Midnight this morning, if you were in DC, you might’ve spotted a chick in a powder blue Nissan Altima with her windows down and radio up, chair dancing shamelessly in the driver’s seat. Ummm, that was me. I was all the way off the hook at the stroke of 12 because it officially became my birthday. I don’t need anybody else in the immediate vicinity to celebrate me. That’s one of the things I love about who I am: I have fun by myself, honey. You can get in on it if you want to, but if you don’t, I’ll still have a good time. As demonstrated by my one-woman birthday party in the car.
Typically when my born day rolls around, I’m grateful as all get out just to be here, thankful for another annual stab at life, but seething with regret that one more year is passing without realizing the major accomplishments I’ve set for myself, blah blah blah. Scratch that moping. In 2013, I’m all about pure, uncut joy. I don’t have a house yet. My savings account is kinda wimpy. Nobody put a ring on it and I can’t post any Facebook pics of my most recent fabulous vacation because there hasn’t been one, unless you think Amish country is exotic.
I’ve spent more than a sufficient amount of time bemoaning the absence of those things and it hasn’t changed not a doggone thing. I’m over it. I generally hate this saying—it’s so vanilla and dismissive—but in this case, it really is what it is. I’m sure at some point, maybe sooner than I expect even with this refreshing injection of carefree, that I’ll slip into another bout of life timeline obsession. But for now, I’m chilling. Ambitious folks have a hard time doing that, but it’s the only thing to do when you’ve played the lead role in your own personal Sisyphus story long enough.
Definitely a year older, hopefully a little wiser, if I could tell my younger self some other things, I could’ve spared both of us—and my mama—a lot of stress, headache and money in the wind.
1. Not every situation requires immediate action. You can sure enough exhaust yourself trying to change something that is destined to ride itself out. Learn which predicaments you can somehow control and which you just need to give over to God.
2. There’s a difference between responding and reacting. Pull your thoughts together before you start firing off the first thing that comes to mind. It’s a heck of a lot easier to do that than to clean up the fallout of your scattershot mouth.
3. Please, by all means, stop trying to do your own at-home hair color. Girl. Seriously.
4. Small milestones are just as worth cheering as big achievements. Acknowledging them gives you a chance to really see and appreciate the steps in your journey. Each one of them has a purpose and rushing to get to the big finale cheats you out of witnessing your own growth.
5. Develop a taste for exercise and fitness young. The older and busier and more cantankerous you get, the less enthused you’re gonna be about fitting anything even remotely strenuous into your routine.
6. If a man isn’t nice to his mama, his sisters or waitresses at the restaurants y’all patronize, run far, run wide.
7. Just because someone says they love you doesn’t mean they’re capable of giving you the same kind of love that you need. Their love might not even meet your love halfway.
8. Learn as much as you can about cars. Trust me on that one.
9. Frequently do something kind for someone who has less than you do and stop throwing so many doggone pity parties about what you don’t have. You have everything you need to have right now. The real test is what you’re doing with it.
10. Stack $100 a month. Look, if you can get your hair and nails done and ride up and down the eastern seaboard for social outings, you can squirrel away some savings. It’ll be one of the smartest things you’ll ever do.
Aside from writing this post, I’m not doing a darn thing for the rest of the day. I’m leaving my laptop on the coffee table, putting on a cute outfit and taking myself to lunch and a day at the museum, where I can be a whole nerd to my heart’s content. Just being myself and having a good time.