Someone once told me that at 25 years old, a woman should be at her peak. Her best and most beautiful self. So when I was younger, I always imagined myself at 25 – Married, with (probably) millions in the bag, with my own house, car, and hmm, maybe a kid or two. Of course, age 25 should come with a rocking body, not to mention that “real” friends would multiply exponentially and I will be in touch with all of them, ’cause hey, high school never ends, right? Oh and you know, I would follow my non-income-generating passion and do everything that I want to do, and things will work out perfectly fine for me. Ah, what a view. The future is looking bright.
Now let us fast forward to modern day age, the year 2018 – when I actually do turn 25 years old.
I take sleeping pills, yet wake up at 3AM with the slightest gush. I binge eat when I get stressed, drink alcohol more than I should, struggle to go to the gym, and seasonally suffer from serious bouts of anxiety and depression. I am far from getting married; I don’t have kids (and not planning on having one of my own anytime soon), I have a few select friends, and I don’t have my own car. But I have managed to move out of my grandparents’ house, follow my non-income-generating passion, and earn on the side from it. I wonder how dismayed my 16-year old self will be at the sight. But then, that girl views the world with rose-colored glasses. So I wonder too, what she might think, when she finds out that her future self will find a way to write, still, and have more people engage with it; that she will live out her childhood dreams of painting for a living, that she will manage to choose to be the bigger person in most situations, that she will learn how to look way beyond the surface, and that at 25 years old – despite most of her childhood daytime dreams not coming into fruition, she will feel her most beautiful and confident because she is in a good place as a person.
I have compiled 25 things that I learned over time to commemorate my 25 years of living on this planet. I wish to share them with you in the hopes that you pick up something for yourself along the way, or maybe just have something different to drink your coffee to today. Enjoy!
1. There are no right or wrong choices in life. There are only decisions and their corresponding consequences.
2. Do not sign anything you have not read. A lot of stupid mistakes come from not reading documents thoroughly. There’s a reason why they’re that long, so read them even if they bore the hell out of you.
3. Know your personal rights by the law. If you so decide to get out there and stand your ground, make sure you are equipped with the proper armor.
4. Strength does not always look like a tall, hard statue. The best form is in the kind, quiet resilience.
5. Pain does change you. But you can always, always choose how. Suffering is never a valid excuse to be unkind.
6. If the odds are not in your favor; change the odds. Change the situation. Change your job. Change the mindset.
7. Money is a tool; treat it like one. If you change the way you view money, you can change the way you make your decisions, and you can change the way you live your life.
8. There are all kinds of love in this world, but it ultimately boils down to choice.
9. You need a mentor. In career and in life. You hit the jackpot when you find one for both.
10. Traveling solo is the greatest way to know oneself. Everyone should experience traveling alone, at least once in their lives.
11. Do not be impressed by smarts. Be impressed by hard work and grit. Smarts in itself will not bring you anywhere.
12. Know your threshold. How much bullshit are you willing to take in exchange of what?
13. Respect begets respect.
14. Time does not heal everything, and there are wounds that never really close. But it does a great deal of changing your perspective on things.
15. In this life, you must learn how to hold your own hand.
16. Solace is what you make of it.
17. There are truths in every religion.
18. Food made with love tastes incomparable. The same philosophy goes with everything. And that’s why home-cooked meals are always the best!
19. Rebels are the real change-makers of the world. No revolutionary changes were achieved by small, fearful minds.
20. Success is a tricky word. Different people have different definitions of it.
21. Money can never buy class.
22. Your weakness only benefits your predator. Face your demons. Look them in the eye. Make friends with them.
23. Losing a parent (or two) is truly one of the hardest things in life, but also the most adventurous ride you will ever get on.
24. Everything you do will find its way back to you.
25. Keep your mind sharp at all times.
‘A mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.’ – Tyrion Lannister | George R.R. Martin
Thanks for reading! Cheers to 25 years!