For most of us, aging is not just the passing of age, I’m sure this is a common concept in every culture. For us Basotho girls or women aging signifies strength, maturity , humility and family responsibility. Puberty therefore plays a remarkable indicator of maturity in girls, who at this point in time, are regarded as women with the potential of child bearing. By the time a girl reaches the age of 12 or 13 years old she should at least have mastered the basics of how to cook, wash the laundry, fetch water from the well, clean the house and still attend school and attain good results. These are some of the lessons I’m glad I learnt early on from my culture. However, birthdays are not usually celebrated , unless they serve a ceremonial or a ritual purpose as mentioned above.
Having grown up in urban areas and cities, aging is so tough and birthdays are always such a mission filled with the pressures of what to do, what to buy and where to go and celebrate. This year I’d like to take a step back and reflect before my next birthday in this letter I drafted, titled “A letter to my 24 year old self.” I hope it eases me well into my next big chapter in life.
A letter to my 24 year old self.Dearest Mapitso👩🏽💻
On this exact day next month (21 March), you will be a year older. A quarter to 100 years!💯
You are a tad bit ambivalent about this new chapter in your life so much that you’ve become a bit tearful just thinking about how close you are to being 25. Not, just that but the thought of growing up and owning up to the responsibilities that come with aging is kind of daunting.
Memories of the past 24 years remain and you are blessed to have seen and witnessed your young soul develop and touch dreams so destined, yet so close to your reach. You’ve climbed the highest peaks and swam in the deepest oceans, and you remained unscathed through it all. Over and above you have had the opportunity of ticking off most items on your bucket list including getting your degree , getting your dream car , traveling to places you once imagined as a child, starting your own blog and achieving some of those big dreams you thought impossible, yet attainable.
At 24, you stopped becoming too flustered and anxious about ageing and started owning the fact that you are not getting any younger even though people think you are still 12 years old. Thanks to your wonderful genes.
But, remember that you may not crack given that you take good care of your body, drink less wine and more water and continue to find new and exciting ways of adding joy and happiness into your life.
By now, you have your undergraduate degree and awaiting your second degree, a Masters in Law! You have worked for four companies in a space of 6 months before working for your fifth, which ended up being one of your dream jobs. No you are not Bipolar, until proven otherwise, you just know what you want and refuse to settle for anything less than your best. But, you wonder if you even ever want to work for anyone at all. Such is the life of a 24 year old Millennial. It’s fine, you will soon find something that will make sense to you and your dreams and run with it for gold. So you are really adulting the controversial way, which makes you unique. Your ability to remain tenacious and to persevere in every adversity will surely serve you well in future.
It is scary to think how quickly these past 23 years have gone for you, so here are a few tips for the next coming 24 years…
1. Relationships: ” Can we not discuss this in public?”
Sure, while this area remains parked for a while, you have come to realize that the best relationship you will ever have is with yourself. Since turning 24, you let go of having to put so much effort in trying to fit in, be liked, be cool, being loved and focused more on giving these qualities to yourself instead. Now being alone in your own company, is one of the cheapest luxuries you’ve honed and are not prepared to let go, any time soon! Claim thyself back.👩❤️👩
2. Keep family close
Your family will always be the people who will be the first to carry you through your lows and see you through to your highs. So make the most of family time and invest in them. Every year you keep discovering new relatives from your mom and dad’s side and you should make time to connect with them. They are so cool!
One or two close friends are enough, you really do not need an entourage. Destiny’s Child ended up with 3 girls in a group and they became a more successful girl group in our history than Spice Girls…so do the maths. But reserve some room for acquaintances because it is always good to hear different people’s stories and have good conversations and a drink with a good old friend. Be open to meet new people and make lasting friendships. But keep your circle small as far as possible.
4. Be your own best friend
Shop alone, travel to a different country by yourself, take yourself out for a drink and a good meal. Learn to love yourself more. This is the only times you can fully understand the uniqueness of being you. Spend time reading books too, so far you like Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche and most girls do, maybe start writing your own books like she did. Who knows, you might be a hit too.
5. Optimize opportunities
Life is about exploring and playing with the opportunities that you have while you still do. So never let a good opportunity pass you by. Make the most of every moment in your life to learn from it, whether this is good or bad.
6. Live a simple relaxed life
Live a simpler , more authentic life and stop shying away or feeling insecure about yourself. Stop putting so much pressure on yourself, you don’t know all the answers and you don’t have to. It’s okay to just be your true self and be confident about the things that are meaningful to you.
7. Stay grounded
Keep in your lane, try not to worry about others too much, they will take care of themselves and you should remain focused on you. Or else, no one else will.
8. Work hard
Yes, you must work to maintain your life, but never be a slave. Work when you have to and play when you have the time to. Find a balance and most importantly,find something that makes you feel like you’re having fun everyday, so it doesn’t feel a lot like work.
Trust yourself because no-one else really does, until you prove them wrong. How tiring? Things are unfolding as they should and you should learn to trust the process. Also be confident- you got this.
10. Shake of the negativity
Develop a thick skin and use adversities to learn valuable life skills. You will learn to pick yourself up quicker when you fall because depression is real and you don’t need that baggage now and never. You still have so many years ahead and so much life in you to spend it doing things you don’t like , people you don’t even like or even worrying .
11. Never forget God and where you come from
This will always be a compass leading you to your destined life.
From your loving selfie