25

I've been alive for 25 years. A quarter of a century.

If I've done anything right, it's reasonable to expect that I've learned some things of value in that time. I think I have.

I thought of and began writing this list long before I was even sure I would relaunch my blog. I thought it would be a unique little way to mark the big 2-5. And then without even trying, I realized that this is one of the most unoriginal ideas I've ever had, as apparently every person who has over run a blog while turning 25 has had the same idea.


Oh, well. I guess I'm joining the club then...

With as few cliches as possible:


1. Instead of turning up the heat, make a cup of hot tea and crawl under a blanket. Control your individual situation whenever you can. You can't always control the world around you.
I miss birthday cakes with gluten in them.

2. If clutter and messes get you down, make your bed every morning. Nothing pulls a room together more quickly and easily than just pulling up your blankets and fluffing your pillows.

3. Vacuuming and applying a fresh coat of nail polish are two of the best ways to quickly see results. With one pass of the vacuum or brush, you'll see the fruit of your efforts. Build momentum with those little gestures. Minimal effort for maximum results? Why not?

4. The way you were doesn't have to be the way you are. The way you are isn't necessarily the way you will be.

5. Meditation, in whatever form you choose to discover it, is crucial in this day and age. The world doesn't shut off, but you need to make sure you do at some point. Breathing is something we do naturally for as long as we're alive, but it's also something we should make a point to do intentionally every once in a while. Find a way to focus on your breathing, clear your mind, and find at very least a few minutes of still silence.

6. There's a limited supply of patience in the world for people who complain without making an effort to change anything about their situation{s}.

7. A Disney/Broadway/90s pop sing-a-long session with a good friend is one of the best ways to give yourself a quick boost. And it's free. And when you're 25, free is really not something you'll want to pass up.

8. Don't listen to people who say that any four-year period should be or will be the best years of your life. Don't feel like your experience was inadequate because it didn't look like a Judd Apatow production. Are you happy today? Are you building a positive future for yourself? If you ask me, that's better than looking back at an epoch past and wishing you could do it again.

9. It's okay to not be sure of what else is out there. It's okay to experiment {respectfully} with different religions. It's okay to try and find a belief system that you feel comfortable with and that speaks to you. It's also okay to go through this process and discover that you don't want to align yourself with any one of them. It's okay to say that you haven't figured out what happens at the end of your life. And it's okay to keep learning and keep creating your own system of beliefs that works for you.

10. Lipstick, a haircut, new shoes, skinny jeans — never underestimate the power of something so small to make you feel good. Perking up your appearance may seem superficial to some. But for many of us, faking it on the outside is the first step to encouraging everything inside to catch up and reflect that.
One of the few only times my brothers composed themselves for a photo.
The least they could do at my birthday dinner, amirite?
11. Sometimes, love ends. Friendships fall apart. Relationships dissolve into nothing. We like to believe that there's an "end game" for everything. That everything we cherish will outlast, and that love we have for each other will be strong enough to conquer anything. But it won't be, not always. Sometimes you'll love, and then you won't anymore, for any number of reasons. And then all that will be left to do is {hopefully} learn something and move on.

12. There will be times when the only thing you can do is move on, and when that feels like the most impossible thing in the world. When you accomplish it, though, when you are able to move on from something you think you won't survive, make sure you log that feeling away. Remember it. Take note of how strong you became when you didn't think you could. You'll need that, because some day in the future, you'll face those impossible feelings again. Something else will level you. And remembering how you survived before may be the only motivation you need to get up and survive again.

13. Not every experience will be a good one. Not every bad thing will teach you something valuable. Sometimes you'll just have to endure pain and suffering, simply because it is a part of life. There is not always a "why." There is not always an explanation that makes things feel fair and just. But at the end of the day, {allow me one cliche?} it is what it is, and we get what we get.

Ah, 21. So together. So rational. So not sober.
14. There are a lot of crossroads in life where you'll find yourself confronted, wondering which road to take. In many of these situations, you won't be able to predict the outcome of either decision. The consequences won't show until decisions are made, and events are put into action. Making no decision can be appealing in this case, but don't be fooled by the myth of standing still. You'll need to rely on yourself here — yourself, logic, blind faith and, most importantly, your gut.

15. If it feels right in the pit of your belly, it probably is. If it feels wrong in the pit of your belly, it probably is. In the absence of omniscience, the best you can do is go with your gut. It will rarely steer you wrong.

16. There will be things in life that you never, ever believed you could, would, or would even want to do. You will do some — or many — of them, no matter how staunchly you once refused.

17. Sometimes, hard days turn into difficult weeks which turn into tough months which turn into rough patches that last... a long time. These times are your struggles. They are not the sum of your life. They will not last forever. You will not always be able to control how long they last. But you can survive them, and you will thrive again one day.

18. Enjoying the people you see at work every day is a blessing, and one not many people know unfortunately. Being friends with your colleagues can almost make up for any manner of workplace downside. After college, these friendships are the easiest to come by. You're truly blessed if they work both because of convenience and true connection.

19. The people who are supposed to love you are not always the people who will love you the most. They won't always love you unconditionally, or even at all. But that's okay, and it speaks volumes about them — not a word about you.

20. You are perfectly entitled to create a family of people who support, encourage, love, and exhilarate you. Your life will be better when you find these people and tell them how you feel.

I dunno about what in the world I was doing,
but I was feelin' 22.
21. Sometimes, all it takes is just one person who believes in you, who wants you to succeed and will celebrate your victories, small and large, simply because they're happy for you. Sometimes this person will have to be yourself. If you're very fortunate, it may be another person. People like this really do exist.

22. They are rare, they are hard to find, and they don't always come in the form you expect. No, it won't always make sense who they turn out to be. But they're out there, and when you find them, value them, and show them that you do.

23. Losing people never gets easier, and it's something you will have to deal with throughout the rest of your life. Nothing I can say here or that I've ever heard in my life makes it easier. Whether you lose their friendship, you make a decision to move on without one another, they move away, or they die, it hurts. And yet, you'll just have to endure.

24. Relationships often look different to the people inside them than they do to those on the outside looking in. It's important to remember this as both the person on the inside and the person on the outside.

25. Every minute of every day is a chance to do better, to be better, to make something better, and to be a better part of the world.

///

Here's to birthdays. Here's to lessons learned, and to progress, and to always moving forward.
Here's to appreciating every fleeting moment of this sweet and peculiar life.


Comments

  1. Fantastic post my friend! Great lessons learned in a short time and hopefully you have many more to come, because once you stop learning you stop living. I hope many people read these and if they haven't learned some of this they can: especially number 4. happy birthday once again and let us virtual toast to a great year as a 25er!!

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    1. Thank you so much Dan. Cheers! :) *clink*

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  2. Loved! I will bookmark this for when I am 25 :) Happy birthday!

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    1. Thanks so much! :) glad you stopped by!

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  3. These are great! Mine would've been way more shallow like "filling in your brows makes you look 600 times better" and "there is no classy way to eat a cupcake". Happy birthday, dear!

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    1. Thanks!! And hey, I probably should have included that in this list because filling in my brows changed my life :)

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  4. i love this so much! fabulous.

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  5. These are all fantastic lessons learned! It is kind of funny that you mention vacuuming, because whenever things start to overwhelm me I vacuum. I hate, hate, hate dirty floors and vacuuming gives me immediate results. I am sure there is some psychological aspect in that ;D

    Also, ironically, I posted about things that I haven't learned yet if you want to check my list out!
    http://www.chasingmyextraordinary.com/things-still-havent-learned/

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