25 Things I’ve Learned by 25

25

Sam Edelman dress, Madewell bag, J.Crew shoes

I’m 25 aka a quarter of a century old! Can you believe how quickly this year flew by? I know I say that every year in this annual post but I truly don’t know where the past 12 months have gone. It literally feels like just yesterday I wrote these 24 things I’ve learned by 24 post, but this year’s one will have even more wisdom (hopefully) and experiences to share as we enter year 3 of COVID. Although 2021, just like 2020, has been a globally traumatizing and devastating year for millions of people, I’m privileged and lucky enough to not have been affected like others have been by health or financial struggles. I’ve grown and healed more emotionally and physically this year as I reached 25 than any year prior, so here are the 25 things I’ve learned by 25:

  1. The most magical experiences and developments can happen in life when you least expect them. When I graduated from college two years ago I never thought that by the time I turned 25 I’d be peaceful, happy, and exceptionally loved. Although my life plans changed thanks to COVID, I wouldn’t trade the life I have for anything.
  2. You could be perfect and you still won’t be for everyone. I’ve experienced lots of interpersonal conflict over the past year and sometimes I just wish everyone I meet would like me for me. I have to remind myself that no matter what I do, some people are going to dislike me and I have to be okay with that.
  3. Celebrate every accomplishment. This year I was promoted to a better position at my office, I covered high school football again for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, I was hired as a Communications Consultant for my organization HPJ, I was brought on as a contributor for Our Daily Bears, and I’ve gained a following through my little TikTok. Sometimes I forget that I’m doing a lot every day and I should be proud of all of my hard work.
  4. Don’t let anyone take advantage of you. For a period of time at work, I was doing more work than anyone in my section and people were still demanding I do more. I had to learn how to say no and stick up for myself otherwise I would’ve become a doormat (and we all know that’s definitely not me).
  5. Relationships take a lot of individual work. My past relationships and experiences with men caused me lots of trauma I had to work through in therapy and I sometimes find myself reacting to my current relationship with behaviors caused by my past issues. Every day I’m trying to be the best partner I can be and not let the way I was forced to act before affect me in my relationship today.
  6. Don’t waste time on anyone who doesn’t deserve it.
  7. Step away from anything that doesn’t serve you anymore. I will eventually write about our Hawaiʻi Abolition Collective and what happened in the spring but needless to say stepping back and moving on can be extremely healthy choices.
  8. Organizing spaces can be life-giving, but they can also be full of snakes and opportunists. Speaking of, one of the worst parts about organizing in such a small and intertwined place like Hawaiʻi is having to organize with the same people in every space. I would love to organize around PIC abolition in a safe and respectful place, but I haven’t yet found that.
  9. Save your money but don’t forget to treat yourself once in a while. I’ve worked diligently at saving my money since I started working at Baylor in 2016 and I still mostly save the paychecks I get from my three jobs, but I still love buying clothes and accessories whenever I want as a treat!
  10. Putting time and effort into friendships is essential. I haven’t seen Jonathan and Lo in almost two years and although it’s hard to be apart from them, we text and Marco Polo all day every day and that effort means our friendship is closer than ever!
  11. A repeated one) Hope is a discipline. Mariame Kaba repeats this mantra every time the world appears shittier and more doomed than ever and I’ve started doing the same. There’s no use in giving up or sitting back and watching people suffer as though there’s nothing we can do to help. We could all use a bit of hope, especially now.
  12. Sometimes you just have to #KeepItMoving. I used to get extremely annoyed and upset when people would try to argue with me unnecessarily, but now I try to follow MK’s motto and just move along.
  13. Take a leap of faith and you never know what could happen. I still think about how different my life would be if I didn’t leave Legal Aid in 2019 and change my career trajectory, but I’m so happy I did.
  14. There’s nothing wrong with being a homebody (even at your young age). I used to love going out every weekend with Conor and Parker and while I would still spend that time with them if COVID didn’t exist now, I love staying home and doing nothing as much as I can.
  15. Loving, healthy relationships should make you a better and happier person. I’m so lucky to have an extraordinarily kind, generous, thoughtful, supportive, and loving partner and our relationship has made me happier and more at ease than I’ve ever been in my 25 years of life. I’m a completely different person now than I was even last year and that’s all due to my incredible relationship.
  16. Never give up on any of your dreams. A couple years ago I felt that I could never be an SID or work in athletics because I wouldn’t be able to handle the workload and no one would hire me. Now that I’ve been covering sports a lot more, my dream of working in athletics at Baylor is stronger than ever. I don’t know that I’d ever have the opportunity to work there but if I was given one, I would take it immediately.
  17. Sometimes relationships change and that’s okay. Both platonic and romantic relationships can shift throughout the years and evolution isn’t always bad or sad. Accepting changes and respecting the validity of the relationship is all that matters.
  18. Don’t let a relationship (even the best one of your life) consume every part of you. I deeply love my partner but if he were all I cared about or focused on, I would be a shell of a person and I wouldn’t recognize myself. You have to have your own life with friends and interests outside of any romantic relationship.
  19. It’s okay if your first instincts about people or situations aren’t always right. I consider my character judgement to be one of my skills, but I recently was proved wrong about certain individuals I thought I liked. Although it can feel like a slap in the face to know my judgement was inaccurate, I have to just accept the truth and move on.
  20. People will always have opinions about your life choices but all that matters is whether you’re happy. Enough said!
  21. Demand fairness and right treatment. One personal trait of mine that’s caused frustration or anger from others is that I don’t comply with the status quo and take bad treatment just because “that’s how things have always been.” Maybe it’s because I’m young and haven’t worked for a while, but I do not tolerate shitty behaviors or actions in the workplace.
  22. Change is actually a good thing! I used to despise change more than anything in my 25 years but now I’ve grown to love the possibilities that come with new beginnings.
  23. It’s better to cool off than say something you don’t mean when you’re upset. The most upsetting arguments/fights I’ve gotten in with my partner were partially due to my spouting hurtful statements I didn’t actually mean just because I was angry. I should’ve cooled down and taken a breather away before speaking and I’m sure the arguments wouldn’t have escalated the way they did.
  24. Family, friends, and partners are all that matters. Since we’ve been going through COVID for the past two years, I realized that ultimately all I ever need in my life is the people I love.
  25. We can and will see a world without prisons, policing, and the military.
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