June happens to be my favorite month. I love the transition of spring into summer; when the flowers are in full bloom and the days are long. I love that the days get warmer, but not yet to the point that it’s miserable to be outside. I also love that it’s my birthday month.
Birthdays have always been important to me. Not only do I enjoy celebrating the existence of myself and the people in my life, but I also like to celebrate the changes that we go through. I find it fascinating how much a person can change in a year and I believe birthdays are a time for reflection.
This year I will be turning 25. An entire quarter-century. And since that first quarter-century of our human lives in centered around learning, growth, and development, I want to share with you all what I think are the most important things I’ve learned along the way.
25 Things I Learned By Age 25
1. Never say never. I am nowhere near the person I was when I was twelve, fifteen, or even twenty-two. There are pieces of my personality that are ingrained within me, but everything else has changed. There are times, especially in my late teens, that I said I would “never do this” or “never say that”. But some of those “nevers” ended up becoming integral parts of creating the person I am. There is no way of knowing who we will transition into as we age. A never today can become a must tomorrow.
2. Stand your ground. One thing I am thankful hasn’t diminished as I got older is my ability to stand up for what I believe in. I’ve always had strong opinions, and as I’ve aged I’ve just become more and more confident in voicing them. Respect other people’s’ opinions and be open to new information and perspectives, but don’t let someone quiet you because your beliefs differ from theirs.
3.Not everything needs to be an argument. This is something I’ve learned, but I’m not always good at putting into practice. As I mentioned, I’m a pretty opinionated person. I am also highly passionate and stubborn. I have my opinions, and, up until recently, I would fight to change any opinion that opposed mine. And I would fight hard. I saw it as, I’m right, you’re wrong, and that’s that. Agreeing to disagree was not an option. This was a horrible trait and left a lot of people angry with me. I eventually learned that you cannot change how people think, you can only offer them a new perspective and take in their perspective as well. Do I still argue with people? Yes. But, not as often, not as hard, and not as offensively as I once did.
4. Smile. A genuine smile is prettier than any make-up.
5.You are someone’s ray of sunshine. We all have at least one person who lights up our day, but it’s easy to forget that we are that person for someone too.
6.Food is both a medicine and a poison. I was the girl in high school and college that would post pictures of Pizza Rolls, Starbucks, and Ben and Jerry’s on Instagram, captioned #breakfastofchampions. I was so proud of the way I was “eating”, but I felt like crap. Now, I don’t do that anymore. I found a love for cooking my own food and eating a balanced diet. After two pregnancy my weight and health at 25 is better than it was at 18. And I didn’t cut those things out completely. I still occasionally indulge, but I don’t makes those foods my everyday meals like I use to .
7.Kids are the greatest teachers. I had the privilege of growing up with siblings a decade younger than me, and now I have daughters a decade younger than them. They teach me something new every single day. As much as my parents and peers have influenced my life, those younger than me have taught me the most.
8. TV is just as addicting as sugar. Don’t get me wrong, I love TV. But, the problem is, I really LOVE TV. I used to be a major TV junkie and the queen of Netflix binge watching. There was at least one show set to record every night of the week. I knew when each one premiered, which shows got canceled or renewed, and what new shows were coming out for each season. TV was a major addiction for me and took up quite a bit of my time. I still watch TV, but not as much as a used to and I think I appreciate it more for that.
9. Always be kind, because people will remember when you’re not. Working in customer service taught me this one, and it sucks, but it’s the truth. Out of 99 good deeds, one bad deed will always carry more weight and news of it will spread like wildfire. Now, we should all be kind just because it’s the right thing to do, but, we are human and things happen. So, next time your about to freak out on someone, try to think about how you want to be remembered.
10. Home Ec needs to be a graduation requirement. The amount of high school kids that don’t know how to do basic house chores is scary.
11. Passions will come and go. There are so many things I was passionate about when I was younger that just don’t resonate with me as much anymore (goodbye TV schedules), and so many new passions that I’ve gained along the way.
12. Failure is the only option. If you aren’t failing, then you aren’t learn. You can’t be a natural at everything and a few failures here and there show you what not to do next time.
13. I never want to be “rich.” Financially stable and living comfortably is what I strive for. Being rich seems like much more work than it’s worth.
14. Don’t respond to rudeness. Disagreements are natural, but things should always be said with some respect and class. If someone is being flat-out rude that person has reached a point where respect has gone out the window, so even responding is a waste of energy. Just walk away and let the person calm down. They will either reflect on what they said and apologize without being prompted or they wont. Their actions will show their true self and will give you an idea of where you stand.
15. “Never trust your tongue when your heart is bitter.” While we are on the topic of rudeness, this also applies. In the heat of the moment words can come out much more harsh than they are meant, and apologies don’t always fix that. Some words sting more than physical blows, so try to watch what you say when you’re upset.
16. Take time to look at the moon. Seriously. There is just something magical about it.
17. The human body is an incredible thing. Those of you who have been pregnant before or have watched a child grow will understand this instantly. Those who haven’t, just think back to all of the things your body has been through. A lot of stress gets put on our bodies, some more than others, yet, if you’re reading this, you’re still here. That is incredible to me.
18. Being judgmental isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I personally hate the phrase, “don’t be so judgmental.” I don’t hate it because it’s not intended to be good advice, but because it is so often used wrong. Judgment is a primal instinct meant to keep us safe. The definition of judgment is to “come to a sensible conclusion.” When you find yourself in a new situation or meet a new person your brain instantly starts judging, which is basically your intuition speaking to you. If you ignore that because society has taught you not to be “judgmental”, you are potentially putting yourself in harm’s way. Should you judge a person based on their actions, previous experience, or even the vibes they are putting of? Absolutely. Now, “judging” someone based on their sexual orientation, religious preference, or the way they look is not judgement at all. It’s prejudice.
19. If you read books, you will never be lonely. For this reason, getting grounded never seemed like a punishment to me. Some of my favorite people only exist as words on a page.
20. Pay it forward, but only when you can. As a collective species, I believe we need to work on being more giving, but, those of us who already do give, also need to learn to say no. There have been far too many times that I have given more than I had to offer, whether it be financially, physically, or emotionally. You need to fill your own cup before filling someone else’s, and the more you make sure you’re okay, the more you can help others.
21. Mental breakdowns happen to everyone. Whether you are 2, 25, 55, or 90, there are moments when your capacity to “deal” will hit its max and you just need to let it out. It’s health and it’s human.
22. Stop and smell the roses. And I mean this literally. Roses smell amazing and must be appreciated. Plus, you owe it to yourself to take in all of that wonderful aromatherapy.
23. Credit cards are dangerous. I know credit is an important thing to establish in the world we live in, but I truly believe credit cards are pure evil, especially in your early 20s. The temptation to buy things I couldn’t afford was way too strong for me.
24. Coffee dates are the best form of therapy. Many of the issues I’ve had throughout my 25 years have been resolved over a cup of coffee with a good friend.
25. Never stop learning. This is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my life so far. We go through so many changes every day we grow older. Things I had a hard time understanding at 21 come easy to me now. Books I read at 16 had a much different meaning when I reread them at 18 or 22. Aging should be about growth, and to grow is to learn. Learning shouldn’t stop once you get that diploma, but should continue every single day of your life.
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