My 25th birthday is coming up in one short month. I don’t think it has hit me quite yet because I honestly still feel 17. Maybe not physically, but emotionally and life experience wise I still feel very young and naïve. However, over the past 25 years I know I have learned a lot and have accomplished a lot! Just looking through all my blog post this past year, I reference most of my big moments. And they happened at a young age! (Ecuador, Moving to Texas, Thailand, Getting married. Etc)
This season before my birthday I am embracing an extreme nostalgia and I have to remind myself, and share with all who read Grace Empowered, what I’ve considered a significant lesson for a young woman of my age and lifetime. So, without further ado, here are 25 things I learned before I turned 25 and what I believe is important to know at this stage in life.
Exercise is non-negotiable.
If you aren’t busting your butt and working out on the weekly, taking care of your physical body through strength training and cardio, you need to change that. I am just now getting into a habit of regular exercise and I wish I started this habit earlier. First of all, building that consistent habit of my health is something I feel so much better after doing and I have realized that if you aren’t working towards a physical health early then it will be so so much harder to stay healthy as you grow a family, have kids, start dealing with a more rapid physical health decline as you grow up. I’ve already seen that at 24-25 and trying to lose the college weight I’ve gained. Not just losing extra pounds, but building a better immune system, following doctor’s suggestions for blood pressure and cholesterol, and alcohol and sugar consumption. So, there really is no excuse. Plus my muscles look fabulous and I love my peachy butt. So does my husband. 😉
Eating Healthy is non-negotiable.
In addition to exercise, eating a healthy and well-balanced diet is also a must. Our metabolism is not what it once was as 16-year-old’s when you could eat pop-tarts for breakfast without getting a headache and feeling sluggish by 11 am. So no more avoiding vegetables that are hard to pronounce, and no more skipping the salad appetizer for solely breadsticks. Dark leafy greens are best, so don’t even try to get away with just iceberg either 😉 )
Breakfast really is the most important meal.
Okay, so I’m still not great at this. Especially with waking up in time to eat breakfast, (I am NOT an early riser, so breakfast is sometimes 11 am) but I 100% recognize the difference in my body and how it feels and my brain and how it thinks if I eat breakfast as my first meal within an hour after waking up. I try to cook 2 eggs or oatmeal with almonds and blueberries, or a piece of fruit with cottage cheese for breakfast. Some days I am more hungry and I add mix and match my meals, but after fasting all night during sleep… to wake up to a protein full and filling breakfast is definitely something I won’t miss anymore.
All-Nighters are not good for your body’s internal clock.
Okay so I know I don’t do this consistently either. I know I don’t honor my bodies sleeping schedule as I should. A normal and healthy young adult woman needs between 7-9 hours of sleep. I get WAY more than that and I’m definitely ashamed of that, but that’s because some days I sleep 4 hours and others it catches up with me and I sleep 14. Setting a sleep schedule and sticking to it will bring great benefits to your health. I’ve read that getting the sleep you need is necessary because it is when your recover best. If you miss sleep and don’t catch up you lose being healthy (immune system, weight gain, more headaches, etc). Although I do not honor my bodies sleeping schedule it needs as I should, it is something I am working on. And that’s okay! No guilt! Progress, not perfection.
Brushing and flossing really matter.
Okay, I don’t know about you, but I can tell the difference when I don’t floss. I brush my teeth a least once a day, but I rarely floss. But I’ve been getting back into the habit and I can legit feel a difference in my gums health. It may seem annoying to constantly hear “floss your teeth!” from the dentist, but seriously, when it feels this good to KNOW that your mouth is healthy… why wouldn’t you?
You get to motivate yourself.
This one doesn’t sound so much fun or easy. But I’ve found out as an adult now, that I get to motivate myself to do what I get to do. Currently, I don’t have a job breathing down my neck making me come in to do what I don’t want to do, for money that I need. So I honestly find myself doing nothing a whole lot of the time. I say I have lack of motivation to do anything, but to be completely honest… I have motivation. I just have to remind myself the benefits of the results of when I do the things I love. For example, I love being artsy, writing, reading and learning new things. I have all this time to do just that and when I accomplish those things, even just a little bit in each area then I feel like I am on top of the world. I am doing what I WANT to do. My motivation is I feel amazing when I am doing what I love. What is yours?
You really do have to make your own doctors appointments.
So, I don’t really get sick often anymore. Thank the Lord! When I moved out of my parents’ home I realized that I had to do the things in my everyday life that would keep me healthy. Exercising, eating right, taking my allergy medication, caring for myself when seasonal allergies are crazy, and steering clear of people who are sick. When I was younger, if I was sick I literally didn’t care. When I felt “okay enough”, then I went back out and did what I wanted. Now I make sure that I am fully well before I get back into the swing of things. TBH, I think the last time I was sick was last year on my birthday. I got the stomach flu and that was pretty much bad luck if I can say so myself. This year I’m hoping for a party. And maybe champagne.
Saving money for emergencies is a must.
