These type of lists have been popular lately and I’ve read through many excellent pieces. I agree with most I’ve read, and I’ve been inspired to add a few of my own when it comes to what we should and shouldn’t be doing by age 25. Here’s what I’ve come up with…
1. STOP: Saying yes to every outing your friends, acquaintances or co-workers invite you to.
START: Finding ways to be bored… and loving it.
You don’t have to be that social butterfly you always were back in college/high school. You’re older now. You can admit you’re tired and/or want to save money. It’s time to realize you just simply can’t handle going out two nights in a row anymore nor can your credit card. Sometimes the best nights are snuggling up on the couch with a glass of wine or a good drink with a good movie or show to catch up on. Our culture tells us a lie that being busy is a good thing: it means you’re important, successful & needed. But if we don’t find ways to be bored and simply do nothing, we’ll be burnt out before age thirty-five rolls around and we won’t be able to keep up with the expectations of others and certainly won’t ever feel satisfied. I’ve heard a lot of my peers say they hate being bored. I find this sad. Finding a way to love boredom and refueling from time to time is a huge key to successful living.
2. STOP: Sleeping in on Sunday. (Or Saturday!)
START: Going to Church.
Okay, so you don’t have to go to church, especially if you say you’re an atheist or a different religion or not religious at all. Not forcing that on you. But if you do have beliefs in God and you do call yourself a Catholic or Christian or Protestant or whomever… go to church! (This can apply to different religions, too. You can go back to your respective place of worship, too!) I know we all went to church growing up because our parents forced us to, right? And that kind of got lost on us when we were in high school or went off to college, but there’s something to be said in going back to it. I know so many people who say they want their future kids to grow up in church and they will go back once they start a family. Why not start now? Wake up an hour earlier and find a church you love. You don’t have to conform to where your parents went or even to the same denomination. Find a church that’s comfortable for you and don’t settle on anything less. You may be surprised by how different the experience could be as an adult than when you were a kid.
Oh and about not sleeping in on Saturday’s, that’s important too. It’s okay to catch up on sleep sometimes, but we could use that extra time to be productive. I’m a culprit of this all the time. I roll out of bed at 10:30 and my husband has already been up for three hours and has gotten a haircut, showered, stopped at the grocery store and paid some bills…. uh, I’m ashamed.
3. STOP: Hitting the snooze button.
START: Giving yourself time before work.
This can tie in to number two. During the work week, we love to take advantage of every minute we get to sleep before the long, sometimes stressful work day, the same way we like to sleep in on the weekends. It’s understandable. But it’s not the best use of our time in the morning. This isn’t college anymore. We can’t roll out of bed at 8:25 for an 8:30 class and show up in our pajamas. (I did this all the time.) In the moment, hitting snooze and getting those extra 5, 10, 15 minutes seems glorious, but it actually makes you more tired and in the long run, more likely for you to hit a wall at 3pm. You’ll be amazed at how freer you’ll feel and more energized at work if you wake up on time, or even earlier, and don’t rush to get ready. On my best mornings, I can wake up, make some tea, read for a little, pray and even work out for fifteen minutes. All before even thinking about getting ready for work. And then when I am, I don’t feel the tension of rushing out the door, making the drive seem less stressful & my mind less stressed. (This doesn’t happen often. I’m writing these for me, too, ya know.) All I’m saying is, your work day might be stressful enough. Why not utilize that time in the morning to slow life down and not add to that stress by, well, rushing through it.
4. STOP: Reading gossip magazines.
START: Reading something that actually challenges/teaches/makes you think.
I can be a sucker for magazines while laying on the beach, for sure. Mindless, silly, stupid stories on celebrities that don’t know how to act normal from one day to the next. It’s amusing. But I always feel worse after I put it down. In our free time, or on the beach, or wherever you are, it’s time to start reading books that are a tad bit more educational. When you have fifteen minutes, don’t check the gossip app or BuzzFeed on your phone, grab a book and read a chapter. Read a non-fiction, a biography, a self-help book; something different from what you would normally read. Even though we’re out of school for good, it’s important to stay in tune with our literate side, and not just by looking stuff up on google, but by physically opening a book.
5. STOP: Choosing your friends over your family.
START: Hanging out with your parents (or the equivalent) more.
Let’s face it. Our parents are getting older. And you don’t want to regret not seeing them enough in their later years. You’ve neglected them enough in high school and especially college, pretending they didn’t exist unless you needed money. But you’re an adult now. And so are they. You may actually have a lot more in common than you think. You may even have fun hanging out with them! They are still your parents, of course, but they can also be your really good friends as you get older, and you could still learn a lot from them. They are wiser and know a thing or two these days. So instead of going to the bar on a Friday night, invite your parents over for dinner from time to time or go out to eat with them (and offer to pay.) Go to a movie, shopping, or simply spend time having cocktails and reminiscing. Cook dinner with Mom. Have a cold one with Dad and let him show you all his tricks on grilling a mean steak. Adam & I do this all the time. We are blessed to have both our parents live close to us. And we make sure to not take it for granted.
Oh and side note: If you have siblings too, make sure they are your best friends. Once you’ve all become adults, it can be such a gift to share life with your siblings, especially once you start families.
6. STOP: With your child-like expectations at Christmas.
START: Remembering you are an adult and need to give actual, real gifts now.
Being in the Christmas spirit as it’s right around the corner, I thought I’d end with this. I have been guilty of this many times before. There were a couple different years in college where I came home for Winter break empty-handed. On Christmas morning I had nothing to give to my parents, my siblings, my extended family. My excuse was always the same: “I don’t have any money.” And although this may be a legitimate excuse and my parents understood because, well, I literally had no money, this is not an excuse now. Even if you still feel you have no money, which you probably don’t, you should have a job of some sort by now, and you are half-way to thirty. BRING A GIFT TO CHRISTMAS. Our parents have slaved for twenty some odd years to make us feel important and shower us with gifts. It’s time to give back. Just be smart. Set a spending limit and find creative ways to show your family you love them with a gift at Christmas time. Don’t make your parents feel like they still need to be Santa Claus and get you everything you ever wanted. It’s your turn!
As it’s been well documented, there are tons of articles circling through the social media world with similar lists, all of which can be true and are the opinions of the author’s. This was mine. Take it or leave it, or be inspired to create your own. What would your list say? Tell me what I’m missing.