Most people will agree with me that our 20s are somehow the most challenging. We are juggling between keeping up with societal expectations while trying to chase our dreams. Most young people have faced depression in this decade and others sadly committed suicide. We graduate from colleges and universities with the promise of good jobs waiting for us only to come to the real world and face the mountain that is unemployment. There are those who are lucky to have connections and others get a way out in the few decent places willing to give graduates a chance. The other group embarks on their entrepreneurship journey which can be challenging especially with our microwave mentality.
The 20s are our adult reality, everything we thought we would have as adults dawns on us that it is just that, an illusion. I have learnt tons in my 20s, made terrible mistakes and also made great decisions. I have had my highs and my lows and I know the 20s are not done with me yet but as they show me what adulthood is, let me share what I have learnt.
On Careers: Oh the 20s and careers! Raise your hand if you figured out your path early and followed it? Okay, the rest let us give these chosen few a loud of applause.
I have started jobs, quit and started something else, excited I have found “the one” in terms of jobs only to feel inadequate months in. When really do I figure this out, like seriously? When I am 30? Anyone here to tell us if it gets better on the third floor?
The one thing I have learnt however is pursue your passion. If you desire to be in a certain field and get a chance to just get your foot in the door of the company you desire to work for, take it and then prove your worth.
Pursue your entrepreneurship desires, appreciate small beginnings and go through the process.
I have learnt that it may take time but eventually I will find my place in this world, my purpose.
On love and relationships: Love is patient, kind, hopes all things and endures all things. Love is for better or for worse. This kind of Love is what we should offer ourselves first. I have learnt especially in the last one year to love myself unconditionally, to be patient with myself and truly be kind to self.
You can only offer someone else what you know, therefore filling your cup helps you pour out that love to the one He has kept for you.
Love is a great feeling and comes from God and therefore we should not shy away from desiring to find love.
I have learnt that learning and being clear on what I want in a relationship will help me not settle for less. I have my standards and whoever thinks they are too high is exactly the kind of person I do not want to be with.
A relationship built on the foundation of Christ will be shaken but not fall. You have to submit to God and especially as a woman get on with a man who submits to God. His master is your master and therefore submitting to this man comes effortlessly.
Fall in love and stay in love with someone who loves you too, someone who respects you. I had to ask myself if the kind of man I want would be attracted to the woman I am. No one is putting in work on themselves to be with someone who is not putting in work on themselves too.
As from my previous post, I have learnt that purity is important in a relationship. Physical attraction can only get you so far. What happens when you meet the next attractive person?
The need for deep bonds can never be overemphasized and this cannot be achieved when a relationship is clouded by sexual pleasure. It gives false illusion that you are connected to a person while in the real sense you are only connected to that feeling. We have been there, we know how the story ends.
On Being Intentional
It is not enough to say you want to spend time with God or with even friends and family. You have to be intentional.
Be intentional about spending time with God, therefore have a plan on when you will talk to Him and when you will be listening to Him. He is the center of everything and learning to truly surrender to Him has helped me not hold on to things I should let go.
Be intentional about making time for friends, I fail but I am really trying to be intentional with making time to spend with friends, catching up with friends I haven’t seen in a long time.
Our 20s teach us on the brevity of life, with so many of us not making to the third floor, it is a blessing to be alive. We, therefore, learn to appreciate those who are around.
Be intentional about spending time with family or checking on them. I write this sad that I lost a cousin whom I haven’t seen or talked to in a long time. My heart is heavy and I wish I was more intentional. It is a lesson and I will do better.
Oprah says “I consider it a compliment that I am full of myself, because only when you are full, I am full, I am overflowing, my cup runneth over, I have so much to offer and so much to give, I am not afraid of honoring myself, it’s miraculous when you think about it.”
This is a lesson I have learnt the hard way, one is when my body fails me because I am not taking care of it. It is also a lesson I have learnt when all I say is yes to everyone leaving no time for what I love.
As an adult being selfish turns out to be a virtue because if you are not putting in work on yourself how can you help others? How do you love someone when you do not love yourself?
I have therefore learnt to take a step back when the world gets too chaotic. I retreat from everything and everyone, go somewhere unfamiliar, I go to a coffee shop… you can go anywhere just not your house. The unfamiliar place tends to open up your mind and helps you relax.
On self-care too I have learnt to take care of my body by trying to eat right and definitely working out.
Self-care is mental, physical and importantly spiritual. Feed your mind and your soul so you never run out.
I have learnt that for me, I tend to fall into depression when I do not take care of myself. I get easily irritable, over think things and end up in a rut of depression. Sad little Pauline is not pretty at all, so self-care for me is something I cannot compromise.
On Gratitude: I have complained a lot in my 20s. Well, I want to have it all when I am young so I have the energy to enjoy it all, call me naïve but I bet you are thinking the same thing.
I, however, had to learn a lot about being humble and appreciative of every single blessing He has given me. I started journaling and I have to admit in the beginning I was just shallow. The only thing on my gratitude list was “I am alive” until I asked myself the hard question, what exactly are you thankful for? I started to list every single thing.
I am grateful that I was able to pay my bills
Grateful that I have friends and family who truly care for me.
The list increased every day and I realized it made me cognizant of the blessings He has given me so before I ask Him for more, I thank Him first for what He has given me.
On choosing friends: We are in our 20s in an era where social media is the go-to for everything. #Friendshipgoals is a common hashtag on social media but really how close are you with your friends?
In our 20s we mostly have convenient friends, you know, associates. People who we work with become our best friends. Once we leave the job we get new ones, when we move neighborhoods we get new ones. Our friends are really the people around us, the people we spend a lot of time with.
My lessons: create deeper friendships that pass the test of time. Have coffee with friends after not seeing each other in a long time. Catch up with them and go on holidays with your friends. Love each other most importantly.
Network everywhere you go, these people could turn out to be your close friends while others could turn out to be your business partners.
On Faith in God: It is through our faith that we experience God. I learnt to fully trust Him, when moments of desperation come I trust He is doing a good work in me. I trust that He will still bring it to completion.
In my 20s I have Found God, He was always there when I was running to my gods, when I thought I was enough by myself He was right there. He was there loving me unconditionally and letting me find my way to Him and I did.
In my 20s I have learnt to surrender to God, His will is better than mine, His thoughts bigger than mine. I know He has great plans. I have learnt He is my father and He can only want the best for me, so in my darkest moments I have learnt to lean on Him and trust Him knowing it is a process meant to make me whom I am supposed to be.
This is one of the decision in my 20s I am sure I will never regret.