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25 Things in 25 Years

by Marian Schembari on May 10, 2011

Last week, I turned twenty-four, thus entering my twenty-fifth year. Just around the same time every blogger in existence started writing about 25 things they learned in 25 years. And I haven’t stopped thinking about what I’ve learned since. Just during Year 23 I lived on three continents, grew a business, moved in with a guy, left my family for an indefinite amount of time, was on TV, in a national magazine, got flack, gave flack, etc etc.

While I may still have a lot to learn, here are my twenty-five things. I’d love to hear yours…

25 Things I’ve Learned in 25 Years

1. Ninety-nine percent of the time, online is cheaper (though supporting local shops is awesome – if you have unlimited amounts of money). I recently took advantage of a chain’s shoe fitting service, found the perfect running shoes that made my shin splints disappear, saw said shoes were $280 in store, then promptly bought them new on eBay for $120 (this includes shipping from Alabama to New Zealand).

2. Taking a little step is the most important thing you can do for yourself. Sometimes dreams are daunting, but as Jenny Blake mentioned in her amazing book, Life After College, even listing two steps you can take to make that dream a reality are two steps in the right direction. After recently taking such a step, I couldn’t be more sure about this lesson.

3. Copious amounts of tea can cure a cold.

4. Beautifully decorated cake is the easiest and best gift you can bring to a party. Plus, it’s hugely impressive.

5. Just because a country natively speaks English doesn’t mean it’s culture is anything like another English speaking country. Same goes for cultures within a country.

6. The news only covers noteworthy stories. It doesn’t mean it’s representation is accurate. (Re: I still can’t get over how the news here is representing how Americans reacted to Bin Laden’s death.)

7. Going fast is fun. Ride the luge in Rotorua.

8. Running a successful business means ALWAYS being proactive about growing it.

9. Interviewing people is the best way to grow your network and get advice.

10. Putting yourself out there is the only way you’ll ever get anything. A great way to do this? Blogging.

11. You’re never going to make everyone happy. Don’t try.

12. Gossip is never okay. Even if you’re in a group of people doing it, abstain.

13. Drinking alcohol is overrated. Drinking water is not.

14. Naps are awesome.

15. There’s nothing wrong with taking advantage of a few trends. (i.e. food trucks, review websites… just don’t blatantly copy and, please, avoid creating another group deal site.)

16. Sometimes our high school hobbies are things we shouldn’t stop as adults. I adored singing in high school. ADORED. I did musicals, joined an all-girls honor choir and one year even made it into CT’s All State. I dabbled in college, but didn’t feel like making the commitment. Why? It made me so happy! So I recently joined the Greater Auckland Chorus and even after only two rehearsals I feel more like myself. It’s incredible how as we get older we stop doing the frivolous, fun things we’re passionate about. I say go out and take up a childhood hobby asap before you deem it unimportant. Trust me, it is.

17. Just because you’re passionate about something doesn’t mean you can suddenly support yourself doing it. I know every lifestyle designer on the planet may hate me, but a plan, a little experience under your belt, a couple dolla bills in the bank and a support system will make “living your passion” 100 time easier.

18. While experiences are significantly more meaningful than possessions, after a year of not buying a single piece of clothing, I have to say feeling good about yourself (this means pretty things, healthy food, kitchen appliance that work etc) is worth the money you might have spent on a week-long holiday.

19. Take your camera everywhere, as memories of the experiences you DO spend money on (and those you don’t) will fade pretty quickly. Having something to look back on is the best gift you can give yourself.

20. One of my favorite lessons was simply by learning from my boyfriend, Sam. Essentially, the more you listen to someone and ask questions and be interested in what they have to say, the more they’ll like you.

21. Make an effort to keep in touch with friends. If anything’s kept me sane over the past few months of utterly re-hauling my life, it’s my girls back home and the beauty of Skype.

22. Never mix friends, money and family in any sort of combination.

23. As much as I’d like to, I can never be vegan. Cheese is amazing.

24. No matter how hot you might look, heels are uncomfortable, expensive, and totally not worth it.

25. It’s the relationships you make with everyone, not just “A-Listers”, that show the quality of your character. These folks are also usually better friends, less pretentious and hugely underrated. Spread your wings a bit, mmkay?

What about you? What’s one important lesson you’ve learned in your however-many years?

{Photo credit 1}

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  • Laura Bond

    I’m glad to read you found shoes that made your shin splints go away. Well worth the price, but even better that you got them on sale!

    PS: Happy belated birthday!

    • Marian Schembari

      Thank you! And yes, I couldn’t be happier with my new sneakers!

  • Anonymous

    Those are all true things and great advice! Thanks, Marian.

  • Steph Auteri

    I have nothing profound to say here. Just that I enjoyed this. That and I love that you up and joined a chorus. I wish I could be brave like you. I’ve been singing funeral masses since January, but I miss being a part of something bigger. Go you!

    • Marian Schembari

      Haha, I’m glad :)

      The chorus is waaaaay different from what I sang in high school, but it does make me feel “young” again. Plus, there’s something soothing and mood-lifting with music and I’m glad I have something frivolous to do for myself once a week. And you should TOTALLY get into it again if that’s your thing. My options are sort of limited in Auckland but not for you! Go for it!

