25 Life Lessons for 25 Year Old Me

Rainier Sunrise

I turned 25 today and I wanted to make a post containing 25 lessons that I’ve learned throughout life.

So here goes.

The Lessons

I. Life Is Full Of Adventure, It’s Up To You To Say Yes To It

Just this past May, my friends and I went on an epic road trip adventure across the great US west spanning Utah, Arizona, and Nevada. This whole amazing trip would have never happened had I just said no to my friend inviting me to it. In fact most of my amazing adventures have always happened because I just said yes and leaped without looking.

II. It’s Very Important To Have A True Group Of Friends

Not a day goes by where I don’t think about the great group of friends that I have in my life. They give me something that money can never buy. Happiness and joy. Along with that they are my support network and always give me sound advice and are not afraid to tell me when I’m being stupid and need to get my shit together. I am very grateful for having a good group of guys like them in my life.

III. The People You Surround Yourself With Will Either Make You Or Break You

Continuing from the previous lesson, if you surround yourself with people who are always negative and seeking to bring you down or can never accept their own faults and blame everyone else, they will bring you down and lead to your downfall. It is always better to cut them out before they too ruin you and drag you down.

IV. People That Need Drugs And Alcohol To Have Fun Lack Imagination And Creativity And Are Just Seeking To Escape Reality

Whenever people ask me why I don’t drink or smoke and why I’m not super for it, besides stating the obvious that it’s bad for your health, I tell them that I don’t like it nor do I need it to have fun in life. Most people who always suggest lets go out drinking or smoke a joint are usually addicting to the substances and are in denial that they have a habit that they either conditioned themselves into or were conditioned into by society or corporate America. I’ve found that those who always smoke before going to sleep or just want to go to the bar and have a couple of rounds are usually those that don’t like where they are in life and hate their reality. So rather than doing the right thing, taking ownership, and fixing their lives, they choose to escape by drinking and doing drugs, further ruining their lives. My friend group had to cut out a person like this in our lives because they wouldn’t listen to reason and were just doing dumb shit all the time.

I’m not against having a drink once in a blue moon, and I’m not against marijuana either. Though I would much rather have a couple of drinks rather than a couple hits of a joint. I just strongly believe that those who drink a lot or smoke a lot are addicted to the substances and use them as a crutch to deal with reality. I’ve met far too many people in my home town of Brooklyn that are like this.

V. Porn Is Highly Addictive And Is The Worst Possible Thing You Can Consume

Porn has become one of the worst things for young men today and has created a generation of men who are addicted to fake sex and develop disgustingly weird fetishes. I know because I used to be one of those men who had no confidence, would always rather watch porn than pursue a girl, could never truly relax and be myself with women, and suffered from insecurities about my penis size thinking I’d never be big enough to satisfy a woman. It’s now been 295 days that I’ve been porn free and I’ve never been happier. It’s all fake and terrible for your brain.

I also find it to be very problematic that society is normalizing porn as harmless entertainment when it’s evident to me and thousands of other men and women that it is having a drastic negative effect on young people today.

VI. You’re Going To Die One Day, So May As Well Make That Ballsy Move You’re Too Scared To Do

Perhaps this is my inner adventurer talking but I grew tired of playing it safe. If you ever want to get somewhere in life or to get what you want, you’re going to have to take risks. I believe that the man on the ship sailing across the unknown is truly living life while the man standing at shore watching isn’t.

VII. The Sooner You Realize That Most Of Everyday Life Is Like A Game, The Sooner You’ll Start Enjoying And Having Fun In Life

I really don’t mean to sound like some sort of sociopath here. What I mean by this is that I learned to stop taking everything so seriously and became more at ease and relaxed with myself. This has been amazing to my health and stress levels because once you just start approaching situations like you’re in a video game, if you fail you realize no biggie I’ll get it next time. For the time being I’ve just gotten some experience points and I’m on the way to leveling up.

VIII. Life Really Is Like A Box Of Chocolates, You Never Know What You’re Gonna Get

At the age of 17 I thought I would’ve been graduating from Harvard Law school or NYU Law. Instead I’m now living in a vacant 4 bed room apartment with just another room mate pursuing my graduate degree for computer science in Binghamton. I never in a million years would’ve thought I’d be here at 25.

IX. You Don’t Need Much To Be Happy, It All Stems From Within Not From The Outside

I’ve unintentionally adopted a minimalist lifestyle. You really do not need much stuff to be happy. A BMW X5 won’t make you any happier than a Toyota Highlander will. What will make you happy is the way you live your life day to day and the people you surround yourself with. It’s a mindset kind of thing, and a bunch of stuff won’t make you any happier.

