I used to hate my birthday because it meant another year of growing older and let’s face it no one wants to be older. I have to say, becoming comfortable in my own skin is more important to me now more than ever as I spent most of my 20’s worrying about falling in love, settling down, having children, finding the right career, making money, and buying the right handbag. Even when I entered my 30’s, I was still somewhat fixated on those things but it wasn’t until recently that the focus organically shifted back to me. I am now looking to fall in love with myself. I am looking to appreciate myself and applaud myself and embrace myself. I finally feel like I have earned my age, and am proud of who I’m becoming. And you know what? I’m going to rock with that shit. I’m sharing a few things that have helped me along the way as I live in my 30’s and embark into my 40’s, keep reading.
- Stop apologizing. I’m no longer apologizing for things that I shouldn’t be sorry for: asserting my opinion, making people uncomfortable, or being right. Listen I’m loud, I’m intense, I have a point of view, I was born and raised in Harlem. Sometimes I leave parties early or simply don’t want to be bothered. Oh and I curse a lot, and I’m not sorry about any of it.
- Find a hobby. If you don’t have one, get one. Something that really engages you- physically, mentally, creatively, or whatever floats your boat. For me, it is blogging. I’m not the best writer but I enjoy sharing my experiences. Once I turn on a candle, tune into some R&B, and I lose myself in it.
- Take control of your health. Our physical well being falls to the bottom of our list and if we don’t feel good in our own body, how can we feel good in our mind? Get enough sleep. If I don’t get at least 7-8 hours of sleep, I am the Grinch Who Stole Christmas. It’s just a fact. So I opt out of late-night TV and get to bed at least by 11pm. I try to fit in exercise where I can of course, because, honestly who loves to work out?! I also try to eat as healthy as possible. I am not talking about counting calories or saying no to carbs or cookies. I am talking about eating well and figuring out what my body needs to feel good, factoring in the random treat to satisfy my cravings, and eliminating the things that simply don’t work for my body. Drinking enough water. Finding time to medicate and giving these bones a little stretch. All these little steps have a very big impact on how you feel about your mind, body, and soul.
- Know how to say no. It’s important in life to be able to make choices, set your own limits and stick to them, even if it at times it means letting someone else down. Although I can never say no to a good Sunday brunch with my girls, if I’m not in the mood and rather stay home, I skip it. I know what my limits are and I stick to them, it allows me to keep a balance in life. Learning to make choices and stand by them (even the tough ones) shows inner strength.
- Be you. I am far from perfect and I don’t think I embraced that till recently. I’m feisty, controlling, passionate, self-aware (not selfish, well maybe sometimes), but I’m okay with that. I have finally embraced who I am- the good, the bad, and the ugly- instead of constantly trying to be something else. I’m never going to be the one who has the high heels, booty shorts, and a ton of makeup because we going to La Marina. I can’t see myself with a man who doesn’t love my friends and their opinionated natures. I won’t be in a relationship because that’s what’s expected of me or because cuffing season is over. Nor will I stop signing “My Neck, My Back” when it comes on at the local bar. I make zero excuses for myself and I own all of my choices, thoughts, and actions. Being in a new age bracket has given me a newfound confidence and appreciation for who I am.
- Swallow your pride. Just like I’m embracing my age, I also own my actions by confronting issues and accepting when I am wrong. Life is too short and we make mistakes daily. Instead of always trying to prove your point, how about learning to be open to people’s differences. I’ve learned to be more open, honest, and not to fester in my emotions too long- no one has the time or the energy to hold grudges and be resentful.
It’s strange because I thought to turn 36 and being single (next post) would be beyond depressing and a hard pill to swallow, but it was surprisingly the opposite. I have zero complaints about where I am in life. I’m stronger, braver, and more confident than I was in my 20s. Life is just less complicated and more enjoyable. I now can find solitude and comfort in the little things in life, like going to a concert by myself. I want to spend the rest of my thirties, loving myself, doing things for me, and taking pride in the woman I have become. Taking life day by day and cherishing every breath I’m given. I’m living my best life!!!! Amen!