So as some of you know, approaching your 30's can be a harrowing time. You're either ready for it, or you're not. I am OH so ready to hit the ground RUNNING into my 30's! As my birthday quietly approaches, I have taken the time to sit back and reflect on my 20's. Successes, failures, things I wish I would have changed, things I did change, etc.
In doing so, I've come up with a top 10 list of realizations and what I (and most women) are unapologetic for as a woman going into such a beautiful time in my life. I thought I would share with you lovely people.
1. Not being married and not having kids.
More power to my ladies who are married and have beautiful children. There isn't a single thing wrong with that. But for those of us who aren't currently married with children, it's OK! Everyone has different goals and aspirations in life. Our focuses are different, and as a female, I am not desperate to enter into any marriage or produce any children unless i am 100% of my decision. Being Nigerian just doesn't help with the pressure either. There are many cultures like mine who believe that as a woman, despite what you have achieved, you still are not completely successful UNTIL you are married with children. I still have yet to understand why that is synonymous with success.
2. Let go of that Resentment.
Trust me, I know it's easier said than done. How long are you going to drag this out? You're approaching a new decade! Allow yourself to shed those old layers of hurt and pain. At this stage, I have begun to forgive others for what has been done to me. What's harder about letting go of resentment is struggling to forgive myself for the mistakes I have made for myself, and what I have done to others. I look forward to this achievement.
3. Happiness is a choice.
Understand that happiness is truly a choice. There are many things in life we have little control over. But ride the wave. I have seen depressed people with money and happy homeless people. Always choose happiness for yourself. Life is too short.
4. Don't be afraid to Unplug.
Our phones have literally taken over our lives. From social media to social calls, we literally spend little time getting to know ourselves. Social Media can sometimes add to daily stress. Unplug with no apologies. Take a second to breathe. You're not missing out on anything on the internet, but you could be missing out on cherished life moments.
5. Do not apologize for being an adult.
Your friends hit you with something along the lines of "Damn, you always busy." Yes. I am. I'm busy living my life and getting to this check to pay these bills! With growth, you can look around and see who isn't growing in the same direction as you. Some of these friends probably aren't working, or just want to be at the level you're currently at. They can't understand how both of you came from the same place or circumstances, yet you've made it further. Don't feel bad for being busy or spending time with people who are on a similar level with you. Grow or Go is my motto.
6. Don't be afraid to say No.
I battled with this for the majority of my life. I always feel like hey, if i can do it, then I should. It was only until about the last year or so that I realized how taxing this has been on my soul! People take advantage of you once they know how big your heart is. They start asking you for things unnecessarily. When you don't want to do it, you begin to feel selfish, or you may even be perceived a bitch. I've gotten better with my "No!" usage, although I try to be as polite as I can when doing so. It's okay to choose yourself as a priority. Try it, and watch the world change.
7. Admitting when you don't know something.
For all the current and previous "know-it-all's" out there (sheepishly raises hand), this is a tough one. Growing up, I prided myself on reading whatever I could get my hands on. I prided myself in knowing so much. But we can't know everything. If a question is asked to you, it's okay to tell someone that you don't know the answer. It is a learning moment for not only you, but for them, and possibly others if they don't know as well.
8. Cutting off friends and relationships.
God knows there are some people on this earth who will literally suck you dry emotionally. These are the insecure people in your life who crave stability, but don't know how to, or want to, get it for themselves. As my 20's were passing, I started cutting people left and right for damaging me emotionally, spiritually, physically, you name it. You're not required to stay in relationships with these people because of how long you have known them or what they have done for you. Everyone has their season in your life. If they aren't helping you grow, let their asses go, and gain that happiness you have been looking for.
9. Travel alone.
A mentor once gave me this advice years ago and I looked at her like she was crazy. She said before a woman gets married, she should take one solo trip by herself. Who the heck wants to turn up at a beach, club, party, vacation, alone? After a few frustrating incidents with friends with whom I was supposed to travel or did travel with, I started traveling alone. Nothing too fancy; trips to see family members, or even local trips just to clear my head a bit. I guarantee you, it is the best thing you can do for yourself. You learn so much about how you operate, and it gives you the chance to learn more about who you are as a person.
10. Embrace your body.
I've written an article previously about body shaming and accepting your body. This is obviously one of the most important things on this list to me. I grew up and both my peers and adults constantly made me feel ashamed of my body. I was built like a woman before I even knew how to be one. I was a tomboy, and then hid my body for years after. Even when I started wearing clothes to fit my shape, I was still very body shy; always feeling that people were talking about me. I ain't sorry now! I show my body the most love and respect it deserves. I flaunt what I have, I cover it only if I want to, and I wear what whatever I feel comfortable in.
I know this a long article, but I hope it helps more of my lady loves out here! Never be afraid to ultimately be YOU. Your 20's was for finding out who you were and who you wanted to be. The 30's are for living out who you are and enjoying every single second of it without any hesitation! Cheers to Life!