Twenty-five is the new 18. While your late teens signal the time that you can vote, legally drink and get as many ill-advised tattoos as your heart desires, the midpoint through your second decade is, scientifically speaking, when your brain becomes primed for grown-up life.
Indeed, advice given to psychologists in 2013 acknowledged that adolescence extends until 25, for the purposes of treating young people. Meanwhile, a 2012 TED talk from cognitive neuroscientist Sarah-Jayne Blakemore unwrapped the adolescent mind, explaining how the brain’s prefrontal cortex - where we process decision making, self awareness and planning - doesn’t finish developing until our late twenties or early thirties. Besides, the traditional markers of age keep sailing further down our life spans: see the average age of first time home ownership being seven years higher than in the 1960s, at 31 versus 23.
So, if you’re ready to hit your neuro-based entry into adulthood, here’s the seven thoroughly scientific things HuffPost believes you should have tried, mastered or have in the diary.
Travel alone to a new country
A big part of maturing is being able to move around, without relying on the comfort blanket of people you’re familiar with. The number of people travelling solo has risen, big style: 2016 research showed that four in 10 of us have zero qualms about travelling alone.
There’s no need to head on a two week beach-side holiday on the Amalfi Coast, but catch the Eurostar to Paris or spend a weekend in Barcelona by yourself - and be amazed by how self-sufficient you can be.
Know who your core circle are
Research released by the Office of National Statistics in April 2018 showed that younger people (age 16-24) were more likely to report feeling lonely than any other age group, being the least likely of all age groups to report “never” experiencing the emotion. Like we all know, the counter to this isn’t a reel of casual acquaintances - it’s the deeper, more meaningful relationships that you find through a sense of shared trust.
Having a handle on the people who will help you out of a tight spot, let you express your true personality and keep you laughing is vital. So, take some time to reflect on who yours are, and keep them close.
Host a dinner where no one gets sick
No one says you need to be able to sashay your way around a fancy kitchen, deboning quail and assessing the saltiness of caviar. But, as you slide towards 25, there should be a clutch of dishes that you can make for a crowd. A decent homemade pesto and spaghetti, one killer Thai curry, a zesty lemon tart – get some signatures in your arsenal and you’ll never panic about laying dinner on.
Assemble flat pack furniture
How will you ever sort out your own place if you can’t fix up inexpensive bookcases? Time spent with your head in an IKEA instruction booklet is no one’s idea of the best Saturday ever, but is surely a marker of independence. Plus, now that the Swedish one-stop homeware shop is opening up city centre locations, you’re less likely to need to swerve 50 minutes outside of town to get that bookcase.
Get your head around basic finance stuff
Why it makes sense to have a credit card (that you pay off every month), how much, roughly, you want to stick in a pension every payday, which type of ISA makes sense for you: all relatively rudimentary, but good building blocks to take into your mid twenties.
Navigate a car trip
Map reading is becoming something of a lost art. 2016 research from Ordnance Survey (OS) showed that nearly 40% of people struggled to pinpoint London and only 14% could accurately plot Edinburgh’s location on a map of Great Britain. Uh oh. Of course, with Google Maps, Waze and the rest of it, making your way around has never been easier: meaning more flex to take a road trip or take your crew to the seaside.
With Peugeot’s Just Add Fuel® scheme*, getting your own motor is that much easier. One fixed, monthly payment covers a brand new Peugeot car, three years’ insurance for up to three drivers (so you can share the time at the wheel) with no curfews, car tax, warranty, roadside assistance and routine servicing. Plus, if you’re age 18-20 or have less than two years’ No Claim Discount, you can also get can also get Just Add Fuel® with the addition of a telematics device.* This tracks your speed, distance travelled and how you drive, which could mean a reduced premium. Find out more, here.
Develop some sort of personal style
A hard lesson to absorb, but a worthwhile one, is that not everything that’s in fashion is going to make you feel confident. Having a basic wardrobe that you can pull into a job interview, wedding guest and fancy party outfit will help you to feel way more in control of occasions. Bonus points for accessories to turn your jeans and trainers look into something slightly more original.
*PCP. Subject to status, 18+, PSA Finance UK Ltd, RH1 1QA. Eligibility criteria, terms & conditions apply. Telematics box required. Motor Insurance underwritten by U K Insurance Limited.