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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?