Recently I have come to realize I am very future-oriented. I am constantly looking forward to what is coming next. This is really clear if you have ever had a meal with me and I am already talking about what I should cook next. That’s just the way I roll. The danger in this approach to life is that I constantly feel like I am not quite where I am supposed to be. Instead of seeing everything I have done, I am always so focused on what I have yet to achieve.
Lately, everyone has been sharing their highlight reel on the net. Yes, I call it a highlight reel because very few people are honest about the struggles they have overcome. Social media has made us all into good editors. I am not going to lie. While I was reading some of those reels and feeling down about my own life, I was asking God “when?”. It was like this every time somebody talked about buying a house, or landing the corner office or having a baby. Then after the expected bout of dejection, I took a step back and looked at my own life. And this is what I saw on my reel.
- I finished my second Master’s degree at the beginning of this decade. I earned an MSc. in Management from a university in England. And at the end of this decade, I am in the early phase of moving into a brand new field, nursing. Currently, I am in school completing classes towards a BSN and I feel ecstatic about the things I am learning.
- I discovered that I love teaching. I did a year of service in Ibadan teaching at a public grammar school for children from poor families. Then I moved to Boston and became an educator at a big company. While working in retail, I realized I want to be a health advocate and chose to go back to school to become a nurse. This decade is really when I realized I love working with people.
- I moved around a bit at the beginning of the decade. My decade started in England and then I moved to New York then Lagos to Ibadan then to Boston. I have now lived in Boston for almost 7 years. There is something about feeling like I am where I am supposed to be that makes me glad that I took the time to find the place that suits me. There have been many lonely days and nights. I have also had many moments of amazement that I am brave enough to seek new fertile grounds. Like I feel I really chose to be a small fish in a big pond this decade
- In the midst of all the moving, I managed to start a business with my sister. We co-founded and managed a fashion business that actually employed a small team of people. We ultimately decided we needed to close the business and I chose a different path back to the US. Those days working with my sister would stay with me for a lifetime.
- I expanded my sense of empathy in this decade. I feel like I have always been an empathetic person. But looking back, my empathy seemed conditional. Living life and discovering that having control in life is an illusion made me take a step back. Discovering my own pain and the pain of others expanded my heart and made me more likely to offer grace instead of judgment.
- In many ways, I have come to understand my own mental health in this decade. I have had some of my saddest and most depressing days in these last 10 years. But I have had more good days than bad. I’m finally learning how to prioritize my peace, set boundaries and center my need for happiness. I say learning because it is a process that has no end. As my life evolves, so does my practice of self-care.
- I became Black. I know this is a weird statement to make because surely I have been Black for my whole life. But, the thing is I really discovered the social construct that is Blackness when I moved to Boston. Who would have thought Boston would be where I would learn about racism, micro-aggressions and the ways bias hinders achievements in Black lives? I could write a whole dissertation on this.
- I found love. Not just romantic love that makes me feel seen and supported. No, I also found the love that makes friends turn into family. I discovered the love of self that makes it easier, not easy, to be selfish about taking care of myself. Oh! that self-love is beautiful and terrifying because suddenly I am telling people, “ Yes, I am smart.” Love is beautiful especially when I take a step back and see the evolution of the relationship with myself and my people.
Writing this quick review of my decade made me realize that I have so much to be grateful for. The one overwhelming thing about my life how much privilege I have been afforded. Sometimes I get lost in my struggles of my earning enough money or not being married or owning a house. However, lately, I am also taking a step back and recognizing the privilege of my life. I have had so much autonomy over the course of my life, especially in this past decade. I have had the luxury of making a decision based on the pursuit of happiness. Chasing happiness and emotional fulfillment is a luxury. For that, I am grateful!