This year, I celebrated my 25th birthday by eating multiple Magnolia Bakery cupcakes, attending improv class and watching a comedy show with friends. It was low key, and that’s the way I’d like to spend the majority of my weekends, as hangovers now take too long to pass and I can finally admit shouting at bars is a terrible experience. I have a lot more maturing to do, not to mention a host of habits I should have broken by 25, so here are some good things to outgrow before hitting the big quarter century:
Forgetting to say thank you
Thank you notes may seem old school, but they’re still totally necessary and relevant. Whenever someone gives you a present, remember to send a thank you letter or email. If you’ve run out of stamps or become really busy, give the person a call to let them know you haven’t forgotten about the nice thing they’ve done. A sincere “thank you” goes a long way, and that’s never going to change.
Eating in bed
Unless you want to befriend some cool mice!
Too much takeout or Seamless
It adds up, and you never really know what other people are putting in your food.
Chasing after unworthy dating prospects
You both know you deserve better. Kick him to the curb.
Overusing your debit/credit card
You spend more this way, and honestly, it doesn’t make much sense to use a credit/debit card for that $2 water bottle (which shouldn’t be $2, but that’s an argument for another post). Always keep $10-$20 in your purse.
Staying up late to watch TV/Netflix
This is especially risky if you have a full-time job. Don’t show up to work tired in the morning. Just catch the next episode of American Horror Story (which is amazing, of course) when you get home.
Leaving your tab open at the bar
Sometimes this makes sense, but you could wind up spending more money, or worse, accidentally leaving your card with the bartender.
Feeling bad every time a new Facebook friend gets engaged/married or has a baby
This is 2014. People are tying the knot and becoming parents later now, so don’t feel like you’re so behind simply because folks you went to high school with appear to be growing up.
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The older you get, the more attention you should pay to dental hygiene. Before going to bed, spend at least two minutes brushing your teeth (back when magazines were thriving, YM suggested listening to a pop song at the sink) and flossing. Add some mouthwash to the mix and you’re golden.
As earlier stated, hangovers seem to last longer post-college, so know your limits before going out with friends. I personally cannot have shots, specifically tequila, without consequences, so I don’t take them anymore. A lot of people make fun of me for it, but at least I’m no longer spending my weekends with my face inside a toilet.
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Drinking too much at work
Two of the four companies for which I’ve worked had kegs in the kitchen, and all have supported drinking on special occasions or Fridays. Don’t overdo it — you still need to get your stuff done.
Too many conversations via text
Phone calls, emails, and of course, in-person meetings are always more meaningful. Strive to have more of these.
Sleeping until noon on weekends
Sometimes you need to catch up on rest after long work weeks, but don’t forget to make the most of your days off by visiting friends, exercising, reading, or doing things you love.
It’s inevitable, and some would even say it’s healthy, but too much can create a hostile environment and come back to haunt you.
Getting too comfortable at work
You never know when your bosses could decide to move forward without you, and it’s important to maintain a strong work ethic no matter what, even if you realize your job ultimately isn’t the right fit.
Letting the trash bin pile up
Chances are, you’re not looking to share your living space with rats or other awful crawly things, so take out your garbage at least once a week, and definitely be mindful of throwing away items that smell.
Revealing too much online, in any capacity
Don’t trash-talk your current employers on social media, via email, or in cryptic blog posts. Invest in a journal if you must, but always be careful of what you put online.
Leaving passive aggressive notes for roommates
Confrontation isn’t fun, but email diatribes and notes on the sink can come across as cowardly.
Stealing (or borrowing without permission) other people’s stuff
Whether it’s a Mac charger, packed lunch or pair of earphones, it’s not yours, and the owner will definitely notice his or her things have mysteriously vanished.
Chasing after trains for your morning commute
Taking the subway/metro is stressful enough, so why add to it by running down a dangerous flight of stairs, weaving through swarms of people, and breathlessly sprinting toward closing doors? Calmly wait for the next train car and your commuter experience will be much more tolerable, both for you and your fellow passengers.
When I lived in D.C., a manipulative but convincing woman once tried to force $40 out of me. I support helping the homeless and those in need, but don’t fall for all the stories you hear from random hecklers on the street. Give them change if you’d like and then walk away, as some may try to suck you in and take advantage of your good nature.
Facebook stalking old flames
We all do it, and I may or may not have already done it twice today. A good thing to ask is how reading about someone else’s life adds to your own, especially if that person hasn’t done anything positive for you in a while. As my dad used to say, “don’t borrow trouble,” and you definitely borrow trouble anytime you try to keep tabs on your ex.
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Grocery shopping while hungry
We all know this doesn’t end well.
Leaving your umbrella at home before work
This was a huge problem for me in NYC. I’d look at my iPhone, see a wet forecast, stick my hand out the window, feel no rain, and head to work without my obnoxiously big CVS umbrella. Naturally, it would be pouring by the time I got out of the subway station, and silly me had to start the nine-hour work day in a soaking outfit. I’ve always been the person without an umbrella, or the person with an umbrella that self-destructs far too early in our relationship. It’s a traumatic experience to have. If there’s a chance of rain in the morning, always take an umbrella to the office. I know it’s gross, large, and another thing to carry, but damp clothes are even less pleasant. Worst case scenario, it doesn’t rain and you can leave it at your desk in the event of a future storm.
Being too nervous to ask for help
We all have to do it at some point, so never feel weird about emailing an old acquaintance about job networking or advice on moving to a new city. Most people got where they are today with some guidance and help from others, so chances are, they’d be happy to do the same for you (if they have time!).
Did I miss any? Share in the comments section.
This post was authored by Laura Donovan.
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