Reflections on turning 25…

Lemon Sprinkle Sandies photo via Sprinkle Bakes

It’s official. I’m 25.

This is the halfway point between 20 and 30 – the grey area between your teenage years and adulthood. Personally, I’ve slowly moved away from my university days, but I’m not quite at the point where I’m settling down, getting married, having kids, and buying a minivan (disclaimer: I hope to never own a minivan.)

I’m sure many of you can relate – it feels like you’re caught in the middle.

All the ladies I know who are in their mid-twenties seem to be feeling this pressure lately. Even though we’re not quite ready for the full gamut of adult life just yet, we want to get there at some point, while maintaining the freedom we’ve been enjoying. We want to snag that dream job – but not before we’ve travelled the world. We want to have a family – but not until we’ve got cash in the bank. We want to have it all, and for it to fall into place like a perfectly-ordered Pinterest board.

Of course, life doesn’t work that way. It’s messy, it’s complicated – and it’s exciting. As I was chatting with friends this week and contemplating the big two-five, I began thinking about the life lessons I’ve learned over the past few years. Ones that are carrying me to 30 and beyond, and rooted in my life experiences of my early 20s. I thought I’d share them with you – and I’d love to hear your mid-20s reflections too!

Lessons I live by at 25:

  1. Make pursuing your passions a priority. It’s easy when you’re younger to spend all your time on your hobbies. After university, those passion projects can easily fall by the wayside in favour of your career. Personally, I’ve found that scheduling time and prioritizing my passions (cough, this blog, freelancing, all that jazz) has made me a happier person. The lesson? Don’t let that stuff go regardless of your job.
  2. Realize that “life” comes before “work” in work-life balance. Ever notice that once you’ve been working for awhile, it can start to consume you a little bit? Whether it’s a basic 9-to-5 job or one with odd/long hours, it can take up big chunks of your time and space in your brain. But as I’ve gone along in my 20s so far, I’ve started to appreciate ignoring my phone, going for strolls with my boyfriend, and doing other little things that shut work out of my head for awhile. I never want to be the kind of person who would miss my kid’s ballet recital or something because I’m married to my job.
  3. Surround yourself with people that inspire you. I don’t know about you, but I’ve gotten pickier with my friends over the past few years – and more invested in the ones who really matter. Having a circle of people who lift you up is so key to your happiness and success… and it feels so good to be there for them, too. Also fun? Making new friends. It’s way harder after you’re finished school, because everyone is busy with family and work – but seeking out new friends who share your passions and values can be truly uplifting.
  4. Be patient but persistent (both in life and love). Our generation wants everything, and we want it now. I know I’ve had that restless attitude before. Why haven’t I been promoted yet? Why am I still single? I’ve definitely had those thoughts over the past few years. But I’m learning the art of patience. Having the corner office won’t happen overnight – that takes time. Running a popular blog will be a long process, too. Same thing with falling in love… it usually takes awhile before you find the right person. The best things in life are worth waiting for – and striving for, no matter how long it takes.
  5. Don’t become a cynic. I feel like every gal I know has gone through a jaded phase when it comes to relationships. The fact of the matter is, by your mid-20s, you’ve had great dates and horrible dates. You’ve had your heart broken, and you’ve probably broken at least one person’s heart. It’s easy to become cynical amid the roller coasters of the single life. But seriously, don’t! I can relate to those feelings – but they don’t get you anywhere. Keeping your heart open leaves you open to getting hurt, but it’s still better than closing yourself off.
  6. Experiences are worth more than stuff. Back in my university days, I would splurge on new outfits all the time. I would often say that my retail job was such a great deal because I could buy half price clothes all the time… but is it really a deal when you’re buying new clothes every week and wracking up your VISA? Definitely not. I’ve learned the art of saving over the past few years – and while I still invest in quality clothes and furniture when necessary, most of my planned spending goes towards experiences. A delicious dinner out or a memorable weekend getaway, for example. Experiences, I find, enrich my life so much in a way that clothes in my closet never could.

Fellow 20-somethings, do you have any lessons to share?

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8 thoughts on “Reflections on turning 25…

  1. Happy quarter-of-a-century! Great lessons and I couldn’t agree more. When I turned 25 I was all over the place of where I was vs. where I wanted to be and how to get there. Now I’m going to be turning 28 and my life couldn’t be more perfect in terms of how I envisioned it – not that it’s 100% perfect, but I taken a lot of learning’s and applied it to my life and I’m really happy with that.
    My biggest lesson that I can give to other 20-somethings that came to me somewhere between 25 and 27 is being able to say “no” and not feel guilty about it. It’s a hard thing to do. There’s this balance you need to master of choosing what is best for you, pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, and being there for your friends and family. Usually as 20-somethings we put our needs last and will say “yes” to pretty much everything because you don’t want to feel bad about not going. Being able to say “no” because you know that you’re not actually going to benefit from doing said thing and then not worrying about it afterwards is something that all my older 30-something friends have but I still struggle with it. So I’ve tried very hard to be that person and to try and get my friends on board (it doesn’t really work if you’re friends aren’t on the same page). But I’m excited for those days when a “friend’s friend” is having a dinner and choose not to go because I’d rather have “me” time and not get any slack for it plus not feel guilty.
    Sorry for the long comment though! lol Also, found your blog through BlogPodium and love it, excited to meet you tomorrow!

  2. Hello and happy birthday!! Came across your blog through The Well blog. These are great life lessons thus far. I’m turning 30 in November. I freak out every time I think about it but I guess my advice is to not totally freak out if you’re not where you expect to be or you haven’t accomplished as much as you think you should have by the time you’re my age. I’m trying to take my own advice!

  3. Happy Belated! These are such great lessons and are ones that everyone should keep in mind.

    I recently turned 27, which I can’t believe… sometimes I still feel like I’m 23. And I think the most important lesson I cherish to this day is that change is constant, and it’s okay that things change. Sometimes I get frustrated that I’m not the girl I was back when I was 23, or even a teenager, and it inhibits my growth and adventurous side. I’ve learned, though have to worker harder at it, that letting go of who you were makes room for who you are now and will be as you grow older.

    xo, lolly

  4. Pingback: Farewell to September… | All Things Nice

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