I finally get to mark the other check box. Oh, goodie. . . .
Today is my birthday. (tosses confetti) I’ve been joking about turning 21 again, but really, who wants to relive that age again? I mean, really. Am I right? Am I right?
Holy Cow, I’m 31! 40 is shouting at me from around the corner!
It’s true what they say: You’re never the same person you were a year ago. I never knew the truth in those words until now. I guess I’m a student in the remedial class of life since it took me longer to understand this notion. In the past year, I’ve been vigilant to who I was as a person and how I’ve changed as a person in my 31 years on Earth. (I said that like I’m from some other planet. Come to think of it, I might as well be, but that’s another subject.) Life’s experiences (especially the bad ones) have a way of altering your mindset the longer you live. And I’ve noticed that in the past year, my mindset has changed drastically and, might I add, for the better.
So I created this post in an attempt to reveal 21 changes I’ve noticed about myself, how I have grown as a person over the years, and what relationships have taught me thus far. You ready?
1.It does get better with time if you let it run its course. I hated when my girlfriends told me this. Now, I know it for myself. Sure. It sounds cliché, but we all could use a friend in Time as it really does heal all wounds.
2. Even at 31, I am still tiny just as I was in junior high. And likely will be for the rest of my days regardless of how much food I can pack away. No matter how many times people try to remind me about my body’s weight as if I am unaware of my size, their words will never be able to influence my self-image (which is pretty healthy considering I live in a world where curves are praised as being womanly than having none).
3. The people who have made the greatest impact on me are those I am not the closest to. I always try to maintain some distance between people I allow into my life. I observe others when they don’t realize it. I’ve found that the farther they are from me, the greater chance they have in influencing me.
4. The scenic route is, in fact, better than the shortcut. Seriously. Millenials are always ridiculed for being the microwave generation. Okay. There is some truth to that, but I like to think that as part of Generation Y, I can appreciate not having things readily at my disposal. Don’t get me wrong, instant gratification is nice. But the longer the journey, the grateful I will be when I’ve surpassed my destination.
5. I still have rhythm, but it sure isn’t what it used to be! Another truth: If you don’t use it, you lose it. I could’ve been a dancer (possibly a choreographer) since I was once a member of a dance trio and choreographed all of our routines. I don’t dance anymore whenever I go out. And when I do, I only look good doing my two-step–and even that’s questionable. (Dancing is really foreign in the city I live in to be honest. It’s just something you just don’t do unless you don’t mind people laughing at you at your expense. Otherwise, you better hold the wall or stay posted up at the bar like everyone else . . . unless it is The Wobble. Or The Swerve. Or any other line dance, but once it’s over, go back to your perspective spot.)
6. Learning a new language is rather daunting. But studying a new language and learning about another culture has enriched my life. (My goal is to become trilingual.) Honestly, in this day and age of accessible knowledge, everyone should be at least bilingual. This is merely my opinion, but there is no excuse come to think of it.
7. I now know what it feels like to have a broken heart. I was used to being the one who broke hearts. When I put the shoe on the other foot it was tight and uncomfortable! However, It is my belief that everyone should experience heartbreak when in “love” so that they will know what not to want. I only recommend this to the few who can survive it, though, as it is a feat for most. For those people, I say stay away from it. Seriously. Don’t go near it.
8. I thank the guy who broke my heart. That’s craaazy, right? Not really. I thank him for not giving me the relationship I thought I wanted. A thousand tears later, I see that an “us” was never supposed to happen. And it’s a good thing it didn’t for there isn’t a place for him by my side on the way to where I am going. Simply put: I was too good for him. But I am grateful for what having an unrequited love towards him has taught me and has prepared me for when I do find love in The One.
9. I finally have a better perspective on why the single life is beneficial. For someone who was used to having a significant other, this is a very unusual thing for me to say. It took me long enough to see it that way, but now that I do, I embrace the single life more than ever. A man doesn’t belong on the quest I’m on in life right now. I take comfort in knowing that he will meet me on the other side of it when we’re both ready. That’s worth the wait in my eyes.
