Happy birthday to me!! I cannot believe I have made it to chapter 28 in the book of life. This morning I immediately went back through my journal to see where I was last year and surprisingly, there hasn’t been much change over the past year in areas where I wanted to mainly focus: finance and physical health. *sigh* This year has to be be the year that I prioritize both! Anyways… I wanted to share 28 lessons I have learned in 28 years with you:
Devotion/prayer/quiet time is essential first thing in the morning. This has helped and continues to help set the tone for my day.
Be kind to people. You never know their story or why they act a certain way, even if they are mean or rude to you. Having this platform has taught me a lot about the background of people, how it impacts their life, and why they act a certain way.
It is okay to ask for help when I don’t want to. For a long time I’ve struggled with asking for help, especially from people who I don’t feel that I have contributed anything to BUT when I need help, I have to ask for it. Sometimes you’re can be just ONE ASK AWAY from getting what you need to get to the next level.
I don’t owe anyone an explanation for my decisions, whether it’s parents, grandparents, and/or other relatives. Recently, I caught myself about to do this and reminded myself that it wasn’t necessary. Half the time, they won’t understand anyways.
It is okay to separate myself from negative people (even family) or anyone that makes me feel less than, as if I am a hindrance, or as if I am constantly being judged.
Wealth is not all about money. As a kid, I was taught to basically get a degree that is supposed to land me a great job that I will retire from. I got the degree and I have been constantly chasing a dollar, not really knowing what building wealth entails. I’m learning to show up, operate in excellence, and provide value wherever I am. I’ve been told that if I do this, the money will come in addition to investing and having multiple streams of income.
Budgeting and actually sticking to a budget is important so that you can know where your money is going. Zero-based budgeting helps to designate every single dollar. It is a struggle but I know that it can be done.
Saving for the kid’s future matters. I know that I do not want my daughter to be in the place that I was when I HAD to start working at 15 then figure out ways to generate income in college to stay afloat.
Health should be a priority. I’ve been slacking big time and in the process I’ve gained over 20 pounds and I’m like HOWWW?? By not paying close attention to what I’m eating and when I’m eating... Moreover, it is important to make sure that I have my regular check-ups for myself i.e. OBGYN, optometrist, and dentist. How can you take your kid to her regular appointments and not go yourself? I am doing better this year.
Water is an essential. There are so many benefits but keeping your body hydrated, skin looking flawless, and helping your food digest is major.
A skin care routine is necessary. I’ve finally got my five-minute morning routine down and I’m working on being consistent with the night care routine. It’s a struggle. (If you need help, check out the podcast episode on skin care. So many people reached out to thank me for this topic.) I recently had a mini-facial and the lady told me that I have nice skin but the key to getting it and keeping it flawless is going to be staying consistent with a day and night skin routine and drinking my water.
Learn to ask for what you want PERIOD. People are not mindreaders, therefore it is important to communicate. I don’t know why it is so difficult for me to ask for simple things i.e. for a work laptop because I’m hourly and my employer typically only provides them to salaried employees. I know what you’re thinking.. That’s an easy ask… but guess what? It wasn’t for me. After asking my director and explaining why I needed one, his response was I don’t see why you can’t get one if you are doing x, y, z. That just confirms the saying, “If you don’t ask, you’ll never know.” This applies to everything.. negotiating, opportunities, you get where I’m going with this.
Networking is so important. You never know who is watching you that has the power to bless you. At my most recent conference, I met up with one of the presenters and I had no clue she was an executive director at her company. After talking with her, she offered her business card and told me to email her and she would send me some material to help with my role as well as helping with the certification exam that I am intending to sit for. I’ve also had the opportunity to meet moms on social media and later meet them in-person, which leads to having mom friends that are able to babysit, share advice, have play dates, etc.
Therapy is officially a tool in my toolbox. For so long I didn’t consider it because of growing up with my mom’s mental illness and people calling her crazy. I wish I would’ve started way back when I first became a mom… It’s been so good for me! I feel like I am going to talk to an auntie every other week. It has been one of the best investments ever!
Face-to-face adult interaction is essential without the kid. I just learned this one from my therapist. I thought I was doing good to have adult interaction with the kid. I always bring her everywhere.. from meetings to networking happy hour mixers. My therapist suggested budgeting for at least once a month to get out without the kid. She said I looked overwhelmed when I talked about it and that she could see it in my eyes. She said I know you don’t want to pay the sitter but your sanity is important. I felt like I have been pretty sane but every now and then I will raise my voice or become irritated simply because my daughter is following me around our apartment or constantly saying mommy ever minute… I almost broke down mama during that session. I never realized how much a therapist could tell about you from the way you look to the way you speak.
