Last Updated on 18th October 2023 by Sarah Sarsby

Sarah image

In 2 days, I’m turning 25. Mid-20s. A quarter of a century. It feels pretty crazy, and I have no idea how these past 5 years have gone so quickly.

A lot has changed in the last 5 years, too. Here are a few highlights:

  • I graduated from uni
  • I gained a master’s degree
  • Published my own magazine
  • Started working full-time as a content writer and editor
  • Launched A Woman’s Confidence

With these big life changes comes a lot of new insight and self-growth. Although I love celebrating my birthday, I also think it’s a great time to evaluate everything I’ve learned and how I’ve developed. So, in today’s blog post, I wanted to reflect on 25 things I’ve learned in 25 years.

25 things I've learned in 25 years image

1. A global pandemic teaches you a lot about your relationships

The COVID-19 pandemic sucks and it’s meant a lot of changes for everyone. It’s tragic, terrifying and has created a lot of barriers in our everyday lives.

However, it’s also really helped strengthen my bonds with my friends, boyfriend and family. I’ve loved spending more quality time with my family, especially when I was furloughed, whether that meant playing badminton in the garden, going for walks or just hanging out.

It’s also made me appreciate my friends more than ever because it shows you who’s there when the going gets tough. Although I’ve not been able to see all of my friends due to being classed as “clinically extremely vulnerable” during the pandemic, this crisis has made me value them even more.

When my boyfriend stayed at my parents’ house, it was so nice to spend lots of time with him and has made me so excited for when we get our own place.

2. Do what makes you happy

This might seem like an obvious one, but I come across so many people who hate their job, never take time for themselves and get stuck in a routine they don’t enjoy.

Do what makes you happy. Practice self-care. Try to find a job you truly enjoy, even if it means taking a few courses along the way to get there. Make time to do the things you love.

3. Surround yourself with people who make you feel positive

Cutting out toxic people, or people who make you feel consistently negative, is important. You’re better off having 3 excellent friends than 20 acquaintances who don’t have your best interests at heart.

Surround yourself with people who make you feel positive. People who support you, people that make you laugh and people who are there for you, no matter what.

4. Practice yoga

Practising yoga has been so good for me mentally and physically. I know I always bang on about it, but I always come away from practising a Yoga with Adriene YouTube session feeling stretched, stress-free and peaceful.

I think yoga would be beneficial to everyone. It’s a way to escape the rush of modern life, find harmony and spend some time being kind to your mind and body.

5. Be wary of people who are unsupportive of your dreams

There’s nothing wrong with people being curious or even uncertain about your dreams. Sometimes, it’s just a case of letting them know what it is you’re following and why. They might just want to give you some helpful advice if they think you’re going about something in the wrong way.

However, anyone who seems dismissive of what you want to do or is unsupportive without justification, you should be wary of. People who care about should want you to succeed and be happy.

6. It’s fine to learn a skill just because you want to

I’ve been asked why I spend so much time blogging when I don’t really make much income from it. Guess what? I enjoy it. I love writing, I’ve really enjoyed learning how to take better flatlay pictures and it’s fun learning new Pinterest strategies.

Even though it might seem like a lot of hassle for not much reward, these are skills that I’ve enjoyed learning and I feel will serve me greatly in the future.

7. Learn to say “sorry”

It’s important to say “sorry” and let people know that you’ve done something wrong.

I used to be awful at saying sorry and was too proud to accept that I’d messed up. It’s not a good thing. If you can accept when you’ve made a mistake, it’ll help you grow as a person. We all make mistakes after all.

I’m not saying that you should say sorry for the sake of it. I’m saying that you should accept responsibility for your actions when messing up and learn from it. It’ll do a world of good for you and will mean a lot to the other person.

8. I’m not as much of a ‘people person’ as I thought I was

Once upon a time, I used to think that I could get on with pretty much anyone. As I’ve got older, I’ve come to realise that not everyone is my cup of tea and I now know what I look for and value in relationships with others.

Don’t get me wrong, I love spending time with people. But I just know more about what I want from a relationship with someone else and also what traits I don’t value.

9. Sometimes, you’ve just got to say goodbye to friends

Even though it hurts like hell, sometimes you’ve got to recognise when a friendship has fizzled out and just say goodbye. If that friendship doesn’t serve you anymore, it’s time to let it go. It’s always for the best, even though it sucks.

10. Learn from other people

This is something I could do more of via YouTube. But it’s so important to talk to other people and hear their thoughts, insights and ideas. You can learn so much from others and that can be learning what you don’t like or disagree with, too.

