30. Third floor. Dirty 30. Whatever you call it, I am staring at it.
I opted to write about this now to get ahead of “the problem”. Here’s why; on my birthday (October 16th) I want to look back at this post and exhale. I don’t want NONE of the social pressure of “where is your” husband, child, home, car, education and everything in between. I want to wear these top five lessons from my 20’s like badges of honor. Or tiny stickers. 30 is not 90.
I want to applaud myself, especially as we come to the close of Mental Health Awareness Month. This year’s theme speaks to my soul: Tools 2 Thrive, something we truly require with this pandemic. COVID-19 may be with us for a while, and adding that to the shit-storm life can be, minding our mental health is all the more crucial.
Let’s get to it!
Lessons from my 20s
Let me stop you right there. If you have anything important pending, go do that now and come back. You’ll be here a while.
Lesson 1: I have been dumb as hell!
That’s the thing about your 20s though. You’re out of high school, and with little-to-no guidance, you’re told to chart your whole life. You pick a course you think will suit you, only for you to graduate and go “nope, that ain’t it!” After, you go do something totally unrelated. Blessed are yee if you’re still on the same path!
And since your name is not on the 30 under 30 list of people who have their shit in order, you’ll be clueless for a while. But god forbid your peers AND parents find out! So, there you are, struggling with the purpose of it all while life is still happening to you. Since multitasking is not something everyone is excellent at, you drop A LOT of balls, sanity being one of them.
How, you ask? Have you done the same shit over and over again and expected different results? Yes? You are dumb as hell. Naïve at best, but still, not a reason for ignorance! For example, staying in the same job, house, relationship, friendship, deal, mentality, pattern and everything in between hoping things will get better one day. How’s that going?
Complaining had once been a talent of mine. Still can be. But nowadays, if I complain about the same thing more than twice (or ten, depends), I check out. I kill and bury you in my mind. I forget about you, or it. I move on. I becoming indifferent. Staki ujinga. Why? Because I am tired of being a mjinga also. Stupidity is not a sexy trait oo!
Lesson 2: Lack of mentorship is a pandemic
If I gave you a box of colored chalk and a clown’s wig, who would you put it on? Apart from yourself that is..
Yes, a majority of our leaders.
My goodness; there is no greater sign of a problematic population than the type of leaders we have. Good leaders are the exception, not the rule. Let’s not even go too far; look at your circle.
I knew leadership was an issue the day my mother mentioned she wished she had someone to guide her right out of high school. Whatever she did worked for her- at the time. However, the pile of interior design magazines on her shelf tell another story.
She did her best, especially with my spirituality, but she didn’t have a career guide, so, how could she fill the role for my sake? Like every African parent she was all about education and making my own money. Her brand of gospel was Money Before Husband, let alone kids. For her and many other African mothers, financial independence is the message she hammered home. However, it was the streets of life and Google that taught me the HOW of attaining financial freedom. And even so, it’s still a struggle.
This is one example. How many of you had to figure life out by yourself? You were told, “Here! Go do life!” and given no tools or even a vague manual to help you through. We lack adequate mentorship in our society. Is there anyone you can truly call ‘an experienced or trusted advisor?” Can you name two? What of the leaders; what have you learned from them?
I have a rule of thumb- consider using it before you run off to look for mentors or advice from leaders, far or near.
Never take advise from someone you wouldn’t want to trade lives with.
Unless it’s a life lesson. So, I am not talking about the fame, glamour, wealth, cash. Look deeper. Which takes me to the next lesson.
Lesson 3: The world can be shallow to depths deeper than an abyss
As a member of this our planet earth, I too have been and can be shallower than water spilled on a table. But we soldier on.
I am turning 30 and there is a lot on the list of what a “standard” woman ought to achieve that I haven’t checked off. And guess what? I. DON’T. GIVE. A. SHIT.
Two things brought me to this realization.
The first was how other families perceived ours growing up. Cousin after cousin said they have envied us. Others wondered what was wrong with me. You ungrateful bitch, why you acting like you life is hard? If you’ve lived with other people, then you know it’s hard. Money doesn’t make human interactions easier or even pure. I am not bashing my folks or siblings, but it is what it is. The consensus is that I am moody and difficult. But that can’t be because of a mood disorder. I mean, isn’t money meant to cure that too?
NB: As Maureen Wambaire I am broke. The idea that I somehow have access to Mr. Kingori’s money and wealth is the schupidest assumption I have come across. Do you know my father?
