Like it or not, we are all growing old. Obvious fact, but sometimes it’s harder to accept than anything else. Personally, I loved growing up until the age of like 18. I was one of those kids who answered the normal “How old are you questions?” with an answer like “6 years and 5 and a half months”. That’s how badly I wanted to be older. At that time, I thought that being older in age meant being wiser and that you would be taken seriously by adults.
Wrong. Age is just a number – it is society (ourselves included) that has added all the connotations to each age. “By 18 you must be at university”, “By 22 you should have your first job”, “At 24 you should be engaged”, “Have your first baby by 27” and so forth. You get my point.
Well, I am calling it. There are only so many age-stereotypes that I can keep up with – it’s time to make your own list of what you want to achieve. Right now, I am at the brilliant yet insignificant age of 24, and here’s my list of 25 things you should attempt before your 25, because… YOLO (annoying, yet very true):
1. Take the risk and move abroad – It’s going to be hard, you will struggle and it is a huge gamble, but instead of asking “Why”, think “WHY NOT”. I did, and trust me – Best. Decision. Ever.
2. Quit the job you hate – Well, this one is a no-brainer. You work 8-9 hours on a typical day, why shouldn’t you love it? Instead of complaining about your annoying manager, incompetent colleagues and dead-end future at the company, quit the job and find another. Do what you enjoy, and trust me – it changes your life completely.
3. Throw away all socks with holes in them – C’mon. You’re almost a quarter of a century old, it’s time to loosen the purse strings and splurge on some good quality socks. Out with the old, shrunken and holey – in with soft, durable and un-holey socks.
4. Find the perfect foundation and concealer – This one only applies for girls (unless you’re a guy who’s into make-up), but it is very important. Stop experimenting with too light, too dark or too sparkly. Having the exact color foundation and concealer is a life changer, and you should have it all worked out by 25. Please.
5. Take your parents out – and pay for them! One of the best parts of growing up is being responsible. Okay – that is an utter lie. Being responsible sucks and we all know it. But, one of the actual best part of growing up is earning your own money. Whether you love your job or hate it, you earn money and that helps. A lot. So take your parents out and show them a nice time – it is honestly one of the most awesome feelings in the world and your parents will appreciate it more than anything. They deserve it, they put up with you your whole teenage years!
6. Let go of stale/dormant friendships – This is probably one of the hardest things to do, but it’s also really important. Just because you were BFFs when you were 18 doesn’t mean that you will be at 25. Yes, I know BFF is Forever, but some friendships don’t make it past the university years into adulthood. It’s sad, but it is true. Don’t disappear from their lives completely or deliberately loose contact, but stop forcing a friendship that no longer exists. Learn to let go.
7. Perfect at least one dish – You’re almost 25, it is time you learnt how to at least make one main dish. As a person who dislikes cooking a lot and who barely ever cooks, it is a challenge for me to perfect one dish, but I am gonna try – so should you!
8. Move out and live on your own – If you haven’t already done it, it is time to cut the apron strings and grow up. Pay your own rent, bills and tidy up after yourself. Yes, welcome to the real world – Good luck!
9. Be in charge of your finances – It is really no use doing 1 and 8, if you aren’t doing 9. (Read one if that makes sense to you, if it doesn’t, read again) Now that you’re almost quarter of a century old, you should really be earning your own money to pay for your bills, rent and everything in between. Trust me, being in charge of your own finances isn’t as fun as it sounds, but it is long overdue if you’re still living off your parents.
10. Learn how to say ‘no’ – If you’re a people-pleaser, this will probably be the hardest one for you. Saying “no” to people who expect you to do certain things their way, whenever they want, can be very difficult. Start small and slowly build your confidence in saying no, whether this be at work or with your family/friends – you don’t have to do everything.
11. Enjoy your own company – By 25, you should be able to spend time on your own. Whether it is shopping alone, going travelling or even living by yourself. You don’t need someone else to complete you, until you realize that you pretty much complete yourself. Enjoy your own company, thrive in solitude and then you will know what zen feels like.
12. Go to the cinema by yourself – It’s the most basic entertainment activity you can do, yet people look at you weird if you go cinema alone. But why?! Watching a film is each person’s own experience, you don’t need another person – so why not!
13. Be the person you think you can be – There is always this perception you have of yourself “When I am older, I won’t buy socks from Primark anymore” or “I’m going to switch to brown bread soon”. The thing is, we think we have time – the time to improve ourselves, to become healthy, to exercise, to make better habits and to be a better person. By 25, you should start being this person you think you should be – because it’s already too late as it is.
14. Give up that one bad habit – It’s hard, and yet it is easy. Giving up a bad habit takes determination, courage and persistence. I have been battling with nail biting for yeaaaaaaars – and it is my mission to give this up by 25. I.can.do.this. (I hope).
15. Incorporate exercise into your routine – this is one that we should have done by 21 (kudos to those who did), but to those who didn’t (guilty!) it is about time we did. Here’s to always taking the stairs, walking more and riding a bike once in a while.
16. Go on a blind date – I have heard that they aren’t so bad, but I haven’t been convinced to do it myself. I’ve got 8 months till 25 and I am going to go for it. Who knows where it can lead.
17. Voluntarily support a charity – There are those times when people at work are raising money for different causes, or when your friends have a Just Giving page and they keep sending you the link. If that’s where you are being charitable, it’s great – but by 25 you should have at least have one charity you support whole heartedly and without needing a prompt from others.
18. Vow to grow up online – Social media has given us the space to vent, moan and be ambigious, but it doesn’t mean that you should abuse it. If you haven’t already, it is time to let go of attention seeking tweets, statuses aimed at your ex and Instagram uploads showcasing your relationship. It is time to grow up online – you’re not a 16 year old girl anymore.
19. Look after yourself – This one is quite important, and we often forget about it during our struggle to make ends meet during our twenties. There is a time between leaving your parents house and making your own home where you realize that there is no one who will look after you if you don’t do it yourself. Skipping meals, forgetting your daily water intake and sleeping with make up – no one is going to be there to tell you off like your mum, so it’s time you started looking after yourself. Reality check!
20. Try at least one extreme sport – As one of the least sportiest person in the world, even I am aiming for this to happen.
21. Treat yourself for making it this far – Whether you are unemployed and still living with your parents, or if you have your dream job, being 25 and alive is enough reason to treat yourself. Make it a point to mark this milestone year of your life because, hey, you made it this far and will keep going until you get where you want to be.
22. Read a book – By the time you’re 24, there is a high possibility that you are drowning in the busy world where the pace is too fast. Read the ‘it’ book of your time – the book that you have been meaning to but never got the time to. This is the time to do it!
23. Cleanse your wardrobe – Stop holding onto that cute dress from high school, it’s not gonna happen again when you can fit into it and look 16 again. It’s been 9 years since then – it’s is time to let go. Same goes for those boots from uni, that dress from your prom and that multicoloured scarf (some fashion does not make a comeback). High time you went through your wardrobe and do the charitable thing.
24. Fix up your LinkedIn profile – Like it or not, we live in the digital age where you should have at least one social profile, and if it’s going to be one, it should be on LinkedIn. As a professional, it is the single, most important and useful social network around. Update it, and keep it that way because it’s just the beginning of your career.
25. Don’t settle – Lastly, just remember not to settle. 25 is a difficult age because if you haven’t achieved what you set out for, there will be doubts creeping up and taking over life like Vine took over Twitter. Don’t let that happen – don’t settle for anything less than what you dreamed of – only then can you be truly happy.
Here’s to being 25!