Time is on your side

25 things you don’t have to do by the time you’re 25


Words: Melly Neil | Illustrations: Amber Pretorius

The quarter-life crisis is a relatively new phenomenon brought about by everyone sharing the highlights reel of his or her epic life on social media. If you’re not careful, viewing this sort of thing regularly will make you feel inadequate. Worry not – you don’t have to reach any of the milestones that most people view as a sort of introduction to adulthood. In fact, here’s why we suggest that you don’t.

Learn to drive

Totally overrated. Not having a license means you don’t have to get a car, which means you’ll save money on insurance, fuel and car repayments. Do you know how much you can do with that extra cash? You probably have a few ideas. But what you don’t know is that by not learning to drive you’ll never get arrested for drunk driving, you’ll never have to do that annual licensing schlep and you’ll never have to bite your steering wheel in frustration while stuck in traffic.Your Gautrain membership is the most valuable gold card you'll ever get your hands on, and the MyCiti system is quicker, cheaper and more conducive to staring into your phone without ever having to do a brake check. 

Have a threesome

Why would you want to disappoint two people at the same time? Threesomes are overrated, usually end up hurting someone’s feelings and you should save 'em for when you’re in your 40s, living in suburbia and needing to get the spark back. Actually, we don't get to tell you what to do with your sex life, but keep in mind how the saying 'Two's company...' ends, don't try this at home unless you have confidence in your abilities for crowd control.

Find your life partner

Stop trying to rush this. Get off Tinder. Forget those blind dates. You’ll find The One when you stop perspiring desperation. Maybe it’ll be at a club? It’ll probably be at work. And can you imagine how awesome it would be if it were in the comments section of this article?! I can tell you how it won’t happen – as a direct result of you whining to all and sundry about having not found The One yet. Chillax.

Get married

Come on, how well do you know yourself, let alone that person you’ve been dating for three years? Use this time to date as many people as possible, meet as many people as possible and experience as many things as possible. A useful comparison: Settling down with one person is a little like choosing your breakfast of choice. Some people will decide at twenty-five that they love omelettes and whole-heartedly enjoy an omelette every day for the rest of their lives, except on the mornings when they skip breakfast. But if you just think that you like Coco Pops, you might want to keep going with the breakfast buffet. Then again, people aren't food, and we've just made ourselves hungry. Hurry up with my damn croissant.

Have children

You know what the world really doesn’t need right now? Another extension of you using up its already dwindling resources. In the same way that not driving will save you a bunch of money, not breeding is like getting a promotion every month. If JZ didn’t have 25 kids he could’ve bought a nice little studio apartment on the Atlantic Seaboard, instead of having to build that compound in the middle of nowhere with a fire pool for the kids to swim in, or to help with bathtime, or because children start fires or something. 

Buy a house

Renting keeps you mobile, allows you to constantly change things up and you can live in areas that you wouldn’t be able to afford to buy in. So use these years to split your living costs with roommates and let your landlord worry about interest rate hikes and burst geysers. Pro tip: If you're the kind of person who finds yourself with a bit of extra cash (we hear you're out there) but just not quite enough to enter the property market, find a financial planner who'll keep you from spending it all on payday drinks and squirrel it away in a short-term investment instead. That'll leave you with a neat downpayment when the nesting instinct sets in, and you won't have to move back home at 35.

Define your style

We can’t deny the fact that we admire the person who has found the five things that work for them and then turned this into a sort of uniform. But that person should be older than 25. Much older. At 25 you should still be having fun with fashion, buying into trends and making older folks wish they could live their lives with such reckless abandon and joie de vivre. The world is your oyster, friend. Slurp.

Give up on cheeky bum shorts

You know what? You still got it, despite your niggling insecurities. So go on and flaunt it. Free the cheeks!

Have a same-sex experience

A same-sex experience can be a beautiful thing that opens you up to a whole new world of possibilities. However, if you’re just doing it to get it out the way, please your boyfriend, shock your conservative family or get free shots, then you’re doing it wrong. Instead, it should ideally happen on a road trip, while staying in a one-horse town, slightly buzzed on the minibar and when you’re sharing a motel bed- No, just us? Okay then. Let's move on.

Find your dream job

How long have you been working for? Three years? Five? Come on, it takes longer to grow a decent-sized beard. Hate to break it to you, champ, but you still have at least a decade of mind-numbing, spirit-crushing graft ahead of you. Awful bosses, painful colleagues and only just enough cash to cover your expenses are all about building character. Imagine life was a cakewalk; you’d have no stories for your grandkids. Think of it all as the internship of life preparing you for your forever job. By the way, we weren't entirely serious about the 'mind-numbing'. Get some desk plants, get up and stretch your legs often, take on passion projects and find the office clique who make it all okay – before you know it, you'll wake up feeling pretty good on Monday mornings.

