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25 Lessons I Learned in 25 Years

25 Lessons I Learned in 25 Years

I guess since I’m officially a 26 year old now (as of April 1st), I’ll share some of the life lessons I learned while I was 25.

In the midst of a global pandemic and whilst being trapped at home for a whole year, I really learned a lot about myself and I think I honestly grew a lot as a person.

I feel like I’m the most “adult” version of myself I’ve ever been, although I do often feel like I’m more kid than adult.

These are just life lessons I learned while I was 25, and I also have a blog post all about life lessons I learned as a 20 year old.

On another note: I can’t believe I’ve been writing this blog for long enough to have these two similar posts 5 years apart lol.

Here are some of the life lessons I learned as a 25 year old – let me know if you relate to any of these!


1. Don’t underestimate yourself

I’ve heard many people say 30 is the new 20, which I sometimes think makes me feel like I have an excuse to still feel like I’m a kid.

As an adult, I’ve constantly underestimated myself and put myself under a lot of pressure with situations that I felt I wasn’t prepared for.

However, the reality is that many people, no matter what age, feel the exact same way.

You just have to figure things out and get it done, because things have to get done anyway.


2. Stop saying you can’t

I don’t believe in manifestation per se, but I do believe your mind is very powerful.

If you keep saying you can’t do something, obviously you’re just going to keep getting trapped in that mindset and never figuring out how to solve the problem.

If you believe you can do it and take the steps to get it done, then you’re more likely to be able to achieve whatever it is you’re trying to do.

Stop saying you can’t and start believing you can.


3. Practice makes perfect

We were all told growing up that practice makes perfect, but I think that’s something a lot of us tend to forget.

Something that gives me a lot of anxiety is public speaking, and it’s something I’ve honestly never been good at.

After spending 5 hours recording Instagram Stories of myself saying the same script over and over again and recording the same podcast episode with a former classmate twice, I realized that practice was the only way I would ever become good at public speaking.

I started a Clubhouse club with a few blogging friends where we chat every single week, and I feel like I’ve been slowly becoming more confident in speaking and breaking out of my comfort zone.

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4. Learn to adapt to situations

When the world went to poop, I literally had to pivot my content and figure out new strategies to grow, because people were simply not looking up cute Toronto brunch spots or Instagram-worthy places in Toronto anymore.

You have to learn how to adapt to different situations, because nothing in this life is truly permanent.

There will always be changes, and you’ve just got to get creative with adapting to those changes.

If you can’t adapt when things change, you’ll just stay stuck.


5. Don’t be embarrassed

I’ve struggled with feeling insecure all my life, and I’ve held back from saying or doing a lot of things out of fear of embarrassment.

As an adult, I’ve realized that no one really cares about what I’m saying or doing, and I’m losing out on a lot by holding myself back.

No one will remember tomorrow and no one actually cares, so you might as well put yourself out there and get rid of those worries of embarrassment.

It’s obviously hard to just switch off the embarrassment button all of a sudden, but I just try not to let feelings of embarrassment overwhelm me.


6. Stand up for yourself

Don’t let people talk down to you or yell at you for no good reason – stand up for yourself.

Stop letting people take advantage of you and getting angry about it afterwards – stand up for yourself.

If you don’t like a situation you’re being put in, just stand up for yourself.

I’ve always been sort of a pushover, and in my adult life I’ve slowly been gaining the confidence to stand up for myself.


7. Take responsibility for your actions

I’m a very defensive person, and I very often deflect blame onto other people.

It’s something I just do subconsciously, and I’m slowly trying to break out of it.

When you’ve had negative experiences in the past, it’s easy to blame your actions on them, but you can’t just keep doing that.

At some point, it’s important to realize that you are responsible for yourself, and it is up to you to change how you act or speak.


8. Forgive yourself

I often think about things from the past that I regret saying or doing.

Let’s be real: none of us are perfect people, and we all say or do bad things sometimes.

I sometimes wonder if the things I’ve done in the past make me a bad person today, but it’s so important to forgive yourself and make sure you don’t do the same things again.

