Social media has become a part of our everyday lives within the past few years. From where we eat at to how we take pictures and even how we deal with our dating life. A lot of us are still trying to find our way and figure things out with or without social media. For many of us, we feel that the age of 25 is our cut-off age. We feel that we should be married, living in our own house, working our dream job and just living our best lives all by the time we turn 25. So, I interviewed 5 people: 2 men, 2 women and 1 couple(technically its 6 people but a couple is 1 unit so yeah.. quick maths) and asked them 5 questions that they think people should know before they turn 25. Let's dive in shall we?
If you could go back in time, maybe to middle school, what would you tell yourself to do differently? Tommy: If I could go back in time I would most likely pay attention more. I would also stop being the class clown and stop getting into trouble. Beloved: I would tell myself things won't be like this forever. You're growing and you're going to make changes but right now, stay on the path that you know you should be on. Try new things and keep trying to figure out who you are as a person, not who you think people want you to be. Lo: If I could go back in time, I would simply tell myself to not be so trusting of others and to believe in myself more. As an only child I tended to believe that I had more friends than I actually did. I would also tell myself to go with my first instinct! Ashonnie: I would hug myself and cry. I would tell that little preteen that she is worthy and that she doesn’t need anyone to love and want her but herself. Rashad: If I could go back in time to middle school, I would offer myself the advice to really take the time to be present and focus on things that matter. Around that time in my life, it was all about being popular, having lots of friends, having women, and being able to dance (funny enough). I would offer myself the reassurance that I wasn’t missing out on anything if I formed relationships with the people that really mattered and just took the time to fine-tune my focus. However, I regret none of the growth and development that took place in that time because all of it has played an integral part in the man that I am today. Bre: Middle school was weird. I mean, I haven’t met anyone who hasn’t shared those sentiments. If I could speak to my 13/14 year-old self, I would simply tell her, “It gets better. Keep going.” I could easily have told myself to “make better grades,” or “don’t focus on boys.” But honestly, I don’t think there’s anything that I would have done differently. God has proven to me that my life is so intentional, and has shown me time and time again the large effects of small actions. I needed the quirky, the awkward, the pain, the friends gained, the friends lost. So I would just keep myself motivated that it does get better.
What goals did you set for yourself to reach by the time you turned 25? Did you meet them? Tommy: I wanted to have my own place but it was not necessary though. Also I wanted to build a business and set a time frame of yearly growth. Beloved: Honestly, by the time I was 25 I thought I would have graduated from a University, working my dream job, and really have life figured out for myself. So, none of that happened. I did give college a try and I will go back, but I'm finding out your 20s are the years you're supposed to be figuring life out. You shouldn't expect yourself to have everything mapped out because there will be a lot of bumps in the road, some you're not prepared for. Lo: By 25, I had set the goal of having my Bachelor's degree, my own apartment and an established career. I am now 29, and only have my Associates due to a few set backs. I had my own place but had to stay with family members recently due to other set backs and also had a career but was laid off at the age of 25. Things happen in life that you do not expect and at times have no control over. Ashonnie: When I was 12 I told myself by 25 I would either be married with 3 kids, 2 dogs and a famous makeup artist or writer OR I’d be living by myself with 2 dogs and with the same dream job. Neither one of the goals came to life unfortunately. Rashad: To be honest, a lot of the goals that I set for myself back then was based upon the expectation of others to be something that I’m not entirely sure I want to pursue anymore. To provide clarity, many times I have been told, “You're going to be a doctor,” or, “You should pursue that! It pays well.” There was always an underlying tone of prestige. If I would have followed that path to the “T,” I would be finishing up medical school right now and well unto my residency. Albeit that sounds nice, I never would have crossed paths with the love of my life. I never would have had the experiences (good and bad) that have drawn me closer and farther from people. It was good (and currently is good) that I took the “path less traveled” and really fine-tuned what I wanted and what was important for me to accomplish. Bre: By 25, I wanted to have my Master’s degree, I wanted to publish my first book, I wanted to be married, and moving in the direction of my dream career. I have accomplished most of these goals (except marriage and dream career), however, I’m actually glad that those two aspirations haven’t happened for me yet. I would be lying to myself if I said, “I’m ready for marriage RIGHT now,” even though I have already found the person that I will spend the rest of my life with. I would be lying if I said that “I know where my current career path is going to take me.” I often imagine what our world (and specifically our generation) would be like if we made goals based on maturation and education. What if we said, “when I reach [this] level in my spiritual growth,” or “when I reach [this] level in my dismantling traumas,” or “when I become financially literate in [this] arena, THEN I will have what I desire?” Age is arbitrary. So are dreams. Goals executed with intentionality, purpose, resources, and the capacity to be a steward of the results? That’s the key. So I’m actively trying to stop putting an age on things.
