the 25 things i have learned at 25

The 25 Things I Have Learned at 25. 

In celebration of me hitting a quarter of a life (which my mom delighted in reminding me over FT the other day is ALSO five years away from being 30) I decided to write a list of the 25 things I have learned at 25. This won’t be in any particular order. Of course I have learned how to brush my teeth, drive, and many other basic life lessons, but these are the ones that have stood out over the years. These are lessons I hope everyone can learn. Lessons I hope to pass down to my children one day. Not all these lessons I learned by reading it in a book, or being told by my parents - in fact, most I learned because I was too prideful and stubborn to do it right the first time. After much heartbreak, disappointment, and notifications from Chase telling me I have under $50 in my bank account, I have come to learn some very valuable things. Here we go!

#1. How to Live My Fullest Life.

I put this at number one (even though I said it was in no particular order) because it’s probably the most important lesson I have learned in my 25 years of living. I can’t tell you how many people in my life, or people I observe around me are not living their fullest life, and it makes me sad. It makes me sad that they are content with an average life and have accepted the idea that any dreams or desires in their heart are “far off.” I have been lucky to have my mind open to the idea that there is more to life. I can’t take all the credit though. I recently read this book titled “The Art Of Non-Conformity”, you can click HERE to purchase it for yourself. This book changed my life, and I’m not just saying that. I don’t read a TON of books, but I literally couldn't put this one down. I might even read it again. Knowing that I can travel the world, live in whatever city I want to, have whatever job I want, and accomplish all my goals, has made me more excited not only to be alive, but to chase those dreams! You should read it!

#2. Being Adventurous Does Not Mean I Can’t Commit

Most people look at free-spirits as confused people. I understand how having their head in the clouds can seem a bit, “irresponsible” , “lost without direction” or even “indecisive” but that’s a stereotype that closed minded people have. In fact, being adventurous has opened up so many doors for me. I have been able to do things that many people will never get to do in their lifetime. I have stories to tell my kids and grand kids one day.  I don’t know if it’s the Pisces in me that believes in fairy tales, magic, and the chasing of your dreams, but I don’t care. Switching up my life every so often has allowed me to grow, change, see more, do more, and meet some amazing people. I know one day I’ll probably buy a home, live there for a bit, get married and have kids - but who says you can’t strap a kid on your back and hike The Grand Canyon? I’ve been home-schooled before, it’s not so bad.

#3. Money Comes and Goes.

This is actually a recent lesson I have learned and as it hasn’t “brought” me more money, it’s given me a peace in my finances that I’ve never had before. I didn’t grow up with mommy and daddy at home with full time jobs giving me everything I wanted whenever I wanted it. In fact, my parents divorced when I was three, and they both struggled to find financial stability for themselves and for me. I lived in neighborhoods that weren’t safe, watched my mom scrub toilets on her hands and knees after her day job just to pay for my acting classes, and somehow they made it work. I think that forced me to work right away and do everything I could to provide for myself. With that, when money was low it was rough. I would stress about it all day, it was like I couldn't be happy or breath without it. That’s when I realized that money had a hold of me. It may be the countless hours of watching Mr. Robot or seeing people like me still travel the world and go after their dreams despite money, but I have learned that money comes and goes. You don’t climb this financial ladder that gets better and better every step. Sometimes you’re gonna have a lot and sometimes you’re gonna struggle. Because of that, start to value things that are free. Learn to tell your money where to go. Stop spending it on meaningless items. You will be much happier in the end.

#4. I Don’t Need To Do What You Expect Me To.

So many times in life we go to a social gathering, or a meeting that we really don’t want to be in. Of course, some things we can’t control. I am expected at work at a certain time every day, and I do have to follow a set of rules - that I can’t change. But I’m talking about your family and friends. You grow up around these people and spend so much time that they are the people that know you the best, BUT that doesn’t mean they always know what's best for you. It’s okay to break the mold, change your mind, and be unexpected. You don’t need to feel guilty or justify it to everyone who doesn’t understand. This is your life. You are in control of it. If you’re not happy, guess what? YOU can change that. Just remember that the next time you are “out” with friends and you’d rather be at home eating Chick-Fil-A watching The Goonies. You can tell your friends no, it’s okay.


