This article originally appeared on VICE UK.
As we already told you, 25 is a hell of an age. Technically, you're still young—you're still an idiot, probably, you still wear skinny jeans, and it's still acceptable to spend Sundays eating cold pizza in your bed—but also you are not at all young. Maybe you found a gray hair. Maybe you have a wrinkle. Maybe you make a very slight, very quiet noise when you get up off a sofa. Either way: Death is getting closer. Can you hear that sound? That quiet, throbbing, gnawing sound? That is the sound of oblivion, an oblivion you are staring directly into.
Despite your body aging—and your mind getting to the point where you're dancing in a club and you go, "What is this shit? What is this SHIT? I refuse to dance to this song. This isn't music, these are just noises"—it's not all bad. While you will rightly mourn the lost first times of younger days—your first cigarette, your first drink, your first fuck—it would be totally illogical to think there is no novelty to growing up. And while no one's ever going to commission an entire series of articles based on people's first experiences of, say, enjoying ironing, the softer-focus novelties of your late 20s will come to fill in the gray areas of a life that to this stage has probably felt more like a series of flash grenades exploding in a nightclub than a meaningful journey.
Here are 25 things you'll genuinely start enjoying once you slam into the brick wall of 25.
1) Get Your Financial Shit Together
Hey, kids! It's your dad here, and today we're going to talk about why sometimes getting a loan to cover your debts is cheaper than constantly overdrafting your checking account and bitching about it! Later, I'm going to teach you the fine art of "actually opening bank statements to see if anything is fucked up with them," and in a bit we're going to closely watch some commercials for banks on TV to see if switching to another one might work out to be beneficial for you.
Then, to round off the day, we're going to have a serious chat about not owing our bank any loyalty just because we had a student account with them once. Doesn't that sound fun? Well, no: It sounds and is intensely boring, but the freedom from anxiety that results from the dull drudgery of the above can be fucking exhilarating. Having your financial shit together is way more fun than getting a text from your bank on the second day of the month telling you that your overdraft limit has been met.
2) Decide What Friends You Want to Have Some Memories With
At 25, you're about three years away from the infinite summer I like to call "The Summer Where Every Fucker You Know Gets Married." It is a summer of verandas and not swearing around elderly aunts and realizing that covertly doing coke around toddlers isn't a good idea. For you, it's going to be a tricky task, being around all that pleasantness and love, because look at you: You are doomed to be alone.
Alone but for your friends, that is. At 25, you're straddling two sets of friends—those hazy, grew-up-with-them knuckleheads you used to hang around with at school, and actual adult friends you actually see every week and go to the pub with. You have a job now. You have shit to do. You have weddings to go to and banks to think about, and now that more than a quarter of your life has been dumped down the toilet, your time is a finite and precious resource. Do you really need to stay on especially good terms with your freshman college roommate?
The way I figure it, old people's homes in some distant floating space future in which we will all compost down into death are going to be amazing: PlayStations, HBO shows beamed directly into our ocular nerves, endless Vines, us all remembering the 90s together until we die. When I am locked in the iron lung that will inevitably become my tomb, I want to be laughing and joking with my friends—my real friends, the ones it isn't a chore to be around—reminiscing about the cool shit we did in our 20s. So pick them now, and make some memories.
3) Learn Something New
In my early 20s, before I became a walking, moaning diabetes risk, I used to think the lamest thing in all of creation was grown-ass people picking up a new hobby via the medium of adult learning courses. What, you want to learn stuff? In your spare time? Neerrrrrrrrrrd.
But now I get it: I haven't learned anything new in a really long time, and it's fun to learn something on your own terms, without being lectured to from a podium. And here's another thing I do with every second of my fucking day: look at a screen. So hell yeah I want to learn to, like, climb rocks, or keep butterflies, or play badminton. As long as I am looking at Twitter one less hour of my life, then maybe I will have a shot at being happy.
Related: "The Bros of Fracking"
4) Listen to Your Parents
You're an adult now, and seeing as they can't ground you or chew you out for smoking, your parents are increasingly irrelevant—somewhere you go when you want a dinner, two old people who look a bit like you and keep calling to ask if you're eating your vegetables and making friends. And yeah: Your dad might be a bit boring on the surface ("There's only two things I like, son, and that's watching baseball and thinking about baseball"), but try getting him down to the bar and see how fun he is after three picklebacks. Not only will he be full of loads of stories about how he used to sleep around before he met your mom, he'll also be full of sage (if hokey) advice, plus he doesn't understand your world of Netflix and flash mobs and pen drives, so you'll feel way younger afterward. Get to know your parents. They're way cooler than you think.
