Who else gets birthday stress? Worrying about how you are a year older but are not quite near where you would like to be? What about the added squeeze of pressure you get each time you tell everyone you age on the day, as a gentle reminder that the clock is ticking? Maybe it’s the over-achiever in me, I don’t know. I turned 26 a few weeks ago and while the day itself was absolutely nothing to write home about, I was appreciative of having being blessed with yet another year to grow into my power and fulfill my purpose.
We live in the age of social media, where we are constantly exposed to the picture-perfect and aspirational lives of others. I used to scroll on Instagram and start to wonder if maybe there’s a formula to this life thing that I haven’t quite cracked yet because why else would everyone seem to have it all together and figured out? Until I learned that the keywords where is: Seems.
Social media aside, celebrating my birthday puts me in a reflective state of mind to put into perspective where I am, where I would like to be and what I can do better to help me get there. Besides my day going horridly pear-shaped, (a story for another day), I took a few moments to muse over my past year and to note the key take-outs from my past year in terms of my personal development.
1. It’s okay to NOT have it all figured out in one go
I have a Notes app on my phone where I plan out my goals and timelines. This app normally gives me great anxiety in the last week of December when I look back at how many checkboxes I can place a tick in. I’ve learned to loosen the reigns a little bit and acknowledge that there is room for change in the program, as long as you don’t deviate from your overall vision.
2. Don’t try to paint a different picture after someone has shown you their true colours
So many times we feel like we had the rug pulled from under our feet when in fact, the signs of underhandedness were there all along; we just chose to ignore the signs. My biggest mistake this past year was making excuses for people and their behavior when, sorry to say, they were just trash and shady human beings. Learn to recognise the toxic traits of the people you associate yourself with – whether it’s in a personal or professional capacity. This can save you so much trouble and tears down the line by knowing whose on your side and whose energies are low-key polluting yours.
3. Network = Networth
Birds of a feather, flock together. A couple of months ago, I attended the YocoMeets event in Durban and I was truly motivated and inspired by what other young people were doing in their respective industries. I realised that whatever it is you want to do, start now with the little that you have. It’s not impossible. Attend industry events so you can meet like-minded people to bounce ideas, get acquainted and boost your morale.