I turned 36 today, and for the most part today felt like any other day. Although, I do find myself feeling pretty reflective about what being 36 and grown means. Birthdays are a blessing, because as long as you’re aging you are still alive. God willing, I plan to be here a long time and age as gracefully as possible. This is not to say that getting older is always the easiest process to go through. I mean as I take this slow march to 40, I at times experience anxiety about the future. I also spend more time than I should worrying if I’m on track, and accomplishing what I should be. This grown woman life can be tough!
My mom used to say, “You are only a child for a short period of time, but you are an adult for a lifetime.” I didn’t really understand what she meant, but around 30 it clicked and I realized what being grown meant. It meant work, bills, and responsibility. It meant that I’d be responsible for all of my choices good or bad. It meant mommy and daddy wouldn’t be there to bail me out if I made a bad decision. Being grown isn’t just about being free to do me, as most teenagers who are in a rush to get old seem to think.
Being a grown woman means waking up and realizing I’m in charge of how I want my life to be. Conscious decision making becomes a necessity. So as I sit here reveling in birthday wishes for my 36th year of life, I am also reflecting on what this grown woman life really should be about. Instead of complaining about getting older, I’ve compiled a list of 5 things every grown woman should focus on doing instead.
1. Take Chances
Last year, while on vacation in Las Vegas with my friends I was persuaded into signing up for an ATV ride in the desert. I had never been on an ATV in my life, and here I was agreeing to ride one through the Mojave desert. We were given a five minute tutorial, a few practice laps around a small course, and then off we went into the desert. I was scared out of my mind, the terrain was rough in some patches, and I just kept trying to keep the instructions we were given in my head on how to navigate it. We finally get to a clearing where we stopped for a break, and I was feeling amped because I had survived up to that point. I was feeling alive in ways I had never felt before.
I had challenged myself, faced my fears and tried something new. The picture above was captured during that moment. Unfortunately, right after this moment when we got back on our ATV’s to complete the ride, I made too sharp of a turn and ended up falling off of my ATV and injuring my leg. That moment could have ruined the whole experience for me. However, I was thankful to not be seriously injured and to be alive to tell the story. I mean, how many people can say they fell off an ATV in the desert?! Long story short, every grown woman should be willing to take chances. Things may not always turn out as you plan, but I guarantee you the experience will be well worth it.
2. Find Your Tribe
A tribe is a circle of friends, family members, professional acquaintances, or mentors that has your back. Your tribe will help you navigate this thing called life. They are the people who will be there to laugh with you, cry with you, support you, give you advice, or just listen when you need it. I’m a tried and true introvert, but the older I get I see the increased value of having a strong group of people I can turn to for advice, or even just to grab coffee and gab with. Additionally, as a woman still climbing the corporate ladder having a network is essential to professional growth. Every grown woman needs a tribe.
Are you still looking for your tribe? Join the official Girl Get It tribe here.
3. Stop Focusing on Your Haters
I’ll keep this one simple. The reality is, haters are going to hate and you will never be able to please everyone at the same time. So instead of focusing on your haters, spend more time nurturing relationships with those who support you. Every grown woman should learn to rise above, and twirl on their haters.
4. Define Success On Your Own Terms
This one probably should be #1 on the list. In this age of reality TV and social media, we are constantly bombarded with images of what success should look like. Be it the perfect family, big house, fancy car, fabulous vacations, designer wardrobe and perfectly coiffured exterior. It then becomes easy to compare yourself to those images, and feel as if you don’t measure up. However, success looks different for every person. If you are doing work you love, but not earning six figures a year it doesn’t mean you are any less successful than the person who is. It’s perfectly ok to set high goals for yourself, but you should set your own benchmarks for success. Comparison will only stall your progress. One person’s success doesn’t always equal another. Every grown woman should learn to define success for herself.
5. Learn to Be Honest With Yourself
We all have coping mechanisms to help us make it day to day. However, not living in the honest truth of our feelings or circumstances can have negative consequences. The reality is life gets ugly sometimes, and we should never be ashamed to be honest about our struggles and seek help when needed. It’s important to take time to truly face what you’re feeling, good or bad. Avoiding a problem, or suppressing your feelings has never been proven to solve an issue. In most cases it prolongs the problem, and potentially causes the issue to escalate. I’m a big fan of journaling to help me work through my thoughts and feelings. But when things get tough this is a time when you can call on your tribe. Additionally, when things get hard you should never be ashamed to seek professional assistance. A grown woman is honest with herself, and seeks help when needed.
Finally, a grown woman is not afraid to own who she is flaws and all. She knows who she is, and won’t let anyone stop her strut!