  • Emma Cunningham

    Point #1 actually REALLY pisses me off. One of the reasons that online is cheaper is because they aren’t paying front-line sales staff. By going into a store and wasting the employee’s time by using their shoe-fitting service (which also probably requires equipment that they had to pay for), you’re effectively stealing from them. That’s highly unethical, IMO.

    • Marian Schembari

      I know you’re not the only one who feels this way. But for someone on a very limited budget, I save money by shopping online.

      As for “stealing” from the store, their website very clearly states they offer their service for free and customers are under no obligation to buy from them after a fitting. They highlight that they “won’t push sales on you” and are happy to just make sure everyone has properly fitted shoes. I think that’s an awesome service and while I would love to have bought from them, I just couldn’t afford it. And if they offer it for free, I’ll take advantage of it.

      • Emma Cunningham

        I have no issues with people buying online – hell, I buy a lot of things online too. I’m not rich either. But I still think it’s taking advantage of a local store. What if the person who helped you earns income on commission? You might have cost her a sale if she’d been able to help a customer who planned on purchasing in-store. And with retail salaries being notoriously low, I don’t think that’s fair at all.

        • Marian Schembari

          That’s a very good point. However, if the store isn’t prepared to deal with cheaps like me coming in and using their services, they shouldn’t offer said services for free, to anyone, on their site.

          • Marian Schembari

            Also, nn NZ, minimum wage is somewhere at like $15 per hour.

  • Alisha Sanvicens

    Yes to bringing a well-decorated cake to a party!

    • Marian Schembari

      Right? Who doesn’t love cake? What’s more… who doesn’t love PRETTY cake?

  • Anonymous

    Nice stuff, Marian. Enjoy your point of view. Evanston, IL, USA says hello. Happy Birthday!

  • Michelle Bizon

    Reading: @MarianSchembari's "25 Things in 25 Years" … also, happy belated, lady!

  • Random Chick

    Awesome post, as usual. I’m stealing this idea. Just so you know. Happy Birthday!

  • Sarah

    Meh I miss you! I hope your birthday was fantastic. Next up is my bday, and time for reflection. @aodt:twitter is coming to visit! Wish you could be here, too. Aaaaah the quarter century :-)

    • Liv

      Love you both! And yes, wish you could be in Paris with us to celebrate! We need to make a reunion happen at some point somehow. XOXOX

  • Anonymous

    Do we have the same birthday? I did this post last week. :D

    Totally with you on chorus, but I have to disagree on high heels. Once you’re making enough money, buy ballroom heels and have them re-soled for street use. They have metal in the arch, and somehow it redistributes your weight onto your heels. Sooo much easier to walk in!

    • Marian Schembari

      Looks like we’re just a day apart! Mine was May 5 :)

      Awesome post by the way, really nicely done!

      • Anonymous

        Thank you! And happy belated birthday! We should do some sort of dual celebration when we hit 30. :D

  • Gina Villagomez

    Awesome list, and happy belated birthday! You’re only 24? You seem so much older and mature than that!

  • Laura Pepper Wu

    Like it. Esp. no 5! It took me a long time to realise that when I hauled from UK to the US.
    Also… heels are awesome. I feel like a queen in them!

  • Beth

    You can’t trust anybody you haven’t known for twenty years.

    • Marian Schembari

      Aw man, I don’t like that one! I hope that’s not a lesson I learn first hand.

  • Nancy

    I appreciate your inclusion of what I’ve learned in however-many years :-).

    What I have learned decades down the road from where you are now is that life can still surprise you in the most wonderful, unexpected ways at any age.

  • Sally2hats

    Belated Happy Birthday Marian. Here’s to many more years of entertaining and informative posts like the above. How are you so wise at 24?! (from a 48 year old!)

  • davinabrewer

    Can I just say, I miss naps. Pretty cakes and desserts are nice for a party, my friends are just more into the overrated wine. Totally think #22 and #25 are wise words and #17, seriously.. take that one to the bank, or not as the case may be. Hmm.. cheese.  Happy B-day. FWIW. Happy B-day. FWIW.

  • Jonathon Hagger

    This is a really great blog post by @MarianSchembari "25 things I learned in 25 years"

  • Nitin Prasad

    RT @everydaymanager: This is a really great blog post by @MarianSchembari "25 things I learned in 25 years"

  • Davina Brewer @3hats

    RT @MarianSchembari: 25 Things in 25 Years <<Still not this smart. 17, 22, 25 are my faves.

  • groupon clone script

    Those are true and great Things. Thanks Marian for the sharing with us…

  • Anonymous

    Happy Birthday, darling. I totally need to get back into the habit of baking, because you are right, nothing says party like a kick ass desert. Also, I completely agree about alcohol, water and tea. If only tea would cure this mono-like virus I have. This was beautiful and much appreciated as always.  

  • Melissa Culbertson

     Happy belated birthday (and may I say how wise you are at 24!). So much seriously great advice in here. I never leave home without a camera (even if just my iPhone) and I love #16. I was the newspaper editor in high school I had a passion for writing. Well look what I do now? Marketing communications and blogging. Passion is also my job which is awesome. I also teach aerobics because I always enjoyed playing sports growing up.

    Anyway, Happy B-day again!

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  • Rebecca McCormick

    25 Things in 25 Years~

  • Rebecca McCormick

    25 Things in 25 Years~

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