“Only the dead have seen the end of war.”
As I stare on the blinking cursor on the monitor, Crawling Back To You is playing in my mind in a loop. Every time I think about lessons I have learnt in life, the song comes to mind. This is probably because the lyrics insinuate an experience that led to a particular realization.
“Lessons learned, bridges burned to the ground,
And it’s too late now to put out the fire,
Tables turned, and I’m the one who’s burning now,
Well I’m doing alright,
‘Til I close my eyes
And then I see your face,
And it’s no surprise.” ~ Daughtry.
It is an open secret that I have grown up ahead of my time. I refrain from calling myself young as the term ‘young’ is relative; however, my interactions with people always remind me that I am ‘older’ than my age. At twenty-three years of age now, I have gone through many experiences that have shaped the person I have become. These are the proverbial ‘gold through fire‘ scenarios. I believe in this creed, human beings can unlearn, learn and relearn. Yes, this is what we are called to in this life. Another polite way of saying that you should never stagnate or settle, not at any one time.
“The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.”
― C. JoyBell C.
I have been on a journey of self-discovery over the past two years and I must say it has been enlightening. It is a path as I purpose to keep walking on, through the hills, valleys, moor and mountains. Through it I have met all kinds of people, some have encouraged me, yet others have discouraged me. I am glad that I am made of steel, otherwise, I would have been crushed to smithereens by the challenges. Herein, I would like to share with you the lessons I have learnt over time, and maybe what I would do different if granted a chance to start over.
1. Self Love Yes, granted a new chance at life I will choose to love myself before loving anyone else. You must be thinking that this is selfish and I agree with you. I am learning to be selfish for success, love, appreciation, respect, tenderness, friendship…the list is endless. Just like a broken mirror can’t reflect a full image, I can’t give what I don’t have. I am therefore learning to take care of myself first, before I can take care of others. The key to a healthy esteem I have learnt is self-awareness and self-love.
2. True To Self I don’t know how not to tell the truth, whether the issue at hand will affect me directly or not; I have to speak my mind. Throughout my school life, I have interacted with people from all walks of life: great and not so great; change-makers and followers; heroes and fanatics; the one thing that is a common challenge to most people is speaking their minds. We live in a society that teaches us to conform to a set of universal standards. Standards that keep us from being too much of something; this is especially worse for women. We are taught not to be too smart or too sexy but bright and decent enough for society (men). I am unlearning living for other people’s approval; I am learning to live on my terms. Everyday is an opportunity for me to relearn how to be true to self.
3. Being Intentional I owe my life to no one but myself, I am therefore making deliberate choices to live excellently. I am being intentional about who I talk to, what books I read, who/what I focus my time and energy on, who I want to love, who I want to laugh with, what movie I want to watch, what genre of music to listen to, which podcasts I subscribe to and what to eat or not eat. Every second is an opportunity for me to make a decision; I deliberately look at the outcome of what I pick and if it will bring me closer to my goals and vision. This life is mine to live in a way that leads me to thrive; being intentional is what will get me there.
4. Saying No This is another myth I want to demystify; that saying ‘yes’ will get you what you want, where you want to go and the people you want to be with. This isn’t always true, sometimes you have to assess a situation, be honest with yourself and mouth the word ‘no’. I am learning to be honest with myself and not accept everything thrown at me for the sake of saying yes to make the other person happy. Of course some will hate me for the choice I make, but I first owe myself loyalty before I accord it to the world.
5. Standards As a young person, it is easy to get distracted by the world. Fashion, social media, relationships, peer pressure; all these make it so easy for one to forfeit their dreams by lowering their standards whether knowingly or unknowingly. Living in an instant gratification generation, one might get dissuaded from living up to their set standards. I have learnt that there are no standards too high or too low, it depends with the one who sets them. The standards I have set are my guide through life; I am learning to say no to things that might comprise their achievement.
6. Investing In Myself I love reading, I love deep ad intelligent conversations, I love being around people who are well informed but still want to keep learning. Life is a journey to which there is no destination in my view. With this is mind, I am putting pushing my limits to develop myself. I am taking time to read, to have that constructive conversation and to attend that cocktail party that will bring me in contact with the people who can help me achieve my dreams. It is not a walk in the park but it takes daily commitments.
After all is said and done, I owe the world my greatness. I am learning everyday how to be strategic about achieving my goals. One step at a time, a day at time.
Sobriety Is A Journey, Not A Destination.