“25 Things I learned when I was 25” sounds a loooot nicer but a list of 25 life lessons seems a bit excessive, so we’re going to stick with 15 ;) Hi there. I’m Kasia & I’ve just turned 26 (WILD). I can hardly believe it. Me? 26? This feels bizarre.
But here we are.
25 was definitely interesting. If I had to describe my “early twenties” (because I’m officially in my MID-twenties), it would be like this: 23 broke me down, 24 built me back up & 25 tested who I am. 25 was really rocky at parts & smooth sailing in others. Some new people came into my life, some other people left. There were lots of highs (a couple of lows); I made some changes (moved into a new apartment with a new roomie! started a new job!) but also focused on my foundation/all the things I’ve built up over the past 3 years. Overall, I liked 25. It was gritty. Raw at parts. Hard-going yet free-flowing. Plus, I think it was a really good set up for 26 & my mid-to-late-20’s. I finally feel settled into who I am and this whole adulthood thing, for the most part (FINALLY). It’s a nice feeling.
So here are some things I learned from this past year. Maybe you can relate, or maybe you think I’m full of sh*t haha Cheers to 26.
1. A lot of life’s problems/decisions can be solved by trusting your gut.
From a young age, my mom would always tell me to “listen to that little voice inside me.” What she was referring to was my gut or intuition. Your gut is an interesting thing. You have your head, your heart and then your gut. A looooot of the time, your head and your heart are going to disagree (annoying). But that’s where your gut comes in. You all know when you get that little tugging, pit-in-your-stomach feeling. Sometimes it’s a whisper and somethings it’s yelling at you. Listen to it. For the most part, your gut/intuition knows the right path to go on, even when your head & heart are screaming at you to do something else. Also, the more you tune into your intuition, the stronger/more clear it becomes. Trust your gut. It’s not wrong.
2. Everyone has an opinion. You don’t have to listen to them all.
My friend Danielle told me once that most people have no idea what they’re talking about. It’s true. I hardly have any idea what I’m talking about most of the time ;) People are going to offer their opinions to you aaaaallll the time. Doesn’t matter who you are, doesn’t matter what the topic is, doesn’t matter if you asked for it or not. Most of this comes from people wanting to help & offer advice, (which you can’t fault them for!) but the majority of the time, their opinions are based on their personal experience & they may not know the full picture of what’s truly going on with you, making their opinions–no offense–kind of worthless.
Take everyone’s opinion with a grain of salt. Trust that you have everything you need to take care of yourself & trust yourself to make the right decisions. If you’re really in a bind, find the few people who truly get YOU & have your best interests in mind to get their advice. (Or talk to a therapist! They’re great with this type of thing!) When you start listening to everyone’s opinions all the time, things get messy & noisy, and you can’t listen to your own gut/feelings (see point above). Thank people for wanting to help, but trust that you’ve got this.
3. Hire movers
Listen, I get it–we’re young & broke so we move ourselves (with the help of our friends) but honestly, just splurge on the movers so you and your guy friend don’t have to finagle your couch up the awkwardly shaped staircase in the POURING RAIN.
4. Life’s gunna knock you down before it builds you back up.
I’m sorry to tell you this, but good things are usually proceeded by chaos. If I look back at my life, this has happened time and time again. We love to focus on those good moments, the highlights reel, but if you really reflect on those amazing times, right before it, life was probably kind of sh*tty. You can call it “seasons of life” or just the natural ebb & flow of things, but usually you have to get beaten down a little bit, learn some lessons & make some room for good things to happen. So if you’re in a difficult time in your life right now: don’t lose hope. Because all this mess is setting you up for something great. If you’re at a high point: reflect on what got you here. Embrace the good with the bad. You can’t have one without the other.
5. Pick up the phone every once in a while.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I really hate talking on the phone. The only people I call are my mom, my therapist & a boyfriend (when I have one). A lot of my high school/college friends are SUPER good about calling & catching up and it’s truly no offense to them, but most of the time I’m running around/too tired to talk on the phone. I know that’s such a lame/millennial excuse, but honestly I rather just sit together face-to-face and talk for 5+ hours than speak on the phone. HOWEVER, since seeing people in person isn’t always possible, make an effort to pick up the phone and catch up with someone. Although it’s not my first preference, every time I get off the phone with a friend whom I haven’t spoken to in a while, I feel all warm & fuzzy. Goal for 26: hate talking on the phone less.
6. “Don’t confuse the trees with the forest.”