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All that matters is that you’re trying to be a better person today.


9. People are complicated

I’ve encountered all kinds of different people in my short 25 years of life, and for me it’s always been sort of black and white: you’re either a bad person or a good person.

The reality is that people are much more complicated than that, and just because they wrong you, that doesn’t make them a bad person.

You also don’t know everything about a person or situation, because you’re not in their head.

People also do things for all sorts of reasons — everyone is just out there trying to live their own life.


10. Some people will never change

I truly believe that people stay the same character for the rest of their lives, unless someone or something gives them a reason to change.

I don’t think I was that great a person in high school, and I said and did a lot of things that I regret.

It took losing all my friends for me to look deep inside myself and change into the person I wanted to be.

I’ve also given multiple chances to people who just never seemed to change, and honestly I don’t think they ever will.


11. There will always be people who won’t like you

I’ve dealt with bullies and haters for my entire young adult life, and I still unfortunately have to deal with them now.

It truly amazes me that people have the time to write hate messages when I can barely find time to watch my favourite shows, but like I said in my previous point: some people will always stay the same, no matter how old they get.

If they were poop talkers in high school, they’ll probably be poop talkers the rest of their lives (unless something gives them a reason to change).

You can’t please everyone, so there’s no point in wasting your time trying to do so.

Why should you care about people liking you if you don’t even care about them anyway?


12. Work smarter, not harder

When you run your own business, you can pretty much work 24/7 without running out of things to do – especially if you’re a one woman show.

I’m guilty of being a workaholic, and I pretty much spend all hours of the day working if I’m not cooking or having a meal.

Even though I work a lot, there are definitely ways I could work a little bit smarter.

I’ve realized that I need to prioritize things that will grow my business in the long run, and not menial things that will only grant me success in the short-term.

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Spring outfit - grey Zara coat, white Aritzia tee, Levi's ribcage denim

13. Keep your space clean

Okay, gross fact: I’ve never loved cleaning, and I only do it out of necessity.

AKA I’ve gone months without cleaning in the past, and yes, it gets gross.

Being home for most of the time this past year has made it all the more important to keep our home clean, so Adam and I have designated Saturdays as our regular cleaning days.

When I have a clean and tidy space, I feel like my mental health is so much better and my mind is a lot more relaxed.

I always feel this way whenever my space is clean, but it’s always something I’ve put in the back burner because I’m always “too busy”.

Honestly, if you care about something, you’ll make time for it.


14. Practice healthy habits

I’ve always been one of those people who’s constantly on and off with working out and staying active.

Honestly, I hate doing any sort of fitness, but it really is important to maintain a healthy body.

During the past year at home, Adam and I have made it a habit to do either yoga, a workout, or a walk every single day.

I’d never done yoga beforehand and always suffered from excruciating back pain, and I’ve barely had any back pain since I started doing yoga consistently.

I also have bad knees from crossing my legs all day (I can’t help it), and yoga definitely helps with that too.


15. Your health is important

My body is not the same as it was when I was a teenager, and I’m realizing how important it is for me to maintain good health.

I get heartburn a lot after eating too many deep fried foods, so that’s obviously something I need to change lol.

I’m also starting to develop lactose intolerance, so I’ve had to reduce most of my dairy intake.

Physical activity isn’t the only way to keep healthy, and you need to keep your insides healthy as well.

Adam and I started taking multivitamins and vitamin D daily over the past year, and it’s a nice routine to have every morning!

I occasionally take collagen, but since Adam’s not crazy about it, it’s really only when I remember to.


16. Live life at your own pace

It felt like people I knew were buying houses left and right this past year, and honestly, I was constantly comparing myself to them.

I’ve realized that everyone is living life at their own pace, and you really can’t compare your own situation to anyone else’s.

There truly isn’t a strict timeline to anything in life — finding a partner (if you want one), getting your dream career (if you have one), or even buying a home (which isn’t feasible for the average Toronto millennial).

