This Adult-life Thing….
It seems that every Internet writer over the age of 25 has his or her own list of attained wisdom. Having recently turned a quarter of a century old myself, and I haven’t been too excited about that number. I blame it on my quarter-life crisis and all the things that are terrifying about this age, about this time in my life. It’s a phase that it is completely full of uncertainty. The rules are gone, the plans are fading, there’s nothing that’s exactly right, but nothing is quite wrong. And yet – there is so much going on. So many questions, so much doubting. Way too many choices and never enough time to get everything you want done and figured out.
It’s the part of life that you’re never prepared for, and somehow in all of this madness, I’ve convinced myself that really, truly, this is when all the magic will happen. This is where I’ll learn the most, live the most and if I’m lucky, love the most. When I think back on the times when I’ve been the happiest, it’s also been the times when I worried the most. And when I think about my time on earth I can’t believe how far I’ve come and frankly, how incredibly lucky I’ve been.
So, instead of worrying that I’m not where I should be or if I’m getting this whole adult-life-thing right, I’m going to be thankful for these 25 years. They haven’t been exactly what I expected, but in many ways, they’ve been so much more. I’m not brilliant, but here are a few things I’ve come to realize:
1- No one gets it.
Really. Even that girl who looks like she has the most perfect life with the perfect guy and the perfect body — she’s lost too. We’re all trying to get it together and seek a little reassurance that we’re doing it right. Truth is, we’re just all trying the best we can.
2- Maman always said “you grow into yourself one day”… …and I never understood what that meant until recently. There will be a day when you wake up and you look at your reflection, and you don’t hate it. You’ll actually kind of love it. There might always be some things that you think could be better, but after a while, you stop putting yourself down and you start finding those imperfections quite beautiful.
3- My mother is right.
She knows what the hell she was talking about…in regard to everything!!!
4- Sex gets better. It’s not always going to be hot and steamy and sweaty and vivacious. It won’t always feel like you’re making love and you won’t always want it to be soft. But the more you know yourself, know your body and thrive on your sexuality, the better sex feels. College guys — they really don’t know what they’re doing. Trust me.
5- Your friends are way more important than any guy you date.
And they all serve different purposes in your life. If you are lucky (and smart), a small handful will hold your deepest, darkest secrets and your most vulnerable confessions. With or without men, I can’t imagine life feeling full or rich if I didn’t have the women(a shoutout to my besties: Sarah Fulani & Habiba Pani) who make me feel loved. And normal. And accepted. (And sometimes, very drunk off of champagne and wine and of course,Vodka.)
6- Saving money is really damn important. And it’s equally as hard to do. There will always be concert tickets, bags, restaurant menus, sweet shoes on just fab.com, a whole rack of clothes at H&M that you want to buy. Let yourself indulge, but save some, too. There will always be a time when you need a little extra cushion.
7- Dating is annoying. But it can be entertaining, enlightening and interesting, too. You’ll learn more from yourself through the dates that go horribly wrong than you do when you have butterflies filling your belly. Keep trying, buttercup. Have faith it’ll all make sense one day. Wine and social networks often help.
8- Your taste will change nearly every month. In men, in wine, in food, in clothes, in things you like to do, in places you want to go, in people you want to meet. You’ll figure out you like Thai food only to discover you kind of like Indian food more. You might be in love with a dark skinned boy but find yourself secretly attracted to an “oyinbo pepper”. It’s okay, we all have tastes, but no one’s taste always stays the same.
9- You’ll think more about your lady parts. I don’t feel like my ovaries are anywhere close to producing children, but I do consider what health choices I make and how they will effect my future kids. I don’t just keep myself in shape for me, but for those rugrats that’ll one day wake me up every three hours.
10- You’ll be scared a lot. That you’ll never get what you want, that you’ll never meet who you want to meet, that you won’t be able to have all the things that you want to have. If you’re a bad older sister, if you’re a good enough friend, if you’re doing things the way you should. You might find yourself scared more times than you’re settled, but facing down your fears makes you sassier. And stronger.
11- Honesty will be your best friend. And it’ll be how you pick your best friends — who will be truthful with you? Who will tell you what you need to hear, even when you don’t want to hear it? Who will offer to come over after a particularly awful day? You’ll learn how important it is to surround yourself with people who honestly, truthfully care about you.
12- Pain fades.
This isn’t satisfying—nor, arguably, helpful—but it’s true: give it time. You’ll feel miserable, sure, in the beginning. You’ll have days, sure, when you think you’ve finally come out on top. And you’ll have moments, too, that remind you all too well of how much road is left to go. But through it all—with every step—you’ll get better. Give it time.
13- You will make some unpopular decisions.
These decisions may even cost you friendships. But know that the people who truly care will stand by you even if they think you’re temporarily being an idiot.
14- Having said the above, don’t make major decisions lightly. You aren’t always the sole person affected.
15- Traveling alone can be intimidating but it really teaches you what you’re made of.
16- Living far away from home is both rewarding and scary.
You will gain an incredible amount of independence, but also realize that you took your old support network for granted.
17- BACK UP YOUR COMPUTER.
I cannot stress this enough. My external hard drive and laptop hard drive both died within months of each other back when I was about 20 and to this day, I am still sick about my lost writings. With today’s cloud technology, there’s no excuse. Even if you’re not a writer, backing up priceless photos is essential.
18- Love will make a fool out of you.
Learn from your mistakes and move on.
19- When it comes to relationships, honesty really is the best policy.
You have to speak up for yourself because your partner isn’t a mind reader. If your partner isn’t open to your thoughts and feelings, then this person probably isn’t for you.
20- Don’t drive yourself crazy trying to impress other people.
Chances are they could really care less. Comparing yourself to others is futile.Remember the saying,” don’t live a champagne lifestyle on a garri salary”, I don’t know who said it but you get my drift.Yeah?
21- Surround yourself with people way smarter than you.
That is the only way you will be challenged to grow.
22- The most important asset to invest in is yourself.
Take classes to make yourself a better person and never stop learning. Buy books. Lots of them.
23- Travel as much as you can.
You will come back with a wider perspective of the world and more ideas on how to change it.
24- “Thank You” – is the most powerful two words in the English dictionary.
25- So,I am now officially in my mid-twenties.After all, turning 25 is supposed to signify the beginning of the end; I have officially closed the figurative chapter of my youth. It’s official: I’m old(emphasis on “official”).
Oddly enough, this realization wasn’t followed by an expected “woe is me” reaction; rather, I embraced this leap. I’m 25. I’m a year older, wiser and better. You know, in an aged wine kind of way. Most importantly, you don’t have to have it all figured out by 25. I’ve struggled with this realization a lot. I always believed that by 25, I would be on the ideal career path and financially stable. Unfortunately, I am still trying to attain both financial stability and a job in my field. I’ve got my goals in mind and all I can do is keep working towards them.