A lot of beautiful things happened this month. My daughter learned to say her name and count properly to three, my husband and I grew closer together, and the highly anticipated Black Panther hit theaters #yaasss #wakandaforever. In the mist of these great moments and so many other memories being made I turned 31!
It happened quickly and quietly. There were no balloons, no surprises, or candles to blow out. Just a regular slow Saturday morning with my family. Though the day seemed ordinary I could feel the verge of change in the air. I’d felt it before at 18 holding my diploma, and again at 20 turning the key to my first apartment, and once more at 28 holding a pregnancy test. I settled into the knowledge that I can’t go back and into the anticipation of unknown adventures to come. Though my intuition tells me the air of transformation is there, I can’t pretend to know where it will lead me.
Lately I’ve been journaling a lot about who I’ve been, who I’ve become, and who I’d like to be. I’ve thought a lot about the things I’ve learned over these 31 years and how they’ve shaped me. To honor the girl that was and to welcome the woman I’m becoming, I’d like to share 7 of those life lessons with you all today.
It’s OK To Be Your Authentic Self
It is totally normal for human beings to desire to fit in and find a place or role within their environment. It is also totally common for individuals to alter how they present themselves or who they are to do just that. The problem comes in when you hide who you are to gain and retain acceptance. If I could tell my younger self something, it would be to never hide or change yourself to fit into someone else’s narrative of who you are. Your purpose is not to fill everyone’s cup and they can not fill yours. Be boldly your authentic self in an effort to intimately know who you uniquely are. Doing so gives you a clearer map to the things and people that ignite and inspire you, and to the things that fill your cup without the need of other’s validation.
Make Time For Self Care
A lack of self care reflects a lack of self love.
A lack of self care reflects a lack of self love. Love requires action. Life is busy, it’s hard, and ever changing, but YOU are the one living it. Always, always make yourself a priority. Eat better, exercise, relax more often, and do the things that excite you. I’ve learned over the years that I’m quite the introvert and recharge by spending time alone. I used to feel guilty about this, feeling like I was ghosting on my friends and loved ones. As my love for self as grown so has my respect for my needs. I need that time to be with myself and my thoughts and that is totally OK! It is all about balancing the time spent on the practical, the purposeful, and the joyful.
Always Follow Your Passions
Growing up, they always said “get good grades, go to college, and you will get a good job!” “You can be whatever you want to be!” It seemed to me to be a pretty linear system, something I could fall in line with – and I did. I got great grades, went to college, got two degrees, and well now… let’s just say the dream job they told me I would get never panned out. The same is true for most of my peers these days. I can’t say that we were lied to; the times just changed as they always do. If I could speak to my younger self, I’d tell her to just do it girl. It may be off the linear supposedly sure thing path, but do it anyway.
Passion is found in those things that set off a light within you; that thing that keeps popping in your mind – don’t ignore it. I spend the better part of my 20s chasing a career and education I didn’t truly feel passionate about. Working hard at a job you despise makes for a pretty miserable existence.In hindsight, I’ve come to understand that through true passion you can create and sustain a life worth living. It doesn’t mean that pursuing passion is fearless or without obstacles; it requires faith, stamina, and determination. In this evolving world of social media and global connection, it is a great time, particularly for the creative in my generation, to truly do and be whatever we want – just like they always said 😉 .
You’ll be surprised at the energy you receive when you slow down and acknowledge another person’s existence.
Don’t wait to tell your friends and family that you care about them. Like myself, many people go through life as an island unto themselves failing to connect with others around them. Of course there are often real reasons for this disconnect, and it can feel scary to open yourself up to others. It can also feel freeing in a big way and can forge that new level of connection you may have been yearning for. Don’t limit your connections to family and friends, go out into the world and look other human being in the eyes, smile, and greet them. You’ll be surprised at the energy you receive when you slow down and acknowledge another person’s existence. Truly see others to be seen; it can lead to amazing things.
Meet Others Where They Are
Check yourself when you start to think or say what you think others should or shouldn’t do. Your view of the world is not always an absolute objective truth. It is layered with subjective experiences and expectations of the world around you. Trying to argue and force others to see things as you do will be an up hill never ending battle. Instead, respect yourself and be confident in the views you share without seeking the shaky validation of others or taking offense when they do not share your perspective. Respect others by listening and empathizing with their feelings. The longer you listen the more likely you’ll discover the root of why another’s views differ from yours and it may widen your perspective or more firmly root you in it. Try to remember that two people can understand one another without agreeing with each other or tearing the other down.
There Is Always More
When you experience moments of hopelessness, loss, and sadness, look back at what you have already endured and survived. You always have more strength than you think you have. Once you have looked back and appreciated your journey thus far, look to the good dwelling in your life right now. There is always something to be grateful for. It may be hard to see the good at first when you are going through pain, so practice this every day. And easy way to do this is by keeping a gratitude journal. Over time you will find that there is always more laughter more joy, and more adventures despite the unknown hurdles to come – keep going.
The Point Of Life Is To Live It
In my twenties I was always was seeking the meaning of life. There had to be some reason as to why I was here or why I had certain talents. I can’t say that I’ve found my mysterious purpose in life or what I was sent to do, if anything at all. I can say that I’ve come to an understanding that life is a gift. As with any gift, it is meant to be enjoyed. The point to life is to live it and to live it well. A live well lived means different things to different people and that concept is likely to change as the seasons of our lives pass by. right now for the me that means to live a passionate life, filled with family, lots of hugs, laughter, and new adventures, and tackling as many things that scare and ignite me as possible. Whatever the mysterious years of being thirty something have in store for me, I’m ready and I will make it my own and live it well.
What is one thing you’d tell your younger self? Let me know in the comments 🙂