Turning 25 is such a game-changer. Day to day, not much changes, but your entire outlook on life is guaranteed to be different to what is was only one or two years ago.
There is so much I have learnt in the past eighteen months alone that I know will help me get through my next twenty-five years. But not everything I have learnt is going to work for you so I asked some amazing people from all over the world and all at different stages in life to help me out.
Here is a comprehensive list of twenty-five things that we all agree you should know by the time you make it to your quarter century.
1. Stop comparing yourself to others.
“I would say that life will be a lot easier when you stop comparing your life at its current stage to others beginning, middle, or even end. Everyone is on a different journey with different paths.” – Jen, Urban Popp.
This is really important. I have friends that are all the same age as me and some are married and have children, some are single, some are travelling, some have finished uni and others never went, some are working at their dream job. Everyone matures at different ages, but more importantly, people want different things. It is more than okay to be at a point in your life that’s different to everyone around you. Turning 25 might mean something completely different to the person sitting next to you.
2. You do you.
“Definitely do what makes YOU happy, not your family and friends. You have to live with yourself for a really long time” – Naomi, Nine Shades of Grey.
I wholeheartedly agree with this one. I went to university when I finished high school to make my parents happy. It was what was expected of me. Fast forward and I failed out of my first year of uni because I was simply not ready to take on that kind of work load, along with moving out of home. But this goes for both your family and friends. Both can end up having a fairly big influence on your life and decisions. Do whatever is going to make you happy.
3. Higher education might work for you, but it also might not.
”A degree doesn’t guarantee a good job and you don’t HAVE to go to college right out of high school. It’s not the most important thing. I don’t have a degree but I’ve watched friend after friend struggle so god damn much, and I’ve seen their lives cripple in debt. I really think I made the right choice. Don’t get me wrong, college IS good if you need it – but most people don’t and there shouldn’t be so much pressure to go… especially at 18 when you’re still finding yourself.” – Jess, Holistic_Jess.
The great thing about this topic is that you can completely flip perspectives and come up with the same result.
“I just had to say I 100% agree with you. I have a few degrees and work in a supermarket (nothing wrong with supermarket work just not my career choice).” – Angela, Angela’s Jam.
You might also go to university, land the job of your dreams and all your hard work (and money!) could all pay off in the end. You can get a career without a degree, and you can get a degree and not get the career you want. It’s whatever is right for you.
4. Friends are not always forever.
“When you graduate, you start to see that you and your high school friends are drifting, but the longer you’re away from school (and them!), the more you notice it and the more you may worry. You’ll have friends who are partying it up, and others who are fully settled, married and having children. It’s okay to transition from one lifestyle to another. I think at this point, like clothes, you start to outgrow friends.” – Sarah, Diamonds N’ Denim.
You are always going to drift away from your friends and that is completely okay. It might happen organically and you slowly lose touch or you might go through a friendship break-up. You will make new friends and your old friends will still always be there even if you don’t see each other anymore. You are almost guaranteed to have different friends when your turning 25 that you would at 18, and that you will at 30.
“It’s easy to get stuck where it’s comfortable but what is comfortable isn’t always best. Stepping outside of what is comfortable is where you make progress towards goals.” – Becky, Mommy Takes 5.
Don’t be afraid to take risks! You will either fail and you pick yourself right back up, or you succeed and everything will pay off. That could be something as small as joining a gym or something bigger like changing your career path.
6. Don’t stress if you don’t think you’ve ‘made it’ yet.
“It’s okay if you haven’t bought your dream house (or even moved out), scored your dream job/career or built your empire yet. We’re all pretty much in the same boat” – Siobhan, The Millennial Parent.
I listened to a podcast recently with Roxy Jacenko of Sweaty Betty PR and she said that she has never really had an ‘I’ve made it’ moment because she is always trying to be better. You’ll set yourself a new goal, or a different goal and you will work towards it. There are not many people that have built an empire by the time they are turning 25.
7. Life plans are pointless.
“Don’t make a life plan at 18 and think life will go accordingly. There are too many stresses in life to worry about what you’re ‘supposed to be doing.’ Let life happen, and don’t let your decisions be based on what others will think or feel, do what’s best for you – and that includes the hard decisions (moving away from family or boyfriend, having a baby on your own, quitting that horrible job, etc.).” – Angela, Angela’s Jam.
“It’s your path, not anyone else’s, and it will unfold differently than you expected. Take advantage of the opportunities as they arise.” – Susan, Joyful Noise.
