25 Things to Do By the Time You’re 25
Facing your quarter-life crisis or in your early 20’s? Here are 25 awesome things to do by the time you’re 25.
By Tim Mousseau
This list is a set of recommendations. You do not have to do them. Most of you won’t. That is okay. But I share these because they are a few of the most memorable things I have done that have helped me become a better man.
Sometimes I found these out myself, and sometimes, life slapped me in the face with them like a crab on a boat in an Alaskan storm. They all managed to claw their way onto my face and stick.
1. Travel. No this does not mean travel all over the world. I could give a damn whether you go two towns over or to every country in the entire world. Make time, however, to see new parts of the world. Whether it is an hour drive, or it takes you six days, two ferries and one llama ride to get there. Allow yourself to go somewhere you haven’t been. Have a plan. Don’t have a plan. Stay in luxury or slum it up. How you travel depends on your circumstances. But travel. And for gods sake, stop posting about it, put down your damn phone and enjoy the sunset because it is there. See the world without a “filter.”
2. Find your style. The keyword here is your. I am pretty hipster. The whole beard, tattoo, and hipster thing are my MO. I don’t do it because it’s labeled cool. I look silly without facial hair, and all my tattoos are intimately personal. I also like one-color shirts, nice shoes, and cognac leather.
Fun fact, I will dress like this for a while. I also don’t care what you think. Don’t care what I think. Find your style, however. It doesn’t need to fit into any category except your closest. And as long as you love it, that is all that matters. When you are comfortable in your style, the world notices. Be you in a way that makes you proud.
3. Learn how to love being by yourself. Eat dinners alone. Go to the movies. Be willing to say no to your friends and take a night for personal mental health. Grow comfortable with your thoughts and the idea that while the world is constantly moving, while life is abuzz with, well, life, we do not need always to buzz with it.
4. Learn how to take care of yourself. This does not mean you need to be the expert in everything about self-care but surround yourself with people who can help you do this. I know nothing about cars, but I recognize enough to know when I need to hire a mechanic, and I have found one who works great. Same with a dentist and barber. You don’t need always to manage everything in your life. Find people who you can lean on to help.
5. Pick up a new hobby and let go of an old one. Always wanted to try something? Try it out! Not happy with something you were doing anymore? Stop doing it. You don’t have to keep doing a hobby of fear of it no longer being a part of your identity. Your hobbies do not define you. Be willing to give them up.
6. Figure out your drink. This drink does not need to be alcoholic. But know how to order something at certain places. This is less about figuring out alcohol. This is more about figuring out the idea of taste. Be willing to explore your taste. Expand your palate a little.
7. Call your family often, whatever this means to you. Family is a very vague term. They might be the people you were born to, they might not. You define what your family is at this point in life. So call them, often and frequently. Reach out. Grab meals with them. Regardless of how you define family, do not let these people slip from your life.
8. Go to the damn doctor. This is a very young flaw here. We don’t like doing this. Do not wait until it is too late. Don’t give yourself the chance to go through something dangerous or traumatic. And yes, paying for health insurance sucks. But do this too. Your body is all you have. Own it.
9. Floss, etc. Brush your teeth. Trim your beard. Take care of some self-care. Take care of yourself. Make your bed. Do the little things. Set aside time for these things. Understand in the slow moments when we engage in the simple activities, it provides us time to grow.
10. Stop answering work emails after a certain time of the day. Give yourself balance. Give yourself the chance to live a life separate from your job. It is not impossible. I work two full-time jobs and still turn off my email at a certain point at night. Make personal time a priority, even if you have to fight for it. No one will respect your personal time if you do not respect yourself to make this commitment to self. Stand up for yourself work-wise.
11. Don’t make a crazy wild decision that cost you tons of money because you think it will help your standing in life. Don’t just go back to grad school because it could generate more work. Don’t just invest in a new business because your wallet is lean. Don’t rush into what sounds like might be a good idea that cost you significantly.
12. Do make a crazy wild decision built around your mental well-being, your soul, and one costing you nothing. Tired of your job, need it for money, but wanting to start a new company? Do just that, maintain your source of income until you are self-sustaining, though. Be crazy, but have a bit of a backup net allowing you to do so. Don’t be motivated by money; instead be prepared by passion.
13. Engage in regular self-examination. Figure out how you are going to become a better person. Give yourself the opportunity to grow. Forgive yourself for your past, don’t hold on. Don’t pine for the future. Stop planning and start doing.
15. Understand we do things at our own pace. Don’t feel pressure to get married or not get married. Don’t feel pressure to start a family or not start a family. Don’t feel pressure to buy a house or rent. Don’t feel pressure to conform. Do what makes the most sense for you.
16. Don’t spend every free day getting drunk and then hung over, wondering about where your time went before you have to go back to a job you hate. Give yourself the chance to see the world around you and do things without needing to give in to vices.
17. Take a class. Read a new book. Watch a documentary. Attend a community lecture. Don’t stop learning. Force yourself to grow under the direction of someone else.
18. Let go of the past. Even if it is ugly as hell trauma. Learn to let go. At a certain point, you need to bury it.
19. Stop pretending that “30 is the new 20” and using this as an excuse not to follow your dreams. No, we do not have all the time in the world. It is important we grow up and at a point, realize if we do not chase our dreams, we might never get off the starting block.
20. Stop being an asshole in public. Cat calling isn’t funny. Sexual harassment isn’t funny. Being obnoxiously destructive drunk isn’t fun. Around the time of a quarter-century, we should know this. And maybe you are saying “But Tim, this isn’t me.” Congrats, but if you still have friends who are doing this, you need to either help your friends grow up or make better friends.
21. Pay careful attention to things around you. Don’t allow yourself to get lost in things that don’t matter like constantly checking social media while missing out on the beautiful person sitting at the table across from you. Observe the world around you. Read, actually reading what is before you. Pause and think. Realize #14 on this list is missing as a point. Don’t rush through life.
22. Make a new friend. They don’t need to be the next member of your wedding party but go out of your friend circle. Set up new friends and find new perspectives, give yourself the chance to grow through osmosis of others.
23. Learn to cook. Don’t spend all your money on rent, food and eating out. Live within your means and learn how to do this. Find a go-to meal you can always make.
24. Figure out a plan for the future. Don’t be too strict about adhering to this plan. Loosely follow it. Realize this plan is a loop of chaos. Get lost on the plan. Cry, laugh. Succeed. Fail. Just know you are going somewhere.
25. Stop caring about lists written by a stranger on an Internet. And don’t waste your time arguing with said stranger about how wrong they are. If you liked it, good. If not, create your own. This is your story. Make it what you want.
This story was previously published on The Good Men Project.