Friday, 6 November 2015

5 DAYS TO 25 !!!

I turn 25 in exactly 5 days, and truthfully, I am terrified. Mostly because of the realization that I become a full-fledged adult averse to the somewhat predictable chain of responsibilities that would follow; closer to 30, and not exactly living the dream of having N25million in my account by 25. I mean, wasn’t it just last week when I was so youthful & vibrant in my rompers at my 21st birthday party? All of a sudden, in 5 days, I will be quarter to life and no longer in my early twenties. I feel like I am running out of time.

I repeat, I am terrified!!!

Now, I have been listening to a lot of music lately, No, not the ‘skibo-robo-tinghen-ghen-type of Nigerian music’ (I say this in no condescending manner whatsoever, Olamide is bae) but the deep-think-about-your-life kind of music and my thoughts have been all over the place. Thoughts on whether or not my life will eventually turn out as I want, whether I will make a great wife & mother, whether I will achieve my career goals and dreams, whether I will still visit Jade Mountain, St Lucia for a month and just eat, sleep & lounge. 

I recently got introduced to Jon Bellion, and one of his songs, ‘Human’ resonates so much with me. Basically because, like Jon, I had gotten so sick of being human at some point and felt lost, despite having so much. Some days I would ask myself why I didn’t come as a chicken, the most difficult decision I would have had to make would be whether to cross the road or not?? Or a Chihuahua, going pearl shopping and being pampered by rich white folks. Lol.
I promise, I’m not going through quarter-life crisis, I just think life came at me so fast and 20 year old me would have appreciated guidelines on how to deal with this “fear”. But, I have overcome, although, I am not exactly having the best year but with the help of various verses from the Bible, amazing friends and good music, I have been able to cope, deal with life’s challenges and savour the positive side of turning 25. 

This is why, out of the goodness of my heart, I have decided to share my coping mechanism and guide on how to deal with certain situations that come for you in life.

Disclaimer: This list is not exhaustive neither am I a motivational speaker. Cheers.

1)    Pray: I know every Nigerian says “Pray about it” to every situation, and as cliché as that may sound, you really should pray. There’s this peace that comes with talking to God about your problems, waiting for him to direct your next step and believing he has the solution. There are many verses in the Bible that helped me in dealing with fear, I’ll just list some of my favorites:
Deuteronomy 3:16 – Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified, for the Lord your God goes with you, he will never leave nor forsake you.
Isaiah 41:10 – So, do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
Isaiah 41:13 – For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says, Do not fear; I will help you.

2)    Be Positive: Please, by all means, have a positive outlook towards your future, your career and goals. My biggest fear in life is failing and I realize that my “fear” in turning 25 stemmed from having so many negative thoughts about whether or not I would achieve my laid down goals. Now, this has done more harm than good, because, all I have done is worry, overestimate, and lose focus.
But, one day, I listened thoroughly to the lyrics of Talisco’s ‘Your Wish’, and I must say, this song has become the soundtrack of my life. All Mr Talisco was saying is; ‘Smile, Slow Down, Dream. There are no fixed rules to life, another day comes, be positive’.
(Let’s just say my music supplier has helped with the process, without realizing it)

3) Know thyself: Man, know thyself. In the words of Raphael Ornstein, “Knowledge of oneself is the only real knowledge, for as one understands oneself, only then may one truly understand another”. Spending time with yourself and enjoying your own company is invaluable on so many levels. You get to have a good grasp of your motivations, strengths, weaknesses, goals and you learn to align your life in accordance with these things. I was forced into 3 weeks of ‘alone’ time last month and I was able to put myself before anyone else, restrategize, sort out my errors & review my goals. Not everytime turn up & shakitibobo, sometimes, stay in & have conversations with thyself. Merci!

4)    Balance your finances: I got my financial statement from my bank at the end of one month and started hyperventilating. In my mind, I said, ‘Hello, GTbank, there must have been a typographical error somewhere, where are the zeros in my account that my dreams are made of’. Frankly, I have always been prudent and cautious, however, I had this idea that at a certain age, before I moved into another area of my life, I should have a “target” amount in savings. I created this goal some years back, and the reality is like a plate of badly prepared black amala. The truth is, if I had taken control of my finances adequately when I made that goal, I wouldn’t be here talking to you mortals, Lol.
Dear young person, the key to handling your finances appropriately is taking out your savings first, then, you have a clear picture of what you can afford, and the expenditure to forego. Don’t spend first, and save what is left. The time to build this life-long habit is NOW, your responsibilities will soon come at you like ants rushing towards an anthill.

5)   Read: You are what you read. The importance of reading cannot be overemphasized, it opens & develops the mind and imagination, and increases knowledge in any area of life. Growing up, I was the poster child for ‘avid reader’. I used to read as much as I could, whenever I could, which shaped my thinking capacity to an extent. I was nick-named Booker T. Washington and this fueled my parents’ decision to make me study Law.
Not like I had an opinion in choosing my course of study in a Nigerian home, Lol. Try explaining to my mother that your passion is photography and that’s what you want to study, you won’t know how you got to MFM’s mountain for deliverance.
I digress…
Well, at a certain age, the penchant for reading stopped abruptly. I would read one book for months and dump it without getting anything out of it. I would read one page, press my phone for hours, go to the next page, check my phone, then, dump the book.
I couldn’t continue with this bad habit, so, I turned the cause of my problem (my phone & the internet) into my solution. I have taken my addiction to twitter on a positive level, turning it to a knowledge-gaining ground by following accounts of interest (Law, Economics, Politics) and reading and arguing over articles being shared. Since I won’t stay off my phone, I’ve fallen in love with e-books as well. I’m currently reading “The French Revolution” by Thomas Carlyle, on my phone.
Dear young person, self-development is what sets you apart from others. If you are knowledge-lazy, you end up as a drop-out, even when you’ve attained high academical achievements. I learnt this the hard way, and I’m trying to incorporate reading as much as I can into my daily life.

These steps definitely made me a better ‘coper’. I have to come to terms with where my life is at, I am soaring. My perspective has shifted to a whole different level, because instead of burdening myself with thoughts and fears, I concentrate on what is actionable. Now, I feel like I can take the world by storm and in 5 days, I can confidently tell people, ‘being a quarter of a century is really not that bad’. The learning and experiences do not stop and I am definitely looking forward to my 30th