In conducting research for this piece I sought some advice from persons who I consider mentors and prolific personalities in Dominica. After all, who best to get advice from than those who have lived it before? In speaking to Tamara Lowe who was my second feature of my #OneonOne Series she told me that “Life is hard and it never gets easier: in your early 20’s it may seem like smooth sailing onwards, but you will learn that success sits on the backs on little failures, disappointments, and setbacks. I learned that no matter how many times I failed I had to keep going not matter how difficult.”
Personally, my 20’s are changing my opinion of the word “challenging” As a child and then as a teenager, I longed to reach my 20’s, a time where I would be “all grown up”. You know, independent: making my own money, living on my own and free to do whatever I pleased.
Entering my 20’s was a harsh reality check. True in many ways, now that we’re in our 20’s we are doing most if not all the above, but I’ve come to realize our childhood dreams may have been a bed of roses, and now that we’re laying on them, we’ve begun to feel the thorns.
In the same breath, I’m learning that thorns are the very beauty of blossoming roses, and the beauty of our blossoming 20’s is that we learn lots of lessons and grow past the thorns of life as we bloom.
1. How other people judge us is none of our business: We can’t please everyone anyway. I spent many of my teen years and early twenties worrying about what other people thought and said about me. I agonized about my appearance, how I spoke, how I was perceived by others and how I could only make them see I wanted to be seen. My 20’s quickly taught me that other people’s opinions could only affect me if I allowed it to.
What other people say or think of us is a reflection of them—their values, expectations, insecurities, and standards—and has nothing or very little to do with us.
I’ve come to realize that people who are wise and/or know who we truly are will not judge us, as they see and know our essence. And those who don’t, we can’t control their thoughts and actions.
2. No one is perfect; we’re all works in progress: This lesson was not one that I learned easily. If you know me, you’d know that I am a self-proclaimed perfectionist and try to do my utmost in everything I do. Entering my 20’s it seemed like so many young people had their lives together and lived in this perfect little existence, especially if you were basing this by their Instagram pictures. However, I’ve realized that when you get to know people more intimately and they open up, it’s clear that even the most successful and seemingly perfect people have insecurities and problems. Some of them have even more than you could ever imagine.
My life, too, may seem perfect on the outside: I love what I do, I’m involved in a lot of groups and organizations, and have the drive and passion for doing much more. But I still have plenty of challenges and ups and downs in my life—you just won’t find about them on my Instagram account.
3. Comparing ourselves to others is the fastest way to feel anxious and unfulfilled: This can be seen as a continuation of #2 as well as a lesson that I am still learning. It takes practice and self-love to be able to celebrate others’ success, especially when things are not going the way you want to in your own life. But understanding that we’re all on our own journeys has helped me stop comparing myself to others and instead be inspired by others’ journeys and success. I’ve come to realize that comparing yourself to others only slows down your own success. Instead of looking at what other people are doing in comparison to yourself focus on beating your own personal best. The only person that I am comparing myself to is Kerdisha of last month and I’m working hard to beat her.
4. You must keep learning if you want to be successful: If you think that your education is over after you leave the classroom for the last time then you are sadly mistaken. Life itself is a classroom and you never stop learning from it. I’ve learned that it is imperative to dedicate yourself to learning things that will help you in your career or fuel your passion. I read every. single. day. Not only because I am a voracious reader but because I am voracious in learning how to improve myself on every level.
5. You’re not entitled to anything: I repeat, YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED TO ANYTHING. Many advantages we receive in life is through sheer luck. It doesn’t matter how hard you work, how smart you are, how connected you might be, who your parents are, what you’re doing now, etc. Where you are and what you have now is the result of your actions, your environment, and your timing. Once you gain clarity of your current reality, you can learn from your past to take better action for the future. During my 20’s I’m learning to hold myself accountable for where I am now and focus on what I can do and not on how unfair life is. It is true that there will always be factors out of your control but it’s up to you to navigate around them if you want to be successful. It won’t be easy but it will be worthwhile.
Written by Kerdisha St.Louis, a savvy blogger, journalist and enthusiast of all things. Visit her blog TheKSChronicles.com to read more.