I turned 30 on Monday. I’m not exactly sure why, but I’ve been looking forward to this birthday for a while; I even stopped telling people I was 29, I would just say, “I’m almost 30” Na so e been dey do me.
Anyway, so I turned 30, and you know all those lists people write to their younger selves “Letter to the 15 year old me”, “10 things I wish I’d known at 18” and so on? I used to think they were pointless, until I found myself reflecting over the last few years and thinking of all the changes that have happened in my life. I’ve realized that there’s a point to alladem lists, they give you perspective.
So I decided to write my own list to the 18-year-old me. I wanted to do a “30 things…” list (you can kinda tell I like lists can’t you?) but it seemed like too much work, so I’m splitting it. I’ll do 10 things to my younger self, do 10 things about me, and do the 10 most important lessons I have learned in my short 30 year life.
So, without further ado, here is Part 1 – a message to my 18-year-old self – 10 things you’d (or should that be she?) be glad to know
Dear Arit, I’m not exactly sure how these letters are supposed to go, so excuse any weirdness. You’ve just turned 18, and I’ve just turned 30 and this is not the Naija version of “The Time Traveller’s Wife”. Looking at you, so young, so worried about the future, I wish I could hug you. You turn out ok hon. I’m going to tell you 10 things that have happened:
- You’re beautiful. Yes I know, you’re skinny, short and have too many teeth. But Agbani has made lepas fashionable, petite works for you, and everyone says you’ve got a beautiful smile. You’ve grown into your face, and it is a beautiful one.
- You’re not going to marry the fiancé. You guys were so totally wrong for each other. Luckily, you split up before there was a wedding. You’ll think about it some days and thank God for not letting you both make a mistake.
- You’re not going to become more…ahem…”endowed”. However, in the last few months, you’ve suddenly started developing curves…everyone says they look good on you. Maybe it’s middle age spread (snicker) but I like to think that you’re finally settling into your own skin.
- You and God will have some bumpy times. He had a lot of work to do on you. A lot of unconditioning, a lot of polishing. There were so many ideas about who He was that had nothing to do with Him and everything to do with the mindsets of the people who told you bout Him. You’re a bit more jaded now, and He’s still got a lot of work to do on you, but at least you no longer feel like a failure every time you make a mistake.
- Speaking of mistakes, brace up hon, you’ll make a lot of them; some of them worse than others. Some of them will lead to the most interesting experiences of your life. For some of the others, let’s just say God has been extremely merciful to you.
- You didn’t get your PhD as 26 like you promised Papa, but you’ve finally figured out what you like to do. You like to write, you like to talk, and you like to organize stuff. We’re still working out how to get PhDs from those, and I know Papa won’t mind that you took a little time to be sure of your path, we’re trying to see if you can get him 2, just to make up. Love you always Grandpa.
- You and your mum are best friends! Yup! I know! After all the fights, screaming and tears, turns out she’s pretty cool after all. Infact, she’s the coolest Mother alive. You guys talk about everything, she listens and when she talks, she totally makes sense. It seems like when no one was watching, she morphed from Dragon Lady to Really Cool Mama.
- You and little Sis aren’t doing too badly either. Somewhere along the line, she stopped being a pest (Little Sis, you must admit, you were a pest)and became this awesome, fabulous person. You guys talk about everything and you look at her sometimes and just get overwhelmed with how beautiful a person she is. It’s good. As a matter of fact, you and the Siblings are closer than you guys have ever been. You guys talk, laugh and enjoy hanging out with each other.
- You stopped being afraid. Little by little, you’ve lost all the fears that stopped you from taking chances. The fear of being wrong, being rejected, being hurt, making a mistake…you’ve been wrong, rejected, hurt and made 5 million mistakes. You’ve actually stopped being scared of living and you are finally taking chances, with more wisdom and lots of clarity…which is cool.
- You’re going to be fine. You spend so many nights worrying about what the future has in store for you. From this vantage point though, looking back over the last 12 years, it’s so easy to see God’s awesome grace and presence as it has been available to you. You’ve done well honey, you’ve done better than you thought you would, and guess what, the journey’s just beginning.
Relax and enjoy yourself hon, everything will be just fine.