25 Things To Do Before You Turn 25

1. Make peace with your parents. Whether you finally recognize that they actually have your best interests in mind or you forgive them for being flawed human beings, you can’t happily enter adulthood with that familial brand of resentment.

2. Kiss someone you think is out of your league; kiss models and med students and entrepreneurs with part-time lives in Dubai and don’t worry about if they’re going to call you afterward.

3. Minimize your passivity.

4. Work a service job to gain some understanding of how tipping works, how to keep your cool around assholes, how a few kind words can change someone’s day.

5. Recognize freedom as a 5:30 a.m. trip to the diner with a bunch of strangers you’ve just met.

6. Try not to beat yourself up over having obtained a ‘useless’ Bachelor’s Degree. Debt is hell, and things didn’t pan out quite like you expected, but you did get to go to college, and having a degree isn’t the worst thing in the world to have. We will figure this mess out, I think, probably; the point is you’re not worth less just because there hasn’t been an immediate pay off for going to school. Be patient, work with what you have, and remember that a lot of us are in this together.

7. If you’re employed in any capacity, open a savings account. You never know when you might be unemployed or in desperate need of getting away for a few days. Even $10 a week is $520 more a year than you would’ve had otherwise.

8. Make a habit of going outside, enjoying the light, relearning your friends, forgetting the internet.

9. Go on a 4-day, brunch-fueled bender.

10. Start a relationship with your crush by telling them that you want them. Directly. Like, look them in the face and say it to them. Say, I want you. I want to be with you.

11. Learn to say ‘no’ — to yourself. Don’t keep wearing high heels if you hate them; don’t keep smoking if you’re disgusted by the way you smell the morning after; stop wasting entire days on your couch if you’re going to complain about missing the sun.

12. Take time to revisit the places that made you who you are: the apartment you grew up in, your middle school, your hometown. These places may or may not be here forever; you definitely won’t be.

13. Find a hobby that makes being alone feel lovely and empowering and like something to look forward to.

14. Think you know yourself until you meet someone better than you.

15. Forget who you are, what your priorities are, and how a person should be.

16. Identify your fears and instead of letting them dictate your every move, find and talk to people who have overcome them. Don’t settle for experiencing .000002% of what the world has to offer because you’re afraid of getting on a plane.

17. Make a habit of cleaning up and letting go. Just because it fit at one point doesn’t mean you need to keep it forever — whether ‘it’ is your favorite pair of pants or your ex.

18. Stop hating yourself.

19. Go out and watch that movie, read that book, listen to that band you already lied about watching, reading, listening to.

20. Take advantage of health insurance while you have it.

21. Make a habit of telling people how you feel, whether it means writing a gushing fan-girl email to someone whose work you love or telling your boss why you deserve a raise.

22. Date someone who says, “I love you” first.

23. Leave the country under the premise of “finding yourself.” This will be unsuccessful. Places do not change people. Instead, do a lot of solo drinking, read a lot of books, have sex in dirty hostels, and come home when you start to miss it.

24. Suck it up and buy a Macbook Pro.

25. Quit that job that’s making you miserable, end the relationship that makes you act like a lunatic, lose the friend whose sole purpose in life is making you feel like you’re perpetually on the verge of vomiting. You’re young, you’re resilient, there are other jobs and relationships and friends if you’re patient and open. TC Mark


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  • Alex

    Even though this is quite lighthearted, it will get countless comments like this…


    Hopefully this will save them the time.

    • Veronica


  • Kira

    i think this is great

  • http://ideasexplorer.wordpress.com ideasexplorer

    One of the most difficult things in your list is to forget the Internet. It is hard to imagine how we could forget about it even for a little while. We need to check our emails, our FB, our Twitter, our Blogs… don’t we? ;)

    • apoorv

      hey. Forget the internet doesn’t mean completely forget it. It just means don’t waste your time in front of it as many of us do.

      • http://ideasexplorer.wordpress.com ideasexplorer

        I know apoorv. Still it will be difficult for so many people precisely because of all the possibilities we have with the Internet. Of course, I completely agree with you that we should not waste time in front of it.

  • Troncat

    24. Ugh.

  • http://twitter.com/heather_mill Heather Mill (@heather_mill)

    How much did Apple pay you for the product placement?

    • conspiracytheorist

      not as much as they pay the actors in Starbucks to use them

      • http://www.facebook.com/alexandra.lizardbreath Alexandra Thompson

        I legitimately laughed out loud

  • http://www.facebook.com/nicksmarto Nick Smarto

    I turn 25 tomorrow, and this list was a good inspiration. I’ve accomplished most of it, it’s going to be a busy 8 hours….

    • http://twitter.com/tannnyaya Tanya Salyers (@tannnyaya)

      I miss the ‘like’ button, but I like this. Happy Birthday!