5) Get Some Basic Home-Maintenance Skills
You know how the lights keep going off in your apartment? You know you can fix that yourself, right, without having to call the landlord? You just switch out the lightbulbs. Or replace a fuse, which is just swapping two very small things that you can buy from Home Depot. Assembling furniture without screwing a shelf on the wrong way around is so satisfying it might push you toward enlightenment—harps sound and angels sing when you put a plant pot on a small side table and the whole thing doesn't collapse and explode into flame.
6) Fucking Do Something You've Always Wanted to Do
I've always wanted to go to New York. "I've always wanted to go to New York," I tell people, wistfully, normally when they come back from New York. Do you know how modest and shitty a dream that is? I could do that right now. I could go to an airport right now and do this thing. It would cost, like, $2,000, and that's with excessive spending money for all the bagels I'm going to eat. If you've always wanted to do something, just fucking do it. You're 25. Who's going to stop you?
7) Be the Coolest Uncle or Auntie Possible
Maybe you have actually birthed a human child out of your body or that of another. If so, congratulations on having to be responsible for every remaining second of your life until you die. If not, just find the nearest younger cousin or kid nephew or something like that and be the absolute coolest uncle or auntie you can be.
Oh, what, your dad doesn't buy you Legos because you got a load for Christmas? Well, guess who just got you some Legos, homie. Oh, what, your mom won't play Mario Kart with you because she's too busy doing everything else you require to stay alive? Well, guess who's about to beat you around Koopa Troopa Beach using Bowser, sucker. The goal is to make the kid like you more than he likes his actual parents, then breeze your way home as soon as he starts crying or taking a shit.
Photo by Bruno Bayley
8) Do Something with Your Weekends
Netflix is kind of like smack if smack combined the not-having-to-move a whole lot with letting you watch all seven seasons of The West Wing. The fact that Netflix programmed that "Are You Still There? You've Watched 100 Episodes of Prison Break in a Row and There Aren't Even That Many Episodes so You Must Have Looped Around and Watched Some Again" feature says it all: Soon, the streaming service will alert the authorities of your death if you log 60 continuous hours of The Office.
It's easy to lose a weekend to Battlestar Galactica, and then another, and soon you'll be like, "Nah, I can't come out—I've got a season finale to get through," and then your friends stop calling, and then in five distant years people will mention your name and ask what happened to you and they will go, "Oh, you know. They just got really boring." This can happen, and your weekends are where it gets you. Go to art galleries. Go on a hike. Go anywhere you're not allowed to have your hideous, unwashed genitals just splayed out there like smashed ham.
9) Learn to Cook at Least One Decent Meal
If you can cook exactly one 8/10 meal, you can get people to sleep with you. (If you're good-looking, you can get away with that meal being 7/10—a decent steak, or a stir fry that isn't made with burger meat.) Here's how it works: Invite them to your house, open a bottle of wine, cook really flamboyantly in front of them, make like a pie or a tagine or guacamole—or an apple crumble: People will fuck you for apple crumble—then just immediately have sex with them straight after. It is a basic human reaction to want to bone when you watch someone turn a pile of cooking apples, butter, and oats into a delicious crumble.
10) Learn How to Roast the Shit Out of a Chicken
Take a chicken. Rub some of that fancy salt that comes in a box on it. Probably some olive oil. Cut two lemons into quarters and shove them up the cavity where its ass used to be. A bit of thyme if you have it. Roast it for somewhere between an hour-and-a-half and two hours. Boom. You just roasted the shit out of a chicken. The skin is crispy and the meat is delicious. Flip it over and dig the oysters out. Eat a thigh like you're a caveman. Shred some leftover breast meat and make Singapore noodles for your dinner tomorrow. You just roasted a chicken, dude! You're amazing!
11) Never Let Your Battery Die
When you are in your early 20s your dragged-through-a-hedge, late-to-work, I-went-out-on-a-Thursday-and-didn't-sleep-at-all unreliability is a cool personality trait. You're the quirky lead in the teen movie of your life! You're like Zooey Deschanel, if Zooey Deschanel woke up in some stranger's dorm and brushed her teeth with her finger to make the taste of asshole go away! You just ordered Domino's to the office! You're so fucking young!
