You’re a twenty-something. You’re still far away from thirty (five years is a long time).
You’re working, or studying, or drunk texting, or moving to a new city. You’re giddy or angry. You’re pensive or empowered.
Above all, you’re doing the best you can, and I’m right there with you.
You may be tired of advice at this point. But twenty-five is a lovely number. I want to celebrate it with you with a few words I think you may need.
I know I did.
Take them with a lot of salt grains and—oh yes—love.
1. What you expect may not be what you get.
I want you to expect a lot from life, just like I did (and still do). Expectations are one way to express self-respect.
They can power us through college, a new job, a failed relationship. They keep your standards (and others’) high. They make you professional. They help you dream.
But life does not always meet these expectations. I spent a lot of time wondering why. I grew bitter and angry.
I fell in love with the wrong person. I didn’t get that one job. My cat died—too soon.
We hold expectations. Life will recognize them, but sometimes it passes along an un-expectation. The grace of this lies in acceptance. But it’s okay to be angry at first.
2. You won’t always have the answers.
I’m not sure who created the myth that you have to have everything figured out before thirty. I want to find this person and force them to read anyone’s memoir or scan my Instagram.
I liked math in high school because those problems always generated a clear and logical result. I later realized that my affection for numbers was a result of my own distaste for life’s uncertainty.
You won’t always have the answers. It’s okay to not have the answers. Write this on your wall. Text it to yourself. Spray paint it on an underpass.
Don’t let anyone else convince you otherwise.
3. Don’t worry about completely changing your life.
Twenty-five is a midpoint. We associate midpoints with change (or crises).
You may feel the urge to purge. You may want to eradicate the past, tear down a house, or get a completely new degree.
You don’t have to do any of this if you don’t want to. Be impulsive. But don’t feel the pressure to transform. You’re already transforming.
If you do crave change, start low and slow. Follow small tips like these for transforming your life in little, thoughtful, manageable ways. Celebrate the tiny motion.
4. You’re still becoming you.
Speaking of change, you are still evolving. Your biology is renewing itself. Your brain is still figuring its neurons out. Our hearts are pumping us closer to ourselves every day.
Instead of fighting this evolution—or ignoring it, like I did—lean into it. The becoming is more important than the arriving.
But before you call me out for reading too much Rumi or speaking in clichés, hear me out.
Understanding that we are all journeying can make it easier to love yourself. And loving yourself makes it easier to love someone and something.
I’m all about gentle, mindful evolution. Love the changes. Walk closer to who you want to be each morning.
5. You really can do anything.
You are more powerful than you realize. Dive deep into your power and dream.
I believe fiercely in you. You should too.
6. Your friends now may not be your friends later.
Twenty-five can be a time of loss. It was for me. I looked around and realized that all of those friends I made in college had walked on (or I had). My community had expanded and then shrunk.
I called up some of these college friends and found that we had nothing really to talk about. Our contexts had shifted.
Friends you’ve made or are making may not stick around. You may not stick around.
This is natural. It says nothing about you beyond the fact that you are journeying.
You can grieve the loss of these friends. But I want you to celebrate your journey more. Be who you have become, not what your friends have become.
7. You matter most.
Now is the decade of new employment (or unemployment, as it was for me). It is a time of apartments and house-sitting. It may be a time for love or summer flings.
It may be a relationship that’s more toxic than you realized.
It’s easy to prioritize all of these things above you. But you matter more. You will always matter more.
Recognizing this isn’t selfish. Nor is it narcissistic. In fact, it’s a cornerstone of self-love and respect. Put yourself on the gracious pedestal you deserve.
From here, you can see more of the world anyways. The view is amazing.
8. Things can wait.
At twenty-five, some of my friends were having babies and getting married and becoming CEOs. Others were jungle bushwacking or making wicked latte art.
There’s no to-do list here. You don’t have to check any boxes unless you really want to. Step into your own vision and not someone else’s.
In other words: it all can wait. The latte art and the baby bump. There’s no timeline— only the one you create.
9. Life moves.
And it’s taking you with it. This fact once made me melancholy. Now, it’s given me a sweet urgency.
I won’t say that “now is the time to be impulsive” or “time is of the essence.” Now is always the time to try new things and step into your daring.
My hope for you is that you build a relationship to time that serves you. Its motion is beautiful (and sad), but inevitable. When you finish reading this article, get out there and find that motion.
10. People want to listen (and they will).
You may feel alone and small. You may feel patronized. I know I felt a wild pressure to perform and a simultaneous, deep need for someone to listen to my words.
Don’t think for a second that people don’t want to listen. The right ears will open for you. You have a story and people will listen to it.
I’m listening. That’s a good start, isn’t it?