After turning a new chapter in my life...I've been thinking (as per usual). I'd like to think I've grown...wiser as well as older.
I remember listening to this Preacher when I was younger (God, I feel so old saying that). Anyway, I think it was a sermon I attended which was about Singles and Marriage or whatever. I was in University at the time anyway and I remember him saying, "Your 20s are the most confusing years of your life. You are trying to grow and find yourself, what works for you and trying to figure your life out."
I won't lie, I thought he was exaggerating. I knew I'd graduate in Law, I knew I wanted to be a lawyer. So, at the time (I must have been 20), I was like, "let me just graduate then go to law school and get a Training Contract". Well, I graduated and I completed law school - the Training Contract is still needed *rolls-eyes*.
Since graduation, I have had...three jobs in three different law firms, I have relocated to a whole different Country and I'm still trying to figure out my life. But nevertheless...here are 25 things I have learned in 25 years of living.
1. God ALWAYS PROVIDES PEOPLE.
There are times when I felt so alone, so depressed, so sad and I think it's because I didn't FEEL like God was there at times. There are times when I felt like giving up on this Christian life because I felt so DIFFERENT to others. I have learned that there are people who will call themselves Christians but not really ACTIVELY live out that life. I have attended many churches AFTER graduation and it was hard to make friends because a lot of these people were much older and I couldn't find people MY age in Church. They were either too young or too old.
But despite all this; I have an amazing cousin (Hi Thelma!) who probably doesn't know but she is such a blessing to my life. She doesn't judge me and she is always there to provide advice when I need it.
Even though I don't have a lot of people I can relate to around my age, I am thankful for my cousin, my best friend and my parents.
2. LOVE YOUR BODY
Growing up, I...wouldn't say hated...but I struggled with the concept of loving my body. I have always been slim. I remember my cousins used to tease me and call me 'skeletal' - which has given me thick skin because I was so used to family calling me 'skeletal', I didn't care what people said. BUT, growing up in a world where big bums and big breasts were everywhere (Kim K, Beyoncé) and then men identifying with people like that as 'beautiful', it was hard to accept that I, myself, being slim and having no curves, as 'beautiful'.
I'm not exactly THERE yet BUTTTTTTTTTTTTT, by the grace of GOD, I have learned to see myself through GOD'S EYES. You have no idea what a difference that makes. It took me a LONG time. I used to hide behind make up and baggy clothes. It took the Word of God to love myself the way God loves me. My confidence cannot be found in a man or society, it is found in God. I remember pondering upon Psalm 139 and thinking, 'Wow, God made me FEARFULLY and WONDERFULLY. Who am I that God made me so beautifully?'. This is not me bragging but honestly, I have learned to accept myself the way I am.
I am in no way perfect but I am made perfect by the love of God.
3. ACCEPT ADVICE
I am stubborn. I won't even lie. I am stubborn and always tend to think I am right about everything. If anything...I refuse to accept that I am wrong in most cases. BUT, of course, it only takes God to change a person.
Proverbs 12:15 - Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others
THINK upon that verse for a moment. God is talking to you. It's good to have people who are older and wiser than you to HOLD you accountable for your behaviour. Its wise to have people advise you in the things you do. Be willing to accept help from others who have lived on earth a lot longer than you have.
4. IT'S OKAY TO NOT BE OKAY
I've often said I am not an emotional person. I have only cried in front of my mother, my cousin (Thelma) and my best friend, Mesna. I hate to have people think they have power over me. I hate to have people think I am weak. I hate to have people think I am this helpless little creature.
BUT - I have learned that its okay to be vulnerable. It's okay to accept help from others and not to do everything by yourself. It's okay to let your feelings out because at the end of the day, if you are not OKAY - then it affects your HEALTH, your FEELINGS, your BODY, your SOUL.
5. GOOD FRIENDS
Growing up - I don't think I had good friends. I've always been that friendly person. If I see someone sitting alone, I will go and chat to them. I remember in my school days, there was a girl who had 'selective mutism' (if you don't know what that is, google it). It's a condition that basically stops someone from talking because of anxiety or...whatever. Anyway this girl (Hi Sneha), was often bullied because of her condition and she was often isolated and seated alone, but I remember we had a class together (textiles) and I remember walking up to her and sitting with her everyday. We are EXTREMELY close friends right now and have been friends since that day.
Sooooo - I have learned to be discerning of friends. Even when it comes to guys, I have always wanted to have a good friend in a HUSBAND. If we cannot be friends, we can't be lovers. I cannot be married to somebody I am not friends with because I know myself. I will be miserable for life and make your life miserable.
I am thankful for having good friends so far...even the ones I have lost have taught me good things. It's not about the QUANTITY but it its about the QUALITY of your friendships that count.