But when you slam into 25, bosses lose their sense of humor about you turning up at 11 AM smelling like rimming and Ouzo. Here's a tip: Charge your phone to full capacity before you go on a night out. To do that, you will need two chargers: one for home and one for work. This $10 investment means that when you wake up with a banging headache—and, like, you're on a beach—you can text your excuses to your boss, answer any where-the-fuck-are-you phone calls, get back to emails so your peers don't think you're a complete douche, and get a cab to take you to your apartment for clean pants and then immediately to work. You're so 25, man! You're still making the same terrible, irresponsible party decisions, but you're totally owning them!
12) Start Editing Your Past
By the time you've hit 25, you'll have done some stuff in your youth that will render you stiff and puce with embarrassment: You'll have been kicked out of a bar. You'll have genuinely liked Evanescence. You'll have been the worst.
So start editing those bad bits out. You know that guy you knew from school who, every time you go to the bar, reminds everyone about that time you couldn't do a chin-up in PE class? Let's get rid of him. Love letters you wrote as a teenager? Burn them. The gap year you took? Erase it from your resume. All those shitty clothes you got a little bit too fat for two years ago but don't quite have the heart to throw away because they remind you of your lithe, knife-between-the-teeth youth? Fire them into the fucking sun.
13) …But Go Back and Laugh at Your Youth
You used to have an eyebrow ring, for fuck's sake . You would stay up until 4 AM writing a novel that you will never show anyone. You bought a crushed bouillon cube thinking it was hash. Dig out your old poetry journal or MySpace profile or something and laugh at the wreck you once were. In a way, it's a fucking marvel you made it this far.
14) Realize That Getting a Ton of Groceries Is Cool
Pre-25, most of my supermarket experiences involved getting one bag of supermarket cookies and four jars of those baby sweetcorn things. Maybe a multipack of Slim Jims? I don't know. Do we need ketchup?
Open your eyes to the fact that going on a food-shopping rampage is amazing. You know how you go to a grown-up's house and they have a bunch of different things in their fridge, not just two different kinds of mustard, Bloody Mary mix, and an onion? You could have that at home every day, if you just go to the supermarket once a week and get shitloads of food—a massive multipack of chicken, some stuff on sale that you might freeze, vegetables, a big pack of yogurt, toilet paper, spices, and some frozen fries you will forget to take out and will inevitably go as a soggy mass into the trash. A real big shopping trip can rock your world. Until you've bought three four-packs of tuna because "they are a really good price," you've not really lived.
15) Save Animals or Something
Even if you're just donating $5 a month to charity, you should start making your impact on the earth slightly less shitty than your previous 25 years have been. Like: Cocaine destroys swaths of rainforest. Every time you flush a toilet you piss away almost four gallons of clean water. You, personally, are worse than an old fridge full of aerosol cans, on fire, strapped to a nuclear submarine, in the Niger Delta. Rescue a cat or something. Volunteer. Find a charity you actually give a shit about and find the best way to donate your money or time to it. You've spent 25 years being a selfish fuckhead; treat yourself to a new type of happiness that can only be attained through not being an asshole.
16) Start Giving Change to the Homeless
Next time someone asks for a bit of change and you have a bit of change, just give them that change, dude. Don't think about what they are going to spend it on. Don't replay those scare stories you hear about the homeless scamming idiots like you at 50 cents a throw and then retiring to their villa in Grenada. There's a guy on the pavement with a shivering dog because he does not have a house with a chair in it that he can sit in instead. It costs about $1 to be briefly decent to him.
17) Learn How to Live with Someone Else
Wipe crumbs off your surfaces, do your washing up promptly, aim your piss into the actual toilet, and—as your office manager probably had to remind you with a passive-aggressive all-office email this week— if you take a heinous shit in the toilet, flush it away. It is your shit. Who the fuck are you if you don't feel obligated to flush away your own shit?
18) Start Doing Your Weird Sex Stuff While Sober
Youthful doorway sex is all well and good, but until this point it's probably been fueled by the kind of adrenaline that only really hits when you've been drinking like you've been fired face-first into the sea out of a cannon. Sex after 25 is great: You know what you like, you know what you don't like, you know what you can get away with, you're really fucking good at it, and you've built up a decent enough wad of bedding to relax on afterward.