X. Your Elders Mean Well And Their Wisdom Should Be Heeded, But Take It With A Grain Of Salt

I grew up in a household where you must always respect and listen to your elders. However, my elders are immigrants and they don’t fully understand the modern world that I live in. Once you have kids you become entrenched in a bubble and your world just becomes your family and you are insulated from the economic realities. I agree with my elders a lot on timeless things such as family, tradition, and how to be a good person, but I disagree with them on how I should be living my life and what makes me the happiest.

XI. Positivity Takes Work, But It’s Better Than Being Negative

I started off this new year with a goal to get rid of my negative thinking habits and replace them with positive thinking. It wasn’t easy and sometimes I fumble into a negativity cycle, but it’s a hell of a lot better practicing mindfulness and positive thinking than just being cynical and negative all the time.

XII. Others Really Don’t Think Nor Care About You That Much

This is a blessing, because if you’re stopping yourself based on what other people think about you, don’t worry because they don’t care nor think about you. So do whatever the fuck you wanna do.

XIII. Being Too Proactive Can Burn You Out, Going With The Flow Can Allow For Recovery And Actually Get You To Your Goals

One of the problems of always chasing after your goals and ambitions is that it can easily get exhausting and lead to burn out. If you never allow time to rest you’ll just be chasing your goals into an early grave. Life isn’t just about getting to the top, it’s more about the journey to the top and the things you see on the way rather than just being at the summit. Every adventure I’ve ever embarked on, it was the journey that was always more memorable than the end goal it self. So take a break and give yourself some time to recover.

XIV. Never Sacrifice Your Happiness For Some Potential Future Reward You Don’t Even Know You Want

This is mostly a hard lesson I learned from my days in banking. I only have this one life and I don’t want to spend my time being depressed and miserable doing something I hate so that maybe some day in my 50s I will be incredibly comfortable. There are many other paths in life available where I can work hard and set myself up for success without being miserable in the process.

XV. Having A Flexible Life/Plan Is Far Better Than Having A Strict Way Of Living And Being Stuck In Rigid Ways

I used to use daily to do lists to get things done and would feel like absolute shit whenever I wouldn’t get all of the things checked off my list. This just made me feel like shit whenever I wouldn’t hit my targets and it was putting unnecessary stress because I was looking at my to do list in a microscopic level. The truth is that a lot of the things I needed to get done did not need to be done that specific day, if anything they could’ve been done during the week or during the month. Being too rigid creates systems of unnecessary stress versus when you’re very flexible you get breathing room and control over your life again. I guess you could call this mental and emotional yoga.

XVI. Don’t Be In A Rush To Grow Up

I’m getting old, plain and simple. My body aches here and there, I have tendonitis practically everywhere, and I feel so stiff every morning I wake up. When I was in high school I couldn’t wait to be 30, now I’m 25 and 30 fucking scares me. Time flew by and life hit me like a freight train. I’m going to be 30 one day eventually, so why bother rushing and being old? I’m going to enjoy my youth while setting up the foundations for my success early on.

XVII. Embrace Your Inner Child. Life Is Filled With Miserable People Pretending To Be Grown Ups And Acting Like They Know Everything

Children spark joy in my heart. Whenever I see them playing and laughing it brings me back to my childhood and actually makes me look forward to having my own kids one day. I’ve always wanted to be a dad but when I was in high school and early college I was so averse to children, now I literally melt whenever I see them. Guys can get baby crazy too! But there’s a point to this. We all have to grow up and be mature, that is the way of life and you should not be some man-child. What I mean by this is think about the things you’ve always wanted to do since you were a kid. For me that was always being like Bear Grylls or Indiana Jones. I just wanted to go on adventures and do cool shit. And so here I am pursuing my goals and ambitions, while doing the things I’ve always wanted to do since I was a kid such as surfing, snowboarding, hiking, and traveling around the world. Far too many people think they have to abandon their childhood wants just because they’re a certain age and that’s just stupid. Shit I’m 25 and people treat me like I’m a man but I still feel like a kid 90% of the time!

XVIII. Some Rules Are Just Meant To Be Broken

In life I’ve always heard people tell me I can’t do so and so because this is how things have always been done, or that we shouldn’t do a certain thing because it wouldn’t look right. However, I’m stupid and if I think a certain rule is stupid I’ll break it and deal with the consequences. And often times, the consequences aren’t that bad because they don’t know how to discipline you or what to do with you. Note that I said RULES not LAWS. Because if you break the law there are already predefined consequences and I don’t want to go to jail, ya feel me?

