25 Life Lessons Learned By 25
What I learned my first quarter of a century
TBH, (or to be honest), I had so many expectations and fears about turning 25.
“Would I have my life figured out by then?”
“Would I know who I was going to marry?”
“Would I love my career like I pictured?”
And while the answer is still no, no, and not really yet, I can say that turning 25 has given me a lifetime of lessons already—lessons I wished I realized earlier, and lessons I’m going to apply for the rest of my life.
So I’m writing this letter with the hopes that the lessons I’ve learned are not only useful for me, but also to you as you approach the next milestone in your life.
Dear present and future Nikki,
Can you believe how fast this year is going already? I know it doesn’t always feel that way, but life has a funny way of happening so quickly, you can miss it if you don’t pay attention.
Personally, I’ve started to look at life as a big coloring book with lots of complexity. Some pages have simple patterns while others have intricate designs. But regardless of it all, I am still trying to navigate my way around choosing which areas deserve bright colors and areas in which muted tones will suffice.
Although I haven’t quite achieved all the things I want to accomplish, let’s celebrate all the small wins and mini victories I have acquired thus far.
There were a lot of moments and instances where doubt and uncertainty entered my mind, but I have come to realize that I have gained a newfound sense of clarity that is both intimidating and very humbling, to say the least.
Approaching the “Quarter Life Crisis”
I’ve had a bunch of different people tell me their various experiences when they reached this milestone age. Some say, “Once you turn 25 it only goes downhill from there. That and the added occasional back pain.” Others tell me, “Cherish your mid 20s far greater than any other part of your life because that is when your life is in full bloom.”
Hmmmm, full bloom I thought to myself, like a flower?
I do like flowers, but I’m getting off topic. Enough about what others say, here is what I personally think:
I’ve realized that I spend too much of my life overthinking. I’m learning to just let go of things I no longer have control over, and trust that God is the One who is in charge of my story and how it unfolds.
I’m definitely going to do a lot more of that going forward
So, here are 25 lessons I’ve learned leading up to 25.
I hope this list inspires you to look ahead to every milestone with excited anticipation.
- You will outgrow haircuts, hobbies, jobs, majors, and even certain friends (and it’s completely OK to let go of those things). But hold on tightly to the important things that bring you purpose and fulfillment like your faith in God and your membership in the true Church.
(And if you want to explore the topic of change a bit more, here’s a blog you can read: Overcoming the Fear of Change)
- Not all timelines are going to be the same. As much as you see other people around you thriving and becoming successful, this does not take away from your journey. Your chapter 2 can be someone else’s chapter 12.
- Don’t forget to celebrate! Whether it’s doing things your inner child will thank you for, or treating yourself for the big accomplishments and even the small wins, just be thankful and celebrate that you are here, existing.
- Turn your vulnerability into opportunities to see God work in your life. You’re going to face things that will challenge your beliefs. You might have days where you’re overwhelmed by outside pressures. Instead of allowing yourself to be vulnerable, these are the perfect opportunities to turn to God and ask Him for strength. You’ll be amazed on how He can turn those vulnerabilities into growth opportunities.
(Speaking of vulnerability, you should probably check out the Faith Speaks collection of stories. Super vulnerable, super insightful and all examples of how God can guide your growth!)
- It’s OK to not be OK. Rejection, heartbreak, sadness, and problems are all a part of life, similar to how happiness, joy, gratitude are. We can handle all of these feelings correctly; it’s our Bible-based perspective that makes all the difference.
- You can’t miss out on something that is already meant for you. That blessing will specifically have your name on it from the very start. Stay with God and it will be yours.
- Life really is too short. And as much as we plan for the future, sometimes it’s simply best to live in the present moment and focus on what is already currently in front of you.
- The key to is to include God in all your plans and put Him as first place in your life. Yes, you will encounter hardships, roadblocks, and problems along the way but a righteous servant of His has never been forsaken.
(And in case you need some reminders, here are a few verses of the week I have on my favorites list to remind me.)
- When life gets overbearingly difficult, just know that you are probably that much closer to the next breakthrough and blessing God is preparing for you.