What do you wish someone would have told you to help you figure out life before or after 25? Tommy: I wish someone would have told me that it’s not the age but the knowledge of what you want to accomplish. Beloved: I wish someone would have shown me how to properly save money, set goals for myself, love myself, and how to create productive habits before I turned 25. If you can learn that as early as possible, I think you'll be on the way to doing great things. Lo: I wish someone would have taught me about debt, and insurance. You see things like cars, houses, buildings and even know about health and college but you are not taught about things required for them such as insurance and how certain things can lead to debt. Ashonnie: I wish my parents would have told me about credit. I had to learn a lot on my own or they didn’t tell me until I asked them in adulthood. Rashad: I wish that someone would have had an intentional conversation with me about ME. Again, to provide clarity, I wish someone would have affirmed in me the things that I loved and pushed me to pursue those passions. I wish that instead of money, social standing, and future placement, that more conversations would have been had about love, being present, finding inner strength, and things along those lines. Do I feel the people in my life equipped me the best they knew how with the tools that they had? Yes. I believe they were successful in that area. A man (anyone) could always “wish” for more! Haha! Bre: Finances, honey! Tax season still brings me anxiety. I wish someone would have talked to me about entrepreneurship and ownership -- and ownership in every way possible: owning my actions, my thoughts, my body, my womanhood. I wish someone would have told me that I as a Black woman deserves love without suffering as a prerequisite. Similar to Rashad’s point: I wish I had that affirmation that I was/am enough.
What tips do you have for dating during your 20s for the upcoming generation? Tommy: Never settle but enjoy life especially in this new generation. The opportunity for growth and wealth is at an all time high. Stray away from having kids at an early age. Beloved: In your 20s, BE SMART, BE HONEST, BE PROTECTIVE, AND ENJOY YOUR LIFE!! I've done the opposite of all those things so I'm speaking from experience. Don't look for love in others, you're wasting your time. Just let it happen. If it's real it'll present itself but until then just live and learn. Be honest with yourself and be honest with the people you deal with. Lo: With dating in your 20's it is OK to love, even love hard if that's how you are. But never love someone more than they love you! You'll know how much someone loves you by what they do, not what they say. It's easy to say just have fun, and don't take anything too seriously when it comes to love in your 20's, but your 20's is the perfect time to build so that you can marry or start a family by 30. There's no rush on love, but it's a beautiful thing to have! Ashonnie: Do not look for validation in others. You only need to love yourself in order to thrive and succeed. Don’t sell yourself short and WAIT, everything will fall into place when it needs to. Rashad: This question is a little hard for me, because I genuinely don’t want anyone to view my relationship as a goal or something to aspire to. Everyone is unique -- which brings along different “tips” specifically catered to that union. If I had to give one, in a means not to be difficult, I would say this: Take the time to genuinely learn yourself, your partner, and how that works together. Some people are meant to only be friends. They may offer great qualities or a “complete package” if you will, but looks can be deceiving. Scripture tells us that, “the heart is deceptively wicked.” Not to say that feelings and emotions aren’t good, because that's where true love resides. It's with the understanding, however, that you should lead that portion of your life bettering yourself and prepping yourself to be a wonderful partner that can receive a wonderful mate. Doesn’t mean you won’t have hard times, struggles, arguments, moments where you have to face you and your partner's insecurities; but can the love that you have for one another “cover all?” (P.S. This is not to say that you should put up with anything that doesn’t serve you; this is just for the people that know this relationship and person is someone that they are first willing to choose every day and that they are meant to be.) Bre: Be open. Be vulnerable. Do as much of the healing work as you can for yourself BEFORE the relationship (sometimes God does intend for your partner to help you complete your work. Don’t expect to be fully healed, but DO expect to be whole). Shed ideologies impressed by social media, or the faults of your parents/guardians, or the people who are choosing to live in their bitterness. Do not play the comparison game. There’s no one like you, nor like your partner; therefore, your partnership is unmatched within itself. Be willing to grow, and be willing to have crucial conversations -- with love, in love.
Give one or two sentences of free advice to the people reading this article. Tommy: Figure out your talent, research, gain knowledge and set goals. You are never too young or old to accomplish anything and never give up. Beloved: Play hard and work harder. Try new things and love yourself! Lo: Learn who you are before trying to love. Learn what you enjoy before sticking to something (try different things). Once you discover who you are, you then know what you believe in, what you want and what you can do! Ashonnie: If you have a dream, PURSUE IT! Do it smartly and don’t let anyone stand in your way. Focus on yourself and your mental health. Staying balanced is key. Carve out the life you want and don’t get discouraged. Greatness is just around the corner. Rashad: For anyone reading this article searching for an answer to anything that they might be dealing with goal wise, relationship wise, and/or otherwise, I would like to remind you that you are in the right place at the right time. God has intricately designed your PRESENT moment in time as a PRESENT (that teaches and offers wisdom). So be PRESENT. Another would be to love yourself with all of your being. I know times are rough right now, and that's outside of COVID and police brutality. But I love you and you should love yourself more than anyone else. Know that you are beautifully and wonderfully made for a time as this, “to be the change that you want to see.” You’re amazing and only you can do what you do the way that you do it. Bre: Make space for your mental health. Give yourself permission to grow, heal, and love.
Thank you all for taking the time out to read this article! If you have any questions or comments for myself or the contributors, please feel free to send them in!