1. A savings account.
For most of us, saving money is kind of tedious. But it’s necessary. There is nothing worse than getting hit with an unexpected bill or expense and having to scramble to come up with the funds to pay for it. Setting aside money each month or paycheck is not only responsible, but will save future you in a bind. With direct transfer options and apps like Acorn and Mint, it’s practically impossible to not do these days. So just do it.
2. A person you can call at 2 AM.
It might be because you need a ride, because you HAVE to talk about an amazing band you just saw, or maybe because you just need an ear to listen to you ramble. But everyone needs someone they know they can count on no matter what. It’s a big, lonely world, but you shouldn’t be going at it alone.
3. Something you’re immeasurably proud of accomplishing.
It could be as big as landing your dream job or as (seemingly) small as running your first 10 minute mile, but at 25 you should have things in your life that fulfill you and that make you proud. You should be striving every day to live a life you’re excited about. If you aren’t…what are you doing?
4. A really terrible first date story.
Nothing shapes you as a human quite like surviving a truly awful first date. We learn by example, and you’ll learn how to be a better date moving forward by being on the opposite end of a really bad one. Plus, it’s always fun (long, long after the fact of course) to have a horror story to recount at parties when everyone’s talking about dating disasters.
5. A grasp on your overall health.
By 25 your days of chewing on Flintstone’s gummies and just hoping for the best should be over. You should ACTUALLY be attempting to take care of yourself. This means dragging yourself to the gym, going to the doctor when you’re sick, and just generally trying to be healthy as best you can. Not taking care of yourself is unattractive, and frankly, just lazy.
6. The ability to say ‘No.’
No is a complete sentence. Use it.
7. A drink of choice.
At 25 you should absolutely not still be panicking about your drink order when the bartender or cocktail waitress comes around, only to end up ordering something you aren’t even sure you like. You should know that whiskey makes you sassy, and tequila makes you sick. Having a go-to cocktail and being sure of yourself when you order is not only a time saver, but it’s really sexy.
You should be able to go out and stay in. Work out and veg out. Your life may be one of extremes, but it should also have moments of quiet. Life isn’t meant to be constantly lived at a 10. If you’re always flying too close to the sun, eventually you’ll get burned.
9. The maturity to recognize when something is your fault.
By 25 you should stop being the person who never owns it when they mess up. You should be able to maturely (and sincerely) apologize and ask how you can be and do better. The person who is able to own their shit is the person who gets furthest in life.
10. A go to karaoke jam.
Stop caring what other people think and just get up there and belt out some Journey. Or Britney. Or whatever makes you dance. Just have fun.
11. An email that you actually check.
It is 2016 — check your email. Get back to people, be responsive. Don’t miss out on things because you ignored a notification. You can prioritize and deem things important, and some things trash. But don’t be the person who just never responds. Because eventually, people will stop asking for one.
12. Goals you’re actually working towards accomplishing.
Sure, you may not be totally certain what you want to do, but nothing is more lackluster and boring to be around than complacency. Set goals, be ambitious, try to be better. If you think you’re at your peak that’s not only really sad, but you’re wrong.
13. A first aid kit.
Don’t be the person who complains about a headache but doesn’t have Tylenol, or gets a bleeding hang nail and only has a paper towel. A first aid kit is a necessity. Your bandaids might have superheroes on them but at least you’ll still have bandaids.
14. A ‘shake it off’ mentality.
One of the biggest and most important things you can learn in life is that it’s possible to adamantly dislike something, but not let it affect your life. Holding grudges and giving into drama is for teenagers and reality show contestants; not self-actualized, chill, awesome 25-year-olds.
15. A computer.
Let’s face it, they are necessary. Get a computer, take care of it, and always extend your warranty if the option is available.
16. An article of clothing that makes you feel most ‘you’.
Your signature style can change, but you should always have something that makes you feel fly as hell. Maybe it’s a slip dress, a crop top, a flannel, or a really sick pair of jeans. Whatever it is you should have something that makes you feel hot, beautiful, bangable, cute — whatever adjective that puts a spring in your step and a smile on your face.
17. A job.
Whether it’s grad school, something you absolutely love and feel passionate about, or just something to pay the bills, you should, no, NEED to have a job. Being funemployeed is laughable at 21, but just concerning at 25. And if you’re in between, you should be looking. It can be a harsh world, but having a source of income will make it a lot less harsh.
18. A song you can turn on when you just need to jam.
Everyone needs a pump up song. It makes you tap your feet, shake your hips, fist bump, and just be in an overall better mood. Have a song or a Spotify playlist that you can go to when you just need a pick me up. And make no apologies for the music. It doesn’t matter if it’s One Direction or Billie Holiday; if it makes you sing along, you’re doing it right.
19. A total guilty pleasure.
Maybe it’s cookie dough ice cream, maybe it’s reruns on Bravo, maybe it’s drinking martinis alone. Whatever it is everyone needs something indulgent that helps them unwind after a particularly stressful day or week. And they also need to know that they owe no one an explanation for it.
20. A friend who shoots it to you straight.
We all love the friends who genuinely believe that that person will text us back, or who are always there with a hug and an “it’s totally fine” mentality. But everyone needs an honest friend. Everyone needs a friend who is willing to be unpopular for a bit in order to tell you the truth. You may not always love her (or him) the most, but they are truly invaluable.
21. A really amazing first kiss story.
Not a whole lot that’s more magical in life than a really amazing first kiss.
22. The strength to say what you want.
You’re officially a grown up. Say what you want, and mean what you say. Being indecisive is an excuse for staying in a place or ending up with results that you aren’t happy with, which could’ve avoided simply by opening your mouth. Say you what you want from work, from friends, to eat, where you want to go, what you want in bed. Don’t allow yourself to stay stuck in a life you don’t want because you’re quiet about your needs.
23. A really reliable emergency contact.
This person needs to answer their phone, live in the same city as you, and be reliable enough to show up. No one wants to be in the ER alone. Don’t leave it as your mom if she lives thousands of miles away, or your ex you now have in your phone as “DO NOT CALL” unless you’re cool with them knowing about your medical situation.
24. The ability to differentiate between your and you’re.
Come on now.
The biggest thing that you should have a handle on at 25 is self-awareness. The days of being completely oblivious to your actions, their cause and effect, and what’s going on around you are gone. Be aware of your surroundings, be aware of what’s going on in the world. And most importantly, be aware of yourself.
And in gaining this self-awareness, you’ll also realize that everyone’s journey to 25 (and beyond) is different. And no matter what path you’re going along, no matter what journey you’re on, if you’re self-aware you’re probably doing okay.