As I embark on year 38 of life, I have to pause and reflect.
First life doesn’t look anywhere close to what I thought it would be at 38.
Lets start here. Who remembers playing MASH to determine your life? Let’s just say it is a setup for failure.
Growing up all I really ever paid attention to was getting married and having kids. Never gave much thought to a career. I was going to get married and have kids. Work? Why? My husband was going to work and provide for the family.
Please don’t even ask me where I got this idea from both my parents worked.
I toyed around with being a lawyer….that was 8 years of schooling I did not want to do. I was too squeamish to be a doctor or a nurse. I wanted to be rich and live in a mansion. I even thought about a singing career and can’t really sing.
Lets have some laughs at the child’s mind.
So high graduation comes and here I am off to college.
Let’s face it College is not for everyone and I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life.
Wanted to become a teacher but there was no money in that field.
Went and obtained my cosmetology license
Got a job at a call center…QUIT
Got a job in retail….hung out there for a while but quit TWICE….nope wait THREE times
Alright Melissa time for a heart to heart.
1. There is no such thing as a knight in shining armor coming to rescue you and sweep you off to your mansion
2. You gonna kiss a whole bunch of frogs and only God knows when the frog will turn into a prince…. meaning you gonna have a lot of dating woes to the point of questioning your sanity.
3. Find your passion and make a career out it.
Here’s my heart to heart conversation with myself
Melissa what is the one thing you want to do no matter what?
Self: damnit I wanna be rich and live in a mansion
Melissa what could you see yourself doing for the rest of life
Self ugh I don’t wanna
Melissa stop denying your calling and get right
Self looks up schools for early childhood education
I start with my associates and working in daycare.
Got pregnant and instantly realized I can’t feed two people on minimum wage goes back to school to obtain my Bachelors degree.
Enter into the public school system.
4. Life is not all pretty and laid out. It’s a bunch of ups and downs and curve balls. You gotta learn to roll with the punches. If plan A don’t work there are 25 more letters in the alphabet. Don’t give up
5. Having a child will make you grow up real fast.
6. Being a single parent makes you grow up even faster.
7. you realize your parents were and are right and you have pretty much “wasted” 27 years of your life
8. Becoming a mother is a challenge you are never prepared for. Look playing house with doll babies and toys is bunch of lies.
Yes babies are cute but they don’t stay babies forever and they cry A LOT. Yes they can make doll babies look like real babies but a real baby requires, demands attention. Breastfeeding, yeah don’t stress over that. If you can, great. If you can’t, don’t trip. Organic go for it. Hand-me-downs, no one cares. We will all parent our children differently. What matters at the end of the day is that you loved your child and you prepared them to be adults. Humans who have to function in society with other people. Teach them manners. Teach them kindness. Teach them about integrity. Teach them about their reputation. Teach them all the things you wish you knew while not forgetting the things you do know. Our parents weren’t all idiots and fools. There are things that they taught us that are useful and wise. Provide your children with a firm foundation to hold them strong in this cruel world. I guess that’s number 9.
10. Associates, Friends, and Family
I’m gonna quote Madea on this one “there are people who come into your life for a season” you better learn QUICK who those people are.
Growing up I had a whole bunch of “friends” and all of sudden “friends” had to pick a side and I was left on the outside looking in. I learned at the tender age of 13, keep my circle small and keep real friends close.
All you really need in life are one maybe two close friends who end up becoming family. We don’t always get to choose our family but that moment you do, choose wisely.
11. Do your job and go home
I probably should have put this up around my career advice but whatever.
Look not everyone you work you with is your friend. Don’t date where you work. Do your job and go home. I have been fortunate to have at least one co-worker I could go and talk to and not worry about it getting around. You need one person who understands your career. One person you can look at during staff meetings and roll your eyes with. One person you can ask for a reference. Don’t be that person at work who can’t hold water and knows all the gossip.
12. those who gossip with you will gossip about you.
watch who you tell your plans to, watch who you vent to. Everyone is not in your corner. Some are gaining your ideas and plans to fuel their own. They will snatch it and not even mention your name.
13. sometimes you gotta move in silence. Tell people of your plans once it is completed.
