25 Things You Should Do Before You Turn 25

Photo courtesy One Pass Productions

For more than a decade now I have been mentoring a young woman. I met Amy Montalvo when she shadowed me while I was a news anchor back in Dallas. Several years later, we reconnected when she was at Yale and she was my intern when I worked that big gig a while back. Amy graduated with her bright, shiny degree in journalism and promptly got a job as a local news anchor where she promptly got bored. She had a feeling there was so much more to life but she couldn’t find what it was — and working the brutal hours of morning TV wasn’t helping her find answers.

One day she confided in me that she was thinking about chucking it all; the job, the small apartment, the life she was building, in favor of something deeper. Her goal? To travel the world with a camera, telling the stories of people making a real difference. But she was worried about what her parents, colleagues, even what I would say. That’s when I sat sat her down and told her my theory of life’s windows.

“Amy, there are windows throughout our lives that open and close at various times. Some open but just for a short time so you have to take advantage because when they close, many times they’re closed for good.”

I went on. “Let me put it this way: At my age, the window for me to backpack across Europe, staying in youth hostels is closed. Even if my bad back could tolerate it, who wants to hear someone waking up from a night of partying, looking a few bunks over and asking, “Hey, who brought their mom?” The window on my child-bearing years is closed (slammed and nailed shut, thank you very much) whereas other windows are opening, like the opportunity to be more independent as my kids get older and want less to do with me.”

Amy did decide to go for it; borrowed some money and started her own production company, One Pass Productions. And she is doing exactly what she wanted to do, telling stories of people making a difference around the world. Amy’s story inspired me to write about the things you need to do before that window in your life closes. So I asked friends, colleagues, even those on my Facebook page and here’s what we came up with: The 25 things you should do before age 25.


  • 1. Travel abroad 1 of 25
    1. Travel abroad
    Get off your butt and get off your block. It's a big world; see it in person not just online.
    Photo Credit: Britt of Binnshire
  • 2. Make friends with someone who doesn’t look like you 2 of 25
    2. Make friends with someone who doesn't look like you
    Or think like you or believe as you do. Your world will get bigger as a result.
    Photo Credit: One Pass Productions
  • 3. Learn how to manage your money 3 of 25
    3. Learn how to manage your money
    That means balance a checkbook, live within a budget and make a dent in your student loans. That purse you're dying to have is not as important as good credit.
    Photo Credit : 401 (K) 2012
  • 4. Know how to order a martini 4 of 25
    4. Know how to order a martini
    Or some other adult beverage. Then sit at the bar and enjoy it. Alone.
    Photo Credit: Mel Hill Photography
  • 5. Know how to ask for a raise 5 of 25
    5. Know how to ask for a raise
    This means knowing your worth and underestimating is as bad as overestimating. Have a realistic view of how business and your company in general are doing and be clear on your role in it.
    Photo Credit: LOOK Agency
  • 6. Get an HIV test 6 of 25
    6. Get an HIV test
    This is as good a place as any to begin taking responsibility for your sexual health.
    Photo Credit: kimyidionne
  • 7. Take a girls (or boys) trip to Vegas 7 of 25
    7. Take a girls (or boys) trip to Vegas
    Watch "The Hangover" before you go.
    Photo Credit: Vintage Vegas
  • 8. Thank your parents…. 8 of 25
    8. Thank your parents....
    For everything they did for you. Your childhood wasn't perfect? Yeah, it wasn't supposed to be. That snotty kid on the right? That's me.
    Photo Credit: Rene Syler
  • 9. Mentor or volunteer 9 of 25
    9. Mentor or volunteer
    There are lots of people who didn't have it as good as you did. Turn around and lend a helping hand to someone coming up behind you.
    Photo Credit: One Pass Productions
  • 10. Learn how to cook at least one good meal 10 of 25
    10. Learn how to cook at least one good  meal
    It will come in handy for date night, dinner or just time alone.
    Photo Credit: dasheinzelmaennchen
  • 11. Take part in the political process 11 of 25
    11. Take part in the political process
    You can't complain if you don't vote. Be a part of the solution.
    Photo Credit KCIvey
  • 12. Know your numbers 12 of 25
    12. Know your numbers
    Get a baseline health exam and know your family history.
    Photo Credit: Administrador Galeria Uninter
  • 13. Practice fair fighting 13 of 25
    13. Practice fair fighting
    This goes for friends, colleagues and lovers.
    Photo Credit: Noella Choi
  • 14. Wait tables.. 14 of 25
    14. Wait tables..
    Or some other service industry job. Learn, "The customer is always right" and other axioms that will take you far in life.
    Photo Credit: Roving I
  • 15. Read the paper, cover to cover 15 of 25
    15. Read the paper, cover to cover
    At least once; you never know what you'll find. Oh and I mean the one that's actually made from paper.
    Photo Credit: fredwilson
  • 16. Get a comfy pair of boots 16 of 25
    16. Get a comfy pair of boots
    Let them take you around the world.
    Photo Credit: ten-thirteen
  • 17. Dream BIG! 17 of 25
    17. Dream BIG!
    Then follow those dreams! Remember you are living for you not your parents, teachers, best friends, etc. Don't let their hang-ups hang you up.
    Photo Credit: Melody Campbell
  • 18. Plan your career; prepare for it to change 18 of 25
    18. Plan your career; prepare for it to change
    Sometimes drastically. Be diverse and have a back-up plan.
    Photo Credit: dailyhrtips
  • 19. Lie in bed all day with the one you love 19 of 25
    19. Lie in bed all day with the one you love
    Learn how to be still together.
    Photo Credit: kastavnn
  • 20. Enjoy cheap eats 20 of 25
    20. Enjoy cheap eats
    Don't let your palate become so refined you can't enjoy a $3 bowl of noodles.
    Photo Credit: avlxyz
  • 21. Start a blog 21 of 25
    21. Start a blog
    Blogs are not just words; they are living, breathing business cards. Blogs also turn into books. What you have to say matters, so let's hear it!
    Photo Credit: Rene Syler
  • 22. Write a 5-year plan 22 of 25
    22. Write a 5-year plan
    It's not set in stone, rather a rough outline that will move and change with you. But at least have some idea about where you want to be in a few years.
    Photo Credit: basykes
  • 23. Develop healthy habits 23 of 25
    23. Develop healthy habits
    You know how thin you are now, even though you eat copious amounts of whatever you want? That's not magic; that's youth and it will change. Get in the habit of doing right by your body.
    Photo Credit: Ed Yourdan
  • 24. Don’t do stupid stuff 24 of 25
    24. Don't do stupid stuff
    Life is hard. Don't make it harder by doing stupid things like drinking and driving. Wanna screw it up right out of the gate? Try having that on your record. Or worse. Don't do it. I'm serious.
    Photo Credit: Chad LeBaron
  • 25. Live in the moment 25 of 25
    25. Live in the moment
    Because here's the thing; there is beauty everywhere, even after a driving rainstorm. But you won't see it if you're too busy running to the next thing, whatever that is. Slow down. Breathe. Enjoy.
    Photo Credit: Rene Syler


Yo! Nice to meet you! You can find out more about me on my blog, Good Enough Mother.

Check me out on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest too.

Other posts by Rene:

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10 Lessons I Learned From Being Fired And What You Can Learn Too


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Article Posted 4 years Ago

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