Birthdays are celebrations that bring out the best in you regardless of if the previous 364 days of the year in your life have been lackluster.

But is it me or am I aging a bit too fast?

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The 28th of January is approaching, and I have all the details of my special day planned out. Get cute. Get Drunk. Eat buffalo wings.

What I’m not prepared for, however, is the infamous birthday question from bystanders and waiters “It’s your birthday??!! Happy Birthday! How old are you?” My answer will be 25. I’ll let you be the judge of this seeing as how I was born in 1991.

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Here’s why transitioning from my early twenties to mid-upper twenties is a bit painful…

 

I just started to enjoy this party!

Realizing that you’re getting older in the not so monumental way is a real buzz kill and I really was just starting to enjoy this party! Throughout my relatively young life I have stressed and worked my a** off just to have a chance to dance with the cute guy by the dj booth, so to speak. My self-esteem was poor, and my personal outlook on life was poor. Hell, I was poor.

And after all the hard work that I put in so that I could be successful in my life, I look back now and realize I wasn’t really present. You could stick a blowup doll in place of me from age 10 up until age 26 and no one would know the difference. I was so focused on planning and preparing for a better future that I wasn’t really living in the moments that made up my twenties.  I checked out of my life after feeling unworthy and unsatisfied only to recently check back in and realize “Holy Sh*t where have all my twenties gone?!”

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In short, I really just started to enjoy life as fully embracing myself, and feeling as though it’s okay that I don’t have everything figured out. I just became self-assured and another birthday is just a reminder of all the time I wasted of my twenties chasing after guys, stressing over finances, and being anti-social. So, for right now I’m like the drunk, messy girl at the party who’s begging the dj to play another song even though it’s 4:15 a.m. I don’t want to go home and face reality.  I’ve been holding onto 25 with this same zeal since two birthdays ago.

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That Plan Sucks

Another birthday approaching is like the New years eve count down to my thirties. That is the age range in which much is expected of you in terms of financial stability, professional career and a balanced home life. 33 is the age that I want to settle down and have kids (at least that’s what I told myself at age 18).  Young me came up with that mental plan because 33 seemed so far away. Now the shit is practically knocking on my door like a Jehovah witness at 8 a.m. on a Friday.

I’m not saying that things will work out that way, which would suck if they didn’t but it still would kinda suck if they did. If my plan to be married with kids by age 33 is accurate then that gives me only 6 more years of freedom. I’m not sure it would even be legal for me to take care of another human being seeing as how I am barely taking care of myself properly. I overfed myself yesterday and forgot to feed myself today. A husband has no chance, let alone, a kid.

 

Pull My Finger

 

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I’m still childish. At some point all the quirky, child-like things that make me, ME will stop being adorable and I will promptly be told to “Grow TF up Krystal” when I pout over not being able to watch Spongebob instead of Law & Order. I think I have about a year and 1/2 left of the “puppy dog eyes” effect that I use to get my way and then it’s all over. I will go from being the “cool girl” in the club to the “older chick” in the club. Never mind that I don’t even go to clubs or was ever considered cool.

 

Mother’s Annoying yet, accurate Advice

“Getting older is a blessing” BLAH, BLAH, BLAH.  (See told you I was childish) but she’s right as moms usually are. Despite all the anxious feelings and thoughts floating around me this week, I do realize how amazing it is to be able to not only turn another year older but to celebrate it with people I love in a big, extra way. Don’t sign me up for AARP just yet! This plum is still ripe.

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Getting to the point where you can honestly say that you are actively enjoying life can bring up the fact that you’ve been passive in life years before; but don’t allow that to deter you from celebrating in the now. Don’t waste anymore time crying over birthdays; instead, go do ratchet sh*t with your friends until you hear the judgmental tone from the young 20-year-old in the corner tell her friend “Oh my God, I hope I’m not a hot mess like that when I’m older.”

Just Kidding.

Push her down and continue partying.

 

What are your anxieties about aging? Comment and Let’s Talk

#LetsBuild

 

 

Saying Naw, Nope, Uh uh.

Saying No.

Is Hard AF for me.

Instead I’ll say: “Uhhhh, well….maybe…I think I could. Possibly…” Knowing damn well I don’t want to because I effectively have all my money and time planned out weeks in advance. And because people usually solicit from those categories; I always find myself in a bind. With my mouth saying Yes but my mind screaming…

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The problem is there were no sacrifices that went unmade when it came to my mother and sisters giving me everything they could.

How could I justify saying no to them or anyone just because I didn’t want to do it or give it when they never said no unless they didn’t have it to give.

The women in my life are the epitome of selflessness so I naturally thought that this is what I should be like in all things. Because isn’t that what they teach you in the bible after all?

So what was wrong with me to have the itch to say no that I couldn’t scratch without feeling like a dirty person.

No one ever showed me a healthy balance of self-care and selflessness so I wandered through life saying Yes or giving bogus excuses because I desperately wanted to say no.