19) Look After Your Body
You know how you're tired all the time and lethargic? There are vitamins that can help that. You know that weird clicky shoulder you have? A sort of dull click, the shoulder makes. A sort of thup. Get a doctor to look at it! Maybe you just need a really good massage, or maybe you have a rare and undiagnosed shoulder disease. A doctor can tell you that thing.
Because it turns out that Hulk Hogan was right about taking your vitamins—in a way, wizened old men in leotards are the smartest dudes alive, which makes it so weird that they choose to dress like sex offenders. Anyway: Tighten up, catch a few Zs, eat a multivitamin now and again. You'll feel great for it.
20) Own One Nice Thing You Would Save from a Fire if Your House Burned Down
Pre-25, the only things I owned that were worth saving from a house fire were this one good pair of socks I had that have since developed a hole, and maybe, like, my passport? I don't know. My keys? Would I need my keys if my house burned down? I don't know. Now I own a really nice set of knives. There I'd be: no socks, no passport, house burning down in the back, walking away, smiling with my knives. (If I had to pick just one, I'd pick the big knife.)
21) Get a Job You Like
Obviously the world is in ruins and most people are lucky to have a job at all, let alone one they like, but at 25 you are at that sweet spot of not really having a lot of responsibility but also having remnants of that youthful "Fuck it, I'm going to Thailand for six months" attitude you once had. If you're ever thinking of switching careers, or going back to school, or packing it all in and going freelance, or moving countries, now is about the best time to do it.
22) Give a Shit About Politics
Even if you're wrong, it's good to push yourself out of the fog of ignorance and start, like, watching the news and understanding some of it. Maybe you've been interested in politics for years—if you have ever smoked a joint in the same room as a Che Guevara poster, then that counts—but it's time that you step up your game.
It's actually really buoying to have an informed opinion about something, especially when you win an argument in the bar just because you took the time to read an entire article in the New Yorker. So read some pamphlets. Get mad about stuff. Join a march, if you feel you have to. Give a shit.
23) Stop Trying to Be Your Heroes
Doing a load of drugs and staying up late noticing things won't make you Hunter S Thompson. Talking really quickly about feet doesn't make you Quentin Tarantino. You're a fully formed person, now. You're locked in. Stop saving up to buy the exact same leather jacket Drake wore in the "Fuckin' Problems" video.
You're going to get really into brunch. It's not a real meal, but as your nights out get shorter and your hangovers get longer, you're going to get really fucking into brunch. Then you'll complain about brunch later. It's the cir-cle of liiiifffeeee…
25) Embrace the Novelty of Growing Up
There's that whole theory about how every cell in your body is replaced over each seven-year stretch of your life: all your bones, all your veins, that weird bump you have on your forehead. It's sort of true, sort of false, but the analogy is pretty neat: You are a different person, wholly, from that rail-thin 18-year-old you used to be, with that mop of hair, remember, blinking your fresh young eyes against the bright morning sun of hope.
Think about it like this: If you're 25 now, you were 18 the year the first iPhone came out. Now look at iPhones! You used to be an iPhone, and now you're an iPhone 6! You have a camera on the front and the back now! You can capture slow-motion video! You are a lot wider than you used to be, but weirdly also flatter!
It's kind of good, that change. Unless you committed a series of murders or something, you are a better person now than you were then. You are fuller and better-rounded and more comfortable with who you are. You've probably got a better haircut or draw your eyebrows on better. There's a high chance also that you wear better jeans. That's something to be celebrated, right? You're not young-young any more—you'll never be the person who invents new slang ever again; nobody will ever refer to you as a "wunderkind" when you do something well, since you're just expected to be competent—but that's not a bad thing.
A lot of people fear age: They'll never do things for the first time again, fear that the urgent, butterfly-rush of love will never strike them in the stomach again, that they will fade into mediocrity, their life increasingly becoming one long trip to an IKEA.
But it's not like that. Aging is about finding new things you love rather than desperately clinging on to the old things you used to. Don't be one of those shitheads in the Cereal Café in their pajamas talking about how much they miss the old Ghostbusters.
The 25 is rusty. Apt, right? Photo via Lisbeth den Toom
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