I’m twenty-five today. Two-five, dos-cinco. And to be honest, I’m not freaked out by it. I thought I would be. When I was 18, 25 seemed ancient. 25 seemed “adult.” And while I am most definitely an adult, I don't feel ancient. Thank god!
Why don't I feel ancient? Well, I gave my age a little bit of thought, a little perspective, and I realized I am still really young. I’m so young. My only responsibility is me, and right now – that works. Too often we look ahead. What’s next? What’s coming? Where are we going? And for the first time, in a long time, I am thinking about right now.
As I began to write this post I realized I only know so much. But! the little I do know is worth sharing. My hope is that you will take my little nuggets of advice and learn from them! Take them and apply them to your life. So that at 25 you may know more than me (insert wink face here)! So, here are the 25 things I know on January 26th, 2015, at the ripe age of 25:
Stop judging yourself This isn't something new. You know you can be hard on yourself. I can too. It's not healthy. Life is a series of choices and if you choose to stop judging yourself, you'll become more confident in making decisions.
Confidence Is Sexy It's hard to believe in yourself everyday. It's hard to wake up and say hey world, I'm awesome! It's not something you do, it's something you practice. The more you practice telling yourself you're awesome, the more apt you are to believe it. And sooner or later, magical, wonderful things will happen. Confidence in work, confidence in the way you look, the way you act. It will start to affect every part of your life.
Say No This is something I really need to work on. I say yes to everyone, to the point where I am overwhelmed with projects and dinners and meetings. It leaves me unorganized and overwhelmed. When I can't give all of myself to one specific thing, I feel like a failure. My work suffers and it's not worth it. Prioritize your yes' and realize that it's okay to say no.
Say Yes If you are an unattached-twenty-something the sky is the limit! You know those nights where you'd rather drink wine and watch a movie, after a long week? Don't! You are only responsible for you right now, so say yes to every opportunity that comes your way. Especially if it's a chance to meet new people. You never know what may happen.
Friendship is Relative I often hear that as you get older, your friend-group shrinks. This can be for all sorts of reasons - you grow apart, you move apart. But realize something else! Every adult relationship requires hard work and communication. From both sides. As you move and grow and become the person you're supposed to, so too are your friends. It's up to you to make time for those friendships. You may go months without seeing someone, but that connection shouldn't be broken just because you're life doesn't align with theirs. It once did, so don't throw away something important just because you're at different stages in life.
Exercise There is no cheat to this. And I will be the first person to say that sometimes it's hard to find the motivation. But this is something you have to want to do. And it's the absolute best thing to do when your super stressed or going through a hard time.
Parents Are Awesome There comes a point when you realize that your parents are real people. And they're totally awesome! They're adults that have gone through hard times and made mistakes. They've never had it all figured out, because no one does. They give the best advice and I count mine as my best friends.
Be Selfish I can't stress this one enough. There is no other time in your life when you can be selfish. I'm not talking about the negative version of selfish. I'm saying that this is the only time to make the best decisions for yourself. If you choose to live your life for someone else, you'll only end up resenting them in the end.
Once you've accepted your flaws, no one can use them against you. Realize that you're not perfect. No one is! You most definitely have flaws. But if you recognize those flaws, you can learn to work through them in certain situations. You'll be less self conscious, if you recognize that you can't do everything perfectly.
It's okay to get discouraged, but it's not okay to give up! I get discouraged often, but I have learned to never let it affect my ambition. When situations don't play out as planned, it's super easy to give up. Don't. There is no excuse. Step back, take a deep breath and look at the situation in a different way. But never, ever give up.
Learn How To Manage Finances This is something I wish I had learned at a younger age. Never having been a math person, I get confused sometimes. Ask for help if you need it, but learn how to budget your finances.
It’s Okay To Change Your Mind Throughout our lives, we make decisions for unknown reasons, sometimes its reasons we aren't ready to admit to ourselves or others. It's okay to recognize that a certain path isn't for you. This is your life. You control your destiny.
Learn How To Fight Everyone argues, fights, disagrees. It typically means you're passionate and you're willing to take a stance on a certain subject. When you're coming from a naive perspective, you're argument may be perceived as immature. Learn to understand the other person's argument, even if you don't agree with it. Then compromise. Fighting proactively will always produce a positive result.
Be Open Minded I grew up in a very conservative town and I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to travel, to learn about different cultures. Ever since moving to a new city, I'm constantly reminded that I came from a very small bubble. And this in fact, is a very big world. Being open minded is the only way to live.
Speak Up One of my biggest pet peeves is when people don't speak up for themselves and as a result blame others for their inabilities. If you have something to say, say it! You won't get what you want until you ask for it.
Be Proactive Never be afraid to be assertive in certain situations. Especially in business. If you want to accomplish something, no one is going to hold your hand through that process. My best piece of advice: fake it 'til you make it. It all goes back to confidence. If you want something: make connections, ask questions and figure it out. No one is going to do it for you.
Be Present I'm really bad at this, but I'm working on it. I too often think of the next big thing, the next big project, the next big step. I don't stop and say - hey, I've made it this far! And that should count for something. So when you've accomplished a goal or won a small victory, pat yourself on the back. Recognize that right now, at this moment, you're winning.
Follow Your Gut Channel your inner Olivia Pope here, my friends. There is a little voice inside your head, and that voice is constantly navigating you. And there are many times that you don't listen to it. You should start.
Don't Stay Stagnant As I begin to navigate this new life of mine, I've realized how often people stay in one place. They never change their visions, their opinions, their location. And in my opinion, that can be deadly. To your mental and emotional health. Continue learning, continue growing, continue fighting to be the best person you can be. Anything else is madness.
Always write a thank you note It's the simplest form of gratitude and the best way to make someone smile. It's also the polite thing to do.
Be Grateful Or what's the point? Billions of people don't have what you have right now. So when you're having a melt down about a late train, please stop. Realize life could be a lot worse.
Enjoy Your Own Company If you can't enjoy time with yourself, how do you expect anyone else to? Take yourself to dinner. Take yourself to the movies. Take yourself on a nice, long walk. Learn to be your own best friend.
Learn From Your Mistakes I've said it before: fail fast and fail often. And you will fail. Failure is the best thing that can happen to you. It's the only thing that teaches you something. My advice: when you learn the lesson, don't learn it again. Learn from the experience and move on.
Be Kind This goes out to those of you struggling to get to the next point in your life. Recognize the people who hold your hand, who will listen to your story, who will give feedback on your resume. Those people are really nice. So when you get to their position, be just as nice. There is never an excuse to be anything but kind.
25 There is always, always, always more to learn And that is what gets me up in the morning.
25 is going to be a magical year and I can't wait to make that magic happen.