Vulnerable moment: I acknowledge that I’m a pretty unconventional individual. But the last several months have absolutely tried my conventions, so much so that I’ve thought of diving back into my box and becoming what the world would have me to be.
When I turned 33, life was the pits. My Jesus year was less than optimal, but it did exactly what Jesus years should do: showed me exactly how much I can bare. The year was spent unemployed, five eviction notices and too many of my belonging sprawled on the apartment lawn. I was near the breaking point when 34 happened.
Life turned around and started looking up. From that point on, I told myself that I will not live from new year to new year. From birthday to birthday, I will create my own resolution–a mantra that would guide my life for one full year. Thirty-four was “give me more” as a celebration of the blessings that life had started to show me. Understandably, life is always blessing me. This was just the marker for when those blessings felt more like summer breezes and less like grandmama telling me to go get her a switch.
Thirty-five (my current year) was “who gon check me?” It is a lesson in integrity. My goal was to live a more purposeful, integrity-filled life from the heart of me. To live an unimpeachable, uncheckable life built on my love for others. That decision led me directly to thirty-six which will be “that’s cute for you.”
When I chose this unconventional life, I didn’t know how it would go. While all my friends were getting degrees and landing jobs paying tons of money doing work that would be noticed–or not–I opted for the solo road. I preferred to be known for what I thought and believed than what I knew. For several years, that was my bread and butter: belief. Knowing something, understanding someone, and being able to communicate that to others.
I moonlit as a consultant. Parlayed that into some jobs along the way and then back to the working world where I am now. But the biggest lesson I picked up along the way is that as soon as you say something out of your mouth, it lives.
“Give me more” turned into a year of passport required travels, friends who loved and appreciated me, and a relationship that I thought would never end. “Who gon check me” became a year constant self-checks and forced evolution into a life free of readable positions. “That’s cute for you” is a beast totally different that is revealing some of my more dormant demons in a way that I couldn’t have expected.
This year has been full of graduations, marriages, friends buying houses and land, cross country (and cross cultural) excursions and the like. I am happy for my friends for living such full lives. I bless them with a very honest “that’s cute for you”. It frees me from the pressure of thinking that my life should look like theirs. That a certain age means home ownership, or the ideals of what I should be doing. I can bless you for your life and go about living mine every day.
But the harder truth is that I do want many of the things I see my friends having. I do want love in my life, and fancy dinners, and travels, and the like. I want what others have, but I want it in a way that can be mine. If I’m honest, living this unconventional life has me wondering if I need more conventions. Should I get that master’s degree and pharmaceutical job? Can I find the love other’s are building for themselves? I just wonder if I’m making the right decisions.