25 Things To Do Before You Turn 25

13 Jun

I realised last night: Next month I can say that next month I turn 25! I’m likely to have a quarter-life crisis. Probably because I will have not reached my goal of being a millionaire by 25. If I do reach that goal, I’ll probably have the crisis due to not being able to deal with it all [read: for good measure]. So I was re-reading this post on my friend Natalie’s blog, and decided to repost my own version:

This is a list of 25 things to do before you turn 25. Now, whatever your thoughts are on “bucket lists”, this is less “jump out of a plane strapped to a naked stranger” and more good advice, with some challenges but a lot of wisdom:

1. Make peace with your parents. Whether you finally recognize that they actually have your best interests in mind or you forgive them for being flawed human beings, you can’t happily enter adulthood with that familial brand of resentment.

–       I’ve gone through phases of being really close with all of my family members, and phases of not speaking to them at all. I didn’t speak to my dad and my sister for a year once! It was a pretty difficult time [for all of us, I’m sure]. Truthfully, my siblings and I – we’re not one of those close-knit families who share everything and spend as much time as possible together and call each other just to talk about the latest episode of [insert popular TV show here]. I have major sibling envy when I look at my friends Kazi and Mpumi, for example, two sisters who just have the most awesome relationship! That said, while my dad and I didn’t really have much of a relationship when I was little, we get on really well now and I absolutely love spending time with him and my stepmom. Overall I’ve gotten to the stage of my life where I take responsibility for who I am, how I am, and what I do, rather than blaming my parents. There’s a lot they did that I would do the same, a lot I would do differently, but I turned out okay and that’s all that matters.

2. Kiss someone you think is out of your league; kiss models and med students and entrepreneurs with part-time lives in Dubai and don’t worry about if they’re going to call you afterward.

– I did kiss a model once – a close friend of mine, but really we were just joking around. Student days. Right now I’m married to someone who is indescribably awesome, and I always tell him he’s settling and I’m reaching. The great thing about marriage is I get to kiss someone who I think is out of my league, every single day!

3. Minimize your passivity.

–       I try to live my life to the full, and find balance between work, social life, love life, wellbeing, faith, and things I enjoy in general. I could be a little less passive when it comes to exercising, especially outdoors in this beautiful city, and practising the languages I speak.

–       I recently volunteered at a workshop for girls who had been raped and abused, and I spoke to a social worker about become a big sister, mentor, whatever you want to call it, type of figure for one of their girls. Hopefully that will happen – I’d really like to make a real difference in just one person’s life. If I can start that process before I’m 25, it would be amazing.

–       The reason I mention this is not to be braggy about the good I do. But I sincerely believe in talking about these kinds of things on the various social platforms we have. Not to boast or pat yourself on the back, but to show others how possible it is to help. If everyone gave 10% of their time, attention, skills, expertise, or other resources, the world would be a very different place!

4. Work a service job to gain some understanding of how tipping works, how to keep your cool around assholes, how a few kind words can change someone’s day.

– I used to bar tend. It sucked. Girls: TIP BARTENDERS. Where I worked, we all tended to help guys first if we could because girls just do not tip! I once poured a glass of vodka over someone’s head when I started to shout at me. My boss was totally supportive and asked him to leave. I also worked in a cellphone store when I was 17, and that sucked, too. In some ways this has made me a better customer, but also worse in the sense that I am not very forgiving of bad customer service.

5. Recognize freedom as a 5:30 a.m. trip to the diner with a bunch of strangers you’ve just met.

– Look, I studied at Stellenbosch. There was a LOT of this. 3am McDonald’s with strangers was pretty much an extracurricular activity! And once I found myself at strangers’ [now good friends!] house with my BFF Nina, and tried to steal their pet rabbit by smuggling it out in my handbag at 5:30am. To be fair, one of the people who lived there did beg me to take it, I was only trying to be helpful .

6. Try not to beat yourself up over having obtained a ‘useless’ Bachelor’s Degree. Debt is hell, and things didn’t pan out quite like you expected, but you did get to go to college, and having a degree isn’t the worst thing in the world to have. We will figure this mess out, I think, probably; the point is you’re not worth less just because there hasn’t been an immediate pay off for going to school. Be patient, work with what you have, and remember that a lot of us are in this together.

– I have a BA which is useless ish, I guess, although I think degrees show not only what you learnt, but that you committed to something and finished it. I also have an honours degree, and I’m about to start a degree in business management so hopefully my feeling of “why didn’t I listen and study something more useful!” will pass soon.

7. If you’re employed in any capacity, open a savings account. You never know when you might be unemployed or in desperate need of getting away for a few days. Even $10 a week is $520 more a year than you would’ve had otherwise.

–       I have a 32 day call account, and while I’m currently using it to save money for our trip abroad in September, I normally use it to save up money for buying shares. I make sure my every day cheque account has a big enough surplus in it for a rainy day, although this month has been a rainy one. My next goal is to start a retirement fund!

8. Make a habit of going outside, enjoying the light, relearning your friends, forgetting the internet.

– I try do this as much as I can, but I could do more of it, especially living where I do. But I wouldn’t score myself too poorly on this one.

