It took me a while to write this post because like most people, I love giving out advice while simultaneously failing to take my own. After the seventh revision, I thought it was about time that I let go. Let go of the perfect list. And instead, give my most real and honest interpretation of the ’25 things I learnt by 25′. While reading this, remember that 25 is just a number – you by no means have to learn anything by 25. It just so happens that 25 is the age that I turned in my first year living abroad, which also happened to be the year (not coincidentally) that I learnt the most about family, friendships, love, and myself.
Exercise – no matter what kind – is therapeutic.
Learning to be okay with spending time by yourself (and even enjoying it) will not only benefit you, but will also benefit all the other relationships in your life.
Real confidence comes from doing something challenging, well. Do not ever build your confidence on the fleeting and ever-changing blocks of external validation.
Learn to differentiate between your sense of self and your opinions and beliefs.
Stop chasing conditional happiness. You will not ‘be happier’ when you reach xyz – it’s a delusion. There is nothing wrong with having goals and ambition – but do not base your happiness on achieving / having those things. The list will only keep growing.
If you want to feel organised and put-together going into the week, clean your room, change your sheets and put on a fresh set of PJs on Sunday night.
Things will almost never go to plan – be adaptable. Learn to let go and let life happen.
The best habits an over-thinker can develop are (1) journalling and (2) talking to someone.
Time = value. The things you put the most time into (people, career, hobbies, etc.) are the things that you value the most (whether intentional or not). Be aware of this.
It’s always better to be honest, no matter how uncomfortable it makes you feel.
The best kind of love should make you feel like you’re at home – it’s contentment and friendship. It’s warm and cares deeply. It encourages you to be completely and wholeheartedly you and no one else.
Take more photos. But, don’t use it as a means to escape the present moment.
The words of Dolly Alderton, Florence Given, Olivia Dean and Joy Crookes inspire and empower like no other. These are the women you want in your corner.
Life will never be happy and perfect all the time. It will always have pain – it’s your job to choose what pain is worth enduring. Also remember that without suffering, joy and happiness have no meaning. Ride that rollercoaster that is life.
Your time is valuable. Give a place in your life to those who are deserving of it, and who value and respect your time and your boundaries.
Don’t stay in the wrong relationship because (1) you’re afraid of being alone, or (2) for practical reasons.
When you can, write down little joyful moments – compliments, shared moments with your friends or family, your own achievements. These make for beautiful memories to look back on.
Always make time for a good book.
Don’t feel bad if you don’t have one passion or purpose in life. Instead of following a passion, follow your curiosity. Elizabeth Gilbert says that there are two types of people in this world – jackhammers – those who focus on one thing and put everything into it, and hummingbirds – the ones who try this and try that and cross-pollinate the world with ideas. You can still live a full life without a defined purpose.
Self care and self love is not putting on a face mask and taking a bath. And while it’s good to make time for these things when you can, self love is more than that. It’s trying and failing, reflection and introspection, and putting yourself in uncomfortable and difficult situations that provide opportunities for growth.
Your twenties are a hard and confusing time. Give yourself the patience and space to grow, change, and make mistakes.
Don’t do things because you want to be seen as someone who does those things – do them because you enjoy them.
FOMO doesn’t exist – we’ve created it. There will always be something else out there – you will never experience everything this world can offer. There’s something beautiful about committing to one person, one place, and one home.
No matter where you go in the world, your life (and your problems) will follow you.
It’s okay to focus on and put yourself first. Travel the world, immerse yourself in your work, flirt with whoever you want to. No matter what age you are, never feel pressure from society (or even from those you love) to be or do anything.
At the end of the day, life is there to be lived. Be bad at something new, laugh at yourself, do the most you possibly can while also doing nothing at all. These are the 25 things I learnt by 25.
Cover photo by Ксения Маркова