I used to think that by 25 I would have finished uni, gotten an amazing job and be married. Maybe even be thinking about children. Life has told me that anything I plan is going to change. You need to be flexible with what comes your way and you should always be re-evaluating where you are and where you want to go.
8. But you should still have some idea where you’re going in life.
“I think that by the time you’re turning 25, you should have a plan. Not a 10 year plan, but at least a 2-3 year plan. You should know where you want to go and how you want to get there.” – Aaron.
Your plan might change (actually, it definitely will!) but you can’t float around without any purpose. Set yourself short term goals and work towards them – a promotion, a holiday, or something to do with your health. Whatever it might be, work towards it.
9. Be comfortable.
“Flats will always win over heels.” – Lou, Lou Funnell.
Heels may make you taller and your butt look awesome, but give me an 8 hour work day in flats any day! This advice works for everything, not just heels! When you’re younger you worry about what other people think of you and you dress to please others. Now it’s much easier to make sure you’re presentable and comfortable than it is to care about what other people think.
10. Look after yourself.
“Health. Is. Always. #1. Without it, you have nothing. You can’t enjoy or do anything without your health so don’t underestimate or take it for granted.” – Jess, Holistic_Jess.
You can’t do anything if you’re sick. And even if you’re not sick now, the way you live your life today can have serious impacts on your future. Too busy is not an excuse – you can stay healthy on the move.
11. Stop Stressing.
“By the age of 25, I learned the importance of not stressing out and worrying all the time. It’s perfectly fine if there is a road block in life, we’ll get past it and laugh about it someday.” – Sarah.
Life is always going to be hectic. Take a step back, breathe, and handle it.
12. Love yourself.
“It sets the tone for every relationship you will ever have. It’s one of the best things I learned how to do.” – Jess, Holistic_Jess.
You can’t love another person if you don’t know who you are and you don’t love it. You don’t have to love every little bit (and it’s good to always have things to improve on), but overall, you must love yourself. By the time you’re turning 25 you should really know yourself, and love who you are.
13. There is more to life than working.
“By the age of 25 I realised that it’s more important to live your life to the fullest than to work in a job you hate your whole life. At 24, I quit a job I hated in Fashion PR (and only let me take off 1 day at a time) and started travelling the world while working remote jobs. I haven’t been happier! You should ALWAYS enjoy your work but don’t let your work take over your life. Travel or do the things that make you happy as much as you can. Life is too short.” – Michelle, Maps & Muses.
“When I was turning 25 I had my quarter life crisis. I was sat at the dinner table with my parents as they we reminiscing on their times hitch-hiking around Europe, going to festivals and doing all-nighters with their friends. I was sat opposite them thinking “My parents are so much cooler than I am… I’ve not lived.” So I wrote a list of all the things I wanted to do. I left the job I loved and went travelling around the world (1 up on Mum and Dad) and worked my way through the list. I think the only thing I didn’t do was dye my hair green, but… there’s still time!” – Claire, The Happy Weaner.
A 9 to 5 job isn’t right for everyone. It’s also completely normal to change careers, sometimes up to 3 times in your life. Doing what makes you happy will make going to work all that much easier!
14. Think before you speak.
“Think ahead about the affects that what you’re about to say might have. Then count to 10 before you say it. If you still want to say it, then say it, but it will stop you regretting it. The things I regret the most are the things I’ve said in the spur of the moment.” – Gareth.
As you get older, you really need to watch what you say. You can’t get away with the ‘young and stupid’ excuse any more. Every action has consequences and sometimes you can do a whole lot more damage with words than you can fists.
15. Jump in!
“Start before you’re ready. Don’t wait for some magic wave of motivation to hit you because you’ll be waiting FOREVER. Just pull the plug and learn along the way!” – Caroline, Overcome Ordinary.
Anyone who is successful will tell you it’s because they took a risk at some point in their career. Believe in yourself and take a leap of faith! One of my favourite sayings is by Tina Fey, who said “Say yes, and figure the rest out later.”
16. Learn to be by yourself.
“Go travelling by yourself, even if it’s just for a weekend. You need to be able to be by yourself. Learn to be alone without getting lonely.” – Laura.
This is so important! By the time you’re turning 25 you know that you’re going to be on your own at some point. You need to learn how to be happy when you are. I was single and living by myself for a very long time before I moved in with my partner and I was great at this. But then I got used to having him around and had to re-learn how to do this when he started working overseas. It wasn’t easy at first, and I even used to get panic attacks when I was alone… but I re-learnt how to be alone and not lonely and no I don’t have any issues with it.
