your skin, or your health. I don’t follow the sleep diet every single night (read: the weekends), but on the weekdays, you better believe I’m in bed before 11 99% of the time.
5. Read more books…
Like, real talk, I’m a writer on the internet and I’m not going to tell you to stop reading Buzzfeed articles, but it’s not the same as the exhilaration of a good book. Imo, reading makes you smarter, calmer, happier, more informed, and it might help you go to freaking sleep (see #3) the next time you’re on Tumblr at 2 am and you have an 8 am class.
6. …And patronize more local businesses.
Including used bookstores. Without fail, I can tell you that local coffeshops are more charming than a Starbucks, food at a local restaurant tastes better than a chain, and wares found in local shops are more unique than what you’ll find at Target.
7. Don’t wear Forever 21 heels to an event where you’ll be standing most of the time.
It’s not worth it, no matter how killer they are. You’ll just get drunk and take them off at your significant other’s work holiday party, nbd. #notcute
8. Learn to cook.
The more you cook for yourself, the healthier you will be, and the more money you will save. Simple as that.
9. It’s okay if your dreams change.
When I started college, I wanted to become a lawyer and major in political science, but by the luck of the draw, one of the first classes I took in college was in Earth Art. I realized I loved making art and talking about art, which lead me to my fine arts major. I took a creative writing class the next semester thinking I would write the next great American novel, but I ended up falling in love with poetry.
The point? It’s okay if your dreams or your path changes because people change. Having a plan and a path is great, but allow yourself some flexibility because life doesn’t always go as you planned.
10. You are who you surround yourself with.
They say you are the average of your five closest friends, and if those friends are negative, catty, or mean, then chances are you will have some of those habits, too. There are some people in your life that you have less control over how often you are around (read: coworkers, family) but if you find yourself asking ‘why am I like this?’ look closely at the people around you.
Of course, you don’t have to cut those people out of your life entirely, but consider diversifying your friend group so include some people you admire and want to be more like, or working with your friends so you can hold yourselves more accountable.
11. It’s okay if not everyone is your friend.
Not everyone is going to like you. They won’t like your hair, or the way you dress, or the way you talk, or whatever. It’s okay. You’re great, they’re petty, and that’s a fact. Next.
12. Passionate people are interesting people.
I would 100% rather hang out with someone who has a bunch of opinions on everything (even if I disagree with them more times than not) than someone who has no opinion on anything.
13. You pick your soul mate(s).
After I got engaged, I went through a period of constant worry about whether I was making the right choice. Was I selling myself short? Was I getting married for the right reasons? Is this person really my soul mate? And someone gave me some advice that quieted basically all of those little voices.
They told me there are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of people in the world who could be my soul mate, but I’d chosen the husdude. I had made him my soul mate by choosing him, and I could just as easily choose not to be with him if I wanted to. If for some reason things didn’t work out, there would be someone else in the future, if I chose for there to be.
My point is, I think it’s really easy to get wrapped up in the fantasy of having only one perfect soul mate out of 7.whatever billion people there are on the planet, but I just don’t buy into that, no matter how perfect I think the husdude is for me. So don’t worry about finding your one soul mate, if that’s something that you want in your life. You will find them, and you will choose them.
14. Don’t expect love to (always) be easy.
No matter who your partner is or what your relationship is like, there will be times when you fight, scream at each other, say things you don’t mean, bottle stuff up, resent them, etc etc etc. This is normal and okay as long as you talk about it, forgive each other, and work together to make your relationship better.
15. Trust your gut.
If it doesn’t feel right most of the time, get out of there.
16. Take more photos with the people you love.
Just today, a photo popped up in my newsfeed that my friend had taken of me 6 years ago, when I was 18, and it really moved me, remembering the class we took that photo for and how our friendship formed that semester.
Neither the husdude nor I are much for taking photos, and I’m a little sad when I look back at the photos we do have because I wish we had more photos of us together, or photos of our cats, or photos of our friends and family. Even when you think you have enough, take more, because you can never too many.
17. Write stuff down.
Despite being a ~writer~ this is something that I am still working on, despite the small graveyard of notebooks I own. Try to write something down every day, even if it’s just a line (like these fabulous one-line-a-day journals.) Someday, you’ll want to look back and remember what you were doing and thinking. Or, you never know – you may find it to be especially therapeutic or that you have a real passion for writing.
18. Don’t buy makeup you won’t wear, no matter how pretty it is.
I have three giant $50 eyeshadow palettes and I only ever wear like, the same two shades. Why am I like this? #stillwantthatKyliepalettethough
19. It’s okay if you don’t go to the party…
I had a whole lot of FOMO in college and forced myself to go out when I wasn’t in a good place emotionally – needless to say, I didn’t have a good time when I did this.
So take it from me: It’s okay if you don’t go to the party if you’re not feeling up to it, if you’d rather stay in and bake or read a book, if you are going to go see a movie with your mom instead. Your friends will understand. They’ll miss you, but they’ll understand.
20. …but say yes sometimes.
I have a friend who really likes to go out to an Open Mic night on a freakin’ Wednesday, when I’m the most tired and the most cranky, and I still go sometimes because I’ve never not had a good time with her and our friends. Say yes sometimes, go out and have a good time, give no fuqs.
21. Once you turn 21, get a signature drink.
Do you know those folks who wait in line at the bar to have their drink order taken and then go, “Oh, no, I don’t know what I want?” Don’t be those folks. Get thee a signature drink. You don’t have to order it every time you go to a bar, clearly, but you have it in your back pocket for when you have .5 seconds to order a drink.
A whiskey ginger has never done me wrong in the winter, and soco and cranberry with lime is all I want in the summer. If you don’t like whiskey (I’m offended, but we can still be friends) a rum and coke or vodka cranberry are also good choices that most bars can make you.
22. Self care is more important than you think.
I’ve written about self care before, but I want to emphasize how important it is to take care of yourself and make your emotional and mental health a priority. I do a thing I like to call “Tuesday goo-day” where I pour myself a glass of wine, put on a sheet mask, send my friends some funny snapchats, and snuggle in with a movie or a good book. If I don’t have time to do Tuesday goo-day, my mood for the rest of the week TANKS.
Make time for yourself. Take care of yourself. You’re the only self you’ve got.
23. Don’t be so quick to judge.
For the longest time, I thought aromatherapy was pretty bogus, but I had never tried it for myself. But then I got THIS as a gift and oh. my god. I am obsessed. I’m so sorry, everyone I ever side-eyed for talking about how awesome aromatherapy was.
My point is, don’t be so quick to judge something before you try it. Just try it, then form your opinions, like an ADULT.
24. Don’t let people make you feel bad for what you like.
You like what you like, and what you like makes you happy, so that person is basically taking a crap on your happiness and you don’t need that in your life. Also, it’s none of their business.
25. Learn to laugh at yourself.
In high school, I took myself SO SERIOUSLY, but I was also plagued by imposter syndrome and a fear that I would embarrass myself. I couldn’t take anything in stride, and I constantly worried about what people thought of me. It was absolutely exhausting.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t take yourself seriously, because you should, but it will also do you good to learn to laugh at yourself and your own ridiculousness once in a while. Laugh at yourself and your never-wearing-eyeshadow-ness and your I-don’t-follow-my-own-advice-ness and your I-used-to-hate-aromatherapy-and-now-I-use-it-every-night-ness. Plus, finding joy in your faults and flubs will help you accept them and love them over time.
What do you think?
What have you learned in the x years you’ve been alive? Do you have any life lessons or advice to share? Let me know in the comments below!