This past Sunday was my 25th birthday. While I don't think of 25 as old, I definitely think of it as getting older, as I am now closer to 30 than 20.

At this sort of "in-between" moment, I got to thinking about what a difference five years can make.

I'm a completely different person at 25 than I was at 20, and although I'm thankful to have learned from my mistakes, there are a few things I wish I knew then that I know now. Like the following:

1. Friends with benefits never become real boyfriends.
Let's be honest: A relationship that is based solely upon sex is not really a relationship at all. There is always someone in the twosome who wants something more, and that person is bound to get hurt eventually.

2. Taking a multivitamin (with food) after a night of drinking prevents a hangover.
It really does! I read this in a magazine recently, and I think it's genius.

3. Everything changes once you move in together.
So make sure you're prepared for that. You really get to know someone once you live with him.

4. Fashion trends aren't for everyone.
When in doubt, choose classic over stylish, so you don't look like an idiot wearing something that is supposed to be "in style."

5. Roommates usually suck.
Cramped spaces, unwanted noise, messy apartments -- we've all been there. If you can afford your own place, do it. You will save yourself a lot of frustration.

6. It's hard to find people who will love you no matter what.
Mistakes are inevitable, even the big ones, and the people who stick by you during those times are people to hold onto.

7. Never sleep in your makeup.
You'll wake up feeling greasy and gross. Nighttime is when your skin repairs itself, and you need to let it breathe.

8. Sex isn't everything, but it can make a good relationship even better.
This physical act can have amazing emotional powers; it's just important to be careful.

9. Don't spend so much on your education until you finally know what you want to do.
I'm a classic example of this. Even though I've always been a writer, I've changed my major many times in the past, and I'm still working on it.

10. It's OK to ask for what you want in bed.
Communication is key here. You deserve to be satisfied in the way that works for you.

11. Your current crises are only temporary.
Eventually you'll figure out how to fix them, and things are rarely ever as bad as they seem.

12. Maybe some people don't have what it takes for everybody's regular plan.
Marriage and babies might not be for everyone, and that's OK.

13. Watch what you do and say immediately after a breakup.
You are so vulnerable during this time, and you're probably not thinking straight either. Don't do anything you think you will grow to regret, as people are quick to give you the "psycho" label.

14. Never dye your own hair.
If you look, you can find professional hair care at a reasonable price -- and you'll be much happier with the results.

15. It should be "quality over quantity" when it comes to friends.
And yet, it's OK to have a lot of friends, just know that not all of them will be the type of friend who will be there for you no matter what.

16. Regular exercise can do wonders.
You'll look and feel great, your clothes will fit better, and you'll be a much happier person.

17. Learning how to wear lingerie can make you feel like a real woman.
It can really take you from "that girl" to "that woman."

18. You will never completely understand the opposite sex.
Once you realize this, you will enjoy them much more just based upon your differences.

19. Counting calories doesn't work.
It's time-consuming, tedious and somewhat psychotic. Find another way to watch what you eat.

20. Tanning is horrible for you.
I used to have one of those unlimited tanning memberships and fried myself almost every other day. Not only is doing this dangerous, it can make you look like Magda from "There's Something About Mary."

21. Listen to your gut.
It's your sixth sense, an internal voice that can never be silenced -- and it's usually right.

22. Learning to accept your body and beauty is a powerful thing.
Sure, most of us will never be truly satisfied, but it's nice when that day comes when you look in the mirror and think, I look pretty.

23. Don't become a "we" too soon.
If you lose your individuality, you lose what brought you to that person in the first place.

24. It's really nice when a guy opens the car door for you.
It doesn't need to happen every time, but this one little gesture alone can set the guy you're dating apart from the others.

25. Laughter brings people together.
My greatest relationships (friends, family, lovers) are with the people that I've spent hours rolling on the floor, dying laughing with.


Lindsay Hitchcock, a freelance writer, has contributed to Examiner and Bytes of Love. She is completing her first book, a memoir. A Florida native who writes often about dating, sex, relationships and 20-something life, she has been deemed "Orlando's Carrie Bradshaw." Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.