25 Things I've Learned By Age 25
It's official: I've joined the Quarter Century Club. Looking back at my teenage self, I remember times when I'd fantasize about having the perfect job and Pinterest-worthy bachelorette pad located in the center of LA's hustle and bustle. I definitely did not expect to be (1) married, (2) starting my own business, and (3) living in Santa Barbara, but does anyone's life ever turn out the way they'd expect? To commemorate this newfound status, I decided to compile a list of 25 lessons I've picked up along the way while navigating life:
1. Fear is your biggest enemy.
It doesn't matter how many people tell you they believe in you; if you don't have confidence in yourself and keep allowing fear to hinder you, you'll NEVER move forward. What really is the worst that can happen?
2. Trust your intuition.
When you TRULY know that it won't pan out the way you'd like or that it won't be worth your time, stick to your gut. Don't let others' opinions rule your decision making, even when it seems logical and reasonable. Obviously, this only applies to situations when your intuition is making a grand appearance and throwing up a lot of red flags to push back and reconsider.
3. Don't despise small beginnings.
Everyone has to start somewhere. Our 20's are meant for unglamorous jobs and cheap living. These experiences make up the foundation of bigger and greater things that you'll venture into as you grow wiser and more experienced.
4. Quality > Quantity
Stop buying into fast fashion; you know that bag or pair of jeans won't last long... and those trendy pieces are exactly what they are - a trend, meaning you won't want them the next year.
5. Go makeup-free once in a while.
No one cares about those acne scars or dark circles! Take a walk on the wild side and give your skin a break! It's so liberating, believe me.
6. Don't hold onto relationships that were only meant to last for a season.
You know what I mean. Don't force a friendship or romantic relationship to fit your lifestyle when you both are naturally going separate ways.
7. Love your body.
Erin, you're still working on this, but I think you're doing better. Keep photographing your #OOTDs and embracing your thickness, because that's how God intended you to be ❤️
Side note: Ashley Graham, you're my hero. Talk about being curvy and gorgeous, gosh!
8. Don't buy Starbucks five times a week.
Five of those Grande Iced Soy Lattes add up to a lot of moolah, which means less money to store away in that piggy bank. Okay okay, and less money to put towards that designer jacket, because who am I really fooling?! 😆
9. Save early. Invest early.
But Erin...seriously, if you learned ANYTHING from that Accounting and Finance class, it's the concept of compound interest and how it leads to BIG things in 40+ years. Put away money every month into a 401(k) or IRA account (if you don't know what these are, Google it!).
10. Celebrate small victories.
I learned about this practice from my business partner and dear friend, and am so glad that I adopted it. He'd go out of his way to celebrate these little moments because it was his way of pressing on throughout the highs and lows of running a business.
11. Don't pay attention to what other people think or say.
Are they paying your bills? Working late into the night with you? Living with your decisions? If not, then their negativity and judgment should NOT affect your choices and your self-confidence. Haters gon' hate.
12. Embrace change, even if it means changing what you thought you wanted.
You might not want the same things you wanted when you were 21. As you change, your dreams can change, and that's okay.
13. Don't be deterred by bad apples.
Becoming cynical and having a negative outlook on all people is a dangerous path. Recognize negative experiences as individual and keep your head up because there are good people out there.
14. Don't be so hard on yourself.
Would you talk to others the way you talk to yourself? Be patient with yourself in the process. Everything takes time and you're not always going to be perfect.
15. Freely give.
16. Let go of the things you cannot control.
You are human. Sh** happens. You will get through it; that's life. You'll end up killing yourself if you are stressing about every little thing that doesn't go your way.
17. We are human beings, not human "do"ings.
Woo, this is a difficult one for me. Your job title, financial wealth, car, friends, lifestyle, clothes, and anything else you can think of does not define your worth. You were made to be more than just what you own and do. You were made to live, love, and be loved.
18. Never stop learning.
What keeps your mind sharp (and what makes you interesting TBH) is learning! What else are you going to talk about at a date or party?
I've never felt more of a need to do this until now, especially working as a social media marketing consultant. I realize that I can stare at a screen, whether it be my phone, laptop, or TV for days on end and I'll notice the toll it has on me emotionally and mentally. It's important to dedicate a whole day to resting, disconnecting from the world, and spending some time outside.
20. Forgive them anyway.
You're only doing yourself a disservice if you hold onto the ways people have hurt you. It'll cloud your judgment, tint your view of the world, and cause you to miss out on getting to know other amazing people.
21. Stop apologizing for being yourself.
22. Instill healthy eating habits and practice moderation; your body will thank you later.
My rule of thumb: eat low-carb during the week and live a little on weekends. Get that red velvet ice cream you've been craving, but don't go overboard, of course.
23. Things will get better.
This phase of your life too will pass. Nothing lasts forever (thank God).
24. Your current feelings don't dictate your reality.
Just because you FEEL like a failure some days doesn't mean it's true! Take a step back, breathe and remember who you are and why you're doing what you're doing.