    • http://myarrows.wordpress.com iknowthemall

      Are you still wearing heels, Nick? Happy Birthday!

    • Nishtha Pandey

      Hi! I wish I could have liked your post! Belated Happy Birthday! Loads of luck! :)

  • http://twitter.com/SymonePHarris Doctora West (@SymonePHarris)

    And I shall take this advice to heart. Great piece by the way.

  • http://allthiswandering.tumblr.com Sonj

    Missing a few things, but for what’s on here, very heartfelt and enlightening… except for sex in dirty hostels because that’s kinda gross, and the idea that places change people, or maybe its the fact of being away. Regardless, if you think of 25 more, I hope they’re just as good.

  • http://www.facebook.com/youknowiwasheretoo Richa

    Needed this. Thank you. I think this was wonderful.

  • Erin

    This is one of the best Thought Catalogues yet! It’s like your own adaptation of “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)”.

    • Erin

      Oh! And places may not necessarily change people, but it does help you discover things about yourself, help you grow, and may even guide you in a certain direction that can be life-changing (it did for me!) :)

  • http://scrawleddownpaperedges.blogspot.co.uk/ Henry

    Very poetic. And I’m sorry, Yes, to No. 24.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dannygjr Danny Gee

    You had me before MacBook Pro. Seriously, what the hell, January?

  • http://twitter.com/copper0928 Alyssa (@copper0928)

    Learn to say ‘no’ — to yourself. Don’t keep wearing high heels if you hate them; don’t keep smoking if you’re disgusted by the way you smell the morning after; stop wasting entire days on your couch if you’re going to complain about missing the sun. :)

  • soy

    I can proudly say that I’m at 24/25… And I’ll be 25 in 2 months. But I’m missing #1. It’s not as easy as it looks, especially when they won’t forgive you for growing up.

    • Sammy

      Whatever is eating away at your relationship with your parents, mend it immediately. They aren’t perfect people, all you can do is accept them and love them as they are. I wish I had known this before my father passed away when I was 23.

      • L

        Some of us have abusive parents though. You can’t always have a relationship with your parents. Walk away if you need to.

  • http://shutupheather.tumblr.com/ Heather Leonard

    this is brilliant, my favourite post in a while.

  • http://www.facebook.com/abubakr.hussain AbuBakr Hussain

    Lol – i’m past it – in fact, very soon my red detector will start pulsing in my hand (a la Logan’s run), and i will have to leave thought catalogue..
    however… before i do go. I think THE MOST important thing i learnt in my 20s, was being autonomous. For so long i was dominated by my instincts, by my limbic brain, whatever you wish to call it. People praise ‘gut feelings’ so much – but always doing something because i felt like it was hyper-destructive.
    When i realised that everything I do, is an active choice, I choose to do things, that’s what changed my life…
    also a lot of these sound like ‘things to make you look old’ – open a savings account? what… no =p

  • Carrie

    9. Go on a 4-day, brunch-fueled bender.

    I’m intrigued..

  • http://www.itmakesmestronger.com/2012/06/25-things-to-do-before-you-turn-25/ Only L<3Ve @ ItMakesMeStronger.com

    […] Thought Catalog » Life Add a comment […]

  • http://gravatar.com/ellapalooza Ella Ceron

    24. …. Or the Louboutins. Or the great dinner at the Michelin star restaurant. Or anything else that is extravagant and really expensive, and something you worked for and really earned. Everyone needs that one thing that reminds us if we work really hard, even silly, extravagant, first world goals can be really satisfying.

    • JL

      I completely agree… If you don’t do it now, when?

      • http://www.facebook.com/abubakr.hussain AbuBakr Hussain

        true – with my first job out of uni i bought myself a ridiculously expensive suit (1 weeks salary).. damn it looked good lol

    • Nicki

      Thank you! I’m sure that this is what was meant by that comment. Not specifically the Macbook, but that one investment piece that seems too expensive but will make your life easier/happier/better and that you work so hard to obtain.

  • http://theiiiv.wordpress.com chandlerstephen

    Haha number 19 = audio douches

  • ct

    shouldnt you have gotten most of this list stuff out of the way pre-college?

    also, people that dont hate themselves are chronically uninteresting.

  • NK

    must be nice to have $2000 laying around for some of this stuff.

  • P. Stevens

    #18. So. Hard.

  • Spo

    Lost me at #24, “buy a macbook pro.” Everything else is okay but that has literally nothing to do with bettering yourself as a person. Fuck whoever wrote this, what a dumb way to ruin an otherwise inspiring piece.

    • woodland

      Here’s an idea: consider #24 a metaphor for getting yourself something you really really wanted but didn’t necessarily need. You could replace “macbook pro” with “extravagant luxury”

  • DF

    Even if you don’t like #24, how does that completely ruin a post that has 24 other points you found relevant?

    How about this:

    24. Become less dramatic.

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