The message I was given was that you shared everything you had (except my mom’s chocolate World’s famous candy bar with the nuts in it that I ate that one time; it was NOT meant to be shared apparently, SORRY MOM!)

Time, money, attention, clothes, food… you name it, you share it.

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Boss: Would you mind switching days off because of blah, blah, blah

Me: Sure! (even though I had planned to see my boyfriend out-of-town that weekend)

The message that I’ve uncomfortably stumbled upon after years of pulling my teeth to always say yes is that sometimes always saying yes or giving is not practical.

It certainly was not practical for me to give valuable resources like time and money while trying to get on my feet in my young adult life, to things I didn’t benefit from. It especially wasn’t practical in giving when I barely had or giving before I could enjoy it myself.

One thing I’ve realized is that in order to propel the next generation of my family forward I must break the cycle of saying yes without thought.

Saying yes or I’ll see (that turned into every best effort to provide it for each other) is the natural order of my family. I LOVE it. AND…I HATE it. I’m the oddball that felt compelled to say no in certain areas.

But here’s why I do it now without feeling like a shitty person…

 

Reason #1

My plate runneth over.

My schedule is actually more planned out than I get credit for. This includes working two jobs, blogging, grocery shopping, laundry, taking care of my kitten, remembering to feed myself and yes, down time.

Aka Adulting which is hard AF

I have no room to do X,Y and Z for LMNOP without cutting myself short in one of the above areas.

People assume because I don’t have kids or a husband that I have free time.

While I have more free time outside of others in this situation that doesn’t mean that it’s not importantly planned. Even if that plan includes catching up on sleep or writing my blog post. Often times it includes both of those things because I need to revive myself with some TLC before I can continue to conquer the world.

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So yes, I may choose to spend a day or two with myself instead of driving home and spending my entire day off running after my adorable nieces and nephews.

I use to feel like an awful person, Auntie, and Sister for this until Christmas came around and I was able to get them what they really wanted due to my savings I worked hard for and thanks to time I spent rejuvenating between jobs.

Don’t misunderstand me, quality time has no price tag but I don’t have to feel bad for not spending all my free time like I use to.

Plus, one day I will have a family of my own  so I want all the maximum ME time I can get before it’s stolen from me and replaced with the title of mother and wife.

Sis: Are you coming to visit on Friday? You’re off right?

Me: Naw. Imma just chill at home.

 

Reason #2

I don’t want to.

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My friends (and boyfriend) tell me no all the time and I’m fascinated with the ease of how it rolls off their tongue.

No, Krystal I am not going camping with you.”

“No Krystal I’m not showing you that.”

“No Krystal, I’m not eating that, it smells bad; what’s wrong with you?”

So now I think twice before just saying yes just to say it. I first ask myself, Do I really care or does this interest me?

Then, is this worth time/money? Do I have something I’d enjoy more? How will this effect the other things I need to do?

After asking myself these questions in the span of 2 seconds from the time my friend asked me to drive 2 hours to party with her; I can then say “No, but thanks for asking me.”

Without feeling like she or I are losing out on anything important.

Simply put, saying No frees up valuable space for a possible Yes to something better.

It’s all a balancing act.

 

Reason #3

The”Yes” constantly requires more work on my part

If I have to give up time, money or energy constantly by saying Yes to situations (or persons) in which I don’t benefit from at all; then I will reconsider that Yes and turn it into a firm NO from that point on.

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Reason #4

I need a chance to grow and say Yes to my own life.

Years ago, months ago; I use to feel ashamed at how much stuff I felt compelled to say no to. It got to the point where me attempting to say no only resulted in a reluctant yes filled with animosity, anxiety, and self-hatred because I felt like I was a selfish person who didn’t deserve my loved ones.

Now that I’m months more mature (Ha) I realize that it is necessary for me to say no to certain things in order to place myself in a position to say Yes when it can be truly effective.

Right Now…

Niece: Will you buy me an Iphone?

Me: You got Iphone money? (Black mother/aunties way of saying no)

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Future…

Niece: Will you help me get a car

Me: Yea, I got you. I’ve been saving up for this moment.

 

The hardest people to say no to is family. Personally, I often feel as though I owe them for any success I get due to their constant love and support. This is true. But in allowing myself to grow and climb before I “yes” them to death; I can actually build up something in which the Yes will change the course of our lives.

Financial liberation often comes once an individual learns how to care for themselves emotionally and mentally. Taking the time to do this for myself will benefit not only me but my loved ones as well.

 

ALWAYS saying Yes is not the equivalent of I LOVE YOU.

I have a small suspicion that most women say yes because they want to be viewed as kind, nurturing, and selfless. Most importantly, we use it as a way to show our love to others. So we give yeses away without regard to how we’re going to sustain ourselves. I’ve struggled with this mentality and I’m sure the woman in my life have too.

Self Care versus Selflessness.

Saying yes to please someone you love or make them happy is often necessary. In life you’re not going to just go through it only doing what benefits you; however, you should understand that saying no doesn’t mean you love them less.