See the world

The world is a big place. If you’ve got one or two stamps in your passport then you’re doing just fine. You’re golden if you’ve been on a plane and visited a place where they eat weird things and talk funny. Once you’re in your autumn years you can do one of those cruises for OAPs and then see everything in one go. A 25-year-old has no business in Bruges. Rather use your limited resources to sleep under the stars on the West Coast, beach comb the Transkei, take in the Grahamstown Festival, watch the Billabong Pro in Jeffery’s Bay, rage in Plett and Ballito, enjoy Karoo sunsets, spend New Year in the Drakensberg or a backpackers on the Garden Route…

Learn another language

Got a good grip on English? Great. Can you drop the word schadenfreude into a sentence? You’re basically German. Known how to throw around terms like 'carpe diem'? Calm your tits, Pepé Le Pew. Instead of a basic grasp of conversational Spanish, right now you should be using your brainpower to come up with new ways to say jelous – jelz, peanut butter and jelly, Jelly Fun Quiz, J – Lez, Jealous Down, JellyBelly… – and then committing Okmalumkoolkat’s slang to memory. Cava the umswenko. Ishuu! 


Do a gap year

As glamorous as being a barman at an Ozzie pub in England sounds, you can spend that time much better by knuckling down and getting your studies finished first. Then when you go overseas you can get a job that is more than just pouring drafts and flirting for tips. Then when you return home you have international experience in your chosen field. Lemmetellyou, if there’s one thing that South African employers like it’s international experience.

Argue on News24

Actually you don’t ever have to do that. Ever.

Figure out tax

Just keep ignoring it and hopefully it will go away. Otherwise send your IRP5 to your dad and ask him to do it for you. Parents can do that sort of thing in their sleep. Hell, yours will probably figure out how to get you some money back. He’ll also feel needed. Dads need that.

Have a pension

Life is to be lived. You know how a squirrel squirrels away all his nuts so that come winter he has a bunch of nuts in his little hole in the tree? Well even better is when you use whatever money you have in your pocket right now to order a pecan nut pie and then stop comparing your life to a squirrel’s. 

Disclaimer: We're writers. You know, the group known for dying penniless. We're better at metaphors than sound financial advice.

Own a sex toy

Sex toys are for women in book clubs who can’t drink a glass of wine without calling it a “naughty glass of mommy juice”, who are also the reason why there are no batteries in the TV remote, and we've seen one two many of them handed over as an 'edgy' hen party gift. Stop that.

Pay for dinner

No way, you’re splitting it. And not just four ways either. Ask the waitress for her pen and write down exactly what you had on the back of the bill. Then add ten percent, and pass it to the next person. Why should you pay for that dude’s craft beers and steak when you had the burger and a Black Label? Don’t be a sap. You work hard for your money.

Give up on pop

Who the hell even is Beck? Beyoncé was totally robbed, Bieber is a bad boy now and Miley Cyrus is growing as an artist. A song is just not a song without auto-tune, Pitbull shouting his name repeatedly, or something else that your parents don’t understand.

Keep your friends from varsity

Rolling in a crew filled with guys called Shiner, The Heap, Bev The Beast and Toe is fine when you’re studying at Rhodes and are part of a drinking club. Not cool when you’re interning at a magazine in Cape Town and taking street style snaps at fashion week. Time to cut those guys loose in order to make room for your new friends, Mavi, Mali, and Nash. Now metamorphose into the beautiful butterfly that you were always meant to be.

Quit your vices

Keep drinking on school nights because your hangovers aren’t that bad yet. Don’t quit those ciggies because they make you look cool, keep you thin, and your lungs will repair themselves if you stop before you’re 30. Drugs are a young man’s game; get them out your system while you still can. Banting? F**k outta here. White bread sandwich with a bunch of chips in the middle is basically a food group right now so enjoy your metabolism while it lasts.

A reminder that we're writers; a demographic known to die young.

Become famous

Yeezy is probably the most famous person in the world right now. Google a pic of him at 25. Guy was a nerd twiddling knobs in his mom’s basement while wearing Bill Cosby sweaters. You got this.

Own a very expensive watch

You’ll just end up losing it.


Use a money clip

Those coins add up, and you’re not exactly jumping into a vault of money and then backstroking through it like Scrooge McDuck, are you? Get a wallet with a coin section and collect that silver until it jiggle-jiggles (You should still either leave all your bronze behind at the till or give it to the little girl with the Scotty dog and the sore leg).


Give up on fake crying

Still the best way to get what you want.

Stop asking your parents for money

Hey, Discovery Health may not allow them to list you as a dependent anymore, but that doesn’t mean you should stop phoning them once a month to bail you out. Remember, you didn’t choose to be born, they chose to have you, and now they must support you for however long it takes for you to find your feet.

Get a tattoo

The only things worse than seeing a Sailor Jerry-branded youth are those dull as dishwater stories about what tattoo you’re thinking of getting. It’s like Kendall Jenner says, “You don’t put a bumper sticker on a Bentley.” But if you insist, print out the picture that you want, stick it up next to the bathroom cabinet, look at it every morning when you brush your teeth, and if you still like it in five years time I’ll pay for it when you’re 30.

Stop listening to lists

This shit is gospel. If Cosmo tells you that the best way to get a dude off is to “Take Mr Happy and act like you’re starting a fire caveman style” then you do that until he’s got the roasties to prove it! Remember, if it’s on the net then it must be true. So just keep Googling all of your problems and following the stuff that you read on the internet, verbatim, living your life based on random lists that your friends shared on Facebook because whoever wrote it must’ve had it all figured out despite only being a few years older than you.

Trust us. We're writers.