25 things I have learned by 25

So last week, on July 5th, I turned 25 years old. A quarter of a century. You’re no longer considered to be too young to marry someone, buy a house or even to have kids. I’m not anywhere near the position to be able to do so, but it is a funny thought nevertheless. It was my fifth birthday without my mom, which still is something I have to get used to. I don’t know if it will ever get easier to be honest. Fortunately I was lucky enough to be spending my birthday with my boyfriend and his family. It made my otherwise rather lonely birthday a very pleasant one.

I feel as if I’ve learned quite a bit since then. I have a lot to learn still, but wisdom comes with age. The last evening I spent as a 24 year old I spent with my love and we just drove around, looking at the beautiful skies as we had a deep talk about how my life has unfolded itself up until this point. It was rather emotional, as I always used to say that I wouldn’t be able to make it to 25. A lot has happened and I’ve been struggling with my mental health for well over a decade. Hitting 25, in a way, was monumental to me. That evening and that talk got me thinking about the things I have learned in my still young life.

So here it goes.. 25 things I have learned in 25 years on this Earth!

1. It is okay to cut toxic people out of your life. You don’t have to relentlessly keep trying to fix a relationship that is bad for you.

2. You don’t need a whole lotta friends. When I was younger, I always wondered why I didn’t have as big friend groups as some of my peers did. I never was particularly popular and could count my friends on one hand. Now that I’m older I only have one friend of that bunch left and made some new ones here in Denmark. They’re always here for me. It’s all about quality, NOT quantity!

3. Be kind to others. It makes yourself feel better, but also others. Be nice to everyone you meet, EVEN if you want to gouge their eyes out. My mama taught me to kill them with kindness.

4. What others think of you doesn’t matter. With that I mean that what strangers think of you is irrelevant. Wear crazy colours if you want to, dye your hair a different colour if you think that that is pretty. The ones that truly matter will love you no matter what.

5. Judging others will only make your self-criticism worse. It just isn’t worth the energy. Live and let live.

6. Stop pleasing others. Making others happy is important, but don’t let yourself burn out in the meantime. Don’t be a doormat. Say no if you can’t or don’t want to do something.

7. Don’t buy something, not even when it’s on sale, unless you absolutely love it. Accumulating clutter is SO easy, getting rid of it is way harder.

8. Stop using ad hominem attacks when arguing. Going for the throat is the quickest way to win an argument, no doubt. It also does the most long term damage.

9. Let it go.

10. Cherish the bond you have with your siblings. I learned this after my mom passed. Living in Denmark makes seeing them hard, but when we do get together, it’s all good. Keep them close. You never know when you’ll need them.

11. Pictures and videos aren’t real life.

12. Everyone has their own timeline. This one in particular was hard for me to accept. Most of my peers are settling down right now, marriage, kids or buying a house. I’m not even remotely in the position to do so. And that is okay. There is no such a thing as a blueprint for life. We’re all just winging it. Some just get it done earlier than others.

13. Your life won’t change until your goals and habits do.

14. Stop playing the victim. It’s easy to sulk in self-pity, but reality is that you’re just holding yourself back.

15. Self care is important, even if it’s just 15 minutes a day. For me it is crucial to have some time alone every day. It is my way of recharging.

16. Exercise!!! Exercise is essential for health. Work out because you’re striving to be healthy, not for aesthetics. Sure, a tiny waist and a bubble butt are nice, but what are those things worth when you’re not healthy?

17. Eat healthy. Unhealthy food is good in moderation, no doubt. I’ll be the first to say a big fat YES to deep fried food, ice cream and cake. But too often isn’t good either. Preventative medicine is the best medicine.

18. If you have the means to do so, travel. Traveling gives opportunity to expand your mindset. There is so much to learn from different cultures and seeing the world from another perspective is never a bad thing in my opinion!

19. Carpe diem. Each day is a new opportunity to improve yourself and be the person you want to be.

20. Cliché, but follow your dreams. Do what makes you happy. You only have this one life, so make it the life you want to be. Don’t settle for a job you’re not happy with or an education you’re not passionate about.

21. Money doesn’t make you happy BUT it can provide comfort. Save up!!

22. Read. A lot. It can be anything, really. From fiction to scientific articles. Feed your mind. It makes you an interesting person.

23. Go out in nature. It is so easy to get caught up in the buzzing city life, but such a hectic lifestyle makes it easy to forget about yourself and the people around you. Nature has a great way to unwind and recharge. For me it’s the forest. My Opa always took me and my sister, when we were little, out into the woods and the energy there calmed my thoughts a lot. Even now, at 25, the forest still has a way of making me forget about all my problems for a while.

24. Don’t take yourself too seriously. If you mess something up, laugh about it.

25. Know how far you have come since 16, 18 and 21.

So there’s that. 25 things. I could probably think of about a 100 more, but this will have to do for now. It has been a wild ride so far. I wonder where life will take me next. I used to say that I wouldn’t be able to hit 25. I was depressed, broken and beaten down, but now, at this moment, I truly mean it when I say that I can’t wait what the next 25 years have in store for me. I just hope it will be good.

What are some important life lessons you have learned? I would love to hear them!

– Naiyee

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