Today is my birthday… My 25th birthday. I’ve been in my quarter life crisis since I turned 22, but this has hit me harder than I thought.
It saddens me to know that I’m no where near where I thought I would be at 25, but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate all the struggles that got to me where I am now. I’ve learned many things over my 25 years, so I wanted to share some of those things with you.
Here are 25 things I’ve learned in 25 years:
1. Never be afraid to be yourself
We waste so much time pretending to be someone we’re not just so that we can fit in. But what we fail to realize is that we can only pretend for so long. When your true colors start to show, you’ll start to lose those people who were only interested in the person you pretended to be. Be your true self and you’ll attract people who you can really relate to and bond with.
2. Don’t be embarrassed about what interests you
Everyone has that “one weird thing” they’re into that they keep to themselves. From video games, watching sappy romantic movies, having a favorite YouTuber, collecting stuffed animals, or whatever else. Share your interests with others, you’ll never know who’s into the same things as you. If people think you’re weird for liking something, that’s okay, weird people keep things interesting.
3. Don’t let your past define you
We’ve all done things we aren’t proud of, but it’s those things that help us to learn and grow. You are not your mistakes. You are not the bad things that have happened to you. You are not those things that people have said behind your back. YOU ARE NOT YOUR PAST.
4. Your feelings are valid
No one can tell you what to feel. Just because someone doesn’t feel the same way you do, doesn’t mean that your feelings don’t matter. Sometimes we think we can’t or shouldn’t feel certain ways because of outside factors, like, we can’t be sad because there are so many people who have it worse. That isn’t true, your feelings, whatever they may be, matter and they are valid. Accept your feelings and deal with them, but don’t let them hold you back.
5. Be real with yourself
We all hate being lied to, but we tend to lie to ourselves all the time. Whether it’s telling ourselves “I’ll do it tomorrow,” “This is the last time I text him/her,” or the lie I tell myself all the time, “I’m okay.” If you can’t be real with yourself, how can you be real with everyone else?
6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
We can’t handle everything on our own, even if we try. People look down on those who ask for help, but the truth is, no one gets to whatever point they’re at without the help of others. Too many times, we would rather stress ourselves out instead of seeking help. When you’re in need of help, ask. You never know who else needs your help, too.
7. Being alone isn’t necessarily a bad thing
Society leads us to believe that being alone is negative. But it’s when you’re alone that you are able to find yourself. Sometimes we need to get away from all the noise around us and collect ourselves. After all, before you care for others, you need to take care of yourself.
8. It’s okay not to be okay
There are times where we won’t feel our best. In those times, it’s easy for us to sulk and start thinking that everything sucks and things will never get better. But just because you’re not okay right now, doesn’t mean that you’ll never be okay.
9. Every season comes to an end
Just as winter, spring, summer, and fall come to an end, so do the seasons in our life. We’ll experience good and bad times, but neither will last forever. You may have heard the more popular saying, “this too shall pass.” When times are good, make sure you enjoy every minute. When times are bad, hang on and push through.
10. There’s beauty in brokenness
In times where we feel broken, we tend to only focus on our brokenness and block out everything else. When we do that, we don’t see all the beauty that brokenness has to offer us. If we take the time to look hard enough, we’ll be able to see the light in our darkness.
11. Stop being so hard on yourself
We are our own worst critic. More often than not, we hold on to the negative things about ourselves, whether it’s things that we come up with ourselves or things that others have said to us. None of that is true, you are enough.
12. Success looks different for everyone
Seeing other people’s successes and comparing them to ours can sometimes lead us to anger or sadness. It’s the constant thoughts of “that’s where I want to be, but this is where I am” that can really get to us. What’s seems easy for someone can take years for another person to do, and vice versa. Stop comparing yourself to others, remember that you are the one writing your own story.
13. Be empathetic
Everyone is fighting their own battles, whether they make it known or not. If someone confides in you, even if it seems like something small, be empathetic. Learn to see and feel things from their point of view. Not only will it help you build relationships, but it will help you to understand those who are close to you.
14. Choose your words wisely
Many times we react in the moment, causing us to say things we don’t mean. Calling someone “stupid” or saying they’re “useless” won’t make your situation any better. The worst thing we can do is say things we don’t mean, especially when those words hurt someone else. Take the time to think about what you want to say before you say it.
15. Kindness goes a long way
Smiling at a stranger, holding the door for others, asking someone how their day is going, randomly texting an old friend to tell them that they crossed your mind, complementing someone’s new haircut, picking up the tab, or even offering to pick up a friend to get coffee, are simple things that show kindness. The smallest thing can make someone’s day.
16. Blood is thicker than water
Your family might not be the greatest bunch, but they will always be your family. Friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, co-workers may come and go, but your family will always be there. As much as they drive you insane and embarrass you, you’ll learn to love and appreciate them as you get older.
17. Invest your time in those who matter
Wasted time is worse than wasted money. Spend your time with those who truly love and care about you, those who lift you up instead of dragging you down. Don’t blow off people who have proven themselves to be true for those who have let you down constantly. Investing your time in the wrong people will lead you to lose the right people.
18. Surround yourself with like-minds
Being around those who have the same mindset as you is very encouraging. When you’re determined to accomplish something but are surrounded by people who aren’t determined for anything, it’ll start to slow you down. If you want to reach your goals, find others who have goals they want to reach as well. You can work together and celebrate together.
19. Follow your passion
When you find something you’re passionate about, build on it. Your passion can bring you to places you’d never thought you’d go. Don’t get caught up in a job you hate going to everyday, sacrificing your happiness for money. As the saying goes, “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”
20. Always be willing
Granted, there will be times where you won’t be able to do everything, but when you can, be willing. Lend a helping hand, even if it’s volunteering your time for a few hours to help a friend or family member. If you’re willing to help others, they will be more willing to help you in times of need.
21. Lead by example
We’ve all had those people in our lives that love to boss others around but never join in to help. If you want others to do something, whether it’s at work or at home, be an example of what you want. The best leaders don’t just tell others what to do, they show them what needs to be done.
22. Remain humble
Never let success get to your head. The moment it does, the moment you begin to talk down to others, that’s when people will lose respect towards you. Remember all you had to go through to get where you are and don’t forget that there are others who are still struggling to get where they want to be.
23. Approach new things with an open mind
Going into something with a closed mind will also close off your experiences. Yes, we all have our set opinions on certain things, but that doesn’t mean other people aren’t allowed to have different opinions. Try to understand different opinions, it’ll definitely spark conversation, but you don’t have to change what you believe because of someone else.
24. Embrace change
We live in a world where the only constant is change. People change, situations change, thoughts change, feelings change; everything is constantly changing. Sometimes dealing with change is hard. We get so comfortable with what we know, that when we need to get used to something different, we tend to resist the change. The longer we resist, the harder the transition will be. Embrace the changes that happen in your life, make the best out them.
25. Never stop learning
As you get older, you’ll start to realize that there’s so many things in this world that you aren’t aware of. Take the time to educate yourself and take in whatever new knowledge you can. There are some people who claim to “know everything” but with everyday being a chance to learn something new, is that really possible? There will never be a limit on how much you can learn, so take advantage of each learning possibility.
These are just a handful of things I’ve learned over the years, and I hope to continue to add more in the years to come.