25 Important Things You Need To Know By 25

There comes a time when kids turn to young adults, and young adults turn to — well, adults.

Do you even know what capital gains is?
Or how about filing taxes as a freelancer?
What are the requirements & procedures of setting up your own business?
Maybe you’d like to know why you should enjoy that bookkeeping subject seriously?

In the face of an impending quarter life, these questions might pop up so it’s best to be prepared. Read on what it’s like to be 25 as these advices for young adults will surely come in handy.

April 2016

Today, I turn another year older. But not just any other “year older”. I’m 25.

And while arguably, a lot of adults might shake their head because this statement might sound too epiphanic, why I sound amazed is because 25 means living a quarter of your lifetime (assuming a lifetime is approximately at 100; although most people die at 80).

Grizzly details aside, I don’t want to make this a vanity post but rather a reflection of what has transpired in the 25 years of my life — the things that were crucial that I wish I had known, if only life had given handouts.


saving money

1. Start saving money as early as a kid

Oh boy, money troubles.

I hate to be the bearer of the bad news but this one’s a big nick. What I mean is most of your early to middle 20’s will involve financial matters. It doesn’t start until you have things you want to buy or experiences you want to have.

When I was a kid, my mother emphasized the value of saving to me. As a little girl growing up in the suburb of a third world country, I didn’t have as much access as I wanted to better things so we learned how to be frugal.

Instead of piggy banks, I had baby powder bottles.

I would put 1 peso and 5 peso coins until it got heavy. Upon reaching high school, I had money to spare when my parents could not or have forgotten to give me my daily allowance.

This value stuck with me and so I always saw money as a tool to expense instead of something glorious to have and mindlessly spend.

I respected it as much as I earned it.

I don’t make very wise decisions often as a young adult (for example, when I had work I became more liberated in spending because I knew the next pay was going to come) but I have the foundation of knowing that if I don’t have any, I don’t spend it – a reason why credit cards and incurring debt don’t appeal to me very much.

Learning how to save early will deliver you from the woes of having to cram your life in order financially.

What are the benefits you say?

  • You don’t have to ask your parents for money every time you have to shell out
  • Concert tickets will never be an issue
  • If you decide to go pack your things and travel, you can always say yes
  • It practices your self-discipline on spending
  • You have the peace of mind of having an emergency fund

And many other things. If I had a chance to go back in time and tell my younger self the best financial advice for young adults, this would be it.


2. Treat your career as your life’s work

When I was 18, I thought working for money was all about the status of being in an office, holding a respectable position and earning figures. At least that’s what society impressed on me.

The first and only office job that I held made me open up my eyes.

Sure it is nice to work at a large or multinational company, but ask yourself, “is this really what I would want to do for life?”

Many millenials get this career thing all wrong:
They’ll work their butts off for the first 2-4 years of their career JUST TO EARN MONEY. And blow it.

There’s nothing wrong with financially being independent, but I want you to understand that you shouldn’t get into it for the shallow reasons. Money is nice, buying things you can afford is nice. Yes, it might make you happy for a while, but on the grand scheme of things you will want to have thought more about your hasty decisions later on.

I have nothing against a corporate job, but if you hate your job just to pay the bills it will be a toxic cycle and it could be hard to get out of.


3. Enjoy and preserve moments

There were many times that I wish I had a camera or a videocam with me. But back then, there were no Snapchats or Instagram Stories. It was just a pure good old fashioned vintage Polaroid.

It’s nice to think that at some point in the future, you will look back to yourself and say,
“Hey, this was the day I thought of the future. Now it’s where I am and I’m looking right back at myself that moment!”


4. Value fitness and nutrition

At 25, I know that I could be staring at my bleak health condition by age 70 or 75. I don’t want that to happen to myself, so I rekindled with fitness before and after I gave birth to Avis.

Fitness and nutrition can prevent you from incurring riskier damages to your health. Think of it as your long term self investment.

Don’t wait until you’re 50 and with a cardio problem to exercise!

Even doing 7-10 minutes of it can do you good. Walk, do simple yoga poses, jog in place — do what feels right to you.

If you’re really not into the idea of exercising, try Mike Gardner‘s 5 Minute Rule: When you are procrastinating something and you really need to do it, do it for 5 minutes. If you’re not feeling it at all, then leave it be for another time, hopefully the next day and/or substitute it with another productive activity.

Mike is The Time Doctor, a trusted mentor and a good friend. I highly recommend his blog if you need to concentrate on improving your time management!