14. Mental Health is important.
I cannot stress this one enough. That whole strong black woman is utter nonsense. Being strong does not mean you don’t ask for help or even seek help. You were NOT built to carry the weight of life on your shoulders ALONE. I don’t care if you can or you have done it. STOP and STOP it now. You are killing yourself and don’t even realize it. Get some sleep, a full 8 hours if you can 7 hours is good as well. Turn off your phone. Silence the ringtone and notifications. Say NO. Mediate. Journal. Pray. Relax. Release. Relax your shoulders. Smile. Fix your face. Wear some different colors. Do something different every once in while. Let go and forgive. Talk to someone. Do NOT be afraid to seek professional help.
*bonus you can be a Christian believe in God and still seek professional help. Guess what you can also mediate and do yoga too.* I’m making this 14-20 cause I dropped some real life nuggets just now.
21. Get your passport. Leave your city. Leave your street. Leave your state. Stop letting other people tell you what do and see.
22. guess what you can travel and not go broke. You can travel and not be rich. It’s called budget and plan. Take those vacation days. America is the only….okay one of the few places where people legit work to death. Every company will give you vacation days, sick days and even personal days…..USE THEM!!!!!
23. don’t believe the media hype about any and everything. The media is there to play on your fears. I’m talking about traveling. Every country is not evil and guess what America ain’t the best place out there.
24. that thing you are afraid of doing, DO IT.
25. Cherish people while you can. I can’t even begin to explain what it is like to lose a parent. It’s crippling. I loved my mama and my daddy. My daddy I have some regrets because I was a bratty teenager when he died. When my mama passed away I just wasn’t ready and my days are filled with what if’s. You don’t get a second chance at life. Love those who love you. Repair relationships if you can while you can
26. Life is what you make it. You can do ANYTHING you want. I didn’t always believe this. But with faith and stepping out of our comfort zones you can legit do anything. I would have never thought I would live and work internationally but here I am.
27. Real talk: are parents aren’t complete idiots. I find my parents coming out of my mouth daily. Some of the things they taught us make sense and we realize they were protecting us from ourselves.
28. Live within your means. I can’t stress this enough. If you don’t have a desire to travel, don’t. If you can’t afford a BMW, then don’t. This leads me to point 29…
29. Don’t go into debt trying to keep up with the Joneses. I have never wanted a house. Guess what I don’t have one. I want to purchase land and build a house, guess what I will. I have friend who have land in Ghana, Jamaica a few with property on Thailand. None of those places are my dream. So I’m not jumping on it. I want I fly business every flight but my wallet and budget say NOPE. And that’s OKAY. My dream ain’t your dream. My reality and your reality.
30. College debt is a lie and bullshit. You do not and repeat you do not have to go into debt for a college degree. Research and research and research some more on how to attend college for free. If you don’t want to attend college then don’t. Find your passion and go forth.
31. Everyone can’t be that straight A student stop stressing your child(ren) out. Know your limits and your child’s limits.
32. Encourage and uplift. You never know what people are going through. A warm friendly smile goes a long way. Call and check on your friends. Be consistent. Treat people like you want to be treated. Spread some love and cheer
33. When a child is talking LISTEN our children are going through some things and they need to know we are there for them. They need to know someone cares. Be their advocate
34. Can we bring back the village? Can we support one another? Can we truly be there for one another? it’s something about living away from home that forces you to create real and meaningful bonds with people you don’t know but you get to know. When someone looks at you and says “hey you are not okay, let’s go out” or they let you just cry it out or vent it out….that’s a village. That’s support. I have been fortunate enough to always have a village wherever I live but some people don’t have that.
35. Love yourself. Take care of yourself. This goes back to mental health. Stop carrying life on your shoulders thinking you have to do it alone. You don’t and guess what NO is a complete sentence. Stop apologizing for things you aren’t sorry for. Stop saying yes when you mean no. Stop giving excuses. Take those Ls and learn from them
36. De-clutter your life. De-clutter your social media. De-clutter your phone. I clean my social media often. What is popping up on my timeline? Is it positive uplifting helpful, do I actually know you? Do I use this app? Why do I have this number? When was the last time I wore that? Do I really need that? Why am I paying for this subscription?
37. Children and pets will make you question your sanity.
38. Birthdays mean something totally different as you get older.
Life ain’t easy and it doesn’t come with a handbook on how to live it. We make mistakes. The important thing to remember is to learn from that mistake or you are bound to repeat it again. Don’t feel like you have to live this alone. Bring along a few good friends. Have some laughs. Do something daring. Do that thing you’ve always wanted to do. I’m living my life one day at time. Some days it’s one moment at time.