Hi everyone! So, I just turned 28 which is a huge milestone for me because I never imagined what my life would look like at this age. Honestly, I didn’t think my life would ever be this manageable. I’ve spent my entire life preparing to endure a hard life, yet that’s not my reality. I have to accept that I will not have to experience a life like that again. Now, I spend my money on candles, eye creams, and massages. I want to adopt a kitty and move across the country. Here are 5 of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my 20’s so far.
1. There is No Reward for Martyring Myself
I grew up believing if I endured, suffered, and overworked myself, I would be rewarded for it. But that’s such a lie. I would just grow up to be angry that all of my efforts were futile. Whenever I encounter bitterness from older women, I am reminded that they did everything right but were never rewarded for it. Martyrdom is a toxic concept that is rooted in preventing women from achieving their dreams, goals, and stability. I am no longer depriving myself of the life I actually want because I know that no one will reward me for martyring myself.
2. Solo Travel is the Most Liberating Experience Ever
I love solo travel! Why? Because I am able to exercise my freedom, autonomy, and independence. It’s one of the most powerful experience I’ve ever had. Dancing with street performers, impromptu tinder dates, invitations from locals and uninhibited fun. I also love the attention I receive from local men! I had so much fun bungee jumping in Costa Rica. I think I want to do that again before my 30th birthday. Solo travel enables me to be the master of my fate.
3. Everything I want out of my Life is within reach
Everything I want out of my life is within reach. As a college-educated, single, childfree woman, I know that I have fewer barriers. I don’t have anything anchoring me down. I’ve always wanted to go to Essence Fest in New Orleans (and I’m going this year!), experience AfroPunk Johannesburg and Trinidad Carnival, climb an active volcano and become scuba diving certified. I’m tired of being forced into this narrative that my life has to be hard because my mother and grandmother’s lives were. Why do I have to live my life as a tribute to suffering?
4. My Womanhood will Not be defined by Suffering
I hate suffering! At 28, I’ve realized that it’s possible to become addicted to suffering and hardship. It’s called trauma bonding. It’s important to recognize how living in survival mode hinders us from living up to our potential. This manifests itself into high-risk behavior, addiction, self-harm, financial and emotional exploitation, and martyrdom. Once I had awaken from the brainwashing, I realized I don’t have to continue living a life I didn’t want. I didn’t believe I could break this cycle, but I did. My womanhood will be defined by milestones, career growth, fun, and stability. I do not have to inherit my mother and grandmother’s silence.
5. Financial Freedom is EVERYTHING! Seriously. This is the most important lesson ever.
When I wrote about financial exploitation, I was writing about my personal experience. Money is freedom. Money enabled me to leave and start over. Money gave me power over my life and the freedom I’ve never had. If money wasn’t so important, why do abusers try to keep you from working or going to school? Because they know you’ll earn enough to leave. Women are paid less for the same amount of work because 1) our labor is devalued and 2) as a way to maintain control over us. Financial freedom is the only reason why I even went to college. I went to college so that I could earn enough to live the life I wanted. The debt doesn’t bother me. Neither does working two jobs. Financial freedom makes every other freedom possible. PERIOD.