It happens so quickly – one minute you're writing your last Matric exam, and the next thing you're in your mid-twenties. You are working, you have a tax number, and maybe a partner.
And in our youthful enthusiasm, we can all lose our way. But after 25, some things should just no longer be acceptable:
1. Stay in a crappy relationship, because you don’t want to be alone
If your partner does not treat you well, and is the cause of much heartache, and not all that much joy in your life, it is time to move on. You deserve better. You will never be as lonely on your own as you can be in a relationship where you are treated badly. Get happy on your own. There is no greater gift you can give yourself.
2. Wear clothes you don’t like, because they’re in fashion
By this age you are entitled to have your own style – wear the things in which you feel and look good. And that is not always high fashion. A style that really suits you will be yours for life.
3. The guilt thing
We are often so good at feeling guilty, even about things over which we have no control. By all means, help others, and be there for them when they need you, but don’t allow yourself to be manipulated by someone else’s guilt trip. Friends, parents, partners, bosses – they can all be guilty of this.
4. Let anyone "couch-surf" at your place for more than two weeks
If you are lucky enough to have your own space, enjoy it. You are certainly paying for it. If a friend has crash-landed in your lounge, because their life has unravelled, don’t feel mean to put a date-stamp on your hospitality. Sometimes friends who come for a weekend end up as permanent fixtures. (Fine, if they are paying!)
5. Allow yourself to be bullied at work
Bullies thrive in the hierarchy of the workplace, and they can make your life hell. Refuse to let yourself be intimidated. Remember, deep down all bullies are really cowards. Keep a detailed record of all the bully’s transgressions and nasty e-mails. You might need these one day.
6. Let anyone stand between you and financial security
You are your own person, and you can make your own financial decisions and certainly have your own bank account. How you spend your money is your choice. Watch out for people who are freeloaders, or who borrow money and never pay you back.
7. Let others influence your vote
Of course you need to hear what others think of political issues, but when it comes to choosing the party you want to support, the choice is yours and yours only. You do not have to justify your decision to anyone.
8. Not have a qualification of some sort
You don’t have to have three degrees – a diploma from a six-month computer course or something similar should do. The job market is tough for people who have only Matric (or less) and they are often abused by employers and underpaid as well. A qualification of any sort will stand you in good stead for the rest of your life, especially if you expand on your experience in that field over the years.