I turn 26 in a month!! Why does 26 seem so old?
Thought I’d share some nuggets of wisdom I’ve learned throughout my 25 years of existence. A lot of my life is a series of questions and reaching out into the universe for answers and I don’t always get them. But I’ve gotten this far. And even though I still have a ways to go until I get to where I want to be, I have to say I’m doing alright.
Without further ado… here are five things you should know by the time you’re 25.
Kindness is not a weakness
Being nice to people has always come naturally to me. I like to expect the best out of people so until I have a reason to think someone has bad intentions, I will greet people with a smile. I’m the person who holds the door open when you’re still a distance away, even though you hate it. I’m the person who will talk to the outcast because I don’t like seeing people alone. I’m the person who will say “I’m fine” when I don’t want to inconvenience someone else because I’d rather someone else feel comfortable. I’ve been walked over and taken advantage and have tried to be colder. And that is stupid. If someone takes you for granted or takes advantage of you because you’re too nice, drop them. Cut them out of your life because you don’t need that negativity clouding out your sunshine. There’s no shame in caring for others but remember to be kind to yourself as well.
It’s easier to just be you
In college I had a hard time making friends. I used to tell myself I wasn’t outgoing enough or fun enough or spontaneous enough or x enough. So I tried to be someone else. I tried to be like the girls I saw who always had friends at their side, whose instagrams were full of pictures of parties and adventures, who everyone seemed to love. But I couldn’t keep it up. And I was no happier. When I let myself just be me, I gained stronger friendships and no longer felt ashamed for liking the things I like. Seriously, pretending is a waste of time. Give yourself the freedom to become exactly who you were created to be.
Some friends aren’t forever
This one hurts. Can you think of someone who you shared an experience with that you were for sure meant you guys would be best friends forever? And now your only interactions are liking each other’s Facebook posts and sending happy birthday texts? Old high school friends, college roommates, maybe even someone who was in your bridal party. People come and go. In my last therapy session, I realized that I’ve held on too tightly to people. I want so badly for them to be a part of my life that when they drift away, I’m crushed and my insecurities tear at my insides (see #2). I’m learning that it’s okay that some friendships are temporary, that people who were once really close to me will never be that close to me again, and that every friendship is valuable no matter how short or long it may last.
Things don’t always go as planned
Five years ago my plan was to move to California with my then-boyfriend and my (still) best friend. Four years ago my plan was to return to APU and finish my Bachelor’s degree and find The One. Three years ago my plan was to finish my Bachelor’s degree at EWU and move home and start a relationship with someone I thought could be The One. Two years ago my plan was to help launch a church and finish writing a book and try to get it published. A year ago my plan was to move home and get engaged and maybe finish writing a book. In the past three and half years I’ve moved seven times. You get my point. Embrace change. Make plans but give yourself some room to veer off course. I’ve found that in time, you always end up where you need to be.
Know how to use your voice
Balance. Is. Key. Personally, I keep quiet more often than not. I can sit and observe a conversation for half an hour without saying a word. During an argument, I can have a million things running through my mind yet my response will barely be a full sentence. Writing helps me to have more of a voice. It helps me process and see my thoughts in front of me instead of trying to grasp at these abstract concepts swirling in my head. Writing has also helped me discover that what I have to say is valuable. It isn’t always. And that’s where discernment comes in, that’s where we need to learn how to use our voice. How do we want our words to influence others? Is what we have to say helpful? Productive? Encouraging? Or is it merely based off emotions, insecurity, and less-than-kind intentions? Figure it out and use your voice. If you can get it right, your voice can be powerful.
Any advice for fellow adults bumbling through their twenties? Share below in the comments!