I am blessed to be able to be a stay at home wife/mother (one day the littles will be here!) so I am not working and saving money. But my sweet hubby and I make sure to try our hardest to save money each month. With the past move to Dallas figuring out our budget has been one of the hardest things and with the new year, we are probably going to cut a lot and talk about where we can save more. But I’ve DEFINITELY noticed as an adult, each month there is always something that isn’t included in our budget that happens. Last month it was my husband’s car breaks. This month is our dog and his vet bills for teeth cleaning and medicine. So, whatever you can do to save, do it. Things happen.
Calling your Grandparents needs to be a priority.
Okay, so I really only have 2 grandmas. One lives 3 hours from me and I used to get lunch with her monthly… the other lives back in MD so I didn’t get to see her often really. Now, I don’t get to see either consistently anymore really ever. So at least a phone call a month to each is extremely important! Unless you have a really hard relationship with your grandparents, process and pray to what you can commit. But you are probably your grandparent’s pride and joy. They loved your mom or dad like crazy, but when they heard you were coming they got just as excited if not more and love you so much. So love on your grandparents and call them at least once a month, they will truly appreciate it. I know my grandma’s do.
My siblings are my friends now.
I may not be insanely close friends with my siblings, but the simple fact is now we are all adults over the age of 21. That is one scary thought. We all make our own decisions, mistakes, children, job moves, traditions, etc. But we grew up with them, spent at least 18 years or more with them. They know the buttons to push to piss you off, but they also know how to stick up for you when your hurting. Being the farthest away from my siblings makes it really hard to keep a close friendship with them, but I know that they have my back and are proud of me for becoming the woman I am just as I am for them. Truly, they are some sweet friends in my life. Now just to start hosting a family reunion for us… NOSE GOES!
Your parents are your friends too, and sometimes your only couple friends.
I love my parents and my in-laws so much. You may not be blessed to have a great parental set and I’m sorry, I hope and pray you get to expereince that one day. I know it’s in the Lord plan to have a family that loves you so well. Just trust Him.
For me, I don’t get to see my parents often being them still living in PA and me and my hubby in Texas, but I know that we can have a deep more meaningful relationship with them as adults, with families of our own, decisions made in faith following the Lord, and recognizing the simple grown-up things in life now. This past trip back home to visit my parents for Thanksgiving with my husband was sweet because I got to, funnily enough, drink with my parents. Growing up alcohol was never really a thing at all. My parents maybe had wine once that I remember, but this past holiday, we all got to try favorite holiday drinks in a new way as adults. Having that simple memory as an adult now brings me joy because I can honestly say I am friends with my parents as a couple, not just a daughter.
And for my in-laws, the first weekend we got back Chris and I spent our Friday night with his parents, a pizza, a 6pack and a funny 80’s movie. Laughing, cherishing the funny moments, and planning for our upcoming trip to LA in two weeks. Another couple, our parents, friends. Neither set needs to teach us how to be adults anymore because we already are and now we can all rest in that we are friends.
Think of it this way: Our parents literally made babies to grow them up to be their friend. That brings a fun spin to it.
Reading a book is so much more rewarding than watching TV.
Don’t get me wrong, I love watching a good rerun of Friends, P&R, or the Office. All that humor in 20 minute cracks me up and I love it! But when I pick up a book, I am not only getting into an authors brain, new world and imagination, I am also enhancing my brain activity. So picking up a good book is fun because then my brain is doing all the work for such a beautiful story! No exercise required!
Drink the necessary amount of water.
For real, you can go days without water, weeks sometimes. But you can only survive 3 days without dying if you don’t drink water. It is recommended to drink half an ounce of water for every pound. Or 8 8oz glasses, whichever is more. If you don’t like drinking water, try adding a flavor: like lemon or lime or both! Try diffusing strawberries and mint instead if you don’t like citrus flavor. My hubs and I buy Reverse Osmosis water so it’s legit some of the healthiest water you can buy. And no it is not the same as tap water. I’m not being a water snob, but it’s truly worth getting high-quality water if you can. It’s not even more expensive. My husband and I spend .45c on a gallon and we get 10 gallons and it lasts us almost 2 weeks. So go ahead, treat yourself to a glass of ice cold H2O!
Don’t always just opt in for the sweatpants on the day off.
Being a stay at home wife, I struggle with this, but I can SO attest to feeling how I look. Sometimes, you can’t help it, its laundry day and you have to wear the sweats. But I try to spruce up my hair or put a little makeup on at least, or shower. You don’t have to be fancy all the time, but lounging in sweats all day isn’t really fulfilling or motivating. I get it. When I’m in sweats all day, I pretty much set myself up for Netflix. Letsbehonest. Why not treat yourself well, dress for your day, and make it happen, we’ll feel a million times more motivated! If your day is at the gym don your most amazing and fun and comfy yoga pants or leggings. Errand day, jeans and a pretty pair of flats make all the difference to feel on top of the world. In Highschool, it was COOL to wear sweatpants all the time. But in reality, first impressions do matter somewhat. You can make up for a bad one if you get the chance. You don’t have to save your Sunday best or interview best just for those special moments. So let us dress for success!
Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.
