I turned 26 last week. Oy.
The feeling of this is pretty strange because I pretty much only planned up to the 25 point... I talked about that in one of my first ABD posts which you can read here.
I feel like I have a pretty "forever young" outlook on life. But there are most definitely some things that have changed significantly since this year began, let alone since I hit that benchmark 25 last year.
I hadn't done a list post in a little while so here goes nothing!
1. Frivolous Spending
Somewhere a little section of hell has frozen over. The shopaholic queen said what?! Yes. While your 20s is a wonderful time to be selfish, it's also an excellent time to build a solid financial foundation, invest, be wise with your money and establish yourself for the years to come. I found myself looking at homes and tax write-offs more than new wedges. It was then that I knew it was time to stop putting my money in my closet, a la Carrie Bradshaw, and get ready to set myself up for real financial stability and wisdom.
2. Maintaining Empty Relationships
It took me a long time to realize that people, like milk, have expiration dates. Some longer than others, but everyone in our life has a season. Something washed over me one day that just stopped me from putting energy into people who put no energy into me. The street runs both ways, after all! What I found is when I rid myself of these empty acquaintances, fare-weather friends, people who conveniently remember you number when they need something - you know the ones! I freed up so much time and energy for the people who deserve it! I cannot stress enough the relief of letting go of people who don't want to be kept in the first place.
3. Going to Sleep in Makeup
Someone is going tsk, tsk, somewhere. Fine, Judge Judy. I'm being honest here! I've been blessed enough that a night with my foundation on won't result in a face full of zits in the morning and I've abused it for everything it's worth, like many of my 20-something peers. Now that I'm on the downhill slope to 30, I've started taking better care of my skin. That means washing it daily before bed, using moisturizer, making sure products have SPF and just being skin wise about product choices. I like to carry leather bags but have no ambitions of looking like one!
4. Day Drinking
I'm going to expand this to encompass hard liquor on any day that is followed by a work day. A glass of wine on a Monday night is unwinding. 5 shots of Vodka on a Wednesday evening is a problem, period. When I was 21 - 24, I could do it, no issue! Wake up and be on time to work as though it had never happened. Post 25 it's just a one way ticket to hell on Earth. Sunglasses and Advil anyone?
5. Limiting Yourself
I can't tell you how many things I've opened my mouth and announced that I would do only to be told it isn't possible. Not for girls like me, not for women, not for a black woman, certainly. Even this site seemed laughable to most people when I tried to describe it. I tried tirelessly to find my place, my category, my niche. Until I realized maybe I can indeed have it all. Maybe I'll sleep less, work harder, see my friends less, but darn it I can be and do anything I damn well please and you better not tell me I can't or you better jump back. There's gasoline on that fire! Life is short, and precious and it's never too late or too early to accomplish something you can't go a day without thinking about. It took me plenty of time to live comfortably outside of society's confines. Don't waste another minute. Be bold enough to go after what you want and dare anyone willing to tell you you can't.
6. Being Oblivious
It's one thing to be 22 and know nothing about politics, world relations, socioeconomic conversational landmines, cultural differences etc. It is NOT so excusable in your late 20s. You should and need to know what's going on around you, in politics, in the financial market, in your immediate surroundings and society as a whole. You know how it looks bad to play stupid? It's even worse to be stupid. More-so the older one gets! Simple, yes?
7. Empty Encounters
This is more for my readers than me, since I feel like I've been monogamous since the dark ages. However, as I've said before, I'm here for ALL women, not just the ones who share my perspective or circumstances. I most certainly don't believe that there's some magical age or point at which you should be settled down. I do believe, though, that there is no way to find "the one" if you're seeing "everyone." SLOW DOWN. Evaluate what it actually is that you're looking for and date people who are somewhere near that mark. Don't put unnecessary mileage on your heart! More on that here.
8. Working at Dead End Jobs
Obviously, this isn't something that can change overnight. It can be hard to pull yourself up by your boot straps. But where there is a will... you know the rest. Hand in hand with that financial responsibility and stability I discussed is a career. One with benefits, steady pay, perhaps some protection for your inevitable retirement? Maybe instead of something conventional you want to do your own thing? What won't make it happen is thinking and no doing. If that's you, go back and reread number 5!
9. Eating Things That Come Out of A Bag
I love fast food! I love it, I love it, I love it! BUT my waist line doesn't. Gone are the days when I could lay on the couch watching Jersey Shore (don't judge me, that was epic television!) eating cookie after cookie. I think fried chicken was invented just for me and don't even get me started on Jack In The Box. Still, if I don't want to roll into my 30s, literally, I have to stop eating the cookies, put down the chicken and drive past the drive thru and find my way to a green veggie. I started eating cleaner last year and I've never felt more energetic. I haven't completely ditched the trash, but all in moderation as they say.
10. Staying Put
It took me a while to get the yearning, but suddenly all I want to do is get lost. Get the hell out of here and go see something else. My sense of adventure has suddenly peaked and I want to take some of that cash I've spent so often on material things and gain some life experiences and sights that are worth much more than money. I want to see the world more than I ever thought I did earlier on, and that's not a bad thing. As J.R. R. Tolkien wrote, "Not all who wander are lost."