I won't write exactly what I am forgiving people for - its private. BUT I've learned to forgive and to let go. I know that NOT forgiving people has often led me to feel bitter about them, to hate them.
AGAIN, it's only because of the GRACE of GOD that I have learned the power of forgiveness without people apologising for their mistakes.
I know that I have also hurt people and I needed the grace of GOD. It took that to realise that just the way I need the forgiveness and love from God, people who have hurt me also need the love and forgiveness from ME. It's so hard to be Christ-like, guys! Honestly!
7. WAITING ON GOD
I think we can ALL agree that waiting for anything is a challenge. I remember when I was younger, my friends and I made a plan. My plan was...to finish university at 20 (done), go to law school at 21 (done), get a job after law school in a law firm (done) then get married at 23 like my Mum did. LOL.
Yeahhhhhh - unfortunately, God doesn't work according to our programs and plans. But, I think God is trying to teach me something.
1. Do not rush!
2. Learn to love
3. Get closer to Him
Looking back now, if I got married at 23....I'd be a mess. I was bitter, I was angry and lazy and stressed with life (ask my young brother). I was still struggling with my relationship with God.
So, I learned not to rush (and I've heard plenty of testimonies of people in terrible marriages because they RUSHED and didn't consult God before they married. Someone told me, who you choose to marry is the SECOND most important decision you will ever make after getting SAVED.
So, waiting on God is good - it teaches you to trust God, to be patient during your wait and to get closer to Him.
8. TRAVEL TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH
TRAVEL!!!! I have learned to ENJOY life and explore. It has been fun to get lost in a different country, to try out the different foods, to experience different cultures and traditions. It's honestly the BEST experience of my LIFE.
My best memories in life have been created because of TRAVELLING.
It's been an experience to learn different languages and see people of different colours - even to LISTEN to different languages. SEE and TRAVEL the world. It's the BEST experience ever. Dear Future Husband - please....you have to be a traveller. LOL.
9. TAKE A RISK!!
Well...I took a risk when I RELOCATED abroad especially to Zambia. I remember when I told my manager about my decision and he was so disappointed. He tried to offer me a pay rise, tried to set other conditions in my contract and I was like bruh. I often wonder if I made the right decision moving but well...we will see.
Life is about risks, after all.
10. LISTEN TO YOUR INTUITION
God gave us an intuition for a REASON - listen to HER. Wisdom is there for a reason, learn to listen to her...otherwise...you're screwed.
11. HEARTBREAKS ARE GOOD THINGS
Heartbreaks can teach you a thing or two - and if anything...I think God and I are a lot closer because of it.
12. BE HEALTHY
I have learned that I need to be healthy and that includes increasing my exercise routines because ALTHOUGH I AM SLIM...I need to be more involved in sports activities.
13. CHECK UP ON PEOPLE
People won't tell you they are fine. Sometimes it's good to check up on your friends - find out how they are. Are they doing okay in life? Friendship is give and take. If you check up on them and they check up on you...that's a beautiful friendship.
14. SPOIL YOURSELF
Hey - buy yourself some flowers, a dress, do your nails! Do something nice for yourself. I think its easy to let yourself go (as in...let yourself not care about yourself).
15. READ MORE
I already read a lot but I think I need to invest in more books.
16. DON'T SPEND TOO MUCH TIME ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media takes you away from your family and friends (people who are actually present and who actually care). Don't spend too much time on your phone, on Facebook, on Netflix, on Twitter. Chill.
17. DO SOMETHING CRAZY TO YOUR HAIR
I cut my hair and it was PRETTY LONG. I do not regret it. I need to do more crazy things to my hair.
18. DON'T BE ARGUMENTATIVE
I already said I am stubborn...I'm learning, I promise. I need to be less argumentative (especially when I think I am right).
19. SAVE YOUR MONEY
Save your money - you may need it for a rainy day (or to go back to England when you need to)
20. ITS OKAY TO SAY NO
Sometimes...you're just tired and want to rest. Say no to an outing. You don't HAVE to go out.
21. WRITE MORE
I love writing stories. I was an A* student at school in ENGLISH or anything to do with essays. Mathematics, Science or the like...were often an issue for me.
So...I've learned to write more. Write my feelings in a diary. Write stories. Write poems. Just write.
My parents are very business minded with a successful business. I need to make good investments and will continue to try and assess what I am good at.
23. DON'T CHANGE
I am who I am. I am crazy, I talk too much and often emotional (although I don't show it).
24. BE MORE ASSERTIVE
25. CONTENTMENT OVER HAPPINESS
Happiness is conditional because its based on the condition that things are going well. So...I've learned to be CONTENT with LITTLE and with MORE. But regardless of the situation...I am content with life so far.
Just like the Apostle Paul said...we have to learn to be CONTENT in every season. There will be seasons where we will have a LOT and there will be seasons where we will have LITTLE.