Sometimes it just means that you love yourself enough to say yes to the things that you want and need even if it translates as a “No” to the spin class your sister signed you up for on Monday night. Your mental health prefers that you stay in bed watching Supernatural and eating a bowl of rocky road.

No judgement.

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I want to leave you with a quote:

When you say yes to others, make sure you are not saying no to yourself

-Paulo Coelho

or at least not too often.

Just as we budget our money in the New Year after a realization that we can only make that dollar stretch so far; we should also budget ourselves. You’re a limited, beautiful, hot commodity. Treat yourself as such.

 

*I want to give you free stuff! Don’t forget to enter my gift giveaway by commenting on or sharing your favorite Let’s Build post*

 

What are the milestones and achievements that solidify you as an adult? For me that wasn’t the age of 18. Or 21 OR 25 for that matter. It wasn’t when I brought my first car or joined the military. Completing a degree didn’t do it for me either.

I had specific mental thresholds that outlined adulthood  that I needed to pass in order to consider myself a part of the gang.

Everyone defines what it is and means to be an adult differently. It’s interesting to look at how I only really considered myself an adult a few years ago and still sometimes don’t consider myself one at all.

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Society defines adulthood in many different ways by placing an age limit on the things citizens are able to do. You can’t watch adult movies until 17 or buy cigarettes until 18. At 18 you can enlist in the military and vote yet you are not able to drink until age 21. Some “grown n’ sexy” nightclubs require a minimum age of 25. Insurance doesn’t decrease until age 25 either.

 

So when the hell does one become an adult? Seems as though we’re all a little confused ourselves. Adding society’s many definitions with our own only makes the question When do you become an adult?  all the more interesting.

 

We equate age with maturity level but often many do not fit into such strict categories. I know younger individuals who are just as or more mature than I am. I know older individuals who I look at and wonder will they ever “grow up?” I look at myself and ask that question all the time.

Some people define adulthood as leaving the comfortable nest of their parents to become financially independent. Others define it as the American dream complete with the white picket fence, house, two car garage, two 1/2 kids, boring job, and a dog that resembles Lassie.

 

I define adulthood as a series of contrasting experiences that teaches you about yourself and the world around you. The more I learn about my purpose, finances, society, and pretty much everything; the more Adult-y I become.

I also equate adulthood with wisdom even though I know a lot of adults who missed that train. Ha.

These different definitions are neither wrong nor right but merely a perception of what it takes for me to consider myself an adult.

The idea of someone being an adult is a very fluid concept because it changes based on the mindset of the determining person. Even more in depth is the idea of being a “good adult” which I am guilty of using as a mental weapon against myself when I choose to spend money for fun rather than save.

 

In my mind I needed to secure a place to stay void of a roommate, buy a functional car, and work in a professional career to consider myself an adult. Now that I’ve made it past those thresholds I still can’t imagine not watching cartoons and eating junk food with my future kids. Does that make me less of an adult than my mother?

I asked several friends and associates “When did you become an adult,” and listened in anticipation as their answers took flight. Here’s what they had to say…

 

“When I realized that things I do or do not do ONLY effect me. When I went away to college, not going to class, not eating vegetables, or drinking water…not cleaning up stuff. Not wearing my head scarf or waiting last minute to pay my phone bill. Thinking I knew what was best and then realizing…Like, I was only made to do that stuff for my benefit and that it hurts no one but me if I don’t. That’s when I’m like ugh I’m an adult (emoji) no one cares if my edges are gone, phone cut off, and I’m dehydrated.” -AGE 24

 

“Probably when I moved off campus and instead of blowing my refund check I budgeted it so I could afford rent and other bills until I got a real job…Man earlier I was thinking I would love some new tires for Christmas. I was like…damn. I got excited thinking about new tires, I’m an adult” (Emoji)” -AGE 26

 

“I feel like an incomplete adult because I don’t have my masters yet and I’m not in my desired career yet.” -AGE 26

 

“When I moved out and started paying my own bills, had my own place and I had just come back from overseas. You couldn’t tell me nothing. I was working and in school, had my new truck. I was an adult.” -AGE 33

 

Adulting aka paying bills, and securing a job seem to be the biggest factors in how many of us identify adulthood. Childhood lifestyle advances and taking care of oneself medically also seem to enter into the definition of what it means to be an adult.

Personally, I am both childlike and adult like. I take care of myself financially and otherwise, but I still get excited at Christmas or when the fair comes to town.

 

The idea of someone being an adult is a very fluid concept because it changes based on the mindset of the determining person.

 

Holding onto such vague concepts like adulthood only pressures individuals into living up to a standard that isn’t clearly outlined. While it has its purpose as a guiding light from adolescence, don’t let it be too much of a defining one in your life. Layman’s terms? It’s great that you’re a working professional but don’t feel bad when you still enjoy going to Chuck E Cheese. I wouldn’t suggest going without kids though because that’s high key creep alert.

 

grow up
OR NAW