Even those 5 minutes each day will add up to 30-35 minutes per week! And if you’re doing yoga or circuit training, that’s already a lot of calories to burn. If that doesn’t motivate you, just imagine yourself laying in the hospital bed with a tube down your throat or having expensive hospital bills.

That might scare you but it will definitely keep you on your toes with fitness. 😉


5. Know how to deal with legal stuff

Need a passport? Check.

SSS, PhilHealth, Pag-Ibig? Check.

NBI Police Clearance? Check.

PSA (previously NSO) Birth Certificate? Check.

These are just some of the basics you need to deal early on. Most of the time, employers will require you to do these stuff and doing so will reaaaaally teach you how to adult, because it tests your patience.

Knowing how to get an NSO or PSA birth certificate, how to apply for passport and other things are the first few steps to adulthood.

And if you’re planning on putting up your own business, then knowing how to set up your business will be beneficial to you too. You could learn how to file taxes as a business owner or a freelancer, it’s up to you.

The point is, just be aware to learn how.


6. Live positively and profoundly

In a world full of chaos, digital preservation and cyber bullying, living positively, profoundly and learning how to be an optimist can give you the perspective that you need in your life.

Be the purple cow, according to Seth Godin and stand out from the rest with your viral positivity.

Learn a new hobby, delve into an adventure, dine out and try new cuisine or anything that makes your life worthwhile.

Try to lead an example for others to follow, because no matter what happens in your life… note that it’s impossible that your presence will not affect others’.


7. Learn how to make your own food

Growing up is also expensive, if you haven’t noticed that.

Therefore I recommend that you start learning how to cook when you hit 20’s  — even earlier if you can.

Start with the basic foods like pasta, sauteed vegetables and soups. Next thing you know you’re baking.

If you’re scared to fail, follow recipes first and then go bold in guesstimating your own recipe! Upgrade your level of difficulty as you go along. Remember, mistakes will be made along the way but keep your head up! You’ll be good eventually.


guy, man, desert, canyon, landscape, nature, people, travel, adventure, sunshine, hat, wanderlust

8. Travel solo

Knowing how to travel solo is important in the sense that you become comfortable in your own skin. At the same time, it challenges you to exceed the borders of your comfort zone.

Some things you will learn from traveling:

  • How to save money when you travel alone
  • Knowing how to be aware when you travel
  • Research and find cheap eats or cheap deals when you travel
  • Make new friends from backpacking the world
  • Why traveling solo boosts your self-confidence

I could list a few more but those are pretty much the highlight when I travel on my own.


9. Make friends from all ages

Another thing I could tell you that I love from being 25 is that I’ve made friends in different age groups. The benefit from making friends in different ages is that you learn from their experience and you kind of reflect the way these people are living their lives.

You could learn how to be happy and jovial from the youth, and learn valuable life lessons from the elders.

The thing though is, at the time you’re 25… sometimes finding a best friend is a bit difficult because everyone seems to be taken. But if you follow your passion and your values, you will eventually find someone who you can be close with.


10. Practice love and forgiveness

We all know love comes with pain, but what do we do when we suffer from it? Do we forgive?

At age 25, we come now with a lot of baggage – whether it’s from the past or the worries of the future (marrying, having kids, settling down).

I think if there was anything that I’d like to stress onto my younger self was this. “Practice love and forgiveness, Iris. Eventually time will heal most wounds.:

I know it sounds very hard, and I’ve been in the position where forgiveness is completely out of the picture. But once we actually forgive and forgive ourselves, we feel that sweeping wave of peace inside as if all is well with the world and our lives.

So yes, practice love and forgiveness as much as you can. It’s part of adulting.


11. Spend more time with your parents

As a kid growing up, most of my classmates find it mushy to have our parents lingering at school. But as I grew older, I figured that I’m pretty attached to mine.

I didn’t grow up as a type A daughter. I was actually pretty rebellious. But as I found out with my freedom, my pain and through all the ups and downs… my parents were always the first to be there for me.

Parents won’t be with us for far too long (my father says this all the time!) so spend time with yours before it’s too late.

Make every moment count and don’t let pride consume you. Develop deeper relationships with your parents.

Ask them questions about their childhood, what it was like when they were young, how the world was… it’s similar to learning wisdom from the elders at #9.


12. You are not your job title

The first thing I always notice when somebody makes small talk with me is this:

“So, what’s your job?”

As if that’s what defines me. I never really noticed this until I went unemployed, undercover, freelancing and putting together my startups. Before I would proudly say, “I’m a marketing supervisor!” But now, everything’s changed.

What do we say to other people if we’re onto something?

What do we say when we’re not currently doing something?