I mean books in addition… to actual people here. Everyone has their own story to tell, let them tell it. Let the book share its experiences with you.
Make your bed every day.
Maybe this one is a personal preference. Every day as a child, I never cleaned my room or made my bed. I hated it. It felt like a waste of time. But as an adult now, if I can make my bed, I at least accomplished one thing. Yeah I maybe still have a chair of clean clothes, but It’s now easier to sort them on a freshly made bed that I can take a nap in afterwards.
Your friendships look different.
This one may seem sad because as a 15, 16, or 17 year old your friendships went deep fast and were fun and spontaneous. It’s not to say that that still isn’t an option as a adult. But your close friends from Highschool or college, they’ll still be close but only in the sense that you’ve now transitioned into the “longest friends” category. My dad always told me that having a best friend wasn’t fair to all of your friends because it puts them on a pedestal that could hurt them or you because a best friend isn’t a “better” friend like some assume. I realize the wisdom in that as an adult, but I would add onto it. You have good friends, and some know you so well… but your “best” friend, the one that you will always be friends with… no matter what happens, that friend is Jesus (and maybe your spouse).
It’s never too late to check yourself.
Okay, so breast cancer is SO relevant. Don’t freak out. It always will be relevant. No matter if you haven’t had it run in your family, or you are like me and your mom, her mom, and her mom’s mom all had breast cancer… check yourself. As a female, you automatically have a higher chance of getting breast cancer. So do all that you can to be healthy body wise, and check yourself. It’s a non-negotiable .
It’s important to get out of your mindset/local worldview.
There is ALWAYS more going on around you than what you see around you. Read a newspaper, check a reputable new source, read up on the local government, state government, and country’s current issues. I’m not perfect at this, but I know for a fact that being more aware of what is going on other than what’s happening in my community alone is so necessary. I’ve learned a lot about the world through this one class called Perspectives. It’s taught me such an important lesson on becoming more aware of what’s going on around me. So go learn.
You can cook. Don’t knock it til you try it.
You may think you suck in the kitchen, and maybe I’m wrong but I’m pretty sure you can cook. And not just PBJ. There are SO many easy recipes that you can learn to cook at home. You’re saving money, making healthier choices, and learning a very important trade for when you get married (even if you don’t get married, it makes sense to cook at home!) if you aren’t already. Here are a few easy crock pot meals I love to make and I spend less than 5 minutes prepping them. <3 AKA browse through my Pinterest yummy food ideas.
Everyone’s social media highlights aren’t the full storyline.
For real, assuming someone’s Instagram live story is their real story is so not smart. How often do you get sad, jealous, or upset at watching one of your friends share how amazing their life is when you feel so far from amazing? Or are you one of those who see baby announcement after announcement, or engagement after engagement waiting impatiently for your own like me? Their story is not what you see online. They too are struggling with something behind the announcement and they finally get to be joyful over it. Join in with them and then trust that God knows your story and is writing it.
It’s important to be independently dependent on God.
When I moved away from home at 19, I learned pretty quickly that it was God who I was dependant on. I maybe was independent from my family and I got to make the decisions about job, and health, and relationships, and church. But it was with Jesus that I made these decisions. Knowing Jesus has my back and will support me in my choices and guide me in the path He has, makes life being an adult so much easier.
Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries.
Okay, people are sometimes mean. And if you are like me, setting boundaries is REALLY hard. I am a self-proclaimed people pleaser. All my personality tests confirm this too. I hate disappointing people or making them upset with me, or making a decision that’s wrong and finding out later. So boundaries are very important. Learning when to say no, or not now comes with time and trial and error. For myself, a good rule of thumb was that when I feel overwhelmed to the point of anxiety, I step back until I feel calm and sane enough to make a decision. And with people who have feelings as well, that was hard because I didn’t like hurting people. So I had to share with them when I was comfortable… which to be honest, most of the time is an “I’m not feeling well right now, can we talk, discuss, process, make a decision about this later?” and then step back until I can make a decision, not under duress.
Self talk, not self smack-talk.
Honest moment. I am working on this daily. I smack talk myself all too often. I don’t believe in myself when others do. I feel like a failure and tell myself that. It’s not good. As an adult, doing this shouldn’t be a priority anymore. We get the chance when we realize we are smack talking ourselves, to turn the conversation around and speak life into ourselves. If we don’t know how to speak life, we get the opportunity for Holy Spirit and Jesus to do that. It’s a hard habit to break, like I said. I still struggle with it. But it is a major thing I’ve learned and I hope that everyone learns before they turn 25. So just like my momma said, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”
Your biggest and best yes is always this…
It’s not necessarily to your career or your spouse, although both are big “yes”s. Your best yes is always going to be “Yes, Jesus, I will follow you.” Someday’s it looks like working on your self-talk, your exercise and eating habits, or working on your hobbies, resting because you haven’t self-care for yourself in a while. But whatever Jesus says, asks you to do, desires to do with you… will always be a best yes.
So friends! These are 25 things I think are really important to know before you turn 25 and I am thankful to have learned and are working on! Send me a message if you think of any other things that you have learned or think is important! email@example.com