Big Birthdays And Big Advice

Happy birthday cupcakes

Birthdays have always been a favorite of mine – I love celebrating with friends and family, and getting myself excited for all the potential that another candle on the cake holds (and the presents and overwhelming birthday regards aren’t bad either). But for some reason, as I begin my 25th year today, I find myself feeling a little different. For many, I imagine 25 is no different than 24, or even 23, but for me it feels like a major change in my life. Suddenly, those days of adolescence are ending and “adulthood” has arrived (despite the fact that I think most people would already consider me a well-established adult). Even so, this birthday seemed to trigger an impending “quarter life crisis” – or at least that is what I’m dubbing it since I imagine it’s fairly similar to what people feel prior to a mid-life crisis.

Rather than rushing out to buy myself a dream car that I can’t afford (classic crisis move), I thought it would be nice to nip this guy in the bud and get advice from some of the best adults I know to help me prepare for this milestone birthday. I called up friends, family, and co-workers to ask them a simple question: What is one thing you wish you knew when you were 25?

The responses were great, and each one seemed to speak directly to my worries. And after sitting down to read each one, they’ve really made me think about 25 with a new perspective – what really is there to freak out about? Who cares if something isn’t exactly perfect? I’m assuming I’ve got another 75 good years to get it right anyway.

So without further ado, here’s some of the best advice I received to help welcome me into my new age:

  1. You’re still young! As most 25-year-olds do, you look at your life and think, “Man, I am so old.” But that is not the case at all. You may think you have lived most of your life, but it’s really just getting started.
  2. You are where you are meant to be. What you know at 25 is exactly what you are meant to know at the time. Where you are in life is just perfect – it’s really a blessing in disguise.
  3. You don’t know it all. At 25 you think you have it all figured out – a great job, decent income, good friends – but eventually you realize that at 25 you actually still know nothing. Spend every single day and year continuing to learn a little more.
  4. Treat 25 as a pivot point. What you do this year can really set the course for your life in the years to follow. Take it seriously when it comes to opportunity, but not too seriously when it comes to your youthful spirit.
  5. Take time out to live. Up to this point, every decision has been made because it provides some kind of benefit for your future, but not everything can be based on the future. Make decisions simply because they make you happy in that moment, and don’t forget that it is OK to live in the present.
  6. Travel. Seriously. Do it now while your career is still really young and you don’t have kids. The opportunity won’t last forever.
  7. Get ready. Spend the next 10 years of your life getting ready for the next 40, because it’s a long ride and you want to be ready.
  8. Plan for your future. Sometimes young people forget how important it is to be preparing for those later years, but now’s the time to learn how to maintain stable finances so that you are able to stand on your own two feet forever.
  9. Slow down. At 25, working hard is never the problem. Slow down and focus on what it is your truly want to do…even if that means additional education or formal training. Don’t shortchange yourself by settling for a career in a wrongheaded attempt to keep up with peers. There is still plenty of life to be lived – the world is not going to leave you behind at 25… it’s just waiting for the best version of you to arrive.
  10. Soak it in. Life moves fast, so take the time to slow down and soak it in so you don’t ever wake up wondering how you got here.
  11. Relish the weird jobs. And don’t worry about accepting a job that isn’t 100% resume material. You never know what each choice will lead to, and one day you will look back and think, “Oh! That’s what this stint at a carwash/animal shelter/Chipolte was for. I had no idea it was all building up to something.”
  12. Stop sharing so much with coworkers. So many millennials believe it’s important to be best friends with the people you work with, but that can hinder working relationships and can put you into situations that could compromise your ability to do your job effectively.
  13. Trust in things. The impact of trust can go a long way for business operations, client services, team management, your career, and maybe most importantly, in personal relationships. Don’t be afraid to put trust in others.
  14. Haters gonna hate. Don’t stress about it!
  15. You don’t have all the time in the world, so it’s ok to be a little selfish, a little different, a little curious, a little psycho, a little flawed. When things are good, laugh really hard, and when things are bad, let your heart be broken.
  16. Treasure “me” time. You’ll never want to trade your family for anything, but once you have a husband and children, it’s hard to get time alone, so enjoy moments to yourself while it’s still an option.
  17. Work out a bit more, eat a bit better. If you start taking care of your body earlier, it will be easier to maintain as you get older.
  18. Be a little impulsive. Take the time to do things on a whim more often – work responsibilities, husbands, and kids all make it significantly harder as you get older to take time for you, and just do the things you want to do.
  19. It’s ok to elope. Weddings are fun, but expensive, and you’ll realize all the things you could have spent that money on instead.
  20. Wear sunscreen everyday. Age spots come faster than you may think.
  21. Know the difference between good booze and bad booze. And have one person’s phone number memorized who will come bail you out of jail should that booze get the best of you.
  22. Don’t waste your time on guys or people who just aren’t that into you. Time is too short.
  23. Figure out how to be a truly happy person. That’s not always the person everyone sees and thinks they know, but the one that may be hidden deep inside. If you don’t know yourself enough to know who that person is, take the time to figure it out. Sometimes life seems pretty transparent, but there are so many layers that very few people actually try to figure out – don’t be one of those people.
  24. Twenty-five is not the end. Rather it’s the very, very beginning. Stop pressuring yourself to have it all together. Be a little less serious, and a little more willing to take risks and chances – these are the very things of which your 20’s are made.

Brilliance on a page! Now, it’s your turn to give me the greatest birthday present of all by adding your own advice in the comment section below. Here’s to a great 2-5!


  1. Happy Birthday, Rachael! Love all this advice. I’m still working on a lot of it at 32. :)

    • Thank you, Adrienne! From what I’ve heard, many of the advice givers are still working on the advice they shared, but it sounds like that’s half the fun of living!

  2. john whitaker says:

    Happy Birthday…some smart people – with some great advice – for a fantastic young lady!

  3. I like #14!

    • I was trying to guess what #14 was before I looked, just to see if I knew what you would like. I was wrong…I was totally thinking it was the one about alcohol, but this one works too!

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