25 Life Lessons I Learned By 25

Sunday 22 September 2019
It has been 25 years now since I ventured this journey called life. Twenty-five years’ worth of moments, conversations, decisions, achievements and failures. Some, I look back on with great pride and dignity. Some, I look back on and I can’t help but cringe (Yes, I’m looking at you Facebook status updates from high school!). Regardless of its ups and downs, one thing we can’t deny is that 25 years brought about a whole lot of learnings and realizations. Some a bit harder to swallow than others. In celebration of my life’s silver anniversary, here are the 25 lessons I learned throughout my 25 years of life.

25 Life Lessons I Learned By 25
25 Life Lessons I Learned By 25

1. Go to the Dentist and take care of your teeth.

A toothache is no joke. Imagine trying to sleep with a mind-numbing tooth pain before you decide to skip out on brushing your teeth.

2. Your life goals need not be in line with the conventional standards. 

Growing up, we are told that to have a successful life we must have a stable career, earn lots of money, build a family and whatever crap society has pushed us to want. For the longest time, we strive for this. That is, until we find ourselves and realize that life is not a one-size fits all affair. We are all traveling our unique paths, with our own personalized life goals. This means that each person has their own set of priorities. What one person values may not be as important to you, that doesn’t mean that they’re in the wrong. You should travel the path tailor-made for you by you, not what society has determined you should follow.

So, you want to splurge on traveling the world while you’re young and able instead of saving up for the future? That is okay. You want to save and earn money while you’re young instead of spending a lot on vacations because you want to be comfortable in the future? That’s perfectly fine as well. If it is in line with your goals and what you value in life, don’t let anyone tell you what you “should” do just to fit into the conventional standards. Similarly, don’t tell anyone what they “should” do too. There is no such thing as an ideal goal, just your goals. 

3. Every person is interesting, it just takes the right person to appreciate their depth.

I used to automatically label people who do not conform to my ‘interesting person’ standards as shallow and lacking depth.  However, as I got older, I have come to the realization that to some people, I could be as bland as unsalted fish as well. Some people will resonate with you, some people will not but that does not mean you should write off the person entirely. To someone else, they could be the most interesting person they’ve ever met.

4. Nothing is ever black and white (except Math and Science, of course). 

When we were younger, we were taught how to distinguish "good" from "bad". Countless movies even feed us with the typical good guy versus bad guy tropes. When we encounter something, it may be tempting to simply label it as either “good” or “bad”. It is indeed easier to go on autopilot mode rather than giving the situation a hard look and see it for what is really is: a complex mess. Everything in this world has hidden layers, a set of complexities and depth, waiting to be unearthed and appreciated. The truth is, nothing is ever black and white. See the world for what is, a beautiful shade of gray.

5. Everyone has their own personal struggles.

No matter how lovely a person’s Instagram feed is, or how put together their lives seem to be, we should realize that every one of us has a baggage we must carry. Life is not perfect. We have internal struggles, insecurities, flaws. Always be kind. Life can be hard sometimes, don’t make it any harder for anyone else by being mean.

6. You are responsible for your own self-improvement.

No one will benefit more for your personal growth than you, so it’s only fair for you to be responsible for your own self-improvement. Whether its going to the gym and exercising or finally enrolling in graduate school. If you won’t invest in yourself, no one else will.

7. When a person asks for your advice, chances are they already know what they want to do.

A professor in college once told us that when someone comes to you for advice, you should always start by asking them “What do you want to do?”. They most likely already have a specific advice they want you to lean towards. If your advice doesn’t line up with what they have in mind, they’ll pretend to listen and simply move on to seek advice from another confidant until they find one who finally reinforces that what they want to do is what they should do.

8. Everyone gets fat.

Yes, including you.

9. You can do anything, but not everything.

You can do anything you set your mind to, but then again, you cannot do it all. Set up tangible goals for yourself and know your limits.  Self-awareness is key. Ask for help when you need to. Don’t be a hero. Also, it is very important to avoid being too hard on yourself when you don’t achieve what you set out to.