XIX. Always Find A Way To Work Smarter Not Harder

No one in this world cares how you solved their problem, they care about the solution and how good it is. With that being said, no one cares if you worked hard towards getting the solution or you worked smart and found a solution using the least amount of work possible.

XX. Accept Your True Identity And Show It To The World. Those That Will Not Want To Be Around You Can Fuck Off And Those That Like You For Who You Are Will Come And Stick Around

I found that once I’ve embraced who I really am and always was – which is just a big kid that loves to do adventurous and fun shit – the people that started popping up into my life were all people that I’ve wanted around me, which are like minded and adventurous people.

XXI. Dating Is Fun And Wonderful, But Don’t Lead Women On Or Lead Yourself On. Be A Man And Commit Or Stop Wasting Everyone’s Time

I suppose this is a lesson that I’ve learned as I feel that I am now entering man hood. I know I said that you should embrace your inner child but that is just for doing activities you’ve always wanted to do in life and for fun. At the end of the day I am a man and I have a responsibility to society to be a man. With that being said, a boy dates and wastes everyone’s time playing silly games and not wanting to commit. Because a boy is scared of something real and serious. When I was younger I would lead girls on or lead myself on, or get led on by girls because of immaturity and thinking that I didn’t need to commit. Now at 25, I realize that if I’m dating just for fun, I’m being dumb and wasting both of our time. I suppose this is just real life coming at me and telling me to stop being a fucking idiot.

I see this all the time as well, 18 year old boys are always just trying to hook up and fail at doing so because they’re young, dumb, and full of cum. But for guys my age and older, hooking up is VERY easy since we’re more confident, know what we want, and have actually built our lives and can provide for those around us, but we don’t have time for those silly games anymore. It’s strange, I think that the shift comes because of both physical age where our brains just finally fully develop and also because of society where if you’re 25+ and not in something serious, society just looks at you like what the fuck is your deficiency.

XXII. Men And Women Are Different And That’s A Wonderful Thing. Ignore Those Who Try To Deter Natural Roles

I am from South Brooklyn and live in a very traditional soviet area where men are men and women are women. Men are expected to work hard, provide for their families, be honest, and always pay for the woman no matter what. Women are expected to be nurturing, loving, caring, be the emotional backbone of the family, and to keep order in the home. A lot of modern day people are trying to break this model that has been going on for thousands of years but I found that those that try to break this norm are usually miserable and don’t have any structure in their lives. Men are happiest when they live like men and embrace traditional masculine paths, and women are happiest when they live like women and embrace traditional female paths. Men and women are different and we shouldn’t treat those differences as bad, but rather as good things because they help bring happiness into our lives.

XXIII. A Good Life Partner Can Give You A Boost Like You’ve Never Known

This is a maturity thing. I used to always want to be alone, because I wanted to be independent and not rely on anyone. I would never understand why some guys I met would always say their partners inspire them to do better and to work harder than if they were alone. I always deemed it as weakness because why do you need someone for motivation? It showed that you lacked internal motivation and discipline. But it wasn’t until this year when I learned that it’s not lack of internal motivation or discipline, it’s more like when you have feelings for someone, you want to make them be proud of you and you don’t want to think you’re just some loser that they happen to be dating. It’s similar to a bond you have with your friends as a man where you all push each other, but when you’re romantically involved with someone, those feelings just get jolted 1000x where you have even more drive and desire to do better and to make them proud and they likewise feel the same because they want to make you proud of them.

XXIV. Refuse To Be A Victim Of Circumstance And Take Ownership Of Your Life

Too many people in general are always blaming their circumstances for their position in life. They complain that they’re poor because of the establishment. They’re loveless because of their looks. They’re targeted because of their background. This is ridiculous and someone just playing a victim. This is something I knew about since I was 16 but it didn’t fully come to light until this year where I see it every freaking day around me now. Immaturity, childishness, and loving to play the victim.

Playing the victim will get you nowhere. If you want to succeed and get what you want in life you have to be willing to put in the work, make sacrifices, suffer a bit, and take ownership of your life. If not, you’ll remain a sad little victim blaming everyone else but yourself for your problems.

The good you feel comes from the external world, you have no control over it. The bad comes from your own actions and incompetence. Get rid of the bad by taking ownership and working to get better everyday. 

XXV. Enjoy Today And Look Forward To The Future And The Challenges It May Bring

Life is hard for everyone, no matter what. So instead of stressing about the future and dwelling on the past, enjoy the present moment, learn from the past, and look forward to the future with optimism and welcome any challenges it may bring because they will help you grow and get better.

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