10. I’m not as patriotic as I could or should be. Where some people are afraid to admit this, I’m not. I tried to be that person before: The one who is knowledgeable in anything politically-related. The truth is, politics doesn’t interest me whatsoever and pretending that it did showed me that I was not being true to myself but was trying to impress my peers who were that way. The only people I support are the American troops–past and present. I have much love for them for having fought for my freedom and for putting their lives on the line to keep it. I’ll stop right there . . . because that’s all I’ve got.
11. I love my city.Where many of its residents disrespect it, forgetting its rich history in that it was the very city where civil rights activists impacted the world on a grand scale, Birmingham is beautiful with its lush, green valleys; hilly landscapes; and hospitable inhabitants. Did I mention the food? Exquisite!
12. I am weary of my city. Alabama, period. Even though I love my city, I’ve grown weary of it and am working on parting from it soon, God be willing. The reason being? A change of scenery is good at some point in life. If you are in a position to go beyond the state border or the U.S., do it! YOLO! (Are they still saying that? YOLO? No? Oh.)
13. Men from other countries are still men. Surprise, surprise! They are men first, an ethnicity second. I’ve befriended men from other countries, both in and outside of the cyber universe. Being exposed to foreigners has taught me that men will be men whenever they see a pretty face. They will flirt even if they are married. But some of them will take it a step further than most American men: they will even flirt with you in front of their wife. Now that’s bold.
14. Friends in other parts of the world have made a difference in my life. I’ve found that my foreign friends have opened my eyes to just how massive this world really is. You know that an unexplored world exists beyond the boundaries, but once you actually branch out and start socializing with others who don’t look like you; talk like you; or think like you, it is a serious wakeup call to how sheltered you have been. Expand your relationships to include others who are not like you. It will change your views about people.
15. Everyone is not my friend. But that doesn’t mean I can’t be friendly. It’s just easier for me to call someone a friend and someone an enemy. Anyone who isn’t my enemy is a friend. Anyone who isn’t my friend is an enemy. The only similarity lies in the fact that I love both. Not for their benefit but for mine. I refuse to let hate manifest and fester in my heart. That’s just me, though.
16. No matter how much they smile in your face, everyone does not like you. And they will patiently wait for you to make a mistake so that they can be the first to call you out on it. I’m a fairly easy person to get along with and will keep to myself for the most part. Unfortunately, I had to learn this lesson the hard way even when I was aware of it. The lesson has caused me to be a lot more careful and discerning when developing relationships with others. For that, I am grateful for the lesson.
17. The more people I allow around me, the more private I become. I’ve always been private, but it has increased in the past year. Even close friends aren’t . . . well . . . close.
18. Good-looking guys do reject equally good-looking women. It’s life. I think it’s ludicrous when it happens, but hey, people like what they like! And your beauty or great personality cannot do anything about it. (Stay tuned as I will expand on this topic very soon.)
19. Fear dominated me for years. But now, I am finally on the road to my purpose. The fear of the unknown is still lingering. Only this time, there are no detours or u-turns present. God has given me a substantial amount of things I need to make it come to pass: a gift, a desire, two support groups, friends, and the courage to see it through. The only person who can stop me is me.
20. I will probably never grow up. I sincerely mean that. I often joke that the imaginative world in my head is far more interesting than the life I live. Even my dreams are livelier than my boring life. I’ve accepted that I will always have a child-like spirit and mind . . . with an impressive lexicon. I can live with that.
21. With aging comes wisdom. With wisdom comes gray hairs. I don’t have any, so I guess I still have a lot more to learn. (Although, I could’ve sworn I found one three weeks ago, but it remains a mystery . . . and a mystery it shall remain. I’m serious. I better not see that sucker again or it will be plucked!)
And there you have it! All 21. Overall, I’m learning that training my mind to see the good in an obviously bad situation is difficult to do. But it is necessary for those who want to keep their sanity and hope at the forefront.
So far, turning “21” isn’t so bad! Much is in store for the next 29 days. I’m looking onward with hope and excitement.
Now excuse me while I go and eat a tasty Italian meal from one of the many restaurants in the city that I love. (Y’all know how much I love Italian food!)