My boyfriend often watches educational YouTube channels and I always end up hearing something so interesting or inspiring. There is always something to learn from somebody else.

11. Be proud of yourself and your achievements

Too often, we focus on what we didn’t get right or what we haven’t achieved, rather than celebrating ourselves and our successes. For example, I’d much rather concentrate on the fact that my DA score randomly went down by 2 points overnight than think about how much my monthly blog views have shot up recently.

Be proud of yourself and everything you’ve achieved. Celebrate getting a degree, starting a new job, exercising this morning when you seriously didn’t want to, random acts of kindness, being there for your family and that awesome meal you cooked. Small or big achievements, you should be proud.

12. Embrace opportunities.

Try something new. Do something different. It could be a really enriching experience.

13. Trust your instincts

They’re pretty much always right. If you get a bad vibe from someone, chances are you’re probably right.

14. You can’t change people or situations, but you can change how you react to them

People are going to piss you off. Sometimes, things won’t go your way. You can’t stop that. However, you can try to change how you react in these situations.

For instance, if someone does something that really annoys you, you can’t help that they’ve done that action. However, you can choose to let it annoy you, have a go at them and fall out. Or, you can try to calmly explain why that person has annoyed you and try to come to a resolution.

The initial action was the same, but the outcome is very, very different. You and the other person will feel better if you react in a constructive way.

15. I like lists. A lot.

I have lists for so many things. Work, blog, skincare inventory, daily to-do list, weekly to-do list… You name it, I probably have a list for it. I love organising my thoughts in this way and having a clear set of measurable goals, tasks or inventories to keep me on track.

16. Stop comparing yourself to others

You’ll always lose the comparison game. They’re not you and you’re not them. Be happy with yourself and your life. The end.

17. Reduce your time on social media

Social media can be the main culprit for self-loathing. When I reduced how much time I spent on social media, more specifically Instagram, I felt much better about myself. Coincidence? Absolutely not.

Reducing how much time you spend on social media stops you from comparing yourself to others and lusting after what other people are doing or how they look.

People only want to present the good parts of their life on social media; it’s never the full picture. But most people compare themselves and their lives to others on social media, which is neither accurate nor helpful.

18. Going for walks is awesome

I love going for walks to clear my head, get some fresh air and spend some time catching up with someone I care about. All while getting some exercise in, which is pretty awesome.

19. Self-awareness is important

I believe self-awareness is an underrated value. It’s important to know yourself and how you operate. Knowing who you are allows you to work to your full potential and helps you stay focused and motivated.

20. Choose comfortable trainers over stylish ones

I’ve cut my feet up SO MANY TIMES due to wearing trainers that aren’t made for walking/running. My feet seem to be particularly pathetic anyway, but now I opt for trainers that I feel comfortable in when walking for long distances and for practical reasons.

They may not be your favourite pair of trainers, but your feet will thank you for them.

21. Invest in your skin

You’ve only got one skin and you’re going to have it the rest of your life. Look after it! Wear SPF, double cleanse, invest in a decent serum and give it the care it needs.

22. Compliment people

Kind comments can really brighten people’s day. If you see something you like about someone else, let them know!

  • I love that hair colour on you, it really suits you
  • You look awesome in that dress
  • Wow your skin is incredible, please share your secrets!

Little comments like this – and obviously you should mean these sincerely when you compliment somebody – make people feel good. We’re always hard on ourselves, so it’s important to lift one another up and be complimentary.

23. Failure is just another opportunity to grow

Rather than focusing on what went wrong, think about what you can do better next time and learn from your experiences. Sometimes, the best knowledge you can acquire is by something not working out as planned and using that to your advantage.

Failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success.

24. Stop worrying about how you come across to others

This is partially a note to self because I know I do this sometimes. Don’t overthink how you’re coming across to people. Be yourself. Always.

Some people just won’t like you. There might not be a particular reason for this and that’s fine. So don’t think about presenting yourself to others in the way that you want to present yourself, just be yourself. It’s always the right move.

25. I feel blessed

No, I’m not lucky, I’m blessed, yes

Nicki Minaj

I have a wonderful support circle around me, who I am very grateful for. The people in my life are truly wonderful and I couldn’t be happier with the group of people surrounding me.

I’m in a job that I enjoy – that I worked hard for and did not get out of “luck” – and utilising my degrees, which I’m very pleased about.

I’m really happy with my blog and everything I’ve accomplished so far. There’s still a lot more to be done, but I’m so pleased with how far I’ve come.

I have a roof over my head, food on the table every night, and I’m alive and healthy. Not everyone has that, so I’m truly blessed.