When you’re a kid, 25 sounds so old. Like, you’ll have your life figured out, be married, have a great career, maybe have your first kid and definitely a dog- figured out. Ha! What a wake up call it was to turn 25, have a roommate, have changed jobs twice in the last year, kids and dogs no where near on the horizon… money tight, closet small- not exactly where I thought I’d be, at 25!
That being said, I’ve learned a lot of valuable lessons along the way, and I want to share them here with you today. Here is the first half of my list (stay tuned for the second half.)
1. You know the saying, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”? I disagree. How about, “Keep your friends close and keep your enemies and frenemies far, far away.” Don’t waste your time on people who bring you down, make you feel bad about yourself, or suck up all your energy and happiness. Life is short, don’t waste it on poor friendships that don’t nurture you.
2. What you are seeking from a man/romantic partner, you probably just need to do for yourself. You want more attention, love, praise? Give those things to yourself. If you are seeking more attention and love from your partner you probably need to start by giving those things to yourself, first.
3. Be well read. Take in news from multiple sources. To be a good conversationalist you generally have to be well read and knowledgeable on a variety of topics.
4. Learn how to make at least 5 delicious and basic meals. Once you have 5 under your belt, the repertoire will just keep growing.
5. Keep going for your goals even if no one else notices, cares, or supports you in pursuing them. You know what they say, “the time will pass anyway.”
6. You know your friends’ advice, “If he doesn’t text you back, he doesn’t like you.” That’s all good and fine, but I’m here to ask you, why are you even wondering why he didn’t text you back?? I’m sure you have a million other more interesting and pressing things going on in your life than a guy who may or may not even like you. Move on. Train your brain to think about something else besides text messages. It’s a cat and mouse game. Don’t play it. Plus, you are fabulous, and he isn’t.
7. Keep a running list of things you hope to do. Most people have some form of a to-do list at work, right? Make one for your life so you can keep track of your goals (even goals as small as wanting to try the new coffee shop down the street.) It’ll keep you accountable and that way you have everything written down in one place. And how good does it feel to get one crossed off that list?
8. Be grateful. Not only that, I challenge you to regularly write down things you are grateful for so any time you are having a crap day and need a reminder, you have something to read and a specific place to find it.
9. Don’t underestimate the power and intuition of a child. Children might be small people, but they are often treated in small ways and they just don’t deserve it. Listen to them. Treat them with respect as you would any other person. Children are more intuitive than we like to give them credit for. They notice things adults fail to even see.
10. Stay curious. I know I’m not feeling well when the world seems to revolve around me and my own problems/life. As soon as I’m out of my funk, the whole world seems interesting again. Do your best to stay curious about anything- whether it’s science, nature, music, movies, your neighbors- stay invested in how things work, where they come from, and what they do.
11. Keep track of who you are. Everybody has a story to tell. Some people are gifted storytellers, and can captivate an audience with their words and gestures. Others get a story across better by writing it down. Find your medium and share your story. You don’t have to start on a grand scale- maybe start by sharing what your favorite restaurant is each month or what book you’re currently reading. You’ll find it fun to look back on later and it gives you a peek into how you’re growing and changing.
12. Don’t give up on your hobbies. It’s easy to let life get in the way and to be overcome with work, housekeeping, bills and the like. Don’t forget to keep your passions alive by remaining engaged and invested. They will give back ten times over.
13. Love is one of the most powerful forces in the world.
14. Infatuation is not love.
15. Paths have uncanny ways of unfolding. Don’t lose hope. Your struggle is worth it. Keep on going.
16. Your pain will teach you something.
17. Forgiveness is more difficult than hating.
18. Tune out the excess noise when you find yourself getting lost.
19. It’s okay to ask for help. Learn to differentiate between the times you need to ask others for help and the times you need to help yourself.
20. Recognize the strength within you. Keep conquering small challenges so you continue to grow your confidence and mastery.
21. Don’t give up on the people or things that you truly love. Hold on to them and stand up for them when someone threatens them.
22. Have a hero, whether fictional, alive, or dead.
23. The combination of steps in your path are likely unique, but the steps you are taking are often not. You’re not as alone as you think.
24. Examine what it is that makes you trust or distrust someone.
25. Don’t forget to renew your car registration, update your address with the DMV, and pay your parking tickets and bills on time ;)