I was raised to believe that my 22nd year on this earth was meant for glorious living,
That I would spend my time touring the world, falling in love and making reckless decisions,
Everyone wants to be 22, it’s the age that is idolised by most because regardless of your choices,
Good or bad you can always justify by saying I’m 22 and suddenly there’s no judgement upon you.
I was sold the dreams of a stranger that I had not known but wanted to become.
That everything would miraculously become sweeter because you would answer to no one but yourself,
In short, you would be free!
Free to pack your bags and unpack where your heart feels easy and your voice is not suppressed
Free to undress the oversized rags you’ve been forced to wear and start dressing up like your inner self.
In the 21st Century world that we live in, settling for a full 9-5 isn’t exactly that!
When I turned 22 last year my theme was to pursue success, in all forms, shapes and sizes.
I was interning at the time and didn’t know what my next move was going to be.
A few months later l was called for an Interview at Empower Limited, a company I had admired greatly.
And shortly after I was given the role of youth coordinator- that would have me train university students.
Before I could fathom, I had worn the shoes of a leader, the mind of teacher and the confidence of a preacher.
In 6 months, I had to deliver 11 modules and train 250 students from Monday- Saturday
In other words I was not living the narrative of your ordinary 22 year old but rather an extraordinary one.
As I write this article, I will be 23 in a few days and I’m dying to share what I’ve learnt when I chose to surrender to a path that might have not been admired but rather purposeful to my growth!
“You don’t know how much potential you have until you choose to walk in it”: Before training 250 final year university students I had come from facilitating workshops for only 20 children every Saturday. You can say I took a huge leap of faith and landed pretty safely.
“Fear is just a feeling of discomfort of not knowing what will happen after an event has occurred”- Since this is my first corporate job, I dealt with a lot of anxiety whenever asked to deliver something, but every time I pushed past my fears I did extremely well, in fact I even won the “Start of the month” award for delivering exceptional results and going the extra mile. In your face FEAR!
“You are not terrible at it, you are just new to it”- For the last 6 months I’ve worked for Empower I can’t remember a time I was too relaxed because I was perfect in everything I did or wasn’t learning something new. I have been constantly challenged to take on new tasks and expected to deliver exceedingly, this meant I was bound to make a lot of mistakes and receive regular constructive criticism. This has taught me to embrace the discomfort of development and trust in the process rather than dwell in self-doubt and give up.
“Work life balance doesn’t necessarily mean having a life after work but it can also mean doing life with the people that you work with.”- You might think I’m faking it but I literally have the best work mates ever! People who genuinely care about who you are and what you have to offer beyond work. People who will do karaoke with you on a random Friday and give you a housewarming when you move into a new place.
Lastly, patience and perseverance are key, “You might not be where you want to be, but you surely are where you are supposed to be.”- One thing I’ve learnt about myself at 22 is I am burning with passion that has given birth to ambition, I constantly want to be the best version of myself. I’m realising that this takes a mixture of ingredients; time spent doing the right things, the ability to push past failure plus the patients to allow every season to bring forth its blessing.
To my 23-year-old self, carry your heart as big as the ocean, expecting all kinds of waves life can throw at you, knowing that there is always a calm at the end of the storm. You were born to survive hurricanes and rise above mountains with all the beauty that you possess. You are brave!