11 Things You Should Own Before You Turn 25

When you turn 25, there is no way around it: you're officially, officially an adult. Congratulations, you can rent a car! And now there are some things you should own as an adult. Even though technically, you're considered an adult when you turn 18, it doesn't quite feel real until you're faced with all of the actual realities of being an grown-up. Things like holding a job, paying rent, making your own doctors appointments and managing a credit card have all, at one point or another, hit you smack in the face by the time you hit the quarter-century mark.

Twenty-five used to be my scary age. Now that I'm 24 and a half, though, I've decided to reevaluate and give myself at least another five years before I need to have things totally figured out. I've also decided that if given the opportunity, I would like to go back in time and violently shake younger-me for ever thinking 25 was "old."

There are so, so many things you should do before you turn 25; among them are: learn to balance your finances, take up an adrenaline sport, save for retirement, and learn to say "no." Apparently, I have a lot of work to do over these next six months. Beyond the things you should do by the time you turn 25, there are also certain things you should own, too. Here are the 11 things you should treat yourself to before you hit your 25th year— keeping them all in IKEA boxes under your bed is still OK... at least until you turn 30, anyway.

1. A Journal

Let’s be honest, being in your 20s is pretty awesome; don’t you want to remember it for the rest of your life? Buy a journal so that when the mood strikes, you have something to write your thoughts/feelings/hopes/dreams/funny stories in, so you can look back on them when you’re 90 and remember how much fun you had back in the day. Feel free to omit any bad date stories or fights with your mom/friend/boss — it's OK to only want to look back on the good things.

2. A Good Mattress

We spend about one-third of our lives asleep (kind of depressing to think about, huh?) so investing in a good mattress is, more than anything else in your life, worth it. When I moved into my new apartment last year and got a real, grown up, non-IKEA bed, I finally felt like an adult. Plus, testing out mattresses at the mattress store was really fun; I felt like a combination of Goldilocks and The Princess and the Pea.

3. An LBD & A Solid Pair of Black Pumps

A simple, wear-to-everything black dress, and a good pair of classic, comfortable black pumps, are worth investing in. After all, they’re things you can keep forever. Make sure you get the dress tailored to fit you perfectly, and take the shoes to get polished and re-soled every year to keep them looking fresh. If dresses and heels aren't your thing, opt for a classic suit and pair of flats or other basics that suit your personal style.

3. A Favorite Book

People are, inevitably throughout your life, going to ask you what your favorite book is. I know you probably thought you’d surpassed that question after you got into college, but between job interviews and first dates, you’re inevitably going to have to have a go-to answer (mine, personally, is The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion). If you don’t have one already, start reading and find something you love (this list is a good place to get started). Buy it, so that you’ll have it on hand to consult when you need a little inspiration. I, personally, am a fan of old-fashioned print books that live on a bookshelf in my living room — they make for great conversation starters, too.

5. A Set Of Pans, Place Settings, and Wineglasses

You should have all of the tools in your arsenal to be able to throw a dinner party (or at the very least, a cocktail party) for a few of your friends with fairly short notice. You should also make it a point to know at least a little bit about wine (if you enjoy drinking it) and have a foolproof, crowd-pleasing recipe that you’ve really mastered.

6. A Signature Article of Clothing

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You deserve to have that one investment piece in your closet that is so intrinsically you, and makes you so happy when you wear it, that it doesn’t matter how much you spent on it.

7. A Toolkit

Nothing says “I’m an independent, fabulous woman” like having a full tool kit, and actually knowing how to use it.

8. A Perfectly Fitting Bra

There's nothing that is more satisfiying than getting professionally fitted for a bra; trust me. You’d be surprised that you may have been wearing the wrong size for years.

9. A Good Pair Of Sneakers

Staying active is important to both your physical and mental health. A good pair of sneakers is a must, whether your activity of choice is walking, running, biking, hiking (if it’s swimming or yoga, I suppose you can pass on the sneakers, though). Make sure you replace them often enough that they still have the right support for your feet and knees — experts suggest trading up every six months or every 300 to 500 miles.

10. Something Living

Whether it's a puppy or a plant, having something to take care of in your home will give you a greater sense of purpose. Maybe start out with an orchid, which only requires watering once a week, and see how much more you can handle from there.

11. A Passport

If you’ve never been outside of the United States, plan an international trip as a congratulations for reaching official adulthood (some people say it’s 18, I think it’s 25). You’re a grownup, now; you deserve the chance to see the world.

Who says adulting has to be totally boring anyway, right?

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