- Give yourself permission to step outside your comfort zone. Great things happen to those who are willing to do great things.
(Speaking of comfort zones, I never thought I’d be one of the hosts for a show on INC Media. But on a whim, I auditioned to be a talent for INC Media and made it. You can check out some of the episodes here: What happens when prayers go up? | INC Media LIVE)
- Be nice to yourself. Grant yourself the patience, kindness, and love that you also give unto others.
- Don’t be afraid if you don’t know what happens next. We’re not meant to have everything in our life figured out all at once. If you feel overwhelmed, remember that it’s ok to be in the slow lane sometimes. This phrase applies to more than just driving.
(Ohh this is one of my favorite stories from “Faith Speaks”. It’s about Letting Go and really speaks to the idea of not trying it all out all at once. Thanks Lara Jae! Letting Go of Control )
- God’s plan will always be far greater than whatever plans we might come up with on our own. Need I say more?
- It’s not always about what you know, but also who you know. Connections and networking are crucial to progressing whether it’s in a professional or emotional sense.
- “No” is a complete sentence. Learning to set boundaries is a great way to communicate your feelings and protect your peace of mind.
- God rewards and protects the heart of those who love the things He loves. Remember, a delay is not a denial. Just because that thing you are praying for hasn’t happened, doesn’t mean it never will.
- As we get older, so do our parents. As busy as we are, try to spend as much time with them as you possibly can. Don’t forget to also show them the care, appreciation, and love they have given us when we were kids. They truly deserve the best.
- You can always make up the money, but you can never make up the time. After all, spontaneous moments sometimes make for the best memories.
- The people you associate with ultimately shape a big part of who you are and who you strive to become, so choose your friends wisely. Surround yourself with people that not only inspire you to be better, but also inspire others around them to be the very best version of themselves.
(Have you heard of “Vantage Point”? It’s an entire show dedicated to helping young Christians like me and you. They did this episode on “Real Friends Versus Fake Friends” it’s definitely a must watch. You’re going to want to also follow their IG account for more inspiration, thought-provoking prompts and conversations!)
- Keep trying. Not everything works out the first time around but what matters is how you respond to it.. Remember that the ability to fail is mere proof that you are trying.
- Expect the unexpected and continue to trust that God’s timing is way better than our own. Have patience knowing that He is preparing the very best just for you.
- Sometimes you have to take a step back and see how far you’ve already come. Rather than solely focusing on the things you want, focus on the things you already have. Simple gratitude leads to a happier life.
- Learn to love and enjoy your own company. Pretty self-explanatory, I know. But I challenge you to enjoy a meal at a restaurant on your own. Go watch a movie by yourself.
- Your season of singleness is a crucial time in your life. Rather than rushing to enter a relationship, use the time you have for yourself to build, well, yourself. Establish productive habits, a healthy lifestyle and a thriving spiritual life. The right time and the right person will come when God sees that you are ready.
- You will face different types of rejection and disappointment in your life but that doesn’t mean you are a failure. Rejection can be God’s redirection for us.
Learn from the disappointments, heartaches and broken plans
To anyone under 25 reading this, make sure to cherish even the simple moments also. Despite all the disappointments, heartache, and plans that didn’t go through, I am still very much thankful for all the times God continues to prove to me why His plan is and will always be far greater than mine.
So whenever you feel discouraged, just look back at how much you have already attained in your life and just wait till you see what other blessings God has in store from here on out.
Look ahead with confidence
Regardless of your age, there are always new lessons to learn.
Whether it’s learning how to walk at one and a half, riding a bike at 7, graduating high school at 18, or pursuing a relationship at 22, every single milestone is an opportunity for us to learn something new.
So here’s to the mid 20s, the age in which exponential growth is realized and potentially achieved, and the age in which life continues to flourish, not to mention a TON of self-reflection.
Speaking of growth and self reflection, one of my fave podcasts, Heart and Soul, actually has an episode about the meaning of self-reflection (https://incmedia.org/what-does-self-reflection-mean/ ).
It is also through this podcast that I learned that my struggles ultimately lead to success, and it is during our times where we feel the weakest where God uplifts us even more. That He is with us during both our happy and sad times.