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17. Think about where you spend your money

I’ve been pretty good with spending my money smartly since I graduated university, but I never realized how much better I could be until 2020 happened.

Staying at home meant I was spending a lot less on things I normally spent money on, but the world being put on hold also meant a significant reduction in my income (since I work for myself).

I started cooking a lot of different things from scratch at home, and it’s actually saved us a lot of money.

I could buy a pre-made pizza dough for $5, or I could buy a large bag of flour for $10 and make dozens of pizza doughs from scratch.


18. Invest your savings

Don’t just let your money sit in the bank and do nothing for you.

If anything, you’re losing money to inflation, which is approximately 2% each year in Canada.

Learn how to invest your money, and take advantage of the TFSA (Tax Free Savings Account) and RRSP (Registered Retired Savings Plan).

I had my savings sitting in GICs (Guaranteed Investment Certificate) for two years at 1.7% interest, and I would’ve had opportunities to make significantly more had I put it in my TFSA instead.


19. Diversify your investment portfolio

Even if you do all the research and analyze all the numbers, you still don’t exactly know what will happen with the markets.

It’s so important to diversify your investment portfolio to minimize your risk.

If you go all in on one stock that suddenly drops, you’ll likely be in a sticky situation, but if you diversify your money into different stocks, it won’t be as risky.


20. Become self-reliant

I’m not saying to move out to the middle of nowhere and start a homestead, but it’s important to be self-reliant.

It’s always great to have some important life skills like being able to cook, because you’ll want to be okay in the case of any emergencies.

You should also have some food storage at home, because you don’t want to be relying on other people if any emergencies happen.


21. Think about the long-term

When you’re young, you just think about living in the moment and what’s happening right now.

Now that we’re starting to enter our late twenties, Adam and I are actively thinking about the future and building our life together.

We have plans for when we want to buy a house, when we want to get married, and even how much money we want in the bank when we retire.

Many Canadian retirees right now do not have any savings in the bank, and that’s not a situation I plan on being in when I retire in 40 years.

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Think about and plan for the future, whether it’s for yourself, with a significant other, or with children.


22. Don’t stress about the little things

I’m not at all good at handling stress, and I tend to get worked up about even the smallest things.

If it’s not something that’s impacting your life or even your day-to-day, it’s not something you need to be stressing about.

Take a breath, calm down, and just move on with your day.

I know it’s a lot easier said than done, but just try your best not to stress about the little things that don’t matter!


23. Prepare for unexpected situations

Expect the unexpected – and yes, that’s a Big Brother reference, for my fellow reality TV fans.

Literally anything could happen tomorrow that could change our entire world as we know it, and it’s always good to be prepared for any unexpected situations.

Keep emergency funds on-hand, have some food storage at home, and have emergency plans for you and your family.


24. Relationships take work

Whether it’s romantic, familial, or platonic, relationships take a lot of work to maintain.

We are all human, and none of us are going to agree or get along with one another 100% of the time.

If someone is important to you, you will make the effort to maintain that relationship.

There is truly no such thing as a perfect relationship, and it will always take work.


25. You don’t have to have it all figured out by a certain age

Nothing in life is predictable, and anything can change in an instant.

I don’t know what I’ll be doing in 10 years, or what I’ll be doing in 50 years.

It’s important to have a rough plan of where you want to go, but you can still figure it out as you go.

You don’t have to have it all figured out right now.


Spring outfit - grey Zara coat, white Aritzia tee, Levi's ribcage denim

These were some of the life lessons I’ve learned as a 25 year old!

What are life lessons you learned as a 25 year old? Or any other life lessons you’ve learned over the course of your life? How have your goals and priorities changed over the years? Let me know on Twitter or Instagram!

P.S. if you liked this post, you might like this post on my 30 before 30 list, or any of my other lifestyle posts.

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Jessica Lam | Toronto lifestyle, fashion, beauty, and travel blogger | Diary of a Toronto Girl, a Canadian lifestyle blog

Life lessons I learned as a 25 year old