5 Things You Don't Have to Do by 25
You have many years left.
There seems to be a lot of pressure put on people in this world to do great things in their lives. Perhaps it is because we have such endless access to information. Perhaps it is because the world desperately needs great people. Or perhaps we all just want to be remembered for something when our lives come to a close.
Whatever the case, you cannot make it through the day without being bombarded with headlines about the various crisis situations around the world coupled with headlines about some 8-year-old who has developed something extraordinary. It is enough to make anyone feel a little behind the curve. It is enough to make anyone want to strive to be relevant.
However, there are things you don't need to have sorted out in the first quarter of your life. For the most part, you are still trying to figure out how to live on your own in this world in those years. So, take a deep breath and remember you have time.
Here are five things that you don't need to be or do by the time you hit 25. Life isn't a race. You will get there when you get there.
1. You don't need a degree.
There has been a steady push towards higher education for the last few decades. It leaves young adults feeling like they need to go to school. They need to have a fancy piece of paper that tells them where they belong. They need to spend thousands of dollars on an education in something they might not actually care about.
Education is a wonderful thing, but it is not the be all to end all when it comes to life courses. If by twenty-five you've never even stepped foot in a building of higher learning, that is fine. If you tried a degree and didn't like it, that's fine. If you went into a trade, that's fantastic for you. If you went straight into the workforce, good job.
We cannot hold everyone to the same standards and milestones in life. Education will always be there, so pursue it (if you want) whenever you feel ready. There is no age limit on when you can go to school.
So, if you're one of those people struggling through school or debating if you should go in the first place, give yourself time. Look at what's going on in your life right now and see if you have time, the motivation, and the passion to complete what you are going after.
Life won't always wait for you, but you are allowed to do things at your own pace.
2. You don't need to be settled down.
50 years ago, by the age of 25, most people were married, owned a house, and had a few kids. There is nothing wrong with this life goal. There is nothing wrong if, by 25, this is where you are. But there is no reason you need to push yourself to be here.
Owning a house is a different slice of pie than it was 50 years ago. House prices are astronomical. Most people work in major cities where it is almost impossible to buy a home. So, renting is a practical life choice. Living with roommates is a practical life choice. Living in a tiny apartment is a practical life choice.
You don't need to be in a committed relationship and be ready to get married by 25. Some people may have never been in a serious relationship by that age. Some people may have been married and divorced by that age. There is no roadmap to love, so don't push yourself to meet a finish line that doesn't exist.
Have kids if you want to have kids. Don't have kids if you don't want to. Although there is a little bit of a timeline for when you can have them, medically speaking, there is no rush to have a family by 25 if that's not your cup of tea. Perhaps you don't ever want that. Perhaps you haven't found the right person yet. Your life is not over if you haven't started this by 25.
Remember, we cannot judge our progress today by the milestones of the past. Those were different times. So, find where and what your milestones are and work towards them at your own pace. You are the one in charge of your life.
3. You don't need to be in your life-long career.
I'm not sure where this idea came from that by 25 you need to have your life completely sorted out, but it picked up steam rather quickly. Many people pressure themselves to the point of mental breakdowns trying to rush to this finish line. But you don't have to be there yet.
In life, you will go through at least three careers. Some people will be lucky to get a job that they keep for the next 40 years and then they retire. That's awesome. Other people will bounce around between careers until they find the one that sticks.
There is no right way to earn a living in life. There is no checklist of things you need to get done. There are no "levelling up" places. Opportunities come and they go, if it is your time to take hold of one then great.
But if you're still floundering, wondering what you'll do with yourself when you grow up, then you are not alone. We've all been there. Many of us are still there.
Life is chaos, so enjoy the ride. And don't push to have it end so quickly. The only one who can determine your direction in life is you. So steer your ship.
4. You don't need to have travelled the world.
Travelling is a great thing. Going to different countries and meeting different people can really help inform your view on the world. However, there is no need to be a world traveller at 25. If you've never left your town in your life that is fine. If you've never been out of the country, that's fine. And if you have managed to set foot on other continents, that's great too.
Travelling can be expensive. It takes time and money away from other focuses in life. You can't put a price on life experience, but you do need to eat, pay rent, pay bills, and survive. So, don't feel bad if you hold off until retirement before giving in to your wanderlust.
That being said, if you do get the chance to travel, snatch that up as quickly as possible. Whether it is for business or pleasure, if you have the opportunity to see a bit of the world then do so. There are very few downsides to it. And you will always have that experience.
But if you didn't backpack through Europe between high school and the rest of your life, it's not the end of the world. You are actually more average than you think in this case.
Realistically, don't put so much pressure on yourself. Let others live their lives and live yours at your own pace. You'll get where you're going eventually.
5. You don't need to be 100 percent certain about everything.
Most people possess very little life wisdom by the age of 25. And that's because you've barely lived any of your life. Realistically, it's been six, maybe seven, years since your parents were responsible for your well being. In some cases, they may still be responsible for you.
You don't need to have all the answers. You don't need to know where you're going or how you are going to get there. It's great if you do, but you're not alone if you're still living with your parents, working an alright job, and just trying to keep your head above water. More people are doing this than you think.
The world is not how it used to be. Jobs are hard to acquire because of how specialized the industries have become. Homes are hard to buy. People are hard to connect with on a real level. And everything costs a fortune.
So, take a moment and reflect on what you have accomplished by the age of 25. A quarter of your life may have passed you already, but you still have so many years left ahead of you.
Be optimistic. Be passionate. Be motivated. But remember there is no fixed timeline for when you can accomplish anything. Your life is your own, so live it.
About the author
I have been a creative writer for over 10 years, an academic for 7 years, and a blogger for 3 years. Writing is my passion and it's what I love.
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