I turned 25 this year and I had a bit of a quarter life crisis. I felt like I didn't know what I was doing and I was looking for advice on how to navigate this crazy adventure that is my '20s. So for my birthday I asked my family to write a letter to themselves at 25, imparting some kind of wisdom or advice to their former self that they wish they had known at my age. My family is pretty cool and they are all people who I look up to, so I was excited to see what they would have to say.
I have loved reading the responses I have received (I actually might have used one or two of them). Reading their letters inspired me to write down things I want myself to know now, at 25. So I did. Without further ado, here is my list of 25:
Don't go on Facebook so much. Seriously, it's a waste of time.
You're 25. You're not in college anymore. You know how to cook a healthy meal. STOP EATING TOP RAMEN, your body doesn't like it.
Also, it's time to start drinking a little more responsibly. You started too young and you've been in this game for over a decade. However, unlike when you were 15 no one is going to think you are any cooler for taking that extra tequila shot. Slow down on the booze.
Remember to always love your big strong legs, your bubble butt, the plumpness of your head, the way your eyes squint when you smile, and the petiteness of your lips. They are precious family heirlooms that have been handed down to you from generations of brilliantly beautiful people.
Be grateful for that moment when you decided to stop being such a sarcastic asshole and let your guard down long enough to fall in love and let someone fall in love with you. Even if it ends in heartbreak, it is still one of the greatest adventures you have been on.
Speaking of adventure, keep doing it. Travel the world as often as money and time will allow because you know how invaluable those experiences are but don't forget about the smaller adventures. Those weekend getaways with your best friends, the three days spent caravanning around the state to help your brother and sister-in-law move into a new house, or the afternoons spent in a retirement community with your parents. Those experiences are just as invaluable and they fill your soul.
Always make time for your parents. They might live for another 67 years... but they probably won't. Enjoy the time you spend with them. Don't try to rush off the phone when they are telling you about their week. Enjoy getting to know them as their adult child and realize that they still have a lot to teach you.
In fact, make time for everyone in your life. You have a lot of people in your life who you love and who love you, be grateful. Don't ever become one of those people who just gets too "busy." Make time for the walk in the park, the cup of coffee, the glass of wine, the phone conversation. Make time.
Posture. Work on that. That curve in your back is going to be a lot more painful when you're 70.
You're kind of turning into a grouch. Stop that. Immediately. Yes, life has thrown you some pretty awful curve balls over the years. That will continue to happen until you die, it's part of life. Let it make you grateful for all that you have. Let it make you stronger for having made it through. Let it make you compassionate for the 7 billion other people in the world who are dealing with their own struggles. Don't let it make you bitter, don't let it make you cynical, and DO NOT, whatever you do, let it take away your sunshine.
Stop comparing yourself to your peers. You do you. You're good at that.
Stop worrying so much about what your job is going to be. It's boring. Yes, you need to make money. But more importantly, you need to make a life for yourself. You need to make community. You need to make yourself and others happy. You need to make the world a better place. There are a lot of other things you need to make, don't get so caught up in finding a job that you forget to make them.
Keep writing. Know that some of the things you write will be really bad. Write anyway. Write because it makes you happy. Write because it's important to have hobbies. Write because sometimes, on very rare occasions, the things you write will be more powerful than you would have ever thought possible.
Keep going after the life that you want live. I am going to be really pissed if 65-year-old Mary is sitting alone in a house in the suburbs with 10 cats. Unless of course somewhere along the way that is what I decided I want, in which case it's totally fine.
It is good to have a plan but remember that it is OK to wander off the path a little and get lost. You have an amazing support system that will be there with you through it all.
Please don't sell out. You're better than that.
Be thankful that you are the youngest in your family and you have been able to learn from the mistakes of your siblings. But also be thankful that you are able to learn from their success and the wonderful people they have become.
Be fearless and be brave. You are no longer the two year old little girl who was scared to go in the sand and walk down stairs. You are the young woman who has traveled the world, worked for causes you believed in and taken on a multinational financial institution. You are brave and you are fearless. Don't forget it.
Even though you really want a dog, wait. You can barely take care of a fish.
Same goes for kids. Just wait. I'm sure you'll make a great mom one day but that day doesn't have to be anytime soon.
Read more books. Blogs are great. Online media is great. But don't forget to close your computer every once and awhile and pick up a real book or a newspaper.
Believe in something bigger than you. Something that you will never understand. Whether it's God or the Universe just believe in something because when everything else fails, which is bound to happen, all you'll have left is your faith that things will get better.
Always spend time in nature. Work in the garden and get dirt in your nails. Look up at the redwoods and know that you will never see the top. Stand at the edge of the ocean and wonder what's beyond the horizon. Take it all in.
Lastly, I think you're wonderful. You forget this sometimes so I just wanted to remind you.
Most of the time, you don't know anything about anything. That was true when you were 15 and that will be true when you are 65. You do, however, know how to be a good person and you know how to follow your heart. Keep doing that and you'll be just fine.
This post originally appeared on Mary's blog, Schmidt Talk.
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