I turn 24 tomorrow. Normally, my birthday eve finds me ready: the dress and shoes would have already been bought, I’d only be left with the big question; who to dine with. It’s crazy the number of people who find time for you on your birthday, it’s like suddenly, they can make time. Suddenly, you really matter. Last year, I went to dinner with one Waibi, a poet and lawyer – a dangerous combination. I blushed through most of the evening. This year! This year has been unconventional. No dress has been bought, because there’s nowhere to go. It’s been 165 days since I last went to work. It’s been 167 days since I earned a salary so my priorities have pretty much changed. I stay up till whatever time I want because there are no lessons to prepare.
I even started watching Big Brother Naija. I watch Dorathy play ludo with Prince. I watch her frown as he starts to win. Being the petty person she is, she disorganizes all the tokens on the board so he can’t win. I watch him laugh at her then they start the game all over again and I realize I miss my friends. I also miss my senior two literature class. I miss dressing up to go to work. I miss “normal” life but 2020 has shown us that life is not a straight line so we have to cope whenever it decides to take a turn.
This season hasn’t been all bad though. At least my hair is pleased with me and I’ve made memories with my family that I wouldn’t have if things were still “normal.” Also, having a lot of time these past few months has pushed me to reflect on my “many” years in this world, the things I’ve achieved and things I could do better. I haven’t entered the motivational speaker phase yet, but let me use this blogpost to save the 24 things I hope I don’t forget in this new year.
- You don’t have to make money from everything, somethings you just have to do out of love.
- The process doesn’t exist to slow you down, it’s to grow you. Go through it. Avoid shortcuts.
- Talk about things; the ones that matter to you, the ones that make you happy, the ones that piss you off. Don’t sweep things under the rug.
- Most times things won’t work out the first time, try again. But if you know it’s going to break you, just don’t do it.
- Boundaries! Boundaries! Boundaries! Set them. Respect them
- You’re too young to live a half life. Chase your dreams, as many as you can. Let those that get away get away, catch some.
- It’s okay to admit when you don’t know something. They can’t teach you if they don’t know that you don’t know.
- Educate yourself. You owe it to yourself to know things.
- Not everyone needs to know everything that goes on in your life. Tell the people that matter the things that matter.
- Study yourself; know your weaknesses and strengths, learn things that make you happy, understand why you do the things the way you do. Know yourself.
- On some days, you’ll be the bad guy. Acknowledge that, apologize, do better.
- Don’t let anyone rush you into something you’re not ready for. Let some things pass you by as you prepare for what you actually want.
- You need people, you’re no island.
- Arrivism can be a lie. Sometimes you haven’t really arrived, the boda guy just ran out of fuel. Get another boda, keep going. Don’t limit yourself.
- Pay attention to pain. It is like a toddler, it needs attention. Pretending it doesn’t exist only makes it more stubborn. Deal with your pain. Don’t try to mask it.
- Don’t let people condition you for abuse. It’s not okay for people to treat you like an option. Love yourself enough to walk away from anyone who doesn’t treat you how you deserve to be treated.
- Don’t downplay yourself. Receive your compliments. Receive your credit.
- Eat your money! Buy yourself books. Take yourself to that new restaurant. Go see places. Eat yowa manee!
- Not everything is about you. Don’t make everything about you.
- Don’t let people disrespect because of your age.
- There’s magic in silence. Use it every once in awhile.
- Don’t reduce yourself to fit into their box. Be you, fully.
- Pay attention to people; to their words and actions.
- If Jesus is in your boat, the waves may shake it but they can’t capsize it. Have faith. (Matthew 8:23-27)