The quarter century mark of life is often times underrated. People don't realize how much you change during your 25th year of life. For myself I noticed a huge change physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. Being 25 has been eye opening. I didn't realize how much I would go through and how much I would learn about myself.
I found myself waking up and opening my bible app before opening Instagram or Snapchat. I was becoming more spiritually inclined. I found myself reading and journaling more instead of posting photos on social media. I was becoming more...uhh what's the word... mature?
Finding my purpose.
During this phase I knew I wanted to step outside of my comfort zone and accept the gifts God blessed me with. The only thing is that I wasn't sure what that was. I found myself trying to fill voids. Wanting more money, wanting more responsibility, wanting more of a challenge, just wanting, wanting, wanting. I was never satisfied, I was never happy and even when I got more money and responsibility I still found myself complaining about something.
Leaving the production world and getting into marketing was solely a leap of faith. I didn't know if I would do well or if I would rise in the field. I went into it with the mindset of soaking in everything I could and then going back into production with a more broad mindset. Having that mindset made me burn bridges with some of my employers. Being 25 meant using my resources for a bigger purpose and goal. They didn't like that.
I started to appreciate my purpose over my income. At one point I would only accept a job if it paid over $70k. Even if I didn't like the job description I would still take it. I soon learned that money did not outweigh love and passion. I was burning myself out working jobs that didn't feed my soul. My account was magnificent but my heart was empty. I knew I had to get back into production and do what I was born to do.
When I finished grad school at 25 I felt rejuvenated. I felt like I accomplished something for me for once. The skills and mindset I took away from grad school birthed Unleash Yourself. A fearless queen who finally stopped being silent and found her voice through helping others. Being 25 meant overcoming boundaries that were preventing me from being me.
No more clubs
Being 25 meant no more clubs. Well for me anyway. I honestly couldn't do it anymore. The loud music, the crowd, the sticky floor, the dirty bathrooms, ugh I can't. I found myself wanting a cup of super antioxidant green tea instead of a cup of patron on the rocks. I was maturing and appreciating my alone time getting to know me.
Being 25 meant travel the world. Do something daring, do something strange, or over the top. I traveled to Dubai with my friend and let me tell you it was a trip for the books. Amsterdam, Dubai and Abu Dhabi are beautiful countries that everyone must visit. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are honestly the only places in the world where you can ride a camel, ride on a yacht, go skiing, pet a penguin, go zip lining, go to the beach, enjoy high tea in the tallest building in the world, wear and experience traditional clothing, and visit an amazing botanical garden. The only place! Being 25 meant to travel somewhere other than Punta Cana or Mexico. It meant become culturally educated and cognizant.
The Marriage Bug
Eeeeek being 25 meant I'm ready to settle down. I'm ready to have kids before 30, I'm ready to be a wife before 30, I'm ready I'm ready I'm ready. After being in a relationship for 3 years I found myself feeling complacent. What's next? What are we doing? Where's my ring? Being 25 meant wanting marriage sooner than anticipated. Most women are ready for marriage before a man even gets to attempt to think about it. It's in our blood to be ready. Even if we're not really ready we will figure it out to be ready. Being 25 meant rush. My clock is ticking I don't want to have kids after 30 type of ticking.
Through prayer, meditation, journaling, and mentorship I learned that I wasn't ready for marriage. I began to appreciate being a girlfriend. A time period I would never get back. The long talks on the phone, the spontaneous daring dates, the feeling of actually missing someone is often times taken for granted. The dating period is a time every girlfriend should not rush. Enjoy it. Enjoy learning about his flaws, enjoy learning about his family, enjoy helping him reach his goals, enjoy sitting in the car for hours talking about nothing, enjoy not having combined financial stress, enjoy not having kids, enjoy being able to travel together with no worries, enjoy the simple things that make your relationship unique. Being 25 meant loving being a girlfriend to my best friend.
Being 25 meant cut everyone off. I went through a phase where I only wanted genuine people around me. I felt like if there was a person in my circle that wasn't treating me the way I was treating them I would just not be friends with them anymore. As we go up on the elevator of life reaching our goals we have to let people off of the elevator or else it will get crowded. The smaller your circle is the better. With that mindset I started pin pointing traits I didn't like about certain people and would just cut them off. As I was doing that I realized that I wasn't giving my friends a chance to grow just like I was growing. No one is perfect and no one will be just like you. The different perspectives in friendships create a richer dynamic of new ideas and concepts. I was more quick to cut someone off than I was to pray for them. I was quicker to judge than uplift. I was more prone to give up on them than find a reason to love them. Being 25 meant understanding others and appreciating their flaws.
Being 25 meant be a boss. At 25 I started speaking. speaking up, speaking sternly, speaking direct, speaking comfortably, and speaking...on...stages.... Yes I started public speaking. Never in a million years did I EVER think I would be on a stage speaking in front of a room full of people. Like what? Me? I'm so shy. I put fear behind me and conquered the room. I moderated and led a panel discussion, hosted an amazing women's empowerment brunch, and taught a class at Essex County College. I was finally stepping outside of my comfort zone and doing what I loved to do, empower others. I found my purpose in life through overcoming fear. Faith has kept me grounded and strength has kept me above the strong waves. Being 25 meant being resilient and unstoppable.
Bruhhhhhh I never thought I would EVER go through the process of becoming "natural." Watching my beautiful long relaxed hair grow out and turn into a nappy fro was truly hard to watch. It was hard to embrace. I held onto my relaxed ends for 12 months until they were about one inch long. I promised myself I wouldn't go into my 26th year of life with relaxed ends. It was symbolizing me holding onto the past. I had to let it go.
On the week of my 26th birthday I went to a local natural hair salon in Bloomfield and sat in that chair and watched my ends hit the floor. I already knew I would hate it but I was happy that I did it... finally. Being 25 meant letting go and embracing my new found beauty. Being 25 meant be natural.
Being 25 meant family is everything. The older you get the more you appreciate your parents. I never believed that until I actually got older. I never understood why my dad always said "education is number one" (in his Nigerian accent). I never understood why my mom always preached about not bringing babies in her house before marriage (in her country accent). I never understood why my twin sister was so annoying (I still don't get that though).
As I got older I started to understand the value of family. They are literally ALWAYS there for me. Especially my mother and my sister. The older I got I realized I didn't need any friends because I had them. Rain, snow, or sleet they were at every event helping me reach my dreams. Even my bad ones. Being 25 made me appreciate my family so much more. I learned to value them and keep them close.
The beauty of being 25 is understanding the growth and being able to look back and appreciate it. I love the person I am becoming and I am excited to see what year 26 has to offer. I can only imagine.... because I never thought I would endure such strength being 25...