Last Friday, I turned 25. But I celebrated like I had just turned 21. Needless to say, I spent all of Saturday sleeping, moaning about my headache, and whining for Kevin to bring me fries. Yikes. I’ve learned some lessons over the last 25 years, but apparently drinking in moderation isn’t one of them.
Here are 25 things I have learned in my lifetime as I enter my quarter life crisis. Because I like to think that my age is a representation of life measured in failures, successes, conversations, and experiences – not just years.
Health and Wellness
1. Water is your best friend. Especially the day after your 25th birthday celebration. Hydration is great for your skin, your brain, your mood, weight loss, digestion…need I say more? Infusing water with fruits/herbs is a great way to add a little flavor and convince yourself to drink water more frequently. I recently developed an obsession for lemon mint water. So good.
2. Lifestyle changes are better than diets. What’s the point of depriving yourself for a month or two, only to return to unhealthy eating habits later? Think big picture here, guys. One sugarless or carb-less month every now and then is barely going to affect your overall health if you’re not going to make any long-term lifestyle changes. Instead, find gradual ways to reduce your junk food intake without completely depriving yourself. I found that when I reduced my sugar intake, I actually unknowingly trained my pallet to enjoy sweet things less. Sugary drinks and sodas are ghastly to me now. And I don’t quite get the same cravings for desserts like I used to…unless I’m PMSing.
3. Take care of your skin while you’re still young. I never wore sunscreen when I was younger because I never used to get sunburned. Now I’m deathly afraid I’m going to look like a raisin when I’m 40. Wear SPF everyday. Never wear makeup to bed. (Ugh, definitely broke that rule Friday night when I passed out in bed with a cracker in my hand, contacts still in my eyes, and a face full of makeup.) Exfoliate. Moisturize. Look alive, people!
5. Even the healthiest of foods can be overeaten. I can still hear my parents voice ringing in my ear, “Finish your plate or we’ll send you to Africa where children are starving.” Cripes. I’m glad I was raised to avoid wasting food, but now in adulthood I have a hard time leaving food uneaten on my plate. I’ve learned over the years that portion control is everything. Even the healthiest of foods can be overeaten. It’s just that most of us don’t eat carrots and spinach until we feel like we’re going to burst.
6. Think before you speak. Be thoughtful with your words and say what you mean. That doesn’t mean you should censor yourself, rather convey your opinions and thoughts with poise.
7. Embrace uncertainty. Anything can change at any time. It’s great to have solid plans but being flexible in the face of change if crucial. So relax if things don’t go as planned. Take it easy, mon.
8. Love the body you were given. I’ve wasted so much time worrying about how I look and fretting about physical features that I can’t control. What’s the point? Will having bigger boobs, better abs, longer legs help me achieve my life goals? Hint: being a model or trophy wife are not on my list. Achieving total body peace may be tough (I am not quite there yet), but learning to love what you have is a good start.
9. Be grateful for your problems because somebody elsewhere has even bigger problems than you.
10. Learn to laugh at yourself. Hahaha, remember when I cried after getting my first B+ on a math test? LOL, remember when I lost the house keys and locked the car keys in the car all in one day? ROFL, remember when I drank too much, danced too hard, and cried walking home from the bars while ranting to Kevin about white privilege? (Oops that was last Friday.) We all have our awkward moments and mistakes. Laugh it off and move on.
Love and Friendships
11. You choose your own soulmate. I strongly believe each person has thousands of soulmates out in the world, that is, people who you could happily spend the rest of your life with. You just have to meet one at the right place and time in your life. In fact, you’ve probably already met a few who simply didn’t cross your path at the right place and time. Ultimately, it’s up to you to choose your person. If he/she doesn’t work out, there’s another soulmate out there to find if you so choose to pursue one.
12. Selflessness and selfishness are both necessary parts of friendships and relationships. Give what you can, but take what’s yours (like your independence, your right to have a different opinion, and your shirt that’s still in your friend’s closet).
13. Refrain from judgment. Nothing good results from judging others whose situations you may not fully understand. Give others the benefit of the doubt.
14. Not everyone is going to like you and that’s okay. We all come from diverse backgrounds and experiences that make us think differently about friendship, political correctness, and the best way to cook a burger (but if you like it rare or well-done, you’re WRONG) . What matters it that you are a beautiful, well-intentioned, confident person. They’re missing out. Next.
15. Surround yourself with people who uplift you. Your friends should make you feel good about yourself. That doesn’t mean they can’t call you out when they disagree with you, but it does mean they should do so respectfully.
Clothes and Possessions
16. Experiences over things. How many times have you heard that one eh? I will admit, I don’t always follow this rule when it comes to shoes. But overall, accumulating too much stuff stresses me out. Kevin and I like to gift each other experiences instead of material things. In the years that we’ve been dating, he’s gifted me wine and painting classes, escape room experiences, ballroom dance lessons (we have yet to do that one yet – I think he slightly regrets it), and travel! They’ve created great memories for us without the burden of clutter.
17. Put your shoes on nicely, instead of shoving your feet in and stomping around like a dinosaur. Doing so can fold down the inner structure of the shoe (especially in sneakers and tennis shoes), which rubs your heels uncomfortably and ends up being impossible to fold back up. Just take the twenty seconds to bend down and loosen the laces. Don’t be a T-Rex.
18. Leave the free t-shirt. How many “sleep shirts” do you need? Save the earth. Save your drawer space. Save your dignity. Don’t take the free t-shirt.
19. Buy stretchy denim and jeggings one size too small unless you want to end up wearing jeans that give you butt sag and a camel toe. They will stretch out.
20. Stilletos are only good for two things: weaponry and torture. I don’t plan on using my shoes to slash someone nor do I enjoy pain. Therefore, I no longer indulge in the sexy allure of stiletto heels. Exception: if the stilletos have good ankle support and I can continuously walk .5 miles comfortably, they are a winner. (I own two or three of these.)
21. The five second rule is legit. I am living proof that nothing bad will result from eating food off the floor.
22. Pay attention to current events. The world is so much bigger than Kim Kardashian and David after the Dentist. Be educated on the happenings of your community, your country, and the world. Call me a nerd but I love listening to NPR every day on the drive to and from work. It has helped me develop a worldly perspective and form my own educated social and political opinions. It’s also why I never hear the new pop songs or celebrity gossip. But I can live with that.
23. Make conversation outside of the bathroom, not at the bathroom sinks. Because someone (me) is likely in a stall uncomfortably waiting for you to leave before dropping a turd.
24. Save money by learning to do things yourself. I wax myself, cut my own hair, do my own manis and pedis, fix my own dishwasher, and I make Kevin give me mediocre massages. Sure, doing things on your own may not be as glamorous but it sure saves me hella dough. Now I just need to learn how to to make french fries.
25. Age don’t mean a thang. I refuse to be defined by a number. Am I supposed to be engaged right now? Making $X? Climbing the corporate ladder? Whatever expectations come with being 25, I’ll accept or refuse as I wish. Act the age you want. Personally, I’ll always be a kid at heart.