“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” – Zora Neale Hurston
Hello, you. What kind of year are you having?
I turned 24 two weeks ago (whoop whoop!), and as I like to do every year before my birthday, I reflected on the year I had. So, back to the Zora quote. I had a year that answered my questions like a true Nigerian- with even more questions, lol. Before I wade into the deep end, can I just say how thankful I am to be here? Alive and healthy. To be working at a job that I love. To have discovered Ewa Aganyin, yo. And the perfect pair of denim. There’s so much more to do, I’m excited!
And with these questions came many lessons, realizations. You can read my ‘What 22 Taught Me’ lessons HERE. Here are some of the most important lessons I learnt in my 23rd year on this beautiful, terrible earth. Just 5 🙂
1. Finding Yourself is not one grand event.
Self awareness is a major key. There is great power in knowing who you are. I used to feel like I needed to fly off to Europe or something, sha go as far away from home as possible, to “find myself”. I also used to think that “finding myself” was supposed to just come to me one blessed day, like one big epiphany. Finding yourself is not one grand event, I know now. Finding myself isn’t something that’s just going to happen, by chance, on one fateful day. I think finding oneself is a deliberate effort. We put ourselves together, piece by piece. Some days, I discover something new about myself. Other days, I am making myself, creating myself. It’s like, I want to be this person- so, what do I have to do or give, to become her?
2. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable, and watch your comfort zone expand.
I am incredibly shy, or should I say, I used to be? Because this year, I realized how much of a “famzer” I am now, and I wondered, how did this happen? By challenging myself to reach out to people, over and over again. It started small, like willing myself to actually say the things in my head- mostly the simple good ones, like compliments, how I feel about someone’s work. If someone’s doing great, you really should let them know. Sometimes, the hard stuff that needs to be said too. Now, I think about how I really used to avoid interacting with people in public. It was always MAD STRESSFUL. I am not smooth (still a work in progress, haha), I may be a little awkward, but, this is a habit I never thought I’d learn and yet, here I am.
3. It’s okay to ask: “What’s In It For Me?”
Is this selfish? No, it’s not. It’s also okay to just say NO. No is a complete sentence.
I no longer do things for people that adds value to them, and brings nothing to me. Why can’t we both win? I caught up to this one late- shout out to Natural Nigerian for planting the seed! 🙂
Exposure won’t put fuel in my tank, and, I could be watching Veep or something, instead of redrafting your bluddy agreement for free. Nah, mehn. NO. My internet is not free, and neither was my education so… exit, please.
Since I started rejecting osho-free “opportunities” that offered “exposure”, or requests to do work for free, I’ve been happier with my life, abeg.
4. Everybody starts from somewhere (and this includes you)
I have never been one to scoff at small beginnings, but for some reason, I do not give myself the same encouragement, patience and positivity I give to others’ endeavours. This is probably because I am so fixated on the vision, how nice and shiny it is. Rome was not built in a day, though. It’s important to keep the end goal in mind, for motivation, but at the same time, I must remember that it is a GOAL. Something I am working towards because I’m not there yet. And I won’t get there if I am so easily thrown off by the realities of the journey.
5. Have boundaries.
People will try to one-up you, bully you, walk all over you. It’s just human nature. Especially Nigerians. Especially in this Lagos. I have definitely learnt to assert myself more. It’s my job to put up boundaries and clearly communicate them. (Most) people WILL try to mess with you, IF you allow them. So, very simply, DON’T.
What kind of year are you having? What have you learnt about yourself, or life, lately? I’d love for you to share with me.
Have a great week, and I hope July is good to you!