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25 Things I Wish I Knew and Did Before 25

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There are so many "listicles" out there about what people have learned or know by a certain age. But after my birthday last week, I couldn't help but contribute to the conversation. There are (at least) 25 things I wish I took advantage of, learned, habituated to or did before turning 25... and 25 things I am going to try to accomplish after turning 25.

To Know, Understand and Live By:

1. It's OK to think you're awesome. When I hear good things being said about me or think something positive about myself, I automatically tell myself to stop being arrogant or stop being so full of myself. Wrong. It's perfectly healthy to be proud of yourself, and even think you're freakin' awesome... as long as you are honest.

2. Choose yourself. Being selfish is healthy. Say no. Stop apologizing all the time. Do what you want. Choose what's best for you. Stop caring what other people think about your decisions/your life.

3. Twenty seconds of courage is all you need when you're feeling fearful or anxious.

4. Ask for help. We weren't created to be able to do or handle everything by ourselves. Yes, we are stronger than we know and more capable than we give ourselves credit for, but there is no shame in asking a friend/loved one for help, seeing a counselor or admitting that you can't be alone through a situation/life event.

5. Stop being so jaded. It's refreshing to see my 3-year-old nephew's take on the world, the way he sees things for the first time, his trust, his love, his curiosity. It's time to stop being so jaded and disheartened by the world, people -- or your life.

6. Forgiveness and acceptance are freeing and necessary to maintain peace of mind. To forgive someone is to free yourself of the burden, pain or consequence their actions/choices caused for you. To accept someone is to understand and accept them for who they are and why they did what they did. I recently accepted someone for who they are and forgave their poor choices, and I have never felt more free of the pain I was feeling. By forgiving and accepting, I was able to remove myself from the situation and accept their perspective, choices and shortcomings as their own and unrelated to me. This helped me decide if I wanted them to still be a part of my life and if we could salvage a healthy relationship.

7. It's OK to change your mind on anything, big or small, at any time.

8. Make the time to foster your creativity, always.

9. Don't be afraid of change. Don't be afraid of what you can't control, and always be mindful of what you can -- your perspective, your reaction/response and your energy.

10. It's OK to not be friends with people anymore. People change, and as much as you want to maintain a friendship you've had for years, friendship is a two-way street. If someone isn't treating you the way you deserve/want, don't be afraid to let go. Having a lot of time invested into someone is an awful reason for keeping a toxic relationship.

11. Choose Love.

To Do:

12. Cook. As a 25-year-old adult, I should know how to combine ingredients to make a healthy and delicious meal... other than pasta.

13. Learn a second language fluently. I grew up with Punjabi and Japanese and I took five years of French, yet I still can't fluently speak a second language. I regret not taking advantage of my exposure at a younger age, but am making a vow to try even harder now.

14. Back up my phone and computer regularly. Why don't I learn my lesson every time my phone is lost or my computer crashes?

15. Treat the weekends as more than just a time to go out. There's something sacred in having 48+ hours of consecutive free time to do things you can't usually do on the weekday... things that go beyond just going out. Examples include hanging with loved ones in a non-party setting, reading, sleeping, writing, creative endeavors, catching up with long-distance family and friends, cleaning, learning a new skill and spending quality time alone.

16. Relearn history/Watch the news. I wish I paid more attention in my least favorite classes -- history. It seems that I have so much catching up to do because I can't for the life of me recall basic history facts regarding America, my religion or any other important past happenings. It's quite embarrassing, but it's true nonetheless. With this said, I'd also like to make it more of a habit to keep up with world news. Not that I'm totally ignorant, but I am definitely not as knowledgeable as I'd like to be.

17. Live abroad for at least six months. I didn't do that study abroad I wish I had, but it's not too late to pick a country and do something worthwhile with my time while living there. With this point, I'd like to add that I'd like to also travel completely solo.

18. Learn self defense. I believe that everyone should be trained in self defense, but after having my own personal, frightening experiences as a woman, I plan to take Krav Maga lessons this year.

19. Stop biting my nails. It's just a gross habit.

20. Have a savings account. Any self-sufficient adult should make an effort to drop some earnings into a separate account for emergencies and their future.

21. Appreciate and spend quality time with my parents more. I am the youngest, so even though I have gotten more one-on-one time with my parents, I feel like I'm still making up for lost time, which is hard since I'm trying to establish my own life, in another state, but still maintain a closeness with them. I want to make more effort to spend quality time with my parents, individually and together, while also learning about their past and asking them life questions I want answers to. (This point can be replicated for grandparents as well.)

22. Make my bed every day and eat breakfast. It just feels more adult-like to make my bed in the morning and eat a healthy first meal.

23. Take care of my body. My metabolism is absolutely not what it used to be and I am feeling the repercussions of drinking too much, eating unhealthy foods and/or not getting any exercise more than I used to. Along these lines, I'd like to add being more in tune with what my body is trying to tell me and going to the doctor if I feel like something is off.

24. Have better posture.

25. Stop being addicted to technology. I want to stop checking my phone, emails and Facebook first thing in the morning/last thing at night, as well as throughout the day as much as I do.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not one to promote wishful thinking -- "I wanted to have this or that, or be X kind of person by 25″ -- because it's too depressing and eliminates the excitement of all the things you couldn't predict that have happened. I just am more aware of all the things I haven't taken advantage of yet and plan to incorporate into my life now that I'm 25.

This post originally appeared on A Quarter Life Crisis Blog

Follow Sahaj Kohli on Twitter: www.twitter.com/sahajkohli