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JILL ELLSWORTH: 25 things to do before you turn 25

Jill Ellsworth says it's never too late to check a few things off your bucket list.
Jill Ellsworth says it's never too late to check a few things off your bucket list. - Contributed

It’s never too late to check a few things off the list

I turned 25 in the second week of January and for the first time in my life felt a twinge of something negative about my birthday. I realize how young 25 is in the grand scheme of things, but my head started to spin when I thought about hitting this quarter-century mark and what it all means.

Thankfully, my birthday happened to fall on a Sunday, which meant I spent the evening surrounded by friends at our weekly skateboarding night. As I was joking about my quarter-life crisis, my friend Dave said something that really stuck with me. Instead of treating age as a negative, he said I should look back on everything I’ve been able to accomplish before my 25th birthday with pride.

For this week’s column I decided to share with you a list: Twenty-five things to do before you turn 25. (Listen, I know the majority of Cape Breton Post readers may be slightly over the age of 25, but have a little fun! It’s never too late to check a few things off the list or share it with a young person in your life).

Without further ado, here we go.

1. Start a savings account - The earlier the better; this is never a bad idea.

2. Pay something off - It could be a phone bill, a student loan, a credit card. There’s no better feeling than eliminating something from that list.

3. Go to the movies alone - It might be completely out of your comfort zone, but that’s the beauty of it.

4. Work a crappy job -  Suffer. Learn. This will make it so much more rewarding when you find a job you love.

5. Go on a road trip - It doesn’t have to be far. Gather your friends and a car full of snacks and good music and just drive.

6. Pay it forward/donate - Volunteer your time at a shelter or donate clothing or food to someone in need.

7.  See a live play or musical - This can apply to any form of art you’ve never experienced. You have no idea what you’re missing out on!

8. Keep a plant alive - You know, just to prove to yourself that you can.

Try your hand at keeping a plant growing.
Try your hand at keeping a plant growing.

9. Treat yourself - Now that you’re a pro at saving money, treat yourself to something that’s really worth it.

10. Go to the library - No, you don’t get to check this one off because you went as a child. I’m talking about now. Take advantage of everything they have to offer.

11. Experience an expensive meal - We’ve all got different opinions on what constitutes expensive, but at least once in your life, treat yourself a meal where you’re thinking "Oh my gosh, this is way too fancy" in your head the whole time.

12. Learn to cook - The expensive meal was a one-time thing, remember? Make sure you can cook for yourself, and I’m talking more than KD and chicken strips.

13. Cook a turkey -  The reason I put this on my list is because it’s something I failed to do before 25. But everyone (who eats turkey) should give it a shot at least once.

14. Get your passport -  It doesn’t matter if you don’t have immediate travel plans, you never know when an opportunity could strike, and the last thing you need is to miss out on a trip because your passport didn’t come in on time.

15. Travel -  How could I leave this out? I know that travelling is a financial privilege, but even if it’s a small trip to the next town over. Any chance to get out of your space and experience new things counts as travel to me!

16. Date or befriend someone who isn’t your type -  There’s a lot to be learned from people who are nothing like you.

17. Let go of a grudge or say sorry first -  This might be the hardest thing on the list, but it’s worth it.

18. Overcome a fear - Like paying something off, this is such a rewarding feeling.

19. Apply for your dream job - No matter how crazy it might seem, there’s no harm in applying. It worked out for me!

See your favourite musicians live - whether the venue be small or large.
See your favourite musicians live - whether the venue be small or large.

20. Do something wild -  Get out of your comfort zone, feel some adrenaline.

21. See your favourite band live - If you’re lucky enough to have a favourite that is still around, try your best to catch a live show.

22. Join a club or team - Being part of a team doesn’t have to stop when you graduate from high school.

23. Take a class - Painting, photography, public speaking, never stop learning.

24. Take more photos - I promise you’ll be thankful you did.

25. Forgive yourself for your youth -  People grow and change. Learn to forgive yourself for the mistakes you’ve made, and spend the next 25 years becoming the person you’ve always wanted to be.

Jill Ellsworth is a writer and communications specialist who lives in Dominion. Her column appears bi-weekly in the Cape Breton Post. She can be reached at

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