Shout out to my therapist Ashley for this one. She tells me this OFTEN. Basically she means, zoom out. I tend to get caught up in the immediate events of my life & catastrophize/conditionalize them. (“Everything sucks, it’s going to be this way forever, I’m stuck, there is nothing I can do.” Aka Drama queen status. Can ya relate?) When I do this, Ashley calmly says, “don’t confuse the trees with the forest.” I constantly have to see the bigger picture. Draw on past events of my life, remember how they worked out, and believe it will work out/get better again. It’s all about perspective~ When you’re bogged down in the present sh*ttiness, take a step back. It’s hard, but it helps, I promise.
7. Surround yourself with good people.
Sounds kind of obvious, but surround yourself with:
- roomies who leave you happy, sticky notes on a random Tuesday
- friends who travel just to see you for 48 hours, make you laugh uncontrollably, listen to your late-night rants & love you unconditionally
- siblings that get on your nerves but are also your best friends
- family members that continually support and challenge you
- soulsisters/brothers/mates who understand you better than anyone else.
I am constantly in awe of all the incredible people in my life. It is truly the #1 thing I’m most grateful for. Appreciate your good peeps.
8. Faith is HARD. Keep practicing it.
Boy oh boy, is faith hard for me. I’m type-A (we all know this) & I love general organization, feeling in control and plans. Unfortunately, life (particularly in your 20’s) does not mesh well with being type-A. I can make plans, but most of the time life will do its own thing anyways. I can crave control, but at the end of the day, I’m just kind of along for the ride & have to react to the things I’m given and flow with it.
Enter faith. I’m talking about faith in the sense that I need to have faith that everything’s going to work out. That everything shakes out how it’s *meant to (even if it’s not how I *want it to be). Faith is hard. Faith is the hardest thing I think I’ve ever had to learn (and still learn). But faith is the only thing that’s going to help you get through those really tough times when you just want to give up. Faith is hard, but it’s so necessary.
Because books are lovely. LMK if you want recommendations because I have LOTS.
10. Let yourself come undone.
A yoga teacher said this once in class & it stuck with me. I think we’re all a little preoccupied with “having it all together” (whatever that means to you). Personally, a core part of my identity (for myself) is “the girl who has her sh*t together.” (Sounds like a lot of pressure to put on myself? You’re not wrong.) That’s where this phrase comes in. Truth is, we don’t need to have it all together. We’re allowed to be messy and complicated and contradictory. We’re allowed to get frustrated and angry and sob until we have no tears left. Because that’s life. It doesn’t fit into boxes, and we don’t need to be perfect. Let yourself come undone & give yourself permission to be imperfect.
11. Things taken longer than you expect.
This is just a general life lesson for post grad life. In high school/college, things happen quickly. Semesters began and end in the blink of an eye & things can change in a day. Real life? Not so much. I find myself always asking “What’s taking SO LONG for xyz to happen” because 1. I’m impatient and 2. I’m used to the quick turnover I knew for 18+ years. In reality, everything does happen eventually, but it’s just gunna take longer than you thought. So when you approach a situation with this mindset of “okay, it’ll happen, but just not as soon as I thought it would,” it eases up the pressure a bit. On a similar note…
12. Throw out your timeline.
F*ck timelines. There are no timelines in life. You can be married at 23 or 43, buy your first house 5 years after “everyone else does,” get a Masters, have kids, legitimately whatever you want, whenever you want. Quit living by this made-up, worthless, invisible timeline that we always seem to stress about.
13. “Home” can have a lot of different meanings.
I absolutely love growing up where I did. I loved my town, I loved my house, and obviously love my family. It’s funny though, this past year, my parents’ house started to not feel like “home.” I was weirdly uncomfortable in a place that always represented comfort to me. It was jarring because I LOVE my family/spending time with them, but that house doesn’t feel like home anymore.
I suppose this is a side effect of growing up–“home” becomes more ambiguous & you start to create it for yourself. “Home” can feel like a person or group of people. “Home” can feel like the bedroom in your tiny apartment that you decorated yourself. “Home” can be an ever-changing place, more of a feeling you have inside yourself. And that’s okay. Like most things in your life/20’s, you have the power to define & change what things mean to you. It’s part of the growing up process.
Just do it. (Register here!!!!) Doesn’t take long. I don’t care where you stand on any given issue, vote because you can & because it makes a difference. If enough people feel strongly enough about change, we can change things–but we have to get involved. Easiest way? Vote for what you believe in.
15. It’s all taken care of.
Like for real. I promise. The Universe has your back.
Thanks to all the fabulous people who made 25 wonderful. Looking forward to 26. &.