25 things I learnt by 25. [LONG READ]

Someone asked me the other day what advice I would give my younger self. It really got me thinking. I’d have a lot to tell her! I was a completely different person then and I don’t think she would recognise the person I have become. Turning 25 in particular has such a huge turning point for me and I know more about myself and the world than I ever have so I thought I would share some of the things I’ve learnt along the way. Who knew I would have learnt so much in my quarter life? Ha.

If someone you love hesitates to choose you, don’t choose them.
This goes for friends, lovers and sometimes even your own flesh and blood. You shouldn’t have to convince someone to love you. You shouldn’t have to show them you’re worthy of their love. If you ever find yourself in this position, let them go. You don’t have to keep trying to convince them that you’re extraordinary. They should be able to see it for themselves.

Getting no message is also a message.
The pit in your stomach when he/she doesn’t text you back shouldn’t be there. No one should be able to control you like that. It’s not healthy.

You will fail again and again and again.
And you might never ever win but that’s not the point. The point is the journey. If it was ever so easy to go from A to B without struggle, what would life be? It would definitely be boring, that’s for sure! You’ve got to learn to enjoy the struggle. Trust it. And one day, you’ll look back on it fondly and think of how much you gave it. If that’s not winning, I don’t know what it is.

It’s okay to spend money on things that make you happy.
Don’t ever let anyone tell you how to spend your money. If you earnt it then it’s your decision to make on how you should spend it. Your late teens and early 20s are when you are getting to know the adult you are becoming. Sometimes you’ll make great choices and sometimes you’ll make silly choices but it’s all part and parcel of knowing yourself. So if you want to buy that 6ft tall inflatable flamingo then you do it – and don’t you dare let anyone tell you that you shouldn’t!

Everyone (including your family, your colleagues and your best friend) will talk about you behind your back.
This doesn’t mean you don’t love each other. Just learn when to stop.

It’s never too early or late or a bad time to start anything.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll put off things because you can’t find the time (things like this post – I’ve been 25 for two months!) so let me tell you one thing: there’s never a right time. When you’re young, you think you’ll get to a certain age and then begin your life without obstacles but before you know it, you become that age and there’s other obstacles to do. Sooner or later, you’ll realize these obstacles are your life. Take your opportunity while you can because someday soon, your time will come to end and you’ll regret not doing those things you put off for years. Do it while you can.

Apologize without regret.
It’s understandable that as you grow into a fully-formed adult, some people may not see the world as you see it. You may grate on them and annoy them and possibly become their arch nemisis but don’t let them bring you down to their level. You’ve got to learn to rise above it and be the bigger person but learn how to say sorry and really mean it. And remind yourself not to be so careless with your words next time; they will make people love you a little less.

Don’t tether yourself to people.
Love people and make bonds but never solely rely on someone. Learn how to love with both of your feet steady on the ground.

People will change and forget to tell you.
It’s pretty common in life that people grow up. Ugh, I know. They change and they move on and they forget little ol’ you ever meant anything to them. They forget you were a shoulder to cry on at 3am or that you bought them that thing for their 20th birthday they always wanted and they’ll move on. But it’s okay. I can tell you from experience that you will cope and you will survive. It can happen to anyone at any age – whether you’re 25 or 85 – but you will be okay. Don’t let these losses keep you back from new gains.

Being smart is better than being beautiful.
I remember when I was younger and I wanted to be beautiful; now I’m older and I want to be intelligent and charismatic. Beauty only lasts so long but intelligence and charisma last forever. I want to be loved for my thoughts and nothing else.

You will break at some point.
As you grow into your twenties, you’ll realize that some people may be broken and the sad thing is that they can’t ever be fixed. You wonder when your turn is going to be – or if it’s already happened. What you’ve got to remember is that whether you’ve been broken or it hasn’t happened yet, you’ll be okay. Just like everyone else around. You’ll learn how to paper over the cracks in your heart and you’ll find the strength to face the world once again. You’ll be changed but you’ll keep moving. Trust the struggle.

Your gut is ALWAYS right.
Trust it and you’ll never go wrong. When I have gone against my intuition, it has always ended in disaster.

Put your career above a relationship.
Hold on! Just hear me out out. I don’t think this can be said once you’re on the wrong side of 30 but your early life is most definitely your time to be selfish. Don’t put all your time and effort into one person. If they up and leave, you’ll have nothing. Your career, however, won’t wake up one day and tell you it doesn’t love you anymore. Love will wait if it’s worth waiting for.

Time is not a measure of love.
The longest relationships are not always the strongest. You can be in a relationship for 2 years and feel nothing; you could be in a relationship for 2 weeks and feel everything. Time is no measure of love. Even within friendships, the ones with the most strength can sometimes be the shortest. It’s all about what time in your life you meet that particular person with that particular way you feel about one another and how much you need them to stay.