#5. Being Kind & Loving To All People Is The Best Thing To Be.

A lot of times as a child I didn’t realize that I wasn’t exposed to a ton of different people. Maybe it was the school, church, studios, or city I lived in, but as an adult I have seen so many different types of people in my life than ever before. This may sound silly but I have learned that no matter what race, color, sexual orientation, gender, age, etc you are - you are first and foremost human, and that is special. That is valuable. We all deserve to be valued even if it’s in the form of a smile or a “hello” from a stranger. That doesn't mean you are nice to your friend but talk trash about them behind their back, it means you are kind to all people at all times. I’ve definitely had my moments, but life is so short. We are not promised tomorrow. It’s more important to let little things go and just love one another.

#6. Bangs Are Not My Thing.

So I’ve tried bangs a couple times in my life. Once when I was a kid, another time in middle school and again as an adult. I think the only time it worked for me was when I was a child. Maybe because no one expected me to look “pretty” and half the time my curly red hair was a mess anyways. But now as an adult, I couldn't’ stand them and they just don’t work for me. I think I had bangs for two weeks before I started pinning them to the side. Yeah, lesson learned. Never doing bangs again.

#7. Self-Care Is So Important.

Okay, so I’ve changed a lot in the last couple of years and I can confidently say I’m both an extrovert and introvert. I can enjoy social gatherings, and look forward to spending a lot of time with people I love. I can being outgoing and talkative in those social settings as well, but there’s a limit. If it’s been a long work week, and I’ve just socialized a lot WITHOUT taking any time to be alone, I most likely will implode. I need time to myself and that’s okay. I do enjoy my own company so if it’s Friday night and my friends are out but I don’t feel like it, I’ll stay home and take care of myself. Do a face mask, have a glass of wine, play phone games, read gossip magazines, watch Netflix. Whatever I want. Putting myself first and realizing it’s okay to take care of YOU.

#8. A Smaller Group of Friends is Better.

As a kid the biggest deal was birthday parties. I remember if someone wasn’t being nice to me or sharing their toy, I’d hit them with the classic, “Well, you’re not coming to my birthday party!” It was the biggest insult. The reason why was because having all the kids in your class go to your birthday party made you feel special. “Look at how many people like me, care about me, bought me presents!” But as I've gotten older, I’ve realized trying to balance a ton of friendships is hard. Most of the time you can’t trust everyone and you’ll eventually lose touch - and that’s okay. Establishing deeper connections with just a few people will be valuable to you as you grow up and change. You know they will keep all your secrets, not judge you for the stupid stuff, and be around whenever you need them.

#9. Skin-Care First, Makeup Second.

So I want to say about 5-6 years ago I got into makeup HEAVILY. Like I had to have the latest foundations, mascaras, lipsticks everything. It was an expensive hobby. Luckily at that time I wasn’t paying rent. I loved creating looks and trying new things. Makeup is an art form for sure, BUT it’s not everything. In fact, you could have the best foundation in the world, if you’re breaking out and have texture - it’s not gonna cover that. Within the last two years I’ve learned a lot about skin and taken skincare seriously. I threw out a ton of makeup and only bought products I loved, that enhanced my natural beauty. Now I wear almost nothing every day and I love it. Don’t get me wrong, Sephora still sucks me in like a gravity pull straight from space, but my skin is so important and I don’t want to cover it all the time.

#10. Use All Your Skills To Your Advantage.

You will acquire so many skills as you grow up and you can use all of them to your advantage. You may be a graphic designer full time, but if you write really good resumes, or essays and want to travel somewhere far, use that writing skill as a side hustle to save money for a far off land. If you have free time on the weekends and don’t have many friends, find a creative way to turn your free time into cultivating friendships. Host meetups with like minded people, coach workshops, or start a Facebook group that hangs out on the weekends. Use all the resources and skills you have. You never know how it will benefit you one day.

#11. Relationships Are Not Promised To Work Out All The Time; And That’s Okay.

