It seems like just the other day, I was frolicking around my high school campus, laughing with my friends, and having the time of my life. As I approach my thirtieth birthday (gasp!), I must reflect upon a few of life’s lessons. I came to the conclusion that there are five important things I learned in my twenties.
1) My personal relationship with God is important.
I grew up in church. In fact, my brother and I spent many weekdays and weekends at various church events–Youth Revivals, Prophet Revivals, Fall Revivals, etc. I must admit I did not always want to go to these church functions because I thought it would have been nice to hang out with my friends on occasion. However, as I have grown and experienced life for myself, I can proudly admit that my relationship and prayer life with God has truly sustained me. No longer do I depend on connections to God through my mom or others. My personal relationship with God has made all the difference in my perspective on life and in my relationships with others. Granted, I still make mistakes on a daily basis. I do not claim to be perfect or believe I have “arrived”. Yet, I will continue to make changes for the better, each and every day. I will also continue praying for guidance, wisdom, and understanding.
2) Mom was right.
I can remember my mom being upset the one time I missed curfew. I can also remember mom fussing at me when I kept putting my clothes in the laundry room, and they were still inside out. I can remember the times I zoned out while mom was talking because I had memorized her speeches already. As a teenager, I kept thinking my mom was “from the olden days”, and there was no way she could understand how necessary it was to have fun and live a little. Yet, one thing my mom told me has always stuck with me. She said, “You’ll understand when you get older.” Those words are so true! Now that I am a mother to three young daughters, I am amazed at how they do many of the same things I did during my childhood. Karma definitely came back around! I can’t say that I understand every lesson my mom tried to teach me, but I can say with certainty that my mom wasn’t crazy all those years! I truly do appreciate and love my mom for everything she’s done and given for me to be where I am today. 🙂
3) Dad was right.
My senior year in high school was fantastic. There was so much excitement and uncertainty in the air. Like most teenagers, I could not wait to graduate. I was ready to brace life by the horns, and to take control of my destiny. One day, my dad told me that although I was ready to graduate, life was about to speed up before my eyes. He also told me that life would teach me everything I needed to know. I knew he was right, but I did not understand the depth to his statements. I still cannot believe it has been almost eleven years since I graduated from high school! Life has taught me many difficult lessons and some rather wonderful lessons. For example, I did not know how to file a tax return or how to choose the best life insurance policy before graduating from high school. I didn’t know how to properly build credit or how to set and abide by a monthly budget. I never saw it in action. Although I knew my parents paid the bills every month, I didn’t see how they did it all. As a result of these “life lessons”, I will definitely make sure my children are more savvy than I was!
4) Self-care is important.
As a child, I remember learning that God rested on the Sabbath. I never understood why someone as important and strong as God would need time to rest. Then, I grew up. As a new wife and mother, I can recall being upset with my husband because he chose to watch the football game on Sundays instead of helping me clean up. I was so furious with him! How could he not see that there was plenty of work to be done around the house? Gradually, I have learned that if I do not take time for me, I will become the woman no one wants to be around! Therefore from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Thursdays, my family knows to refrain from bothering me because I am watching Shonda’s Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder. 🙂 I may have 12,000 things going on, but life feels a bit better after I have my one night of TV each week.
5) Perspective is everything.
Life can be as mundane or as awesome as we make it. I have found it is easier to be positive and encouraging towards others. However, it is more difficult for me to extend the same measure to myself. For example, when a student asks me if I think they can earn a B on their next test, I quickly say, “Of course you can!” Yet, if I asked myself, “Could I write and publish a book within the next three years?” my brain would fill with so many reasons why I could never accomplish such a feat. I admit that I am still growing in this area; however, I see the importance in being my own biggest cheerleader. I wonder how many wonderful opportunities I have missed by being overly critical of myself? Now that I am turning the big 3-0, I will be a better me, I will believe I can do anything my heart desires, and I will make every moment count!