At 23, I thought I was a game changer who had life going for her at a fast pace! I had a high- paying job, a family who adored me, an amazing circle of friends and was married to the ‘Man of my Dreams’.
I couldn’t see beyond my nose, into the realities of becoming a living experiment that hold numerous possibilities, series of mistakes and countless opportunities for growth not in the famed linear ascent that is usually an upward spiral leap of successes or a burst of chemical award-winning reactions but in the little things which form the essence of our humanity and the purpose of being alive.
Grateful that I have zero regrets at what may have happened but so very mindful at what I wish I had known to help me in this path of living, doing and becoming. So, to start, the month of my birth – I felt the audacity to share 23 things that I wish I knew at 23.
Writing this blogpost has been an open journaling session where I get to invite you into my world made bare. I truly hope it does someone a world of good, or if anything less – it may expose me to further analytics and scrutiny which might be just the feedback that I need in the days leading up to my birthday.
Like the Earth, I am in constant motion – Therefore I have the right to change my mind!
I said what I said! I am not sorry, but very certain that I might do it differently right now. How many times do you give yourself the permission to change your mind?
I liked tall, caramel and very sporty men in the past, now give me dark chocolate or even vanilla with green eyes. What’s changed? I am no longer into the exterior packaging but set into substance, how can he love me better? What’s the added value?
Let’s take a more formal approach – you could have preferred been an entrepreneur based on the context of your life and dreams at a certain time. If things do not work out? You can unashamedly call it quits and stroll in the heavenly realm of a 9-5! Who cares? Well, no one really! Who is going to remind you of your very loud, abstract and or contradictory views – the world. So in changing your mind, don’t change your values without deep reconstruction.
Happiness is a journey not a destination.
As someone who has survived multiple physical and psychological trauma (Since Age 5) and is still healing from the barrage of experiences that this brings. I have deeply invested into all things happiness believing that happiness was a permanent state and I would grill myself when I had the occasional rough path or bouts of depression. How I wish I knew that happiness is a journey that involves daily work. It’s like taking a shower- you cannot avoid deep cleansing – no matter how well you scrubbed up yesterday. Happiness means different things for us all with no one size fits all or a formula that we can easily copy and paste. What may be of importance, is developing a system, some internal regulator that is able to recognize, collect and multiply your feelings of joy, satisfaction, contentment, and fulfillment!
Recognizing and priotizing my own needs does not make me selfish or self-centered
Growing up in the church, I owned – Matthew 22: 35-40 – ‘’Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself ‘’. Great scripture and a wonderful phenomenon that I misinterpreted for the longest time, maybe you are in danger too.
Love starts with me. (Say that to yourself – over and over again.) How can you pour from an empty cup? Choosing your needs, is a gift to self. You will be in a better space to support others when you priotize you. Only then can you abundantly share with others: your time, talents and resources.
Life’s curved balls are God’s way of presenting ‘Best Ever Moments’
When NO’s show up, we get easily frustrated and sometimes take it personal. I have grown to believe and accept divine synchronicity. I have read about different scenarios were people get to miss a connection and that turns into a life saved or they are turned down for the job of their dreams only to land with one that brings them closer to legacy building and purpose. ‘The Wait’ , ‘The Rejection’ might grant you the ‘Best Ever Moments’
You are going to make mistakes and that’s okay
Largely, I think we are afraid of mistakes as it unveils issues such as shame and vulnerability.
Most often making mistakes, leaves one with consequences. That is certainly a hard pill to swallow – having to see the results of poor choices and or actions. Like messing up at your last job that left you with a corruption scandal or diving into an affair that rewards you with a love child. However, nothing truly can turn back the hands of time, so why weep over spilt milk? Boldly…walk the path, knowing that mistakes contribute to the whole.
Brene Brown once said that vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.
Finding the ONE must be the least of your priorities
I wish I had magical powers to cast a spell on anyone who has contributed to or is promoting – the marriage card as a BIG achievement. Marriage is an honourable thing! It is a great situation but it doesn’t define who you are – it’s like the icing to the cake.
If you do not establish who you are, get to know what your mission in life is – you can never co-exist with another. Young lady, young man – work on SELF, invest now and then if you so desire, find the one.
Societal Accolades & Recognitions are catalysts for more work
I thrive on words of affirmations, so receiving recognitions and awards were a big thing for me! I cannot lie- been on fancy news reports and blogs, gave me the warmest feelings of fulfilment. Little did I know that with each award came an expectation to do more.
Besides, it’s very likely that people would start elevating you to degrees of greatness that might either distract you or propel you to keep doing, being busy, chasing feel good chemicals: serotonin, dopamine, endorphins and oxytocin till you drop.
In retrospect, saying no to some of these opportunities, keeping myself grounded and slowing down would have been better. Is that SO, Ariana? Nah! – I take that back – finding the balance through the opportunities would have given me more joy!
No one owes you anything, you owe no one thing
Knock entitlement over, erase it from vocabulary and face each day as a hustler. Avoid the mistake of having high expectations, it may make your heart last longer and keep anxiety at bay. We all came into the world singularly – if connected in anyway – it will be reported and treated as an anomaly. Maybe that’s the universe way of enlightening us. If there is any debt, its the fact that you owe it to yourself to be great, to reach deep within, to ask yourself – why am I here? How can I serve? What must I do to take me on to the next level. Stop waiting for validation, stop waiting for people to return a favour. Move on darling!
Respect for self and others is almost a cardinal rule
Kill ego – but choose respect! Honour and value your ideals, do you know your non- negotiables for business, career, love? What does boundaries mean to you? Who has the permission to cross those lines? What are the signals and how do you avoid those triggers. Once you are able to establish your own code of conduct, it will be easier to hold others accountable. Respect is a currency that never devalues – use it often.
