From Our Readers
August 28, 2015 7:46 am

The age 25  seems worlds different than 24. I feel like when I turned 25, I immediately rethought my finances, decided to buy a house, and did a lot of self-reflection. (I may have been channeling John Mayer’s “Quarter Life Crisis” a bit too much.)

You can spend the whole first 25 years of your life growing and developing into a beautiful, unique individual, but there are some things that should definitely know by now. If you don’t, no worries—there’s still time. But here’s a primer on what a quarter life of wisdom should have helped you with.

Be yourself, all the time

I spent a lot of my youth being who I thought everyone needed or wanted me to be. I pushed my own wants and needs to the side when it came to everything from a super controlling relationship, to religious preference, to choices in schools. I really never started to be happy and successful until I found myself and considered myself first. I haven’t looked back.

Invest in quality instead of quantity

This goes for all things that you aren’t buying in bulk at Costco. Should you have 50 acquaintances that you can hardly trust or 5 of the best friends you could imagine? Besties. Always. Find quality things to improve your life, not just cheap thrills.

Trust people, but be careful

It’s important to keep your heart open to new experiences and new people, but it’s equally important that you make sure to be careful about what those things are. As you get older, you get a little better at figuring out the people that are worth your trust, and the people that aren’t.

Live within your means

You may WANT that $700 pair of shoes, but when your bills add up to $1500 and you only bring in $2000 per month, it’s really not the best idea. Make sure you know when to say “no” and when to cut things out of your budget. It’s not worth it in the long run to end up in debt over shoes.

Pay your bills on time every time

 I’m not kidding one bit. Too many times I have decided to push off one bill for some dumb thing (living above my means, of course.) It got me in to some trouble, and in some cases it got me so far behind that I just quit. Fast forward more than five years, and now I have JUST paid off all these ridiculous bills I should have paid off years ago. All these things will catch up with you.

Commit

To whatever you are doing for whatever reason, commit. There is something to be said about trying new things, but once you find that thing you have an interest in…commit. Whether it’s a long term or short term goal, you need to have that follow through for it to make a difference..

If something (or someone) is making you miserable, don’t stay

Loyalty is good and important. But if something isn’t doing it for you anymore, you’re allowed to quit. That goes for jobs, relationships, friendships, hobbies, and apartments.

If you can afford to move out of your parents’ house, you should

This sounds so simple, but it’s so, so difficult. When I moved out of my parent’s house, I got a hold of life. The real life- paying bills, cleaning up after all your messes, entertaining, grocery shopping, and being by yourself. Move out, and you will gain such a sense of independence.

Try not to worry about problems you don’t have yet

Always thinking about the worst case scenario might be a preparation mechanism, but it means that you spend a lot of time worrying about problems you don’t even have yet. You’d be surprised at how things work out. Trust that it’ll shake out eventually and that you can deal with problems as they arise.

Go to the dentist

Dental work is expensive and not fun. Just because your mom quits making the appointments for you, doesn’t mean you should just not go. Better to get the cleaning now than to wait for a root canal later!

Pick your battles

You can’t possibly win all of them, but why stress yourself out over things that won’t ultimately matter to you in the first place? Think about if it will really matter to you in a week or a month—then decide if it’s worth fighting for.

Call your parents

Remember to thank the people or person who took care of you for at least 18 years. They don’t stop worrying just because you’ve grown up, and a phone call goes a long way.

Keep reading

Learning never stops! Read new releases, read old favorites, or anything else. Just don’t give up the habit.

Consider your health

Just like going to the dentist, you need to continue regular check-ups with your doctor. You never think about growing old, but you are every single day. Just make sure things are working properly, so you can go about doing the awesome things you do.

Learn to cook

Being out in the world means that you decide what and where you eat. That’s great! But it’s hard and expensive to live on takeout. Learn how to make a couple simple meals at home, and your life and budget will be much improves.

Save your money

Who wants to do this? I don’t think anyone would rather keep their money in an “untouchable” account versus going on a shopping spree. But it’s good to have, just in case. You never know what might happen, and you’ll thank your past self when you really need the funds.

Ask questions

It’s ok to disagree, and be wrong, and not know everything. Don’t be afraid to ask real questions.

Learn the difference between sharing and oversharing

Definitely let people on social media know about your new job! The lint you found under your couch though…maybe not? Everyone has a different threshold for privacy, so figure yours out and stick to it.

Simplify everything

I like to think of this as a whole life spring cleaning. Those pieces of furniture you never use? Say goodbye. The hobbies you do but don’t actually care to do? Stop them. The extra steps you take in your morning ritual for no real reason? Not anymore. Take the things out of your life that have no good reason for being there.

Take your time

Anything you do can be done at your own pace! Don’t let peer pressure try to speed you up just to compensate for how or when your friends are doing it.

Listen more

It’s a great quality to have in a friend and a person.

Be present

your phone when you go to dinner. Have a conversation without electronics. Just live for a while. Your phone will be there when you’re done.

Be charitable and generous with your time

Don’t do it because “karma,” though. Do it because you care for humanity. Do it because there are people less fortunate than you who are in need. It will touch your life to see you’re helping someone in need.

Smile more

Smile at your friends, your cat, your boyfriend, and strangers. A smile is a genuine sign of a hello, and it doesn’t go unnoticed! Project happiness into your life and the lives of others.

Don’t apologize for being you

Don’t make excuses for the things you love. Just be you, be true to yourself, and make sure other people know you don’t mind letting them know you love being you. You have nothing to be sorry for!

Brittney Mason (Indianapolis, IN) works in newspaper advertising for the stability, and is fully fluent in sarcasm. She is devoted to her husband, her iPhone, and her cat, Joey 2 Chainz. She can be found on her lifestyle blog, theprettyplus.com, where she writes of all things plus size—especially fashion, wellness, and beauty.

[Image via HBO]

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