I am 31 and it’s 2023. Happy new year!!
Last year around my birthday, I was not excited not because of women and age, blah blah. I did not have a “plan”. The year had been meh, and I did not have the money to have the birthday of my dreams: a staycation in Europe, fine dining with my girlfriends, cake, gifts, a car and a house. Hahaha!! Get the drift?
Regardless, this birthday found me in a reflective mood. I felt lighter than Usain Bolt. I was happy 30 was coming to an end. 30 was HARD but also glorious.
I penned down these notes with the intent to share them on my birthday but I got lazy and now it’s the long-awaited holiday season and I am working on all the blog drafts. Don’t judge me. I have to at least excel at my writing resolutions. hehehe!!
Community is important.
I have had the pleasure of having amazing people to call friends. 2022 goes down in history as one of the toughest years joining 2017/2018. But two things have held me together: God and community. God-affirming me kept me grounded. Community looking out for me through calls, text messages, visits, cash gifts and prayer. Loving me in small and big ways. They are simply the gifts that keep giving.
To my friends, thank you for making 2022 easier. I am forever grateful to each of you for making room for me in your busy schedules.
God and prayer.
This year had me ehing …Eh! Eh! Because words couldn’t describe how I felt. Nor adequately convey my emotions. It’s been the epitome of Psalm 124, `if it had not been for the Lord who was on my side where would I be?’
Say yes often.
Opportunities in line with the work I do were numerous and I jumped on them. A gentle but firm force wouldn’t let me say no. I applied for so many opportunities: I got some but lost others. The wins created a confidence in me that wasn’t there before. It opened me up to a whole new dimension where nothing is impossible.
Let no become part of your vocabulary.
When you know what you’re about it`s easy to say no to things that are not for you because deep down you know what is for you and what’s not. Know the difference and the no will come easy. Say no to things that don’t serve you; to people that want to take from you constantly.
A friend has recently reminded me about the value of time and how a person giving you their time is of utmost importance. I now look at time as a resource in a whole new dimension.
Dare to dream.
30 is the year I dared to dream and saw the dreams (some) manifest!! I was utterly shocked to see the things I had anticipated take shape. The world is your oyster. Dare to dream. Prepare. Plan. Execute.
Don`t take people for granted.
Otazanisa bantu. Otabora bantu.Don’t take people for granted. Treat everyone equally regardless of status, colour, physical formation, or financial status. As a 30-year-old, this advice carries a weight it didn’t before. Honour people. Honour their time. Honour their resources. No one owes you anything.
Keep breathing. Expect good.
When the world throws you boulder upon boulder of hardship, always remember to keep breathing and expect good. Between January and July, I was a zombie walking. Life didn’t carry the same fervour, rigour, or colour it usually did. Hoping was so damn hard. I had a few small joys to keep me holding on. The fog slowly but steadily cleared and I could breathe again. August til nov has been a whirlwind of collecting small joys, rest, and living.
Now for those who know me, you know I am the accountability queen. If you`re in my space, I will be intentional with you. I want to be involved in your life and so I will check in through all means, pray with and for you, etc. And that same energy is always reciprocated. Adulting demands you do life in a community. Isolation is a killer.
Be willing to unlearn and learn things.
Our lives are a culmination of unlearning and learning. Embrace it. With societal, cultural and career conditioning, it’s easy to get lost in the thick of it. But as you get older, there is room to question, probe and examine things. This process provides answers but also creates room to unlearn.
I remember when I had just graduated from campus, I was conditioned to expect marriage. I was dating then and knew I had to get married to this man but that didn’t work out. I had to deal with internal pressure. This calmed me and the external pressure too was quietened.
What do you need to unlearn? What do you need to learn? Even if my relationship with God, there is so much that I have had to question and let go of. This has made my relationship with God sweeter and less rigid.
Know your worth.
You are valuable and it’s not because of what you do, have or don’t have. It’s inherent. Don’t allow to be undervalued.
Breakups are the pits but don’t give up on love.
I have experienced major heartbreaks that felt like the remnant pain a waxing strip leaves (those who have waxed know this pain). But have you been loved so deeply in ways that make your heart sing, your face glows, and your life reflect the glory of the new love? You’re healed from the breakup. You’re willing to try again.
Take care of yourself.
This seems easy but many of us struggle with it. It has multiple faces depending on who is looking at it. The COVID-19 era birthed my fitness consciousness. I work out 30 minutes each, take walks and now I have incorporated skipping. But this is not enough, I constantly have to check on my mental wellness. What situations distress me? How can I cut them out? Maintain an all-around wellness check. It is not just about cutting out carbs and hydrating even if that is important.
Get a skincare routine.
I have always wanted to take proper care of my skin but was overwhelmed by beauty products on the market. My trip to Nairobi this year has been a game-changer. My sister, Maggie has introduced me to a skincare routine that my skin is responding well to. (I might do a blog post on this in the new year). She also mixes body butter that is utterly good and gentle on the skin. She is working on her own line of products and when it’s ready, be sure I will make the special announcement because I have tasted her products and they work.
The art of being alone but not lonely.
As a ‘people’ person, it was always easy to get lost in people and activity until I would hit a low and like a junkie, I would start looking for the high again. I set out on a path to enjoy my presence. I went on solo dates which continuously reminded me of the beauty of engaging with self.
Represent yourself well and leave no room to be misunderstood.
I recently had a difficult conversation on this with a friend I love and respect. As we get older, we add layers that misrepresent or represent us right.
Moving forward I will be celebrating my birthday on 9th November instead of 29th as has been the case in previous years. It’s a long story that involves high school, poor decisions and misrepresentation.
Cheers to getting older and to life lessons!!