Say no and don’t feel guilty about it.
You don’t want to watch that movie your friend has begging you to see with her? Don’t. You don’t want to date that guy who everyone thinks is so perfect for you? Don’t. You don’t feel like saying yes anymore to a job offer you wanted months ago? Don’t. Say no. Don’t live a life you don’t want to live. Say no – to things that hurt you, to people that extinguish your fire, to jobs you hate and to places that don’t make you feel good. Say no until your yes is filled with strength.

Facebook photos suck.
Some of the “unflattering” photos of yourself that you untag yourself in on Facebook are actually a more accurate representation of what you really look like. UGH. I KNOW!

It’s not your responsibility if someone finds you attractive.
That’s not your purpose in life. Your existence is not defined by how desirable another human being finds you. You are worthy of life regardless. It took me a really long time to figure this out for myself but now that I have, the world is a very different place. Tbh it’s not really about how other people feel about you. It’s about how you feel about YOU. People will love you and people will hate you and none of it will have anything to do with you. You mean more than the amount of people who would have sex with you.

Society doesn’t like it when you like yourself.
There are actually people in this world who feel threatened by the idea of you liking yourself. Crazy, right?! They think if you like yourself, you’ll believe that you deserve to be treated well so you won’t tolerate it when they treat you badly – and they either don’t know how to treat you properly or don’t want to treat you properly. They know you liking yourself means that you will invariably leave them or stand up to them. When somebody wants you to doubt yourself, it’s because they want to use those doubts against you. To hell with those people! They don’t care about you. They just want to be able to treat you like dirt and they’re scared you won’t let them so go ahead, scare them; love yourself.

Only you can save yourself.
You might think to love and to be loved is the greatest thing in love but it can’t fix you. It can’t fill those cracks you keep finding inside yourself and it can’t take away the ugliness you see when you look at yourself in the mirror; you have to do that. They can tell you they love you every second of every day but if you don’t love yourself, you will never understand how it is possible for them to do so either. They can’t pull you back from the edge unless you hold out your hand.

There is more than one way to do things.
Aka there is more ways to do things than YOUR way. Learn to compromise and try not to feel so resentful. It’s so tough (trust me, I know this from experience) but it gets easier the more you do it. Try it out for a week then a month then it’ll become a habit and a huge weight will be lifted off your shoulders.

Let go of shitty friendships.
Over the past few years, I’ve lost friends constantly. Friends I studied with for years, best friends, childhood friends; a whole array. The reason? Me. I guess. I grew up. I outgrew them. I needed new friends. Our friendships had run their course and I let go. It was the right thing to do. There was no point in holding onto friendships that no longer served a purpose. What you’ll realize sooner or later is that you shouldn’t keep friends just become they’ve always been in your life. Question their role. Do they want the best for you? Do they clap when you win? Do they support you when you fail? If they don’t, let them go.

Some people won’t ever think you’re good enough.
There are many people that have created leagues in their mind and have judged you as completely below theirs. That won’t change; you can’t fix them. They will give you signs that they consider themselves above you and that you should run away from them as quickly as possible, and if you don’t follow that lead and stop degrading yourself — you will only ever be unhappy whether it’s in love or in friendship. Find someone else.

You are more than your title.
Whether you love your job or not, you are more than your career. If you don’t love it, people may judge you. They’ll ask why you’re not anything with your degree or trying to break into the industry you once yearned but times are tough. Ignore them. You have so much more to offer the world than a 9-to-5 job.

Travel every chance you get – and especially while you’re young.
My dad said something very similar to me when I turned 18 and I have very much taken his advice. I love travelling! It’s probably the thing I spend the most money and actually save for. The experiences you encounter while you travel are incredible, unique and occasionally not-so-great but nonetheless unforgettable. And do it while you’re young! My father travelled the world when he was much younger and, as he says, “one day, it’ll be too late and you’ll be too old to do the things you wanted to do and see the things you wanted to see.”

Finally, and most importantly, don’t take yourself too seriously.
It took me the longest time to learn this one. Looking back, I was very pretentious and occasionally came across as uptight. I think it was because I didn’t really like the person I was. Now I’ve grown up and I’ve achieved things I thought I never would, I have a different perspective on life. I laugh when I can and as much as I can – especially at myself. Laughter really can get you through tough times.

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4 thoughts on “25 things I learnt by 25. [LONG READ]

  1. I love this post! Your writing makes me feel like you’re speaking directly to me and I relate so much. Great post! Keep them coming. The more personal, the better I think. – R. L.

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