25 Things I Learned In My 25th Year

I tend to do this, the annual birthday post. Ya know, to reflect, review and honestly, try to answer the question of “How did I get here?”!

This year, to add some spunk, I’m gonna add these lessons in a simple bulleted list of 25 things I have learned in my 25th year of life.

Thus, here goes… of course, in no particular order.

  1. Say “NO”. This was my year of NO and it was absolutely pristine. I felt grown *finger snap*, liberated and honestly, happier. I learned to say NO when I knew I couldn’t give 100% to a task or when I truly couldn’t make it. I was all the better for it but so were the people that I didn’t let down.
  2. Exercise is for ME, not anyone else. I’m not a fitness freak by any means but the overwhelming sense of accomplishment, joy and sheer self-esteem boost I got from exercise taught me that this is an activity that I do for ME not the aesthetic pleasure of the opposite sex.
  3. Life Goes On. I hit some bumps in the road last year. Now, it may be true that I built most of said bumps but nonetheless at the time, I wasn’t sure I was going to overcome them. But I did. I can and I will going forth. Thus, life goes on.
  4. It’s Okay. In reference to lesson #3, some of those bumps caused me to have days where leaving my apartment seemed like a monumental task, so I learned that it’s okay to have a bad day. There are days when you deserve to sit around, eat french fries and watch Netflix, the issue arises when these days turn into weeks, so, keep a leash on that.
  5. Forward is Still Progress. I am a planner. My planner is as close to me as a child. So when things do not go as planned I can be rather feisty. My plans for my dissertation writing went array towards the end of the year. I immediately had to adjust and understand that moving forward, at whatever pace, was still progress. *side note: I proclaim this mantra when it comes to running/ walking/ jogging as well*
  6. I Can’t Do It Alone. I am (Boosie Voice) *I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T*. But this year taught me that I can’t do it alone. Whether it be moving, working out, eating healthy or completing my dissertation, I can’t do it alone.
  7. My Parents/Family Are A Necessity. For years I thought that by 25 I would be out here flourishing all by myself, covering all my bills, and doing it all alone, this year slapped me in the face and showed me that my parents and my family are a necessity. Always have been. Always will be. Moving, advice on insurance plans, what mattress to buy or cooking when I’m sick, my family will always be there.
  8. Keep It Small. There have been times when I equated having tons of friends with being better liked and better loved. Boy have I learned how FALSE this is. Graduating, moving away and returning home has narrowed my friend circle to a petite special group that encourages me, loves me, and corrects me, all in grace and truth. Now that, dear friends is invaluable.
  9. A Savings Account is MANDATORY. As a doctoral student who only does part-time work, the idea of a savings account has often been foreign, however, I have quickly learned the value of stashing some cash whether it’s for those $800 tires or that $350 Kate Spade strawberry purse that went down to $89…priorities people.
  10. A savings account is mandatory, so is a good credit score. As I begin to think about life as an adult, I realize the importance of my credit score. Thus, establishing my own line of credit and keeping a watch on it through sites such as CreditKarma is becoming increasingly important to me.
  11. Self-Care is a M U S T. There have been weeks/ months where I was going non-stop. Oftentimes forgetting to take care of myself. Before I noticed, my eyebrows looked like Hagrid’s bangs and my spirit was running on fumes. Therefore giving birth to a self-care routine that sometimes involved reading my favorite book, shopping alone, binging on Netflix or watching my favorite movie. #Rejuvenation
  12. Death to Social Media. I know. Most of y’all read that and nearly passed out. In August I deleted all forms of social media sans Pinterest. Why? My world seemed to revolve around the lives of others who had no idea I existed. I made constant comparisons to the woman I was and the stories/ pictures that other’s posted. The negativity was chipping away at my soul like a persistent drip, and I had barely noticed it. Until one day, it hit me. I’m not married. I’m not in a relationship. I don’t have this.. I don’t have that..etc. etc. I had forgotten all of my blessings and instead was lusting after others. So, I let it go. And yes, I miss it. But honestly, I have never been happier.
  13. Positive Self-Talk is Life-Altering. Being my own hype-man is literally the funniest most positive thing ever. YASSSS girl, you is KIND, you is SMART, you is IMPORTANT. I’m learning to love me… every single bit of me (:
  14. Proper Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance. If you stay ready, you never have to get ready. A lesson I constantly work on and strive for.
  15. A Good Book is ALWAYS A Good Idea. I have always loved to read, but this past year I truly valued the feeling of drifting away to another world, even if only for a few minutes. Again, learning to invest in things I love to read i.e. Harry Potter.
  16. ...so is a good album. I am no music guru, but this past year I learned the value of a good album and the intense feeling of singing it at the top of my lungs while also pretending I am performing in a stadium filled with die-hard fans. Thus, invest in good must (i.e. Lemonade by Beyonce, The Coloring Book by Chance the Rapper, The Hamilton Mixtape) and SANG HONEY!
  17. I Can Do What I Want. I am almost, sorta kinda grown. I learned to do what makes me happy. I haven’t flat ironed by hair in two months and last night I cut my own bangs. Yeah…you could say I’m learning to *flourish*.
  18. I Can Be Single.  While society pressures young women to maintain stable relationships and move hastily towards marriage, it hasn’t worked out for me that way. So year 25 was all about appreciating and accepting my season of singleness and embracing it. It was also about creatively firing shots at all those family members that tried to knock you for protecting your eggs from scrubs. “Leslie, you ain’t got no man yet? THE LORD, I am in a stable relationship with the LORD. If he came here right now, what would you have to say to HIM!”
  19. Be Honest. This year taught me to be more honest with  myself and with my friends. Leslie, he’s a hoe, he always gonna be a hoe and like J.Cole said, don’t save him, he don’t wanna be saved. Move on. Working to give advice that was shared through a lens of grace and truth I was able to be more honest with those around me as well. No, honey, he ain’t a bit of good, I don’t care WHAT he said. 
  20. One Strike, You’re OUT! This year I wish I would have learned that this dating game is NOT like baseball and that most of the scoundrels DO NOT deserve three strikes, thus let’s hope that in 2017 I work to avidly implement a one strike rule in dating when necessary.
  21.  Raise Your Standards. For yourself, for others, for the men in your life, for everyone. I learned to raise my standards. Or, sadly, in some cases, I learned to just implement ANY standards at all *hangs head in shame*
  22. Negativity Is Disastrous. There were days that I perfected the character of Sulking Susan, Whiny Wanda and Moaning Myrtle…but this past year taught me how disastrous continued negativity can be if left unchecked. Give those negative thoughts a name and check them… refer back to Lesson #13.
  23. Forgive. Every year is faced with transgressions from those whom we love the most. Scars that can be debilitating if we let them. So this year I learned to forgive. Though hard, I learned to forgive over and over… Matthew 18:22.
  24. Love. I feel like every season of my life teaches me to love different things and different people in a different way. This past year taught me how to love my friends. For always being there, correcting me, loving me, supporting me, this past year taught me that romantic love is not the only love that we must work on, we must work avidly on our love towards our friends as well.
  25. My Vertical Relationship is more important that ANY Horizontal Relationship. Anytime my relationship with God began to falter over the past year, so did my relationship with everyone around me as well as my relationship with myself. This past year taught me that my relationship with God is the foundation, the most important, the beginning of my relationship with everything and everyone around me. At times, hard-learned, this lesson has, hands-down, been the most important lesson I have learned over the past year and I hope that the lesson it taught me will bring success and blessings in 2017.

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