So personal fact about me, I was in a serious committed relationship for a few years just two years ago. I thought that it would work out for the long haul and it didn’t. I was sad of course but I have learned that no matter how good or bad relationships can go, you’re not promised that will work out forever….maybe you have a stronger guarantee once your married? It’s okay if your relationship doesn’t work out….cause we’re not promised they will and we can’t get mad when they don’t. Of course, I believe in working things out if you love and care enough about that person, but at least until you’ve found that person, just know it’s okay. It doesn't mean there’s something wrong with you, or even that person - it just wasn’t the right fit. Now a couple years later, I have learned the same is true in every relationship you have with any person. You friendships aren’t even guaranteed to work out forever. You are not promised that every season of life you face, the people next to you will be there to face it with you. This may sound negative but it’s just reality and if we can accept this truth then we can truly learn how to be independent, and filter through those connections we have that aren’t any good. We learn to value the people we WANT to be there forever and put more energy into those. Then if you move away, loose touch, or simply move forward, you’re able to let go and appreciate what you did have but know that there’s more ahead.

#12. Start Working Out Early

So of course no one truly enjoys going to the gym, or outside for a run. I for one, was always active in school whether it be because of Theater or Dance, I never had to worry about staying in shape. I also was a teenager, so I just didn’t care. But as I have gotten older,  I’m not as active as I used to be. In fact, it may not seem like it on the outside but my body has changed a lot since I have graduated high school. I’m not the best at it, and can get inconsistent sometimes - but working out is so important. Taking your health into your own hands and remaining active so you can have a healthy and long life will be the best thing you can do. If you get into the habit of hitting the gym a couple times a week or taking a class at a local gym, your body will thank you years from now when it’s not so hard to get out of bed.

#13. Save Money, Save Money.

My parents always told me to save my money for something I really wanted as a kid. Then when I was 15 and got my first real job, they told me to save a majority of all my paychecks. I wasn’t the best at it, I mean it was the first time I had my own money, but I went to a lot of dance competitions, art competitions and trips with my friends - so I kinda had no choice but to save. Now that I’m 25 I see the value in having a savings account with a good amount of money in it. You never know when your car will go out, or you’ll catch the flu and need to see a doctor. Having a savings account will not only make those emergencies a little less stressful but it won’t put a damper on the weekly coffee you buy from that cool coffee shop down the street. Plus if it’s the end of the year and nothing crazy has happened, you can reward yourself with a fun trip with your friends, or front row seats to that band you really love.

#14. Build Credit ASAP.

Okay so credit cards are a parents biggest fear for their kid, but I wish I had seen the value in a credit card before. If you ever plan on buying a car, a house, or an apartment, then having good credit is a must. Now, there are so many ways to build credit, but of course the most obvious way is a credit card. When I first got my credit card it was only $300. But I was diligent in paying the minimum amount every month (I got scared and would pay it in full every time) and now I have great credit and a bigger credit amount. I don’t plan on buying a car or a house anytime soon, but it’s good to have good credit history for the day I want something really big. Plus I’m planning on moving to NYC soon and I know after maybe a couple years of renting rooms from people, I’ll want my own place, which I’ll need not only a good credit score for, but credit HISTORY. In any event that I decide to move somewhere else, it’s nice to know I have my credit to fall back on.

#15. Some People Are Toxic, Learn How To Stay Away From Them.

I have heard this so many times growing up but I never knew what it meant…. Until I met a couple people that were toxic. A toxic person is the type of person who is not good for YOU to be around. It could be for many different reasons, but whatever the reasons may be, it’s in our best interest to distance yourself from them. It doesn’t make you a bad person that you choose to no longer be close to them, spend time with them, or divulge personal information about your life. In fact, it’s a great thing. It means that you respect yourself enough to know what you deserve. I had this friend once who was fun to be around, we got close and I could say at one point she was one of my closest friends. We did so many things together, but there were so many red flags that I chose to ignore, because I simply felt lonely and in need of any friendship. From negative comments, to insults about my body/what I wore, to even making me do things for her, I realized that friendship was not benefiting me, and it was time to go. Now, I have some of the most amazing friends. People that truly love me, are kind, funny, and push me to be the best version of myself I can be.

#16. Learn To Cook At Least 3 Good Meals For Myself.

