From Our Readers
May 29, 2015 6:30 am

Having your age tick up from 24 to 25 may not be much, but there’s a world of difference between those two ages. I feel like when I turned 25, I immediately rethought my finances, decided to buy a house, and did a lot of self-reflection.

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 be learned by the time you’re 25. (Don’t worry: If you’re over 25 and haven’t learned these there’s is still time!)

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 relationships 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. Pride yourself in being YOU 100% of the time.

Quality is more important than quantity most of the time

This goes for all things at all times. Should you have 20 random store brand eye shadows or one great palette from a really awesome brand? Just the awesome. 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. The only things you need cheap and in bulk are plastic forks.

Be careful who you open up to

I know I have trusted and let in people that I shouldn’t have. Don’t trust just anyone in your home, with your heart, on your computer, or with your house keys. Letting your guard down is really important, but bering selective about it is just as crucial.

Live within (or below) 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. Treat yourself every now and then, of course, but make sure you know when to say no and when to cut things out of your budget. Don’t get crazy. It’s not worth it in the long run to end up with bills you “ignored” or debts that keep piling up.

Pay all your bills on time if it’s at all possible

 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…and then I didn’t pay the bill even when it came in, and it went to collections. Fast forward 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, so just pay your bills on time!

Do things with your whole heart

To whatever you are doing for whatever reason, commit to what you do. 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 one and you need to follow through.

If something (or someone) isn’t right for you, you don’t have to stay

 Say you have a boyfriend of 6 years who won’t commit, won’t grow up, cheated on you, doesn’t contribute, doesn’t respect you…well, you get it. He doesn’t serve you and you don’t need to stay. You deserve better! (This goes for more things than just relationships, too:  jobs, friendships, other organizations, and so forth)

Moving out of your childhood home will give you a whole new perspective

This sounds so simple, but it’s so, so difficult. Of course, it can take a while to be able to afford to make it out there on your own, but if you can, it’s so important. When I moved out of my parent’s house, I got a hold of life. I had to start dealing with all that annoying adult stuff like paying bills, cleaning up after all your messes, entertaining, grocery shopping, and being by yourself.

Worrying doesn’t accomplish very much

It happens all the time that you get possible bad news. Maybe your doctor says you have tests to run or you get a bill you think is incorrect, and then you immediately start thinking of the worst! Step back, evaluate the situation, and then give it time to work itself out naturally. Everyone gets anxious sometimes, but it’s important not to let yourself get carried away

No but really, go to the dentist

There is nothing in this world worse (and more expensive!) than dental work. 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 which battles are actually worth fighting

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.

Staying in touch with your loved ones is important

Your mom (or dad or aunt or brother) took care of you for at least 18 years. Do you think they ever stop wondering about your well-being? Take the time to pick up the phone and just say hello, let her know you are fine, and see what they’ve been up to.

Taking time to read a book is a kind of continued education

Learning never stops. Read new releases, read old favorites, just read and continue your learning process!

Take care of yourself

Just like going to the dentist, you need to continue regular check-ups with your doctor. Just make sure things are working properly, so you can go about doing the awesome things you do.

Vitamins are pretty important

Life is always about balance. I am not saying to count every calorie you consume, but make sure that you’re getting nutrition somewhere along the line.

Sock away some money for later

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 you never know. Having some savings could really help you out in a pinch.

Some skepticism is a good thing

Becoming an actual adult means that you can disagree with something, and keep pressing until you get a definitive answer. Don’t be afraid to ask questions for thing you don’t understand.

Decide your own limits on social media

Social media has everyone sharing anything and everything they come across, but you definitely don’t have to. You can keep some things quiet, and share other things with everyone. Those boundaries are different for everyone.

Get rid of whatever’s cluttering up

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.

Go at your own pace

Anything you do can be done at your own pace. DOn’t worry if it seems like all your friends have partners or promotions or pets. Everyone has their own process. Go at your own speed for these things and you will be much happier.

Really listen to people

Humans like to hear the sound of their own voice, but if we can sit that aside for a few minutes and listen to others, we can learn and really understand people. It’s a great quality to have.

Put down the phone/tablet/computer every once in a while

Every day, all day you’re tweeting, texting, swiping left, liking, gaming, friending, following, favoriting, poking…okay, you get the point. Sometimes the world online can feel so overwhelming and all-consuming, and it’s nice to take a little break.

Try to give back in some way

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.

Go the extra mile to be nice to someone

Smile at your friends, your cat, your boyfriend, and strangers. Say hello. Be kind even when someone isn’t being so nice to you. You’ll feel better.

Don’t apologize for doing what you love or what you need.

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!

It’s a long list, and don’t worry, we’re still working on these things even past 25. Here’s to many more years of learning things.

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