25 Things I Learned Before 25

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It's my birthday! Today is the day I turn 25--let the quarter life crisis begin--and I can't believe it. Regardless of what people say, I feel old and I don't like it. Even so, every year I learn so much from my unfortunate mistakes or gems of wisdom picked up along the way and I thought I'd share them with you. 

1. Everyone has their own timeline, don't rush yours

This is a lesson I'm still reminding myself. With the approach of my 25th birthday I'll admit I was low-key depressed that I was nowhere near where I thought I'd be in life, but I had to realize that everyone's path is different and life wouldn't be a surprise if we all peaked at the same time. 

2. Comparisons are the death of joy

Just don't do it. You have no idea what someone is going through and what you're seeing isn't the full picture. You'll go crazy looking at what you lack instead of the blessings, gifts and talents you have

3. Don't wait for change. Be the change. 

STOP waiting for a certain situation to get better. STOP working at a job where there is no growth or you're mistreated or you're undervalued. STOP waiting for things in your life to align before you make a move. Make it happen! No one else will. 

4. Don't listen to what others tell you success is

You determine what success is. It shouldn't be based on what your parents said it should be. Or your friends. Or your professors. Or Hollywood. Heck, even your boss. What determines success is your internal compass pointing you to where you love to be

5. Listen to your gut

Apparently, adulthood doesn't come with a manual. There will be hard decisions that advice and logic unfortunately can't fix. What I've learned is when you have a feeling something isn't right, most of the time it isn't. Sometimes there's no evidence for this feeling but it'll save you time and time again. 

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6. Overthinking will stunt your progress

You'll never make a move if you spend all of it trying to break down ever possible scenario. What you'll be successful at is finding every reason why you shouldn't do something. What you'll be unsuccessful at is taking a chance, growing and enjoying the treasures of life. 

7. Rejection is a blessing

Don't look at me crazy. It is! It doesn't hurt any less but each rejection brings you closer to what's right for you.

8. Your mental health is important

It's not enough to focus on you outer appearance or you diet. What goes on in that mind of yours matters too. Your body could be snatched but if your mind is a mess, it'll begin to take a toll on every aspect of your life. 

9. Allow yourself to feel

Your emotions won't always tell you the truth but you should allow yourself to acknowledge them. If you're feeling sad, cry. If you're feeling mad, don't spend time justifying why you shouldn't be. If you're feeling overwhelmed, don't try and push the feeling under the rug. Ride your current wave of emotion and remember, waves break at the shore. You'll get through it.

10. Do it even if you're scared

If you have a feeling that there's something you should be doing, go after it. Fear will only keep you paralyzed in place and you'll spend time yearning for things that would have been yours if you stepped out. 

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11. Cultivating friendships is important

My friends mean everything to me and I'm so blessed to have them. I've realized I'm the happiest when I'm spending quality time with a friend. Whether it's going out for a boozy brunch or having a conversation on the couch. Life is filled with ups and downs and when you stumble those friends will be there to support you.  

12. Different Paths Lead to Success

I've been taught that if you go to school and you work hard, you'll get the job you want and you'll be successful but that's just not the case anymore. School isn't the answer for every career and it doesn't guarantee advancement. Success isn't a straight shot. Unconventional things can lead you to the success you're seeking. 

13. Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

Duh! Life is hard enough without worrying about minute things that don't have a large impact on a situation. 

14. YOLO

Drake was right, you only live once. Take the trip you've been dying to take. Talk to the guy you've been making googly eyes over for a year. Change your career if you're not finding fulfillment in your current one. 

15. No One can do you better than you

You were born with talents, ideas and motivations that no one else has. You bring value to every situation you're in because no one can see the world like you can. 

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16. Forget What People Think

This is way easier said than done, but the opinions of others don't matter. Who cares if people think you're a little weird. "Weird" brings about change. Keep doing you. 

17. You Can't Change the Past

Reflection is fine, but obsession with events that already happened will only drive you insane. There is NOTHING you can do to change what already took place. Use your past--whether it was good or bad--as a stepping stone to better things. 

18. Be Careful Who you trust

Not everyone is your friend and has your best interest at heart. Guard your heart from those that would use your vulnerabilities against you without a second thought. 

19. Stand Up For Yourself

As someone who abhors confrontation this is extremely hard, but when there's an injustice against you, you have to do something about it. Confrontation doesn't have to end with a screaming match or fighting. It could be as simple as telling someone you didn't like what they just did or cutting yourself off from a toxic relationship. 

20. Don't entertain certain conversations

There will be people that you meet in life that have the gift of spreading misery. These are the people that will put you in situations that you'll have to backpedal out of. An example would be talking about others. I hate when people do it.  So, I do my best to make it known that I won't be around for conversations like that and if others try to bring me in, I don't participate. If you mind your business, no one can come back and say you did this or that. 

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21. Don't Settle

If you have a dream, keep going after it regardless of how long it's taking. 

22. Watch Your Thoughts

I've said it before and I'll say it again, your mind is a powerful thing. Words have the ability to speak life or death and that counts for the words you let run through your head. Every thought that you have isn't valid and you have to check them, especially the negative ones. 

23. Watch and Listen

Whenever you enter a situation with new people, ALWAYS watch and listen to those around you. You'll be amazed at what you see and hear when people don't think you're paying attention. This will save you from being surprised about a person's character. 

24. Don't Try and Fit Into A mold That's not yours

You'll end up unhappy trying to stuff yourself in a mold that isn't yours. You limit, discredit and hinder your growth as a person, an artist, an entrepreneur, etc. 

25. Keep Grinding

Life is hard but NEVER. STOP. GRINDING.