So I turned 25 a week ago, and I just can’t believe it. I still feel like a teenager in many ways, trying to figure out what my life will be like, and pretending I’ve got it all together. 25 used to sound so grown up and mature to me, and I know I’ve learned some amazing lessons to get to where I am now, but I’m just now discovering that I’m still young and there’s a lot more to learn and do. These are 7 things that I’ve learned (and actually learned to live by) at the age of 25.
1. Getting married is not about the wedding
Or your facebook status. Sometimes it feels like getting married is a gimmick, when I see tons of photos and relationship changes on facebook it’s easy to get lost in it all.
I don’t believe in the “I don’t know why I love him, I just do.” When one in two marriages end in divorce, we need to start basing our commitment to someone for the rest of your life on something more than the good feeling of being with someone and not feeling as lonely. Because it’s human nature to feel lonely, and being with someone does not solve all your own problems.
I’ve learned at the age of 25 why you should hope to tie the knot. It’s about really knowing why you want to get married. Make it be because your flaws support each other, because you want the same things in life, because the same things make you mad or happy. Because you actually want to hang out that person every single day. Make it be because they have the ability to be dependable and trustworthy. Make it be because you’re a better person with them. Being with someone always takes work. But it shouldn’t be a power struggle every day. Don’t get married because it’s expected, being single is so important to discover how to love yourself first. Get married because it’s so clear that’s the right path.
2. Being famous isn’t for everyone.
Of course I’m not famous, so who am I to say?! We live in a world where celebrities are these unattainable perfect people with rolls of cash. But the people that I have been lucky enough to run into who’ve had success are just regular human beings, with a lot of attention and a lot of power. That kind of pressure and stress is hard to manage. With that, there comes a stress level many of us haven’t experienced, and endless scrutiny for everything they do. The world of fame can have many rewards, and many many sacrifices.
I once thought I wanted to be as famous and successful as I could, because when we’re young we see that as the height of making it and what everyone should aspire to. I find people ask me “who I’ve worked with” as a status symbol of my success. But now I think I just want to take amazing photographs, travel, live my life with my husband, and tell people’s stories. If any happen to be famous, that’s really cool. I hope I would work with celebrities who are inspiring to me and doing positive things in the world. Otherwise, every day people can be just as rewarding.
3. Fashion is an art form, and should be used accordingly
I’ve watched my fashion style change over the years as I’ve changed. When I was in high school, I liked to dress with a wild factor, experimented with clothes that didn’t always go together, and never picked one genre. I look back now and realize I was trying to express myself at the time, which was part of figuring out who I wanted to be. Our bodies are just like canvases, we can actually change and dress ourselves to match how we feel we are. How are some people not excited about that?!
The way we choose to present ourselves to the world is important, because it’s a representation of how we want other people to see us. Sometimes it’s wrongly viewed as shallow to care about fashion, especially for women (even though our culture presses women to obsess over appearance. No win situation.) I want to embrace it as an art, but more importantly have FUN with my choices. I love feeling like myself on the inside and the outside. I took apart my closet this past year, slowly got rid of all my older clothes, and have gone for a more sophisticated style that makes me feel older, but still put together with a bit of an artistic flair. Living in Nashville has definitely influenced my style, and I love that my closet is a tribute to my home.
4. Learn a skill, and use it
In my experiences, a huge key to being successful in business is learning a skill, and getting really good at it. Lower level jobs require only basic skills, things anyone could learn to do. The higher you go, the more specialized jobs become. It can take months, and years to learn a skill, even if you have a natural knack for it, but that’s a big reason why those jobs make more money. Not everyone can do what you’re doing. It may be specializing in knowing weddings front and back, and being able to take a great image in any situation. It may be a thorough knowledge of cars, or the higher knowledge of being able to manage people and make decisions. These skills will take you far if you work at one you’re passionate about, and go at it with determination.
5. Make quality friends, not quantity
WHERE YOUR REAL FRIENDS AT. Well… making new friends can be important, but I am picky about the people I let in. I personally have an introverted personality, which just means that my alone time is valuable to me and I don’t have the energy to give for people who will sap it up. Not that anyone usually means to do this, but I love a friendship where we just get each other.
The friendships I have invested in have been meaningful and long-lasting, where both people give to each other. It takes a lot to be a good best friend, so I want to give all my time to those closest to me. I would’t want to fill up a room with people I casually know, but the people at my dinner table would make quite a nasty gang if you wanted to mess with me. And that’s a really nice thing to have behind you.
6. People don’t understand each other
This one seems a bit intense, but I see it everywhere. I’ve come to realize everyone comes from so many backgrounds and experiences to form the opinions and beliefs they have, too many to grasp. Some people may never have been exposed to the things you deal with every day, and so can’t possibly comprehend what you know, who you are and what you stand for. And in turn it’s hard to understand the same about someone else.
So many times I’ve been disappointed in us as a whole, but I have to understand that many people just don’t understand why the other person believes what they believe. The best thing I can do for myself is be aware, and instead of telling them they are wrong, try to show them what they haven’t seen, because much of it is just misunderstanding. Sometimes it’s just too hard for them to see, or people just are set in their views. Continue on your path anyway.
7. Traveling is the best thing you can do for yourself
What is life about if not experiences? This past year at the age of 25, I’ve travelled more than I ever have before in one year. I’ve gotten to see Los Angeles, Washington D.C, and then Italy, Austria, and England. Each place makes me realize how different we all live, but yet still similar in the things we need and enjoy.
Sometimes it’s really hard to get out of the house, or take a few days off work, because we’re routine oriented and the unknown is not always appealing. But there’s like… people across the ocean that speak completely different languages and have food we’ve never tried, and states close by in the United States that have beaches, mountains, friends to visit and wine to taste! Why are we making money if not to spend it? What is living if not to live it?
I’ve really enjoyed the highs and lows of growing up, and at 25 I get to look back on some of the things I’ve experienced and say that I’m proud of where I am right now. I can only hope at 35 I will have learned an endless new amount of lessons.