Sacrifices are sometimes required for growth. As I proceed into this next chapter, I know that finances are a major focus and one of the things I’m doing is downsizing. I’m moving into an even smaller one-bedroom apartment (with a study) from my two-bedroom luxury apartment. Yes. I am giving up the nice black appliances and granite countertops to save and be able to supplement my employer’s contribution for graduate school tuition payments. I feel like student loans are a trap and I did not want to go that route again. I’m still paying on the ones I had in undergraduate school. *sigh*
Investing in yourself is a major key for growth. That includes therapy, coaching, paying for a certification, purchasing a self-help book, attending a course… You name it! Make sure you do your research though. We are living in a digital age right now and so many people are scamming people to make a dollar.
There are some nuances to school ratings. For a while I struggled with the thought of sending my daughter to public school. Then I thought it about… I am either staying in a neighborhood where I can’t really walk to sacrifice and afford private school or I’m staying in a decent area and private school doesn’t fit the budget. I ended up choosing the latter and choosing a school that had a 9/10 rating. While I haven’t been disappointed in the school completely, it hasn’t completely met my expectations. I have learned that the teachers ultimately determine your child’s learning experience even though the school plays a part. So now, I do not worry about the ratings as much but I’ve learned to ask people in the community that have kids that attend or have attended that school when choosing the next area we would live in.
I am my child’s first teacher. She is a reflection of me so it’s very important that I model the behavior that I want to see. This one is a tough one. Back in the day, we were told to “do as I say and not as I do.” I now believe that is unfair. We are supposed to set the examples and be their role models.
Being active in your child’s education is important. Teachers are more likely to respect you and let you know what’s going on with your child when you show up and let them know that you mean business, especially being a black single mom in a predominantly white school. Since I am moving closer to my job this year, I am going to do a better job of showing up at the school. It’s difficult when you have a long commute to show up and go back to work or to take off a whole day off.
There are psychological effects of taking a momcation. I took my first solo trip last year to Colombia and loved it. Momcations allow you have breaks from everyone and everything. It’s different from a group trip because you have the flexibility to go where you want and do what you want. It forces you out of your comfort zone when you desire company to speak to strangers.
I won’t be for everyone and that is totally okay. I’ve learned that I absolutely cannot impact everyone and that my focus needs to be on those that want to hear what I have to say and are striving for greatness just like me.
Social media is powerful. I’ve already talked about how you can network via social media but have you realized how many opportunities are being given through social media alone? It’s mind-blowing! I got my first blog and podcast sponsorships because of social media.
I have the ability to impact. Creating this platform has shown me that God can use me to speak life into other people. So many people have reached out to say that they have created their blog, started a business, paid off their debt, purchased a home, designated family nights for the kids, and so much more. This feeds my soul. I am truly grateful for this opportunity to be able to impact moms, single women, and men (yes there are a few of them that follow the platform) around the world.
You can be present, but not present. Taking time to actually enjoy my daughter without trying to do other things has been challenging but I have done so much better. Do you realize that your child can live with you but you don’t ever spend quality time with them or give them your undivided attention?? I am still working on this one but making a conscious effort to put my phone and/or computer down has been helpful.
Writing things down has so many benefits. You can dump your brain and free up some of your memory capacity. It’s helpful for reflection, especially journaling when you want to go back and see where you were last week, last month, or even last year. Remember, our memory can only hold so much. Writing down goals help bring focus and clarity.
Stop the comparison. I’ve been doing a whole lot better with this. It’s so easy to do this on social media. If I find myself trying to play the comparison game with another mom, I either unfollow or hide her from my timeline. It’s not worth it. Everyone’s situation is different and I have to remember that social media is a highlight reel and most people don’t share what’s really happening behind the scenes.
Continue to make myself a priority. This is probably the most important lesson and I now know that this is bigger than carving out time before the kid gets up in the morning or after she goes to sleep. It’s more about getting to know myself more, doing things that I like to do, and making time for adult-only face-to-face interaction. I don’t think I’ve taken much time to actually “live life” enough. If my cup is empty, how will I pour into my daughter and other people?
What advice do you have for someone in their late 20s that you wish someone would’ve given you?? Drop it below.