25 Observations on Turning 25

This week I turned 25, and all things considered it was a pretty good day. I was slightly hungover, but it was caused by an amazing evening of eating and drinking with my housemates the night before. I spent the day at work, but my colleagues surprised me with a cake and a card, and insisted on singing to me. I was late to bed, but only because I spent so long at my parents’ house catching up on everyone’s news, opening presents and eating homemade birthday cake.

25th birthday cake

  1. Hangovers are worse. I’m getting the negative one out of the way first – hangovers are more unpredictable, more brutal, and last waaay longer.
  2.  But nights out are better! I didn’t have a very long club phase; by 20 I was pretty much over it. Bars and pubs are way better, and actually being able to afford good cocktails is da bomb.
  3. Also, nights in can be just as good as nights out. Sometimes I want to dance all night on Call Lane, but other times it’s just as good to snuggle up on a friend’s sofa with some snacks, have a gossip and play board games.
  4. My friends now are my friends for life. I don’t see or speak to my closest friends half as much as I’d like, but we’ve matured to the point where we don’t need to validate our friendships with constant communication. It’s a nice feeling.
  5. I can afford stuff! I’m by nature a thrifty person and save obsessively, but I love that after 2 solid years of full-time employment I finally feel in a place where I can splurge on something important if I want to without feeling guilty.
  6. I’m more in control of my love life. At 25 I’ve learnt so much about my expectations of relationships – I’m much more aware of what I want, what I’m willing to accept and where my boundaries are. No basic bros or mediocre behaviour allowed.
  7. My style is on point. I’ve gone through all the fashion ups and downs of the teenage years, student days and early twenties, and I feel like my sense of personal style is finally starting to stabilise.
  8. I’m beginning to adult, one step at a time. I’m still not ready for marriage or mortgages, but I don’t shudder in fear at the thought of trying to keep a bunch of flowers alive like I used to. And that’s something.
  9. My parents are cooler than I thought. In the last few years I’ve noticed that my parents go out as much as I do; their calendars are filled with gigs, plays and dinner dates. Turns out the reason they used to stay home so much wasn’t because they were massive losers, it was because they had kids to look after. Awkward.
  10. Someone having a baby is no longer a scandal. I’m still struggling to come to terms with the idea that my ex-classmates’ pregnancies are planned rather than an unfortunate accident, and a reason for joy rather than panic. Because we’re not 17.
  11. I’m too old to drink in student bars. I might be too young for marriage or mortgages, but as soon as I step onto the sticky floor of Arc in Headingley I feel about a thousand years old. I don’t belong there anymore, and I’m not sad about it.
  12. These are the glory days of my friendships. I do need to savour this time, because it won’t last forever. We’re in that sweet spot where we have disposable incomes but no spouses or kids, so we need to appreciate the freedom we have while we still can.
  13. DIY dye-jobs are a thing of the past. I’m so over sitting on a toilet lid while a friend pastes colour out of a box onto my head. I love my hair, and I’m more than willing to pay someone to make sure it stays in good shape.
  14. My adventures are better. Gone are the days when I was tied to home by university timetables or empty bank accounts; now I have the time, the money and the courage to say YES as much as I want. And this leads to all kinds of adventures…
  15. I’m definitely not ‘down with the kids’. Not that I was ever a leader of trends, but last year there were at least 6 months between me hearing the phrase ‘Neflix and chill’ and finding out what it actually meant.
  16. I’m way too young to stop doing all the things judgemental blogs and magazines claim I’m too old to do. Like going to music festivals, drinking on a weeknight, and backpacking, apparently. I’m 25 – I’m not dead.
  17. I still need my parents. I may act like a functional adult, but anything to do with taxes or my medical history still has me instinctively looking around for my mum. My dad has no idea about such things, but always knows about upcoming gigs and can calculate a route in his head faster than I can Google Map it.
  18. But I’m more sure of myself. The opinions of my loved ones still matter and always will, but I now know that grown-ups don’t know everything and aren’t always right. Because I’m a grown-up too.
  19. Having housemates is still fun. Some people think that by 25 you should be living either alone or with a significant other, but I love the random group that I’ve ended up sharing my home with. They’re all pretty damn significant.
  20. It’s important to remember how much time you have. Your mid-20s can sometimes feel really old, like you’ve passed the point when it’s ok to make risky decisions or do extreme things. You’ll never have more time than you do right now, so go do it.
  21. It doesn’t matter if the things I like are ‘cool’. My guilty pleasures used to be closely guarded secrets, but I think by 25 that whole culture of judging people based on a pre-approved list of ‘things you should be into’ is pretty pathetic. If you are judging me, I couldn’t care less.
  22. I’m solely responsible for myself. The failures of kids are always blamed on parents, teachers, social media…basically anything except the individual, but that doesn’t fly once you’re in your 20s. This sounds quite daunting, but being responsible for yourself means you’re ultimately only answerable to yourself too.
  23. Life’s too short to drink bad wine. I’m trying to get more philosophical as I go down the list, but this one is super important to me. Wine is king of the drinks and deserves to be treated with respect, so unless you have less than £20 in the bank put down the glass of paint stripper and get yourself something that actually tastes good.
  24. Negativity isn’t cool. At school it was acceptable to moan or count down the days until Friday because you were forced to be there, but if you still do it now you’re basically just saying “I was too stupid to choose a life I actually like”. If I’m really unhappy, I know I have to make a change.
  25. Everyone is blagging it. I regularly feel lost and unsure and like I don’t know as much as I should, but I comfort myself with the new-found certainty that everyone’s in the same boat. Not even world leaders and CEOs know it all, they’re just better at looking like they do.

So that’s it – my 25 observations and lessons as I turn 25. Here’s to slowly starting to grow into myself, and learning that the most important thing is to just do you! 

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