Somebody Cue the Uncle Luke “It’s Your Birthday” song because I just celebrated my BIG 40th this pass Friday. And in true friend fashion my closest friends threw me a surprise birthday luncheon. It isn’t ironic that my accountability partner/life coach/mentor Cheranissa Roach got me together (yes my nickname for her is The Queen of the Get Together) right before my birthday because I was having a moment. I came to the realization that it is very difficult for me to celebrate me. Oh, it’s very easy for me to shoutout others, their accomplishments, causes and events. But when the time comes for me to do the same for myself I at times shrink like a violet. Why? Well, that’s an answer that I am still searching for, but I know at some level it’s connected to worth, fear and uncertainty. I have surrendered in many areas of my life, but there are certain areas that challenge me to show up at a higher level. And just to be honest it scares me.
I have been talking about my 40th since I was in my early 30’s. I could not wait to hit the midway point in life and Tootsie Roll out into the sunset at 40 years old. Hell, I even blogged about it. Check it out here if you missed it. But as that thang came rolling full speed ahead towards me I froze. All of my grandiose plans flew out the window and I had no idea what I wanted to do for my 40th birthday. See I spend so much of my time doing and being for others that I got lost somewhere in the shuffle.
So because my good, good girlfriends who are actually more like my sisters know me so well they planned it behind my back. And for that I am ever so grateful. You need people in your life who will celebrate you when you can’t muster up the faith to celebrate yourself. You need sistafriends who say “hey girl, I see you. I support you and YES, you are worthy of a day to yourself”.
To my friends of 32, 28, 22 and 10 years from the bottom of my heart I say thank you!
From the halls of St. Mary’s of Redford 3rd grade to the offices at the University of Michigan I SCREAM THANK YOU!
We are all worthy to be supported, celebrated and loved on.
This weekend was all that and a bag of Flaming Hot Better Maid chips with a nice cold Rock-N-Rye Faygo pop on the side.
Can’t forget the folks who birthed and raised me. Without my parentals I wouldn’t be here to tell the story!
As I make my journey to 40 within the next 19 days I’ve been reflecting on my life. The ups and downs. The highs and lows. The warm fuzzies and the cold pricklies. I used to tell people that being 12 years old was my favorite age. I don’t know if it’s because I met one of my best friend’s that year or the fact that I had my first real kiss (don’t judge me) but there was something about being 12 years old that always stood out to me as being magical.
Now that I am getting closer to being almost a half century old (yes, I will be 50 years old in 2027) I have come to the realization that being a teenager is further away from me than it seems. The teenaged Vanita is one that will go down in the history books. If anyone reading this post right now knew me then just know you are sworn to silence. My life at that time had enough drama, comedy, action, romance and heartache to fill the pages of a novel by Omar Tyree (yes, I was a teenager in the 90’s).
Tonight’s blog is dedicated to that teenage girl who loved, partied and skipped school harder than anyone could ever imagine.
Top 5 Things I Would Tell My Teenage Self:
Use your powers for good, not evil. I have always been a VERY persuasive person. However, as a teen I used those skills to persuade people to do things like skip school. Stay out pass curfew. Or just to get my way. I needed someone to help me hone my gift of gab and my persuasive speech so that I helped more people than I hurt.
You must go to class everyday. I was the queen of the skip nation. I had every color dot on the back of my school ID. Each lunch hour had a different dot on the back of the IDs. I graduated from one of thee BEST high school’s in the country with a 2.4 GPA. It wasn’t that I couldn’t do the work. I was smart. Really too smart for my own good. I remember one time my marketing teacher was almost in tears because he had to fail me because I missed most of the classes but passed all of the tests and quizzes. My mother was baffled that he felt bad for flunking me. That’s what those powers look like in action. I’ve always been likable.
A break-up is not the end of the world. If you spend more time figuring out who you are and less time worrying about who you wanted to be with life would be much simpler. As the old saying goes “Books before Boys Because Boys Bring Babies”.
Listen to ya mama. Now that I am a mother I understand why listening to your mama is important. However, I have more of a show don’t tell attitude when it comes to raising my children. But realize that even though you may think that your mama is a know-it-all she really is just telling you what your friends won’t.
Learn from your mistakes. Please for the love of everything that is good and righteous try not to make the same mistakes over and over again. All it does is prolong your journey to your destiny. Your mistakes aren’t what define you, but how you respond to the mistakes will make a lasting impression on you and on others.
You don’t have to have it all figured out by graduation day. Hell, I am almost 40 years old and just now have it somewhat figured out. But if someone would have shared these 5 things with me as a teenager the excursion probably wouldn’t have experienced so much turbulence.
Okay who am I fooling…..I know I would not have listened.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
Now let me just go a little deeper to make my point. A prophet is a spokesman or speaker. If God knew us before He formed us in the womb that means He is the manufacturer and we are His product. We were a concept that He made into the flesh. A thought. An idea. We are the tangible result of God’s thoughts. He blew life into us so that we can go out and be spokesmen/spokeswomen to nations! We are mandated to tell people about God by using our story of how we are created for a purpose.
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.
We all have an inner light that God formulated before we made our entrance into the world. As children that light shines bright. Children have an innocence about them that captivates most adults. They never put limits on their imagination, creativity or drive. There’s a reason most children love the song This Little Light of Mine. The main reason is that they believe the lyrics. They unabashedly shine their lights everywhere they go.
However, life happens and that light is slowly dimmed to the point of a flicker. We become more cynical, disapproving and doubtful because we limit what was once limitless.
Guess what people. That’s sinful. And most of us are committing the sin and don’t even know it. Sin is anything that goes against the Word of God. And the Word says “the Lord will fulfill his purpose for me”. Stop limiting God and what He can do in your life. Stop putting out your light to appease others. Stop hiding in the shadows because you are afraid that people will judge you by your past experiences. Come from behind the veil and show up not just for yourself, but for others.
Your light brightly shines when you use it to highlight others. Your gifts, talents, purpose and passion will make room for others at the table of opportunity.
I would like to leave you with a saying my almost 90 year old grandmother tells me all the time:
“The only reason the good Lord put us all on this earth was to help and love one another, He has everything else covered”.
It’s here Good People! Jan 1st 2016. If you are reading this it means we made it to see another year. Thank you sweet baby Jesus in the manger for that. Okay now that the celebration is over. The euphoric high of making it to 12:00am has come and gone. It’s time to get to work, stop playing, get off the fence and get into the game. Like for real. Today is not the day for soft and fluffy words, empty clichés, or dead on arrival resolutions.
Today is the first day to get it done and get in position. Whatever your “it” is you need to get “it” in position.
If your “it” is….
A blog. Position it to be read around the world.
A business. Position it to be fruitful.
A marriage. Position it to be focused on Kingdom building.
Start somewhere. Doing something. Create goals. Make them S.M.A.R.T.