Tumblr has taught me more about feminism, womens rights, rape culture, slut shaming, mental illness etc, more than school ever had. So don’t you dare tell me this website is a complete and utter waste of time
It’s sad that this is true.
This post is a little late, but it’s one that I’ve done in video or blog form for the past two years and I need to read it as much as I need to post it. My 24th year on this big ole green ball was definitely the most exciting so far. It was romantic, tragic, surprising, overwhelming, and perfect. It really really was.
Without further ado, here are 24 things I learned at 24:
1. Being Busy isn’t the Same Thing as Being Productive. I used to put so much stake in just doing things for the sake of not-not doing them. You can (READ: should) rest and recharge if you’re actually on the path to reaching and actual goal.
2. At Some Point You’ll Get Sick in a Way that Vitamins and Sleep Can’t Fix. This year I got really sick. I’m still sick. I had two surgical procedures, CT scans, ultrasounds, the works. And you know what? It fucking sucks. When you finally are ill in a way that antibiotics or sleeping can’t cure, you’ll realize how important your health is — but I sure hope you realize before then.
3. Fortune Favors the Bold. I used to be so bashful. There was a time where I wouldn’t even read out loud in front of people, would freak out if other people watched me film videos, etc., But what I realized is that the people who are killing it in their chosen fields are the ones who rise to the occasion and aren’t afraid to look stupid. Be Bold. LOOK STUPID.
4. What People Say about You Isn’t Who You Are. Re-read that slowly. You’re more than what some person who hates you thinks. You’re more than a rude comment someone couldn’t withhold. You’re more valuable than the way seeing your shit in garbage bags made you feel….
5. That Boy Wasn’t Worth It. Or girl. Or whoever. It feels so devastating when it’s happening to you, and then one day it just doesn’t, and it feels stupid that you cared so much, or even a little. And then you’re fine again.
6. Always Make Sure You Have Your Keys. Waiting on your grotey stoop for your roommates to get home is not a good look, boo.
7. Success Comes Right After You Almost Give Up. I’m telling you. I’m telling you! That last ditch effort is the one that changes your whole life. It’s the one that opens all the doors. It’s almost like some higher power is just waiting to see how badly you want the thing, and then bam! You get it.
8. The World is Privileged to Have You. I can’t stress this enough. Some of you might be down, exhausted with just living, but the world needs you. You make all the difference, and now that you know, you shouldn’t settle.
9. You Can Have it All, You Just Can’t Have It Right Now. Liz Lemon knows what’s up, okay. You can have a career that you absolutely fucking love, or you can have a quiet comfortable life, but you’re still growing up. Stop expecting to be retired by now.
10. Karma is a Bitch. And that’s why you have to be nice to people and pay them back and treat them with respect.
11. Treating Your Body Right is Important. I hate eating vegetables, but I do it now because this is the only body I’m going to have. I can blame my genetics for some of my issues, but if in 25 years my doctor tells me I could have avoided this grave ailment, that’s on me.
12. It is Always Worth It to Detangle Your Hair. Trust me. People can tell the difference.
13. The Thing You Hate About Yourself is What The World Will Love Most. I used to be embarrassed about my loud, bubbly laughter. It is an almost constant because the world just amuses me to no end. But I can’t tell you how many kind comments I’ve received on my videos about how my laugh makes others smile. Find your thing, unleash it.
14. Learning to Laugh At Yourself is The Best Lesson. As recently as last year I would worry about people knowing that I wasn’t Beyonce. It’s true. I wanted people to think that I was in great shape, living in a huge one bedroom that overlooked Central Park and was making $1million a year. I couldn’t bear to think that they knew better. But guess what? Life is messy. One day you’re bragging about your relationship and the next you’re not even in one anymore. Don’t be afraid to fail because people might see. Be happy that they’re looking in the first place.
15. That College Degree Was Worth Something. Oh man. I remember being disenchanted because I couldn’t find a job and the economy was garbage and nothing was working out. But I can’t begin to imagine where I’d be if I spent those 5 years I spent in undergrad just working at the mall or something. I would have peaked at 17! College is about perseverance; about completing something, and while it isn’t for everybody, it definitely has made me a more complete person.
16. Moving Your Body Around is Actually Awesome. I just got a personal trainer #woooo and I’ve been going to the gym consistently for like a month. I am so much more relaxed throughout the day and I sleep way better at night because of it. You should give it a try. FOR YOUR HEALTH, OKAY?
17. Nobody Likes the Devil’s Advocate. Sometimes it’s good to just shut up and listen to people you disagree with or don’t understand. You’re not doing yourself any favors by opposing the victim. You just sound like an asshole.
18. People Are Just People (They Shouldn’t Make You Nervous). After interviewing a number of celebrities this year for the very first time, and speaking on panels at huge events for the very first time, I realized that we’re all the same. We really are. We all have fears and hopes and flaws. Don’t let em scare you.
19. You Don’t Have to Do It Perfectly, You Just Have to Do It. I will likely say this in multiple points, but life is made in the doing. The people who you think are super successful probably aren’t the best at what they do, they just had the courage to show up and do the damn thing. You owe it to yourself to do. the. damn. thing.
20. Switching Your Scents Can Change Your Life. A fun fact that we all know but like to forget is that scent is the strongest sense tied to memory. You want a big life overhaul? Get you a new perfume/cologne.
21. You Have to Remember Why You’re Here. It’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of life. I live in NYC, I’m always combatting caught-up-ness. But on those really tough days, take a deep breath, drink some coffee, and remember why you’re here. What you want. Then attack it with the ferocity of a wolf pack.
22. It’s Okay to Take a Break. Hard work is great, but hard work is hard and I think it’s easy to forget that you are a person who can only do so much. Take a break sometimes. Relax sometimes. Your goal isn’t going anywhere.
23. Patience Is Everything. Download some game apps, because you’re going to be here for a while.
24. You’re Only Getting Better. Whatever you want is worth the effort. And you’re only going to get better from wherever you start, so why not start today? I believe in you. I really do.
Here’s to year 25!
xo - Akilah