I turned 25 years young yesterday. As I was being wished happy birthday sporadically throughout my day of birth, I couldn’t help but interpret people’s wishes as “Happy reflecting the crap out of the last 25 years of your life, and enjoy figuring out the next 25 years of your life day.” That might sound really delusional and dramatic of me, but when reminded that I’m an adult who is a quarter of a century years old next to celebratory emojis paired with the old grandma emoji, it really struck a chord in me.
When I combined the reflective thoughts I was having yesterday with reading fellow 25 year old, Mary Schmidt’s viral blogpost on Tumblr, it resulted in my first official mini quarter-life crisis. Yup, just like in the movies. Thank you, Mary Schmidt, for encouraging me to hold a mirror up to my life and inspire me to make a contract on how to better myself moving forward as a new born 25 year old.
1. Avoid burning bridges…arches, overpasses, scaffolds.
Relationships or ties can dissipate before your eyes if you’re not making the effort and showing gratitude. Nurture your relationships, you never know who will stick their neck out for you in a time of need.
2. Don’t give your brain a break.
Reinforcing this bullet from the Happiness video posted from August (back when I was 24 and young and naive and all). Since your job of being a full-time academic nerd has come to a close and you’re now an “adult” in a monotonous daily routine, it can sometimes put stimulating your brain on hold. You don’t have the textbooks or teachers to incessantly pump information into us anymore. Be your own teacher.
3. Write more letters.
There is something about hand-written cursive script that hits a soft spot and is pleasant to re-read and digest. Communication is key, but the old fashion traditional way of communicating will trump a ‘word alert’ every time, and even sometimes cause your recipient to react with a little #12 on this list.
4. Cherish the morning time.
The sound of “Marimba” blaring from your iPhone might make you want to punch a wall in the morning, but the first part of your day can completely set the tempo for the rest of your day. So make getting up a pleasant experience and eat something yummy and play a butt shakin’ jam to change out of your jammies to.
5. Reset your attitude.
This is being paired with bullet #4. The movie About Time paints the perfect picture on how to approach your life the best way everyday. The sound of a guy having the capability to time travel may sound a bit corny and not exactly relatable, but the powerful message of him redoing a ordinary day showcases how you can consciously make your day the best it can possibly be.
6. Drink less coffee.
Not letting hot brown liquid dictate your energy level and say hello to less yellow stained teeth…
7. Forgive yourself.
There were some goals that weren’t met in 2013. So stop feeling sorry for yourself, it’s only going to delay the time even more in what you’re hoping to accomplish. One of my favorite quotes is a constant reminder that life is going to not always work out the you want it to so don’t forget… “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
8. Get into the spirit.
Conspiracy theorists claim Santa does not exist, tooth fairies don’t put wads of cash under our pillows, and that there is no way a little half naked baby shooting an arrow can cause two people to fall madly in love. Silence these theorists and learn to keep the magic alive.
9. Ask more questions.
There’s a little bone you should pick with a big thing called pride. It’s what is standing in the way between you and the endless amount of opportunities you could be learning and understanding new tools to navigate unchartered waters. You won’t look dumb if you ask. You’ll feel more dumb for not asking later.
10. Love hard.
Whether you believe in soul mates or love at first sight, choosing the person you want to be with for the rest of your life is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make. Not all the fish in the sea are going to call you back, open your car door for you, or keep your trust. Each date you go on will give more and more clarity to what is the right fit for you. When you find it, it’s the most amazing intoxicating kind of feeling in the world.
11. Complacency is the enemy of success.
Stop being a creature of habit and sticking to a routine that I might feel “safe” in; comfortable habits have become a constant and only a detriment to you. It’s time to shake off the cobwebs.
12. It’s okay to cry. A lot.
Don’t be afraid to let it out. (Just make sure you always bring concealer in your purse.)
13. Plant your feet.
It’s taken 25 years to discover your voice, it’s time to put it to use. Speak up!
14. Be less stingy going out.
Bite the bullet and pick up the tab for your friends once and a while. It’s a nice gesture and is always a pleasant surprise to everyone.
15. Never break a promise.
When Hester Pyrnne committed adultery she was branded with the looked down upon symbol as a result of her actions. People forgive, but they don’t forget. Always follow through with your vows. Don’t want to get that letter ‘A’ to jeopardize your reputation with people you care about.
16. Get it done.
Dreading errands, returning phone calls, squeezing that work out in. Most of the time you’ll win half the battle just by showing up. Once you get rid of the emotional part of going into finishing a task, you’ll be this very efficient superhuman who doesn’t throw hissy fits while walking the trash out to the curb.
17. Let go of FOMO.
Face it, it’s impossible to be a part of every single birthday shenanigan, holiday party, or premiere of the Hunger Games movies. So stop feeling sorry for yourself every time you receive a snapchat of your tipsy friend from the Ruby Tuesday’s happy hour. Pictures manipulate the way things are most of the time. If she’s taking the time to snapchat you, then the gathering probably sucks anyway. It’s not that exciting.
18. Stop buying stupid crap.
Quality over quantity needs to be my new motto after seeing the 3 filled trash bags in my foyer right now. 10 versions of the same cream sweater are so not necessary.
19. Choose your roommates wisely.
The selection of your college roommate was random, you’re not living with your boyfriend or future fiancé yet, so this is the time to be super picky with who you plan to share your fridge domain with. Establish the rule early: no touchin’ my Greek yogurt.
20. Wear jewelry more often.
When passed down an heirloom or gifted a piece of jewelry, stop having minor panic attacks and don’t be so scared that you’re going to lose it. If you’re not wearing it, then what’s the point?! Show off those keepsakes, for pete’s sake.
21. Love your body.
Fast forward ten years and you’ll kill to get the body back that you have right this second. Stay on good terms with your little friend “metabolism” while you can.
22. Set money aside.
It can be under-the-mattress method or the most secure bank in the world, jumpstart your savings account as early as possible. (Where was this point for the “15 Things I Should’ve Started Doing at 15 list?!”)
23. Embrace strangers.
Totally go against the most important lesson our parents repeatedly drilled in our heads growing up. At this age, if you listen to your parents and never actually talk to strangers, we will miss out on some of the most thought-provoking conversations and memorable people we might ever come across in our lifetime.
24. Know your worth.
Don’t undervalue yourself in your relationships, jobs, or dating.
25. Manners matter.
Common decency is not so common anymore. Hold yourself accountable to follow a certain list of etiquette rules. This will help maintain respectful relationships over the course of your life.
What’s a piece of advice that you’d tell your younger self?!