17. Get a hobby.
“Find something that is just for yourself and that you can focus on, an outlet, if you like. Many times as a child I locked myself in a room and I was just generally miserable. If I’d of had something to focus on, I think life may have been very different for me.” – Bianca, The B Hive.
I was a bit like this a few years ago. After I stopped going out as much on weekends I found that I really didn’t have so much to do. I started writing as a creative outlet, then started writing for some publications and now here we are. Having a hobby helps you creatively, but also emotionally.
18. Manage your finances.
“Don’t get a credit card. Or if you do, make sure you can pay off MORE than the monthly minimum.” – Laura.
“If possible, avoid loans!” – Melissa, The Millennial Mom.
“Set yourself up with a structured savings plan. Start saving for a house now… even if you aren’t ready to buy one.” – Tina.
This is one of the most important things you can do. I have crappy credit because I made money mistakes when I was younger and it stops me from doing things now. Save wherever you can. Put it into an account you can’t touch. Don’t get credit cards even for ’emergencies’ because guess what, you’ll use it! There are plenty of budget planners out there so find one and track your spending. Then work out how much you can save and STICK TO IT.
19. Learn to read people.
“Learn how to read people so you know which ones you can trust. Trust the right kinds of people.” – Aaron.
When you’re turning 25, you need to be able to tell the difference between toxic friends and good friends. Be careful with who you trust, but don’t completely wall yourself off from people. Just find a couple of people who you get good vibes from and you would trust with your deepest secrets and keep them around for ever.
20. Learn to cook.
“Biggest thing you can do for your health!” – Susan, Joyful Noise.
You should definitely know how to cook when you’re turning 25! Learn how to cook so you’re not always eating take out. Pick one meal and know how to completely master it so you can whip it out to impress people when needed. Check out some of these recipes if you’re stuck for inspiration.
21. Don’t give in to pressure.
For some reason, turning 25 seems to be a benchmark for what you’ve achieved in your life. People use this age to measure their success, but what you see as successful might not be the same as someone else’s. In my hometown, success means getting married and having children before turning 25. To me, it’s getting somewhere in your career. To some of my friends, it’s honestly just keeping yourself alive all this time! There will always be people wanting you to do things at their pace, not your own. You don’t need to get married or have children when someone else wants you to. If you’re ready, you’re ready; if you’re not, you’re not.
22. Don’t live your life around another person.
“You need to make decisions that are good for you.” – Gareth.
Don’t get stuck living your life for someone else, like your partner or your family. You need to look after yourself first and foremost and you need to make decisions that keep you happy. Your partner and family are going to be very important to you, but they need to come second to your own health, happiness and stability.
23. Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.
When you’re turning 25, you know that there have been plenty of events and situations that have shaped who you are now. Everyone has been through something crap. It will affect their decisions and that might sometimes clash with you. Try to be objective and see different points of view, your friends and family will appreciate you for it.
24. Communication is key.
“When you feel sad or angry, open up to those you trust. Holding on to things magnifies the situation, when really, it’s not always that bad.” – Bianca, The B Hive.
You cannot solve problems without talking about them. You might just need to chat about something with a trusted friend, or sometimes this might even mean getting professional help. This is NOT a failure. This is being strong enough to know you need to talk to someone about what is happening. It will make things easier to get through.
25. Fall in love with your best friend.
This last one is something that I have learnt and I think it is just so important. I was always looking for love, and a boyfriend but it never really worked. I never managed to have a boyfriend for longer than 3 months at a time. Eventually, I managed to meet a wonderful man and we became great friends. That soon blossomed into a romance and almost 5 years later, here we are. I see a lot of friends go through shitty relationships that are all about games and the best advice I can give about romance is to let it happen naturally. If you force a relationship, it won’t go far. Find someone that you can be completely yourself with and they become like your partner in crime (in a much less psychotic way). As clichéd as it sounds, if you have a best friend by your side, then even the tough times won’t be so tough.
Turning 25 definitely changes your perspective on life. Hopefully our life lessons will make going through a quarter life crisis just that little bit easier!
I would like to thank all the wonderful people who helped by contributing their advice! If you love the advice, make sure you jump over to their pages and check them all out. You can follow me on my personal Instagram or Twitter.