So last year I was annoyingly counting down to my 30th birthday. And now that I’m celebrating my 31st birthday I’ve been reflecting on my first year in my 30s… it may seem a bit presumptuous but I have 30 things I’ve learned so far in my first year in my third decade:
1. Love – unconditionally, consistently but remember to not give it out without reciprocity.
2. Forgive – yourself and others. It’s so liberating to go through life without any grudges as well as not holding any of your own transgressions against yourself.
3. Learn – from the past, from mistakes, from parents, from children, from friends, from strangers. Seek out the lesson in your experiences and never live under the arrogant impression that you can never learn.
4. Laugh- at good jokes, bad jokes, cheesy jokes; until your stomach and cheeks hurt. Learn to laugh at yourself- life’s too short to spend it sulking.
5. Let go… I’ve found this particularly hard. I’m not one to let go of people easily despite them showing me in every way that they don’t want to to be in my life, I’ll pursue the relationship – whether romantic or otherwise – until the proverbial bitter end. However this year has taught me to not be precious about people’s presence in my life – to appreciate and acknowledge them but to never write off the possibility of them not being there forever.
6. Value yourself – in my ability to not let go easily I’ve realised how this speaks directly to my self-worth. If my time and energy is as vital as I say it then I’ll know to not waste it on people who need constant reminders of that.
7. Respect – it’s deserved yet at the same time earned. It’s also the English translation of the name of someone near and dear to me…
8. Dream big – like the way your childhood dreams weren’t inhibited by anything continue with this in adulthood knowing that because now you’re older you can do anything and everything to realise these dreams.
9. Take risks – calculated and otherwise: you’ll never know until you try.
10. Challenge yourself and try surround yourself with people who do the same. Although it’s great to have a crowd cheering for you I believe it also great to be surrounded by people who push you further.
11. Believe in people – cynics will disagree when it comes to this but I sincerely believe that despite the bad in the world, there are people who are good. I’ve had the pleasure of being in the presence of them and it’s always strengthened my belief in the inherent good nature of people.
12. Be kind – it isn’t always easy but showing kindness to me will hopefully plant a seed in another person to do the same and so it will continue that way – it’s seemingly naive but acts of kindness have such great impact.
13. Change is inevitable, get used to it.
14. The things that made you lose sleep in your 20s will probably look silly to you.
15. Greet people – as a child I was taught to greet my neighbours but as I grew older I no longer did this however there’s nothing lovelier than seeing the face of cashier light up when you simply acknowledge their presence with a simple smile and hello.
16. Play! I’ve never stopped being a child and I’m glad – I’m a better aunt to my niece and nephew and I’m certain I’ll be a great first friend to my child!
17. Being alone isn’t lonely… I learned this lesson in my 20s already. I started to enjoy my own company and found that being alone is a great time to figure out what you want, who you want in your space and catch up on much needed reading and series binge weekends!
18. Be your happiness – over the years I’ve come to discover that the things and people that made me happy even six months ago might not be around. Happiness has to come from within so that when the things are no longer with you- you’ll still be fine.
19. Creativity isn’t just a hobby – I’ve recently discovered that making things with my hands is not only fun but I’m hoping it’ll turn into a lucrative venture.
20. It’s ok not want to wear heels – they’re a social construction made by men to oppress women! but on the real I’ve been a #chickinkicks and #sneakerhead since toddler days and as you become older, people start asking why you’re dressing your age but thankfully the right people have spoken terms such as sport luxe into being and it’s suddenly chic to rock kicks – I’m so glad they’ve all caught on!
21. You can never have too many accessories and if things go my way more women will start to own the ones #madewithlovebysiya.
22. There’ll always be people in your corner rooting for you – some cheer loudly with pom poms and screams – others pray for you silently hoping you succeed. Send back those blessings.
23. Dressing up is not a crime – wanting to look good and taking care of your appearance has sometimes been seen as a sign of being superficial and self absorbed but if you show up in a fleece onesie to work somehow your colleagues won’t be too impressed.
24. Learn from your past, live in the present and look forward to the future – don’t let the three seep into each other.
25. Pamper yourself – even if it’s simply an ice cream cone or as extravagant as a weekend away at a five star resort – treat yourself to something nice every once in a while.
26. You are enough – whether at work, with friends or in a relationship – you don’t have to bend over backwards to be loved… if it’s not you they want, that’s fine.
27. Get a passport and use it! Mozambique, Botswana, Swaziland and Lesotho are a taxi or bus ride away and then you start saving for those flights to Lagos, Accra, Nairobi, NYC, London and Tokyo.
28. Family isn’t just blood – you meet people in life that just aren’t just go beyond the title of friend.
29. I’m an emotional being and that’s cool. I express my feelings and sometimes it gets over the top but I’m glad you’ll always know where you stand with me. I’m working on controlling the outbursts so that I don’t always come across as a screaming psycho – it’s a work in progress.
30. Do you – it’s the best favour you can do yourself the world!