10. You are not who you were at 20 years old. Forgive yourself.

With age, comes wisdom. We’ve all done some stupid things when we were younger. Things we regret. Mistakes that continue to haunt us before we go to sleep. Learn how to forgive yourself for everything you have done in the past. Who you were then is now just an outdated version of yourself. People change. People learn. People grow. Even you.

11. You cannot control how you feel, but you can control what you do about it. 

Feelings are complicated. They have a mind of their own and we can’t order them to stop or change on command. You should never feel sorry for feeling one way or another. In the same way, you can never be held accountable for your emotions. However, how you act out on your feelings is a different story and is a great indicator of character.

12. Learn how to apologize and be grateful. 

This is basic, but we often underestimate the powers of the simple phrases: “I’m sorry” and “Thank you”.

13. Health is wealth.

20-somethings have a knack for thinking their bodies are indestructible. We skimp on sleep like it’s a disease. We have so much to do, a busy social life and a busy work life that ain’t nobody simply have time for that. What we don’t realize is that the damage we do to our body will come back to us as we get older. To be able to live life to the fullest, we have to be healthy, physically, mentally and spiritually. Spend time and money focusing on your health, it is a form of self-love after all.

14. Take care of your skin. 

You don’t need to have a full-on skin care routine. However, you should always, always, always wear sunscreen! A good moisturizer, cleanser and eye cream will work wonders too.

15. People come and go.

Each person you’ve ever met in your life had a purpose. They helped shaped who you are now, but not everyone is meant to be in your life forever. People don’t necessary stay in one place their whole life. It is normal for close friends to grow apart and lose touch. That doesn’t mean you weren’t important to them, it’s just that people move on and life continues. Be very grateful for the friendships and relationships that last though.

16. You can cut toxic people out your life.

As we get older, we begin to choose quality over quantity in our relationships. If a certain relationship is causing you more despair than it brings you joy, or if someone is flat out being a parasite in your life, choose to rid yourself of unnecessary drama by cutting ties with these toxic people. Your life will be much lighter without their negative energy pulling you down. This may not be as simple as the toxic person maybe someone you love and can’t live without. However, if it’s what’s best for your own sanity and well-being, it might just be worth it.

17. The foundation of successful relationships is compatibility.

When I was younger, I thought the ‘I love you against all odds’ mentality is the most romantic thing ever. Now that I’m older, I realized that when finding a life partner, compatibility should be your priority. Relating to the healthy and unhealthy relationships I have witnessed around me; I’ve concluded that people usually won’t change their true nature. Someone may say they’ll be willing to change for you at the beginning of the relationship, but how long can they suppress who they really are exactly? After two or three years, the initial spark will fizzle out, will they still be willing to compromise to impress you? No relationship is perfect, couples will always have differences. However, for a relationship to last, you must be on the same side for issues that do matter. Ideally your major values should also line up. 

If you want to have kids but he doesn’t, that’s a pretty big thing to be on opposing ends for life partners. Another example would be someone who likes micromanaging their partner. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, some people may be comfortable with that. If they end up with someone who puts high importance on their independence, that’s not going to end well. They will argue and may agree to compromise, which will prolong the relationship. But eventually, their true nature will surface yet again, thus forming an unhealthy loop until it becomes too much for them and they explode. They end up leaving the relationship exhausted.

18. Don't do unto others what you don't want done unto you.

It is called the golden rule for a reason.

19. Everyone is unique. Let them be.

It’s okay to drink, it’s okay not to drink. It’s fine to wear makeup, it’s also fine not to. It’s okay not to go to the gym, but if you love working out then more power to you. We all have our own preferences. We don’t have to explain ourselves to anyone nor do we have to shove our preferences down to everyone’s throats. Everyone has the right to be exactly who they are. Do what you want to do. Eat what you want. Wear what you prefer. The world would be a better place if we stop judging people and just let them be. Of course, this only applies as long as you are not hurting or are doing something illegal.

20. No one has the right to keep two soulmates away from each other. 

I believe in the concept of the soulmate. That we wander this world looking for the one person our soul feels at home with. I also believe that not everyone ends up with their soulmate. They may have blown it by choosing a different path, different person or may just have been too immature to be ready to recognize it when they crossed paths. These people probably end up constantly looking for something missing later, thus causing a lifetime of unhappiness. 