Why do we say our job titles as if they were labels stuck to us? Is this what adulting really is like?

I think it’s important to be aware that even though that’s a typical harmless question meant to get to know you, it’s also a matter of perspective that our job is not who we are.


13. Procrastinate better

Exhibit A. Procrastinator numero uno.

Mindy (not her real name) is frazzled as she wakes up in the morning, looking at her clock that says 7:34 AM. She scurries to find her blouse, her blazer and her pleated pants. She skips breakfast and heads out to work, forgetting her purse in the process and eventually remembering it on the way. Uh-oh.


Exhibit B. Procrastinator numero dos

Rachel doesn’t like hurrying in the morning but also doesn’t like putting together things at the moment, so what she does is to put off some tasks like her wardrobe to another day when she’s sure to get to them. Sometimes she doesn’t feel like it so she leaves blocks of time freed up on her monthly calendar so she knows where she’s at.

D-Day comes and Rachel finds her put together attire for the day – a crisp, long sleeve cuffed blouse, a grey textured pencil skirt and white high heel pumps to match. She knows that once she’s awake her things are ready and the only thing to do is take a bath, brush her teeth and pick up all her items as she heads out the door.


Now, which procrastinator are you?

It’s easy to say that procrastination is a bad habit. But honestly, I think there’s always a way to turn negativity into positivity.

You can be Exhibit B if you wanted to.


14. Outplay your fears

Some of the things listed above can be filed under this list, but of course you’re looking for something more concrete so I will tell you a story.

Last year, back when Go See Philippines went to El Nido for an ocular, I was scared for my life because of the massive ocean that we’re going to face. I like adrenalin-pumping activities but because we were stripped bare from the budget we turned down the bancas with experienced boat crew.

So we went kayaking.

Sometimes fears are road detours that have poor lighting and poor signages, but without going through them we wouldn’t know how to get to that place we wanna go and know the better way through to adulting.

At first it was okay, but then we ended up being swooshed and wooshed by the humongous waves. We found our way onto an island and we let the storm pass as we let ourselves drip from all the rowing and saltwater.

My fear of the ocean became a story you just read.

So my advice? Sometimes fears are road detours that have poor lighting and poor signages, but without going through them we wouldn’t know how to get to that place we wanna go and know the better way through to adulting.



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15. Learn how to be a parent

Life is truly unpredictable. We may think we have got it going on, but sometimes it can also surprise us.

Like early parenting.

So it’s best to be prepared even though you may or may not bear a child right now, just get used to the idea of kids.

As practice, take care of your little siblings or cousins and see if that sits well with you in your 20’s. You may not appreciate it right now, but you’ll be thankful that you did once you have your own kin.


16. Form deeper connections with your relatives

Aside from #9, I once read that success is 90% due to the quality of your relationships. That means your effort to succeed is the 10%. What does that leave you?

The reason why you need to do this is because success when you’re lonely, doesn’t feel like success at all.

Forming deeper connections with both sides of your family can be possible if they’re also amenable to that. Try to reach out to someone who might be warm enough to talk to, like your aunt or uncle. Ask them their advice… it’s also a great thing to have because they can be your second parents.



17. It’s important to have your own thinking space

I’ve always felt that there was something biting inside me when I have to work.

Like an itch that won’t go away.

Turns out, it was my obsession to have my own creative space.

macbook, laptop, computer, technology, notepad, notebook, pen, coffee, office, desk, plant, decor, business, working

I wasn’t productive before I moved to my new apartment, but now that I have my own personal space… I can think better and I can fully exercise creativity. Back at my parent’s home, I was also creative but because it was so comfy and there weren’t any pressure to be independent, I slid to the point of depending on this comfort zone.

So yes, it’s important to have your own thinking space when you’re adulting.

Where you are reflects what will blossom inside you. Think of yourself as a seed waiting to grow.

Are you in the right soil?

Do you get enough sunlight?

Are there any weeds that need to be pulled out?

Are you blossoming just in time for spring?

If you can’t afford to move out just yet, ask your parents if you can have a shed built within the vicinity of your house. Or maybe you can use the attic? Then, apply a little renovation. Chances are, there’ll always be unused spaces in your parent’s home.


18. Cut back on the caffeine

I know, I know.

I’ve been there… the aroma, the vibrant luscious smell and grind of coffee beans…

It’s so tempting.

But turns out, I have read this: A research from Duke Medicine states that cutting back on the caffeine can actually help you become less stressed.

