25 Things I’ve Learned In 25 Years

Today, I am a quarter of a century old.

If you were to ask me if I feel 25 years old, I would respond like how most people on their birthdays do – not really. In all honesty I stopped focusing on my age after I turned 21. The only “interesting” opportunity society offers me at this age is the ability to rent a car and the new found concept of a “quarter-life crisis.” Yaaay!…??

Nevertheless, I have learned quite a few lessons along my journey. All of which has made me the person I am today and the person I strive to be in the future.

The beautiful thing about life is that you never truly stop learning about yourself and the world around you. Despite the tragedies and difficult moments, each year teaches me to be more authentically me. Ergo, I would like to share some of these lessons with you (in no particular order).

  • Say “no” and set boundaries (even with loved ones). This was extremely hard for me growing up. However, as I got older and experienced more heartache by trying to please everyone and keep the peace, I learned that I was only hurting myself.
  • Mental health and self-care is imperative. In order for me to operative at my best and do what I want (and need) to do, I must take care of myself first. It’s not selfish to make my health a priority. It’s survival.
  • Quality > Quantity. This applies to multiple aspects of my life, but especially in my relationships and lifestyle. Having more does not necessarily mean it’s better. I value the few dependable, loyal, and trustworthy friends and family in my life. I am also creating a better space for myself by incorporating minimalism into my lifestyle.
  • Perfection is overrated and a waste of time. I still struggle with perfectionism, but learning to let go of this toxic mindset has freed me in more ways than I can explain.
  • All Black lives matter. Self-explanatory.
  • Go to therapy. I suffer from anxiety and depression. Going to therapy has taught me different ways to cope with what’s going on inside my head and I have learned to more effectively communicate how I am feeling.
  • Listen more, speak less. Whenever talking to individuals I find fascinating or discussing a fascinating topic, I tend to talk more and listen less. I have learned how to refrain from always thinking about what I’ll say next or interrupting a person while they’re speaking. I’m now more inclined to actively listen and learn.
  • Be mindful of people’s experiences. Not everyone had the same childhood or upbringing that I did. And that’s okay. Being cognizant of a persons reality and their worldview not only teaches me about other people, but myself as well.
  • Love comes in many forms. The older I become, the more I realize what love truly is, the kind of love I have to offer, and the type of love I want to receive.
  • Not all family is blood. I am thankful for the friendships I have that make me (an only child with a small family) feel safe, secure, and at home.
  • I can have my cake and eat it too. Who says that I have to ALWAYS be humble? Who says that I have to work myself into the ground in order to be successful? *shoves large piece of cake in my mouth*
  • It’s being honest about my pain that makes me invincible. – Nayyirah Waheed. I’m not sure if it just comes with age or what, but I no longer shy away from uncomfortable truths. My honesty frees me from keeping up with lies and allows others to be honest about themselves in the process.
  • I can be kind without being a doormat. Being empathetic and allowing others to mistreat you is not mutually exclusive. I will always try to help others, but I refuse to let someone take it as a weakness.
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously. Learning to laugh at myself has been therapeutic!
  • It’s okay to not always have the answers or solution. My godmother taught me this while I was in church as a teenager. She would say that when people approached her with a question, and she didn’t have the answer, she would respond by saying, “I don’t know.” Then she proceeded to do one of two things: 1) direct the person to someone who would know the answer or could provide better assistance; 2) get back with the person once she could provide what they wanted to know.
  • People not liking me isn’t the end of the world. Once I let go of the idea that everyone needed to like me, I freed myself from worrying about judgment and criticism.
  • Sometimes I just have to ride the wave. 2017 taught me that life doesn’t make sense sometimes and I cannot always control unwanted situations or what people do. When this happens, it’s sometime best to just ride the wave til the water calms itself again.
  • Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. – Psalms 30:5. Whenever we are facing hardship or tragedy it sometimes seems like that painful state will last forever. It does not. For this I am forever thankful.
  • It’s okay to be mad. There is validity in anger. As a Black woman, I am often stereotyped and told how I should carry myself while also being mistreated and talked down upon. Like Solange so eloquently sang, ” You got the right to be mad.”
  • Know your worth and what you bring to the table. This is another lesson that I am still learning, but I am becoming less and less ashamed of showcasing my talents and walking into rooms like I belong there too.
  • Always give people whom you’ve hurt a proper apology and strive to do better. I never knew that there was a right way to apologize to someone, until one of my favorite YouTubers posted this video four years ago. It was in regards to be called out on social media, but can be applicable to any situation where you have hurt someone (intentionally or unintentionally).
  • In all situations, fight for what is right. Malcolm X has a famous quote that states, ” If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.” I choose to always stand on the right side. Not on the republican side tho (fuck ’em).
  • Be honest with yourself. My mother used to say that at the end of the day, even if you can’t be honest with other people, at least learn to be honest with yourself.
  • Being hard on myself only wastes time. If I could get back time on one thing, I would like to get back all the time I have wasted beating myself up again and again and again and again… you get the picture. Not only was it harmful to my mental state, but it was extremely unproductive.
  • You are beautiful. You are beautiful.

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