I am 25! Woohoo! My late teens and early twenties were quite the ride and I cannot wait to see what my mid twenties hold! Whatever the case, below are the lessons I am carrying into 25!
- Sisterhood is everything
For me sisterhood is a term that encompasses my sisters, sister-friends, girlfriends, aunties, mothers, grandmothers and mentors. These wonderful powerful women were everything I needed to get through my late teens and early twenties. By everything I mean every thing from offering sound guidance to being entire support systems to cuddling me in warm hugs and yummy food… The best part is that they are still all I will need to get through 25 and beyond! Henceforth, I aim to be more intentional about nourishing my sisterhood relationships because I have found them to be more wholesome and rewarding compared to the romantic relationships I have been socialised to prioritise.
- “Breathe! What is for you, will find you!”
Once the preparation has been done, the work completed and the prayers made, what is for me will find me! Be it a relationship, an inheritance, gift or reward, it will find me! If I had known this earlier, I would have saved myself so much heartbreak and disappointment from forcing issues. On the other hand, I would have been less anxious in situations where what I thought I did not deserve found me. Now, I fully believe that if one door closes God will always open wider ones; ones that I should walk into with all the confidence, courage and gratitude (shindwe impostor syndrome!).
- Take care of your heart, mind, body and soul.
One day you wake up and realise you are now your own primary care giver. No one else is checking if you are doing your devotional or researching the schools you should go to anymore. At first you might fight the responsibility but ultimately you come to terms with it; even if it takes getting a tooth filling at 23 because you had not been to the dentist in ages! My biggest breakthrough in this journey of caring for myself came from realising that my being is an ecosystem of my heart, mind, body and soul/spirit. Now that I know this, I am learning to be more attentive to my needs and more intentional about meeting them. As I continue to learn the new ways in which my being morphs, I device more effective ways to cater to it.
- That class privilege guilt is not helping anyone.
My class privilege has been one of the elements of my identity that I have struggled with the most. I became aware of my privilege in high school and this definitely helped me become more empathetic with those who did not have the same financial means as I. However, the awareness also gave birth to guilt which I think was a waste of time dressed up in false humility. Now, I am more interested in using the power of this privilege to make a sustainable difference in my life (adulting oyee!) and in the lives of those around me and to eventually contribute to dismantling the oppressive system that is class. Coming to terms with this in 2018 through this speech was a major step forward.
- Love is symbiosis.
Chimamanda, in one of my favourite speeches of hers, states that love is as much giving as it is taking – so symbiosis (I feel so cool when I remember primary school terms). A love that only gives without taking or takes without giving is parasitism. Looking back at the relationships and friendships I had, I recognise that many were parasitic. I should have required more reciprocity and less struggle from them and if they were incapable of such I should have simply left. While I admire how I loved with such trust and abandon, I agree with Alex Elle’s post on instagram where she advised us to give ourselves permission to step out of one-sided relationships.
- “I am mine before I am ever anyone else’s.”
I love this Nayyirah Waheed quote so much that I once wanted to get a tattoo of it. I lived my early twenties belonging or rather committing to everyone else around me but myself – my community, my parents, my siblings and all the expectations they came with. This quote holds me accountable to advocating for my needs, rights and joys first. This is not to say that it is wrong to have committed to the other parties, but I am learning to set boundaries and put myself first. What’s that saying about not being able to pour from an empty cup?
- Valar morghulis
We all must die (I used a GoT reference, 25 year old me is so cool!). But seriously, death has been the most difficult phenomenon I have had to come to terms with. I still struggle with it and every time someone I know dies, I spiral into this awful existential crisis. I think what scares me most about death is the thought that I will simply just cease to exist. The other thing is the fact that I have absolutely no control over death, so I could eat all my vitamins and exercise but if I am to die then I will just die. My hope in eternity and the circle of life (Hi Mufasa!) ease these fears but at the end of the day I have learnt to make the most of every single day aka valar dohaeris (there I go again). I like how King Solomon put it so lets end with Ecclesiastes 9: 7-10.