It’s my birthday and every year at this time I get reflective thinking about all the things that happened or could have happened. What’s the saying? “God protects babies and fools”. Yeah, fool… all me for so much of these 34 years. But being the fool taught me a lot.
At 24 I was about a year out of college and floundering. The Quarter Life Crisis is real. It’s the part of your life where you have fulfilled (or not) all the things people have expected of you and the road map has run out. Your parents are of little help because lots of them had full on families by this age and listening to your friends is the blind leading the blind. So we were out there… trying to mimic the TV show, Girlfriends (pours one out for the best show ever). *Sigh* But if I could write a roadmap or just some really honest life lessons I wish someone would have told me at 24 they would be…
Ask for more money. Do you remember when you were young, looking for your first job? We were out there in our Macy’s best trying to make the degree we just got mean something. I was “happy to be in the room” way too much. I would definitely tell my younger self that you need to hire a company just as much as they are hiring you. So thug it out and ask for more money – you will have to make up that pay gap later.
Live, girl. Let people keep their shame. For young women, it seems to be an endless chorus of voices telling you what you should be and as a result, you end up carrying lots of gender shame. You are judged for too much sex… too little sex… sex with losers… sex with winners… I am already tired thinking about it. I had to finally say enough… “It’s my vagina, I will do what I want”. The people around you love you but honestly… wrap it up and be safe and LIVE on your own terms.
When you are invited into a room, show up. The 20s must be the years of “of course you all are talking and thinking about me” and as a result, we shrink ourselves. Let go of the over thinking and rethinking…you were invited to the table because people want to hear from you. Put on a bold lip, lean in and speak up! #glowupandshowout
You are and have always been enough. I do not know about yall but I spent a lot of my younger years wishing I was smarter, funnier, savvier….just more than myself. Learning that I was enough and whatever I am was worth loving 100% was eye opening. Anyone who wants to change you does not want you, let them go.
You do not need to know the entire 10 point plan to get started. As the queen of type A, I still have to remind myself that I do not need to see the finish line to get started. It’s okay to start with the steps you know right now.
Knowing someone since you were 14 does not make them your “best friend”. This may hurt but it’s the truth…your friends from high school are more than likely not riding with you like that. It is just life. In high school, you needed different things from people so trying to hold on to those people and make them fit what your needs are a decade later is silly. It’s time to shed some dead weight and find people that feed you.
Spend more time with your own thoughts and feelings. The “Amen Corner” is problematic. You do not need validation to do what you know is right. The worst thing to happen is allowing people to make you second guess your decisions. If you are like me, you end up kicking yourself for not following your first mind. Stop asking people what they think and stop soliciting opinions. Sounding boards are cool but the outcome is yours to carry so make your own choices.
That was a heart full and I am sure if we had time I can add at least 20 more. The point is we live, we learn and we grow so do not worry so much about the step you are missing today. When you know better, do better. I would love to hear your lessons to your younger self too. Tell me about them in the comments below and share this post in celebration of 7/7/17! 🙂