5 non-negotiables of a 30-year-old
So, finally, 30 happened to me! Raise your glass to all the 87 borns out here! We’ve come far! In the coming weeks that led to my birthday on June 12th, I was ready to turn up and act the fool one last time to close out on the 20’s but it turned out to be a solemn one. Firstly, because it was a gloomy Monday and I had so much to do at the office and also because it was a Monday.
Anyhoo! I got so much love from friends and family, it’s hard to stay down on your special day. It is truly the best thing, to hear from people who care about you enough to say more than just happy birthday from a Facebook notification. The great thing about June 12 was that it gave me a lot of time to think and reflect about, well, a lot of things about my life, my childhood, my relationships, my perspective of the world and who I am evolving into as a woman.
I am a woman. I feel like a woman, fully and completely. I feel it in my step and my gait. I feel like a feminine grace just finally found me and fell on me. I feel like after a decade of uncertainty was preparing me for now. I looked in a mirror and saw this black voluptuous woman with full wide lips, a small nose, slightly crooked teeth and heavy breasts and I completely loved me!
I couldn’t stop smiling at myself when I said: “Maame, you’re thirty today, You are here in spite of everything, you are still here with so much more to give the world”. So here are the things I told myself on my birthday and if you are hitting 30 soon, I hope you say the same to yourself!
On Happiness: Many people do not realize that happiness is really about perspective. Sometimes you don’t choose how life happens and when it chooses to completely suck. And in many instances in my past, i have sunk in a stupor with obsessive thinking asking why, why, why? Guess what? I never got any answers why things happen the way they do so. Why stay and wallow? In all my 30 years, [i’ve always wanted to say that] I have learned that ultimately, the choice is yours to wake up, smile and get going again. You choose how to assess your situation. You choose whether you have the courage or not to move on, to try again, to love earnestly, forgive, laugh, or hate. You choose who comes into your circle, you choose who you allow influencing your thinking, emotions and decisions. While none of us knows it all, you have the power to make independent choices that ultimately put you first. My happiness. This is something I will never compromise on again.
On Respect: People will have respect for you as long as you have respect for yourself. Being unapologetic about who you are can be hard. A few months ago I attended a seminar that talked about women in being comfortable with owning their achievement and not hesitating to talk about it. With the fear of being “unlikeable” hanging over our heads and our waning “demure” nature these days, women are still struggling to show themselves fully. But the truth is, likability can only get you so far anyway. There is a high probability, you are going to end up doing something that goes against all you hold dear just to be liked and accepted. People will respect you for not compromising and sticking to the authentic you. I think I will take that any day.
On Time: Look, this never saying never gets old. It's amazing how vivid 21 was for me. It was only yesterday after all. Where does the time go? So truly there’s no other time like now to be brave and just get up and carry out the ideas and dreams you’ve been thinking about. On my birthday I told God that I wanted to do something for myself that I would love and thrive at. I am happy to say that I am working on this and I can’t wait to share it with you all. It’s been tough, mentally to not put myself down when I’ve done that for so long. I have found however that when you surround yourself with the right people, so much can happen. Which brings me to my next point.
On Friendship: Sometimes my boyfriend teases me incessantly that I have no friends. If you knew me in the last ten years, you will probably say he was wrong. But I have found that as time passes by, people come and go. Life gets in the way, we all have commitments we must see it too. Everybody is a WhatsApp text away and so there’s no point seeing each other. With all these going on, your circle of friends get smaller. I have come to accept that this is ok, if you have just the right number of special people who show up, it may be all you need! Nowadays, it is hard for me to have conversations that do not bring value to my life. A friendship must have honesty, selflessness, support. At 30, I should have the friendships that hold no judgement or be superfluous in conversation. It must be valuable in thought and deed. Otherwise, there is no point. Stay woke
On Money: Things make us broke. Feeding into the need of buying things. And I wish someone I had whispered it to me earlier. I certainly want to be the parent who teaches her daughter how to save money. The real value of money shows up when you are able to decide to push pleasure for later and save now. I am more attentive to money and what I use it for. I have learned that you don’t need to spend it if you do not have it or need it. The world is moving fast and if you’re trying to catch up with it, you will be left with nothing. I am learning the art of denying myself of “things” so I can enjoy them later. The other thing is that people have a way of making you spend when you do not intend to. Just say No. Yes, some people will get mad, but they won’t be there at the end of the day when you need a buck. Prioritizing makes you a smarter and a better person.
On Love: On love, I learned forgiveness but more importantly, i learned to love myself first. I know this is almost cliche but you can't underestimate how hard it is to do. People can have a tremendous influence on your mind and will if you let them. I have to learn to put all negativity that sticks to me in a bag and hand it over. As Jazmine Sullivan rightly says’ “Every part of me, is a vision of a portrait, a Monalisa”. I am a black queen deserving of love! I learned that forgiveness is a gift you give yourself so you can flourish, be at peace and grow.
These thoughts carry me into the next decade. I don't regret the time spent learning these things because I know it's only uphill from here.
And if you’ve made it this far, you’re kickass black queen yourself. Happy 30th to you too!