My darling, as you turn 20, I wanted to share a few of life’s most important lessons with you. You will have many significant people through your life, and a best friend. You do not need to be intimidated by your best friend, or your boyfriend, mother or job for that matter. Trust those who show you the truth in them. We all need allies in life; but remember the benefit of the doubt is subjective, don’t give it to just anybody.
When fear threatens to cloud you, don’t let it. If fear is what pushes you to do something, make a decision DON’T DO IT, DON’T MAKE IT! If fear is the reason for putting something off, for procrastinating with an important decision, DO IT WITHOUT DELAY.
The success and happiness of your thirties is directly correlated to the decisions you make in your 20’s. People will always feel they know what’s good for you. Take the advice, nod, even mull it over, but in the end, do what YOUR HEART feels is right for YOU.
When faced with a decision, ask yourself three questions; is this the right decision? Is it for the right reasons? Is it the right time? If your answer is YES! YES! YES! You won’t go far wrong in life.
In everything you choose to do, be kind. Kindness is a rare commodity; it puts you and your interests behind that of the next person, not just in grand gestures, but even in the little things. It emanates from the heart, and is felt by those who cannot be fooled by insincerity. A shortcut to morality is the golden rule of life; ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ you’ll discover that this really is the start of wisdom and righteousness.
And while we’re on the subject of morality, relationships will NEVER be clear, it isn’t the nature of things. But you can help yourself by doing an exercise; make 3 lists: 1. What you ‘want’ in the man you love 2. What you would ‘like’ in the man you love 3. What you will not tolerate in any man in your life.
And stick to this list…preferably the first list. Standards dictate who we let into our heart, who stays there, and who deserves to be there. The more you compromise with these lists, the longer it will take to find your soulmate.
While looking for him, never covet what another woman has. Let what is meant to be yours, come to you. This habit people have of running in packs isn’t all that healthy either, after all the saying goes ‘relationSHIPS sink when they have too many passengers. You don’t need to let everybody in. And while you’re at it, Jealousy sucks! Try being on the receiving end of it, you’ll understand how damaging it can be to any relationship. Spending a fun weekend with someone is not enough to know if you really like them. You only really get to know people in their reactions when things are not going their way, and over a prolonged period. Further down the line when you think it’s a done deal, it’s still NEVER going to be ok to have sex in your parents house, unless you’re married. Get over it!
There’s never going to come a time when you should stop feeding the child in you. It’s the part of you which will always experience the real beauty of life, afresh, every time. Don’t ever be afraid of your own company. For anyone to love being with you, you must first love being with yourself. Wear your hair EXACTLY as you please. Society will have to get used to it. When you are choosing clothes think about what this will tell people about you when you wear them…and always be true to who you are. Everything on the outside should be a further expression of what is on the inside. Save! Yes, now IS the right time to do so.
There will be rough times, and you must survive your own traumas, but don’t fall victim to your story. Heal. Release. Move on. Thrive! It’s your motivation which will dictate the results of ANY action.
Always try to come from a good place. It will show. My darling you’ll never stop learning, and, while education is a leveler, LIFE is the best teacher. Best case scenario, use both. Reading is a joy! Read! It’s never too late to learn to love books. But if the books you’re reading don’t make you a better person, you’re reading the wrong books. Quality of life is what you give to yourself. Not what your job or your relationship gives you.
Decide what you love to do, and start doing it TODAY.
Born to Caribbean parentage, Debbie Edwards, a published poet and writer, relocated to Abuja in 2001. While working for various international organisations, Debbie remained closely affiliated with the arts through links with the Abuja Literary Society, the Abuja Writers Forum and the Abuja Play Reading Group. Debbie has 3 children (2 daughters) and currently lives and works in Lagos.