Twenty-five is an iconic age. You're probably toiling in the work force (even if not necessarily in your dream job). You're still getting used to the idea of being a grown-up, managing your own finances, establishing adult relationships, finding your place in the world.
By TIM ENGLE
The Kansas City Star
Your whole life, as they say, lies ahead of you.
That's great. But pretty daunting, too.
Luckily for you, lots of former 25-year-olds have been where you are and can now look back clear-eyed at what they did right (and wrong). We asked Kansas Citians of various ages and backgrounds what they'd tell someone who's 25 today - and what they wish they'd known when they were that age.
And by the way, plenty of this sage advice applies to people of any age, so if 25 is a ways back there in your rear-view mirror, don't despair: "25" can be a state of mind, too.
30, Kansas City
I would tell my 25-year-old self to enjoy my 20s and not focus on finding that "one." I feel I wasted some of my 20s trying to be in a relationship. I did not fully enjoy or experience being single.
Now that I'm in my 30s, I realize I allowed my surroundings and my friends' mid-to-late-20s life events to influence my focus on being in that relationship and heading to marriage. I focused on what I didn't have instead of on the many blessings I did have, which I think robbed me of fully enjoying it.
I would also tell my 25-year-old self to wait on purchasing a house. I purchased my home right before my 25th birthday, trying to be Miss Independent, LOL. I thought the mortgage would be the main adjustment financially. I was so wrong. Those first two years were rough financially; it took me that long to fully adjust to my new responsibilities.
29, Kansas City
Air quality program manager,
Mid-America Regional Council
The biggest thing is to just be kind and respectful to everyone you come across. You don't have to like them, but this is a small world. You never know when you'll encounter the same person or group of people later in life in some faraway place.
Meet lots of people and do lots of things, but set priorities and make sure to take at least one night a week for yourself.
Don't confine yourself to the friends you knew in high school or college.
Don't be afraid to talk to your friends about money. They're probably going through some of the same frustrations you are.
Spend your money on experiences as much as or more often than on physical things. Experiences are a lot easier to take with you when you move into a new apartment.
Don't do anything just because you "should" - know why you're doing it. And if you don't care enough or don't believe in it, find something that you do care about and believe in - that goes for work and play.
Finally, get engaged in your community or neighborhood: Any city is only as good as the people who make up its citizenry.
29, Kansas City
Filmmaker and photographer
Enjoy being young. It only happens once.
Health insurance is important. Don't go without it.
Keep your eyes and ears open and don't think you know everything. You have a lot more to gain from listening than speaking.
Decide what you want in life and take small, measurable steps toward it.
Work hard and work out as often as possible.
Ignore the background chatter of TV, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Jettison people who try to demean you or constantly criticize. Choose three solid friends over 300 "friends."
Never stop dreaming, believing and creating.
Jo Marie Guastello
61, Kansas City
Proprietor of JMG Printables, a promotional advertising company
I believe that presence is one of the greatest gifts we have to offer one another. Please consider putting your cellphone and other tech items aside when in the company of others. Try listening to one another and be present in the moment.
Always give more than you take. Generosity inspires!
Be kind and forever forgiving. I have learned that forgiveness has given me the greatest freedom and peace of mind throughout my 61 years of living. Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself.
Bridget R. Hernandez
The first thing that comes to mind is education. Once you're out there on your own, the bills just keep coming with your name on them. So get your education early and get as much of it as you can ...
(1) ... to be in a position to pay those bills!
(2) ... because it is so hard to go back to school.
(3) ... because, and this is the main thing, once you've gotten that education, no one can take it away from you.
Especially for young women, be careful with your heart. You can't hand it over to every Tom, Dick and Harry (or every Tanner, Dalton and Hunter) and expect them to protect it. Get that education and establish an independent identity, finances and social circles before committing to becoming a wife and mother.
33, Lee's Summit
Afternoon show host, Mix 93.3
If I could offer you only one tip for the future. Sunscreen. Would be. It.
Just kidding. That's a song.
But seriously, I would tell any 25-year-old to follow your heart in all that you do and, most important, to never stop dreaming! There seems to be an expectation today that we should have everything figured out after college, especially by 25.
But that's simply not true. I didn't feel completely comfortable in my own skin until my late 20s. I wasn't emotionally ready for many things, including love. I'm barely ready now, at 33.
Don't make a decision, love- or career-based, simply because of what society thinks. Make your own decisions based on your heart, your vision and your dreams. Stay true. Wait it out. If there's any doubt, wait longer. Use your heart and dream. Always.
Mayor of Kansas City
As we get older, it is inevitable that we will come face-to-face with our youthful selves. Don't do anything to embarrass your 50-year-old self.
Start-up business investor and MTV personality (alum of "The Real World")
The best advice I can give is to invest in yourself. A future employer, future significant other and your future network of friends are going to respect a well-rounded and driven person.
Be a student of life. Read avidly, surround yourself by the leaders of your industry, and work harder than the generation before you. Good things come to all people who heed that advice.
30, Kansas City
Morning co-anchor/reporter, 41 Action News
You don't know everything and you probably never will.
It's not the number of friends you have that matter, it's the quality of those friends.
Choose the place you want to live and not the job you think you must have.
Get a dog! He or she will teach you responsibility in the most fun and lovable way possible.
Eat local when you travel! You'll learn more about the culture. You'll meet amazing people. And the food will just taste better.
32, Kansas City
Field marketing specialist
As I think back to being a 25-year-old, I wish I would have known that everyone else out there is just as unsure as you are. I don't think that ever really changes. Just keep searching for what you want to do or be in this world, take small steps and surround yourself with the right people who will ultimately get you there.
Don't believe that your 20s are supposed to be your best and brightest years. It only gets better after 30.
A version of this story originally ran in Ink magazine, The Star's weekly nightlife and entertainment publication.
47, Mission Hills
Do not make a long-term commitment to a career choice at 25, because you need some time and experience to figure out what you like and are good at. Don't let your perceptions of income, status, prestige or what your parents want you to do blind you in making a good decision for you. Take the time to find the right fit for you and you will thrive.
Both my husband and I have changed careers midlife, and both of us love what we're doing now. I used to be an architect. My husband worked for a local insurance broker and now owns a successful dog-walking business.