9. Go on a 4-day, brunch-fueled bender.

– Stellenbosch was pretty much a three year, McDonald’s-fueled bender. I once wrote a Mandarin exam drunk, after oversleeping by 30 minutes, and got an A+ for it.
10. Start a relationship with your crush by telling them that you want them. Directly. Like, look them in the face and say it to them. Say, I want you. I want to be with you.

– Again, I’m married to my crush now. He took so flipping long to just ask me for my number already, that eventually I got his from a hotel concierge in Cape Town who has magical super powers and can get you anything you need. Does that count?

11. Learn to say ‘no’ — to yourself. Don’t keep wearing high heels if you hate them; don’t keep smoking if you’re disgusted by the way you smell the morning after; stop wasting entire days on your couch if you’re going to complain about missing the sun.

– I love wearing heels, I haven’t smoked for almost two years now… I don’t think I have any problems saying “no” to things I don’t like. I should probably get off my current diet of cake every day, though. That, or stop complaining about feeling fat. It’s temporary, okay!

12. Take time to revisit the places that made you who you are: the apartment you grew up in, your middle school, your hometown. These places may or may not be here forever; you definitely won’t be.

– I really want to take SC to my home town. It’s ugly, boring, and full of tunnel-visioned racists who think My Little Pony is satanic and wearing takkies and jeans in public is okay. I love showing him around Stellenbosch, I’ve taken him to my old high school, my riding school [where he met my horse, Danzig, who is still alive, fat and happy]. But the hometown thing needs to happen!

13. Find a hobby that makes being alone feel lovely and empowering and like something to look forward to.

– I’d love, more than anything in the whole world, to start horse riding again. Anyone need help riding their too-many horses? My favourite hobby is reading. I’ve read about 16 books this year, two of which were Shakespeare plays, and a few books of the Bible on top of that. Reading definitely makes me enjoy alone time.

14. Think you know yourself until you meet someone better than you.

– That would be SC. I look up to him so much, and I have since the day we met. He has taught me a lot, and he is definitely better than me!

15. Forget who you are, what your priorities are, and how a person should be.

– My problem is not being too stuck in who I am and needing to forget or let go of that. I need to figure out how to reconcile my many, seemingly irreconcilable facets! Snobby rich girl who also loves classic literature more than anything. Fashion lover [SHOES!] who loves rock and alternative music, going to gigs, and supporting the local music scene. Mean girl who’s trying to make a difference in the world. Although I guess the last part of this sentence could just be the key – maybe I should forget how people “need to be”! Maybe I should embrace my contradictions.

16. Identify your fears and instead of letting them dictate your every move, find and talk to people who have overcome them. Don’t settle for experiencing .000002% of what the world has to offer because you’re afraid of getting on a plane.

–       I had two really traumatic drowning experiences as a kid. I can swim, but I’ve never taken it further than being able to get across a [small to medium length] pool. At the end of my third year at uni I did do a scuba diving course to help overcome my fear of the ocean/being underwater, but I’d love to improve my swimming and get more comfortable.

17. Make a habit of cleaning up and letting go. Just because it fit at one point doesn’t mean you need to keep it forever — whether ‘it’ is your favorite pair of pants or your ex.

– I have no problem here. I am a clutter hater and I do regular spring cleans. SC, however, needs my help here.

18. Stop hating yourself.

– Roger that. I have a pretty okay body image, but I’m currently going through regular mini-crises over my lack of success in life. I need to be more patient and loving.

19. Go out and watch that movie, read that book, listen to that band you already lied about watching, reading, listening to.

– I don’t lie about this stuff. Straight up: I’ve never watched Star Wars, The Godfather, or Citizen Kane.

20. Take advantage of health insurance while you have it.

– While I still have health, or while I still have insurance?

21. Make a habit of telling people how you feel, whether it means writing a gushing fan-girl email to someone whose work you love or telling your boss why you deserve a raise.

– I recently wrote a message to someone I know just telling them that they are lovely and more people should be more like them. It feels pretty cool, I have to say! I should do this with my parents more. They deserve it.

22. Date someone who says, “I love you” first.

– This list really wasn’t created for married 24 year-olds, was it? SC said “I love you” first, though.

23. Leave the country under the premise of “finding yourself.” This will be unsuccessful. Places do not change people. Instead, do a lot of solo drinking, read a lot of books, have sex in dirty hostels, and come home when you start to miss it.

– No.

24. Suck it up and buy a Macbook Pro.

– I have one, but it was a gift. Does that count?

25. Quit that job that’s making you miserable, end the relationship that makes you act like a lunatic, lose the friend whose sole purpose in life is making you feel like you’re perpetually on the verge of vomiting. You’re young, you’re resilient, there are other jobs and relationships and friends if you’re patient and open

– This is very, very good advice. I have written off one person completely. We were really close friends, but she was a racist. I thought I could overlook it, because everyone has flaws. But it’s my deal breaker. I quit my job at a big radio station because my boss was a first class a-hole, even though I had no plan B. It boils down to spring cleaning one’s life: Get rid of what you don’t need, it makes room for better things.



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