Second thing that opened my eyes to the shallowness is all the miserable “I have made it” people I came and still across. Here’s how I see it- I don’t care for your money or status. If you have a trash personality and questionable character, please keep walking. Better yet, let me change direction. I don’t want you in my sphere.
It makes no sense to me to look up to, and want to be like, broken and burst individuals. I am talking about the ones that do nothing to work on their inner world. People who don’t want to know better and those who know better but refuse to get better. Those who can’t admit they need help and instead choose to keep this cycle of shallowness going. There is more to life than money, glamor, fame, admiration, privilege and all that.
See that attitude, I think that’s why I am alone. But what have I learned?
Lesson 4: Single and content than paired and miserable ANY DAY.
*I am not talking to married people.
A moment of silence for all the dead minutes resulting from relationships I knew where going nowhere.
Were there life lessons? Yes. Could I have followed the prompting of the Holy Spirit and remained single? YES. If I had, would I have spared boychild the crisis and realization that I wasn’t it for them? Absolutely. This is not only for myself. I understand the need for companionship- there’s currently two men I am looking at and wondering… just wondering. Beyond that, it’s probably the COVID-19 curfew bothering me.
I’ve looked at my life. I have looked at that of my clan, friends and acquittances. I have heard stories, and I have seen it on the news. And if that’s what relationships are all about, I would rather be single. I WOULD RATHER DIE SINGLE.
No, no, no. No. Go back and read those bold letters again.
Coz sis! Bruh!
Before you bring up the biological clock narrative, I suggest you go read an article or several on the statistics and life-long effects of childhood trauma. After, please, miss me with that bullshit. I would rather not birth a child instead of bringing them into a world with a partner not committed to be a better husband, father, and human being. I know I’m doing the work, meaning that my child would go through a lot less therapy.
Allow me to take you back to this Letter to My Sisters because the boychild done been messing up. For me, it’s simple. The measure of misery you subject yourself to in a relationship, is the level in which you loath yourself. Yes, self-loathing is a thing. If you wouldn’t want the current drama and trauma you have in your relationship for someone you love dearly, what are you doing there? You can to better like Michelle and Barak Obama type love!
I am single, peaceful, content, and keep forgetting I own a mobile phone. And I am totally fine with that.
Lesson 5: Take the trash out instead of playing victim
I talk extensively about self-development and personal growth on my blog. Well, maybe not directly, but I do talk about life lessons (case in point) and mental health, because it’s been rough out here. One such example is this post about Minding Your Emotional Business and this one about how people can’t make you “feel” anything, that’s all you. I got tired of blaming others because, well, it was pointless.
I generally write about taking personal responsibility for our lives and the quality of the same. We don’t ask for the trauma, but staying in it is a choice. A perfect example- when I complain about someone for long periods of time, it no longer a “them” problem but a “me” problem. If you have nothing nice to say about your partner, you’re the problem. If you’re complaining about something you can’t change, you’re the problem. There’s always something that can be done internally and externally.
I have such a level of peace and contentment since I went spring cleaning and took out the “trash”. Any hint of a return of the mess I left behind will for sure trigger Ragnarök. It was hard, took a couple of months, and in some cases years, but playing victim didn’t what to be my only option. The path to inner growth is painful and messy, but I PROMISE you, when you start, so many parts of you begin to heal. It’s so worth it. AGAIN! Took me awhile, but I accept it too is a lifelong journey.
Parting shot from this soon to be 30-year-old
That was legit some Biko Zulu length type of blog, but it needed to get said, at least for myself. Stopping to take stock and appreciating how far you’ve come is the source of gratitude. Where you’ve failed, extend grace and love, because that too is part of being human. Lastly, life isn’t one long checklist; it is about being present in every moment, because that’s where life happens. Not in the past, nor the future, but in the now.
THIRD FLOOR, HERE WE COME!
Bonus reading: Change the bulb
Before starting this blog, I replaced the third bulb on the chandelier. The other two did produce adequate light to grab things from the drawers and not have furniture assault your pinky toe. However, since I turned the dining table into my office space, night-owling has been a struggle. I didn’t realize how bad it was until I noticed my left eye hurts and the right one was still seeing stars from the strain and sudden illumination from the new bulb. I could have replaced that bulb months ago, but if you ask what took me so long, I couldn’t tell you why. I’m happy though that I finally did.
Food for thought: If something in your life feels like an inconvenience or struggle, ask yourself, “Do I need to replace a bulb?”