I will be 28 in 14 days, that totals to about 336 hours, 20,160 minutes, or 1, 209,600 seconds- but who’s counting? As my birthday quickly approaches, I have been battling with a sense of apprehension that I’ve battled for the past few years. When I think of my birthday, I treat it like a milestone of my progression, where I am in my professional and personal life. If you would have asked me where I would be by 28 when I was a little girl I would have said, “I’ll have a black 5-series BMW, I’ll live in a one 3-bedroom condo in Bronzeville, I’ll be engaged to some chocolaty educated man, and I’ll be a maven in my Media career.” Funny how those assumptions shift as we grow older. I don’t own a BMW, my wheels of choice are the CTA, I share a 2-bedroom with my cousin, and as for that chocolaty man I’m engaged to- if my fantasies of Trevante Rhodes count, then we’re getting married next June.
The pressure to live up to level of success that even my girlhood self imagined, at times feels like a haunt, and I question my fortitude to see my dreams come to fruition. I have amazing friends who give me encouragement, but sometimes the anxiety makes me want to take off running until the noise in my head stops. Why do I do this to myself? Why, do I minimize all I have accomplished? Why do any of us do it? I used to really love my birthday, but the older I became and the more responsibilities I had to tack on, I lost the ego-tripping glee I once had for my birthday and instead of marking it as a day of celebration, I used it to deliberate on all the things I had not done.
I want to get back to my center and I want to celebrate myself like I did as a child. When people tell me ‘happy birthday’ I want to be just that: happy; the issue is I have never appreciated the process. Known more commonly as ‘the struggle’ I have never embraced the pain of fighting to make it. I have endured it but I never let the lessons sink in. Perhaps that is why certain lessons have had to be learned more than once. If you find yourself in the same predicament as me then the time is now to better ourselves. Let’s not allow another birthday to arise in which we are mulling over our past like a ‘dream deferred.”
Rather, let us celebrate the air in our lungs and the reset button that God pressed to allow us to move in the direction of the destiny that he has already secured for us. My self-induced anxiety, as real as it is, is in direct conflict with said destiny. If we have the confidence that there is better in store, that we can achieve all that we have hoped for and even more, there is no room for doubt. I need to KNOW that I will be okay, that we all will be just fine. If we’re able to get out our heads and in to our blessings, adulting will not be as torturous as we make it, and who knows, we might even enjoy the ride along the way.