I hate cooking. There I said it. I really don’t enjoy being in the kitchen and making food for myself that I’m gonna eat. It’s not fun and then afterwards I have to clean up. But if I don’t learn how to cook at least 3 good meals for myself then I’ll either starve or live off of fast food, which is just as bad. Pinterest has become my stomachs best friend. I’m still not the best at it, but if I follow the instructions and get everything I need for it, I can make something somewhat decent. I’m hoping in the next 5 years I can learn to cook even more delicious meals and actually enjoy it.

#17. Nature Is Good For The Soul.

I was never the go outside and play in the dirt kind of kid. I was more of the Tumblr, Dance Class, Shopping, Read a Good Book and Find Coffee Shops kind of 10 year old. Yes, I loved coffee at 10. My mom really shouldn't have allowed that….. Maybe that’s why I’m so short? Anyways, I can’t deny that being outside and surrounded by nature does good things for your soul. I remember the few times as a kid I would go to the beach with my dad it was so fun. Surfing, the water, the sand, everything. Now I look forward to being outside, going for hikes, hanging out by the beach or lakes, and sitting in the grass. I live in Fl, so there aren’t a ton of options besides the beach or swamps, but I encourage everyone no matter where you live to get outside and enjoy the wind in your hair and the smell of fresh air. Unless you live in NYC in which case it probably smells like trash and cigarettes and someone is trying to sell you a fake designer bag. Then stay inside, save up and go upstate or something.

#18. You’re Not Always Going To Be Happy.

So this may be a bit deeper than the last two lessons, but I would be irresponsible if I didn’t use even the small platform I have to be real with you guys. But your 20’s is a constant up and down. Sometimes you love your job, your friends, you have money, you do fun things, and you feel great. Other times you hate your job, you lose your friends, you’re sitting at home bored out of your mind, you have no money, and you feel like shit. Mental health is super important and I have always reached out for help when I felt like my own life was too overwhelming for me to handle alone, but not everyone does. So they don’t have someone there to say it’s okay to go through seasons where life sucks. You’re not expected to always be happy and feel on top of the world. Life isn’t about having everything lined up the way you want or  have everything under control. If you haven’t had a mental or emotional breakdown in your 20’s yet….WINTER IS COMING.

#19. Turn Off Mainstream Music and Find The Good Stuff.

I have my father to thank for introducing me to some really amazing artists/bands at a young age. It trained my ears to listen to ‘good stuff’ and filter through the ‘radio trash’ as my dad likes to call it. Some of my favorite bands/artist that my dad introduced me to are The Beatles, The Smiths, Jimi Hendrix, U2, Eric Clapton, Talking Heads and more. Now I don’t only listen to that, I love finding new artists and bands. Some of my current favorite bands are The Lemon Twigs, Twin Peaks, Mac Demarco, Arcade Fire, M83, PUP, Rex Orange County, & Tyler the Creator. Either way it’s nice to discover a sound that I really love. And for the record, it’s totally okay if you don’t know the words to a popular song when your friends play it in the car.

#20. Turn Off Social Media and Live Out The Good Stuff.

I’m someone who spends hours on social media a day. I know that sounds excessive and it is, but I work in social media and then in my free time I run a lifestyle blog in which I use social media to market and brand my content. Needless to say it takes up a ton of my time. Luckily, I’m able to work anywhere I want to. In my pj’s at home, or in a local coffee shop. Either way, it CAN get consuming and take up time that I should be allotting to more important things. Sometimes it’s nice to leave your phone in your car, or delete all the apps from your phone for the weekend and just live in the moment. I feel like you are more aware of what’s happening now and able to appreciate things as they are. It refreshes your mind and emotions and the more important things become clearer and clearer. I love capturing moments, and sharing my life online, but there comes a point when making memories for yourself and those involved will be much more valuable than the ones you share with the entire world. It becomes more personal and will last much longer than any picture could.

#21. Spend Quality Time With Your Family as Much as You Can.

Growing up I didn’t have a huge family, and being an only child with a very busy schedule I relied on my friends to keep me entertained and fulfilled. Like any other 16 yr old, or even 21 yr old, I wanted to hang out with my friends and do my own thing most of the time. Holidays aren't always fun in my household. In fact, I kind of dread them when they come around. Not all my family members get along and usually we are all in a rush back to our normal lives, but at the age of 25 I can say that despite my family not being perfect - they are still my family. I have become a lot closer to both of my parents now as an adult than ever before. I feel a mutual respect and that I can go to them with anything. I enjoy spending time with them even if it’s shared over a short meal. It breaks up my routine and makes me feel like even though I’m an adult trying to figure out my 20’s, I still have people much smarter than me that I can fall back on and be a mess in front of and it’s okay.