Learning like sleeping are futuristic tools
Sometimes I dislike what I’ve become a permanent member of the 4/5am club – my specialists often tell me that I am sleep deprived. I know that I am addicted to waking up early. Looking forward to relinquishing my membership status soon.
As a young professional and entrepreneur, I wish I knew that it wasn’t the number of hours per say but the quality of work that built a thriving business. This would have saved me numerous bad decisions made in my burnt out state and of course stressful days. However, thanks to the qualities of embracing holistic education – I am easing into the knowledge that learning like sleeping are futuristic tools that contribute to building stronger, better and more mindful leaders. Maybe you can join me in giving a try? Try a sleep meditation, sign up for a sleep workshop or read on your body clock.
Saying I don’t understand is the best reply ever
Just reading that, sent shivers through my spine. The ego often shows up in a rhetorical question to self: how can I be perceived as ignorant or not well researched on a topic that I teach on? I am sure, often this is the case for you. We sail through conversations, networking opportunities not fully understanding conversations or owning the full context. We say yes to situations that we can not rise up to. Why? Because we deisre approval, the urge to follow the crowd or appear politically or socially correct. The next time you face such, be sure to say I don’t know, or I don’t understand. Do explain further.
Embracing self-care is your missing key
Self-care goes beyond massage dates or beautiful vacation spots; it’s how you nurture your well being (physical, mental and spiritual dimensions) on a daily basis. A quick example: what movies do you watch? Very violent scenes, toxic narrations, heavy pornography are all heading into the center of your control system (i.e., your mind) will only vibrate back in returns – similar manifestations will occur consciously or sub- consciously – Moderating extreme/ addictive experiences as and when possible is great for developing a beautiful mind, body or spirit alliance.
You are entitled to define what relationships work for you
My goodness, who determines what’s correct? You and only you! Who guides those decisions, the moral compass that you choose to create. This tool can be altered, destroyed and or recreated as many times as possible. Darling, choose to be in the types of relationships that gives you PEACE. In sexual relationships, own your truth – don’t be hypocritically monogamous. In business relationships choose the simple approach – mindfully establish ethical interactions in your dealings. Otherwise choose complex spheres of interactions if you have the mental capacity to handle such.
Intimacy and Sex are critical elements of your lifestyle
Find a friend who you are intimately connected with – one who you can download your worries and upload your hopes on. Please invest in a cuddle mate, a hug investor, a play companion, a gist partner, a massage giver. Do not depend only on your intimate partner to meet your emotional needs. Seek platonic intimate relationships, be willing to welcome loving friendships even from the opposite sex. My thoughts on platonic intimate relationships are well articulated here: https://www.mic.com/life/friendships-need-intimacy-too-heres-how-to-build-it-82654603
If you can, as a bonus find lover or lovers who creates magic with you regularly. Studies have shown that sex is extremely beneficial to our health. You all know health is wealth! Sex activates a variety of neurotransmitters that impact not only our brains but several other organs in our bodies.
Invest in traveling, learning new languages, researching: arts, culture and people
Read that heading again and create a do list to make these ideas a reality. Maybe you can start with a new book every month? wathc an engaging documentary when you can? Visit a new country instead of purchasing a new gadget? Invest in experiences, they are not easily taken from you.They stay when the scenes of life change.
You NEED people
Do not be afraid to meet new people, authentically engage strangers, establish networks.
I wish I wasn’t sold on the myth of your closest friend being your worst enemy in my early years. Thank goodness, I let go off that burden. I suggest that you do the same, establish spheres of relationships, friendships and acquaintances. We need all kinds of people: resourceful humans, haters – lovers, advancers, helpers, critics etc, etc. Find your tribe, they are so needed in the journey of life.
People will hurt you, that’s not your cross to carry
That small idea or big dream was given to you for implementation. Go on try it out. Pushing yourself to start is the ‘beginning of wisdom’. One step at a time! When you are truly ready to begin, do not wait to get approval from anyone. Most times the people closest to you will say NO. They might discourage you not out of spite but due to the huge amounts of love that blinds them or pushes them to be over protective. The most beautiful journeys are mostly lonely. You may choose to travel the path less taken.
In the end we only regret the chances we didn’t take
I would rather try out and fail than not try at all. May we be delivered from regrets.
Seek spiritual enlightenment as opposed to the shackles of religion
I kid you not, a few people have had ‘heavenly encounters’ but this is not the norm. Religion is man’s order, our perception of the supreme being.
Spirituality is your experience and bonding with She who makes you look at the skies and marvel, that ultimate source that wakes up the sun each day and propels your breath. Seek the knowing of God as opposed to someone else’s narration. I judge no one…..
You can never ever go wrong with GRATITUDE
Gratitude is the great multiplier, try gratitude journaling for a month. Guaranteed to give you the necessary framework that supports a balanced approach to life and work.
Make time for the people and things that matter
Time itself is an individual gift. It is wise to cherish it carefully and give it away generously.” – Maya Angelou
I am learning to give myself time – that pause in between decisions , moments of silence. Also embracing spontaniety within different time frames to include the people and things that matter and bring me joy. We get overwhelmed with work and life to such an extent, we investing time on the most important people. I am tired of losing time, are you?
Live Everyday as if it is your last, 10 chances to one; it is
You may shout, that’s not my portion but it’s the difficult truth. You do not hold the keys to the breath of life.
We are therefore encouraged to live everyday to it’s fullest potential. Choose what makes you happy.
DISCLAIMER: This list is based on my views, might be deeply flawed or incorrect – therefore give yourself the permission to seek what works for you and you alone. Happy Discovery!