That is why I believe that when someone thinks they found the one, no one should ever stand in the way. That means even if one or both are involved in relationships with other people. I do not condone cheating. Cheating in all its sense (or lack thereof) is always bad. However, I think that it can be justified when they truly believe they’ve found ‘the one’ and not just brought about by lust. In my newfound maturity, I even told my boyfriend that if he ever feels that way for another person, I will be happy to let him go and be a part of the story of how he found his soulmate rather than be the person who kept them apart.

21. There is kindness in the world, and it is not a weakness. 

Kindness exists, you are just constantly ignoring it. You may think of kindness as a grand gesture of some sort, but even just a simple act like holding the elevator for that stranger who’s running towards it is a great deal. It doesn’t take too much effort to be kind. Help make the world a lighter place. Always be kind when you can, it feels great.

22. If you can change it, do something about it. If you can’t, learn to accept it.

One thing I have learnt to outgrow as I have grown older (hopefully wiser?) is the toxic art of complaining. No one wants to hang out with a chronic complainer. They do nothing but bring you and themselves down. They suck away positive energy and fill the atmosphere with gloom. That is why I always try my best to avoid complaining. Instead, when I am in a situation I am not exactly a hundred percent satisfied with, I ask myself if I could do something to alleviate the condition. If yes, I should take action. If I don’t do something even if I can, then I have no right to complain. If there is nothing that can be done, then what good is complaining for? Instead, learn to make peace with the situation.

23. Avatar: The Last Airbender is just as much for adults as it is for kids.

I loved Avatar: The Last Airbender when I was a kid. Re-watching it almost 15 years later as an adult, my sense of appreciation for it has only become greater. Kids will be amazed by all the incredible fight scenes, bending powers, witty jokes and fantastic art. Adults will appreciate the thoughtfulness of the series, great character developments and of course, the words of wisdom from the one and only Dragon of the West: Uncle Iroh.

24. When arguing, stay focused on the issue at hand. Do not bring up previous conflicts that have already been resolved.

Want an argument to get out of hand? Cause that’s how you get an argument out of hand.

25. The quarter life crisis exists!

Your mid-20's is a weird time. Ever since we were born, a timeline was already planned out for us. Start school at 4 years old. Go to college at 16 years old. Graduate at 21 years old. Get a stable job by 22 years old. That’s about it. Now you’re over all of that, what next? You’ve imagined that by 25, you’ll have everything figured out. That’s what we’ve been groomed to think. When you get a job after college, it will all be alright moving forward. But let’s face it, it most certainly is not the case. Life does not always turn out as we want it to be. We are left feeling lost, don’t know what path we should take. Questioning if all the years we spent even amounted to anything. Comparing yourself to your peers and their achievements, thinking to yourself how you’ve let your life end up so….plain. 

You know what? The quarter life crisis is hard, but is a necessary step towards self-discovery. Use this temporary phase of contemplation as an opportunity to evaluate your wants, needs, values, goals and to reintroduce yourself to who you really are, not a version of yourself society taught you to be. 

Wow! This article turned out to be longer than I expected (you can blame the quarter life crisis for giving me time to think about things by the way). I hope that you had as much fun reading this as I had writing it.

As cliché as this may sound, life is going to be okay. So, hang in there you beautiful twenty-five year old warrior!


  1. Loved these! Completely agree with all of them ��

  2. Such a wonderful write-up, Veronica :)

  3. I completely agree with everything you have said specially #16. We need to choose quality over quantity in our relationships.

  4. There are so many insights I got reading this post. For a 25 years old, you got so many realizations in life.

  5. You have so much to learn as you grow older, still so young! I could vividly remember what I've been doing when I was 25yrs old. Lol. #7 maybe, people just really want reassurance. And #10 you're right about that. We were so young, we have done foolish things but it doesn't define us now.

  6. Being 25 is such a good age to learn and explore. Have fun and create more memories coz when you hit 30, you will gain interest on other things, and that's another adventure.

  7. Yes, quarter life really exists! I still remember when I was 25 years old. I feel so sad and I feel like I lack a sense of purpose and direction. Glad I overcame that feeling. But, still, glad for you to have these lessons for a lifetime!


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