No one has been waiting for it but I am writing it anyways. One year after my break up, surviving COVID times and new beginnings.
I did a round up post when I was about to turn thirty, which I just re-read and surprisingly I stand by my advice. I know it is only two years ago, but I really thought it would be cringeworthy. The only thing I would change is aesthetic, my photo skills/retrieving stock photo has improved.
Black Lives Matter
Around the time of my birthday the black lives matters movement broke out. I felt like it was an inappropriate time to push any of my own content, however I have never really addressed this on my blog. I have eluded to it in past blog posts, again not my strongest content, but I am mixed race. My mom is Jamaican and my dad is Canadian. It is nothing that I am ashamed of and as I get older, I have come to embrace my unique cultural mix.
When it come to black lives matter, I still have trouble identifying myself as a visible minority, because usually I have to tell people that I am a person of colour. It has been very obvious over the past couple of months that things need to change and that conversations about biases and racism have been long overdue.
Jumping into the conversation was something that I had to really think about, growing up I had struggled with being the other, not white enough to be white and not black enough to be black. I remember wishing I had light hair like my sister, or darker skin like my brother, so that I would be closer to one side of the spectrum. I know that my ethnic background is always going to be a trending topic of conversation. I do feel fortunate to have the privilege to be a fly on the wall for a lot of conversations about race and inequality given my ambiguity. I do want to continue the conversation and share content that I think is useful on my blog. I know I wished there were more celebrities or role models that looked like me when I was younger. It wasn’t until later in my life, and I heard celebrities like Alicia Keys, Meghan Markle and Rashida Jones all have the same struggles with identity that I had. I am going to try and uncover more of these themes in my future posts and hopefully they will be helpful to continue the discussion.
Not Everything Needs Fixing
I had an ex that would pick me apart. I knew every single thing he hated about me. He hated that I have to take a photo every time I walk along the seawall, that every time the crosswalk changes to the flashing hand I sprint across the street, that I love to pet random dogs while the owners aren’t around and that I never take the lids off my recycling. He would tell me that I laughed too much when I talk and that I am too much of a busy body. He made sure to include a daily reminder of all the things that I did to drive him nuts. I told him that his complaints about me every day just ruined my day, but he insisted that it was unhealthy to hold it in and that I needed to work on being less irritating. Looking back on it now, obviously, he hated me. I can still hear his voice in my head.
I was talking to a guy friend about how I tend to overbook myself and then get stressed out about it, but I assured him that I am working on it. He pointed out to me that this isn’t the first time that I felt the need to let him know it was a work in progress. His advice surprised me.
“You know it is okay to have flaws, these are the things that make people love you.”
I was so used to being under attack, I never stopped to question if these were things I was uncomfortable with about myself. I know we all have areas of improvement, but there is always going to be a new irritation with a new person. I spent a lot of my time trying to keep someone happy by being their version of perfect, but my quirks are part of the fundamentals of my character. I shouldn’t be ashamed of them.
Be Okay With a Change in Plans
If there is one thing that 2020 has taught us it is that we can literally make no plans. My girlfriend and I were joking tonight that we can literally do whatever we want as long as it doesn’t involve trying to cross the border, going to a bar or doing body shots. The world probably needed some rehab and I did too. 2020 has been a transformative year in how I think about everything.
I have become very comfortable with taking time for myself and counting personal development as plans. Spending an hour at home reading or cleaning out my closet is necessary, I don’t have to devote my time to doing something significant. I look forward to my chill nights on my own.
Growth is Constant
As a single women, dating is a trending topic amongst my friends and I. I think a lot about my previous long term relationship and there isn’t a whole lot that I would have done differently (aside from ending it earlier). I was the partner that I wished I had in my life. I was very supportive and nurturing and I can confidently say that I helped my counterpart grow and become a more evolved person for the better, despite our history. I was his conscious check, his moral support and his best friend. The type of partner I dream of having one day.
The growth was very one-sided, our relationship revolved around making sure his needs were met. I am not blaming him at all, I completely enabled it and I had my own agency in the situation.
It was an important lesson for me and I think this is valuable information for anyone, to try to find connections that foster growth. I know in my future relationships, I want someone who will teach me something new, challenge me to do better or be better or influence me in a positive way.
I have had conversations with friends in successful long term relationships and the common theme is that their partners helped them evolve in a meaningful way. I think in our thirties it is important to have relationships that prevent us from becoming stagnant and stuck within our comfort zone. It sounds cheesy, but the right partner will make you a better version of you. This goes for romantic relationships and friendships as well.
Make Room for Fun
I have talked about the values of fun in my life before; which sounds silly, but I had been missing that element of myself for quite some time. Having fun in my life, really helps balance everything out. It can be a new activity, or just a day out with friends, I usually feel energized after positive interactions. It is not always easy to find the time, but I do try to move it to the top of my priority list.
I remember one night out my friends and I met a group of guys. We added them to Instagram and we instantly started fan-girling over their life. They are always on adventures together in silly outfits and doing fun things. We wanted to infiltrate the friend group but none of us were all that interested in any of the guys. The reality is, we are already a fun group of girls, so we can just steal their ideas and have fun on our own. Mission accomplished.
When my work day is over, I make the most of my down time. I make sure I do at least one things a day that I enjoy or makes me feel accomplished.
Friends Becoming Family
I used to think that all conflict was bad, I would do whatever I could to avoid an argument, including swallowing up my feelings. I was a very don’t sweat the small stuff person. As I get older I have come to understand relationships and how having disagreements and talking about my feelings is essential for any bond. My close girlfriends have become like a sisterhood and we need to talk about things and have conflicts in order to have stronger, honest interactions with one another.
Real friends call you out on your bullshit, not in a mean way, but in a loving way and we all need a reality check every once in a while. Real friends don’t just tell you what you want to hear, they tell you what you need to hear. They don’t judge you, they look out for you. There is a difference and it has been so valuable for me to have those influences in my life.
It Gets Better
I have jokingly said that if I could choose an age I would chose 28, because I would love to buy a little more time being irresponsible. I would want to know then what I know now. I think most people probably feel this way at this stage of their life.
When I think about my twenties, I have had so many amazing experiences, memorable trips, tough lessons and big life changes. This year has been a constant battle of trying to bridge the gap between who I once was and who I want to be now. Even thinking about last year, I can’t believe I was trying to give dating advice, I was a mess. I am in a way healthier space and the only thing that really helped me heal was time.
32 has taught me resilience, independence and that change is constant. I am interested to see what the themes are for next year. Is there any advice you were give your younger self?