#22. It’s Okay If Your Dreams Change.

I think a lot of the time people think you have a dream and you need to stick to that one dream forever. As a society we are forced at a young age to figure out what we want to do with the rest of our life and then spend 4 years and thousands of dollars trying to get ready to pursue that. It might  have been the time I took off from school, traveling to different countries, the time when my mom was sick and we weren’t sure if she would make it, or the moving out on my own and getting a full time job that changed me. I was going to school a while ago for Psychology. I wanted to be a mental health therapist. After a very interesting class at Valencia I opted out of that. I now have fallen into the industry of Social Media Branding & Marketing which is something I did not go to school for or even take a class on. It was just something I loved doing and I guess I had a great interview...? I’ve learned a lot from that job and it’s opened my eyes to see all the other creative dreams and goals I have. I don’t need to apologize to my parents, school, or professors for changing my mind. It’s okay that I went in a different direction, and if I do it again in another 5-10 years it’s all good too. Life isn’t about doing one thing but doing EVERYTHING. About crossing off everything on your bucket list and not letting anything keep you from having a happy and full life.

#23. Learn to Laugh at Yourself.

I can’t tell you how many times I have completely embarrassed myself  or made a stupid decision that I later regretted. There are even moments in my life that I don’t let myself think about cause it’s too cringy for me, BUT the beauty of growing and moving through life is having the ability to laugh at yourself. I don’t take myself too seriously and I know that I’m going to probably embarrass myself more and make more stupid decisions that my future self will shake her head at. Either way, it’s much more enjoyable if I’m able to laugh at myself and just move on.

#24. Support Your Local Girl Gang.

I’m so proud to be a woman and to be a part of a movement where women are standing up and taking ownership. Middle school and high school was hard as a girl. I heard people talk trash about me in the bathroom stalls. I had so called ‘friends’ spread rumors about me at school. I was never picked to hang with any cool kid, and I spent a good amount of time comparing myself to the girls all around me. We now live in a world where more and more people are talking about their experiences and making a change. Being able to support the women around you, as a woman yourself, is probably one of the best things you can do. Not only will it boost the confidence of your local girl gang, but also give you the confidence and freedom you need to be your 100% self. It’s past the time of catty girls. It’s past the time where we compare ourselves to each other. It’s past the time where girls can’t “trust” one another. It’s time we support, love on, accept, trust, and believe in one another.

#25. Read the News, Be Educated About The World Around You, & Stand Up For What You Believe in.

So this is a lesson I have learned in the last year. I wasn’t ever someone who read the news, unless it was on my Twitter timeline. That’s actually the norm for a lot of people my age, and that's the sad part. When it comes time to vote, to give back, or to be asked what our thoughts are on a matter, I never want to seem unprepared and uneducated. I may be young, but I want to be a part of my society. I want to be a part of making big changes in history. I want to give back and stand for something important. Growing up in church I have adapted a lot standards that I still live by now as an adult. I stand on certain things because that’s my faith. But I know why I stand for them, and I’m not afraid to continue to do so even if others don’t understand. Besides faith, I have also learned a lot about politics, social issues, and world issues that are going on in our world today. It’s people my age or even younger that have the power to change the world, and to inspire leaders above us to listen and adapt. If you’re not someone who actively reads the news, that’s okay. Find a publication you enjoy/trust and subscribe to their newsletter, or download their app. You can filter what stories you are more interested in and in the end will be a much more educated citizen. You’ll be able to cultivate your own opinions on important matters and stand for them. You can make a difference. Your voice does matter and when multiplied by those around you, it can be historical. Take the kids of Parkland High School for example...they just landed the TIME magazine cover for the amazing things they are doing to protect students all over the world. One tragedy, lots of education, taking a stand, and getting others involved just might alter history forever.

As Told By,


Amanda Smith1 Comment