The researchers said that despite the perceived safety of overwhelmingly popular caffeinated beverages such as coffee, the drug does show short-term negative health effects that, if continued over a period of years, could increase risk of heart attack and stroke.
“While today’s cup of coffee might not, by itself, cause you much harm, the cumulative effects of drinking it day after day over a lifetime could really be unhealthy,” Lane concluded.

So yeah. Getting a cuppa joe in the morning can jolt you and give you a boost of ideas, it can also induce you a stroke or heart problems. We don’t want that.

Everything on moderation, right?


19. Don’t give in to what the world wants you to be

The pressure to be a respectable citizen with a respectable life status is intense.

How can one be someone so significant in a whirlpool of labels?

My personal take on this is that, adulting, whether you like it or not, is something we don’t have a control of unless of course you have a good mentor. Which is why we need to always refer to #9 and #11 and 16.

My personal take on this is that, adulting, whether you like it or not, is something we don’t have a control of unless of course you have a good mentor.

Which is why we need to always refer to #9 and #11 and 16.

We need other people to tell us what’s what and not just listen to a slew of negative comments on the interweb or the social pressures we feel when we skim over Facebook.




20. But also listen for constructive criticism

We’re human. We always evolve but we also keep making mistakes.

But why mistakes are good? And when should we keep making them?

When we need to try and try, that’s when.

Living an imperfect life and going over through your mistakes as you’re adulting can be stressful. But like every cut on the diamond as they say, will make you become a polished gem in the future.



21. Laugh at yourself

This one’s my favorite.

I think with all the tragedies that I’ve encountered in my life, the one thing that got me through aside from social support was laughing at myself.

When you do laugh at yourself and make yourself laugh, it’s not that you’re crazy; but you’re just pulling up your big girl pants and trying to make a positive sense out of something so confusing and probably shattering.

When you do laugh at yourself and make yourself laugh, it’s not that you’re crazy; but you’re just pulling up your big girl pants and trying to make a positive sense out of something so confusing and probably shattering.

I like making people laugh, but more importantly I like to make myself laugh.

Which is why it works when I make a joke to other people… because I’ve already gotten a good humor out of it.

One audience, check!


22. Be your own believer

I almost wrote Belieber on this one (ha ha) —> refer to #21

But what I mean is that, you gotta be your own audience.

Like something? Ask yourself, “do I reaaaaally reaaaally want it?”

Want to pursue a career? “Will I make a living out of this without sacrificing my soul?!”

Want to paint? “Will I like what I see?”

This is different with being your own critique though, because being your own believer is one step forward to reaching your dream. Who else will root for your side if you don’t cheer on your own team? Am I right?


23. Love yourself first

Aside from 22, loving yourself is also crucial. When we’re young, we are told about the dangers of strangers. When we’re adults… that stops somehow. We rarely hear that.

Loving yourself first before giving in to another person is one of my biggest mistakes.

But sadly my younger self does not regret it (well, partly).

Why is this important though? If there are a billion people out there who could possibly love us?

The ratio to you is a bit impossible, but probable. What I mean with this is that, not all people will fall in love with you. Maybe they will be attracted — yes, but not deeply, passionately, madly, in love with you.

So you gotta be your own lover. Got it? Good. 🙂


24. Create something for the world. Anything. For history.

I’m pretty sure you’ve read a history book in your lifetime, right?

So I know that you know how it works – you read a book and make reviews of all these cool people who’ve done cool things. Now you’re living in the present, so what should you do aside from reading history?

Make one!

Recently a good friend mine and I talked about making history. You know, something… just anything really, for the sake that we get to preserve ourselves in time.

It doesn’t have to be super momentous, a small deed that ripples across the universe and its time continuum can create and change the course of everyone’s lifetime. Isn’t that so cool?!

Sorry for the geeky words but I mean what I just said! <3




25. Know when to stop

Ah, quarter life crisis. What a common thing to have in 20-somethings. You know, I should just make a short list of it because my eyes are getting droopy and this is the last stop of my blog post.

  • If you’re burning out? Relax.
  • If you’re stressed? Take a break.
  • Getting anxious? Take a walk.
  • Unfulfilled? Soulsearch.
  • Impatient? Stop waiting, and bring a book or load up your phone with audiobooks
  • Getting annoyed? Bring earphones

There are actually a lot, but this last number says it all: There is every stop to every problem. Just recognize it.

In conclusion, I know adulting can be hard but you can get through it.

I hope whoever you are reading this, you could make sense of what I just wrote with one-eye open (I’m having eye allergy again, pft!). Being 25 is no joke. It’s 5 years older from 20 and 5 years away from being 30. That can be pretty confusing.

So stay afloat! Be inspired!


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