If you are like me and other 1.25 billion Windows users worldwide, you are probably used to the update notifications you get for your PC regularly. It’s quite an insufferable experience as you not only have to deal with the length it takes but the slowness it adds to your computer. I also use an Android phone which updates its app at a much better pace; it’s hardly noticeable especially if you turn on the ‘automatic update’ features. For some of the apps, I usually will go to the Play Store to see what the developer’s notes entail. Usually, it will let you know what version of the update is and what’s new about it, for example, version 1.82 promises to fix some bugs to help with performance. Well, I am not here to tell you about updates to my computer or phone but about an imminent update to my own life’s software.
In less than 24 hours, I will be undergoing an extensive upgrade. If there are going to be internal changes, I don’t know yet. Thus, here’s introducing Tolani 3.0. Before I venture into the promises Tolani 3.0 has to offer, I think it’s only fair that I let you know about the old versions — Tolani 1.0 and Tolani 3.0.
Tolani 1.0 just existed and did not live. She was the picture of every confused teenager you can imagine. Her indecisiveness would have given you whiplashes too. She was slow and took up a lot of space in the memory stick of life. Luckily, she was replaced with the newer version — Tolani 2.0.
The second version was a bit of an upgrade from the first but was hella expensive to maintain. She had some utility to her and worked most of the time. But like with every other software, it needs to be updated routinely and thus is getting ready for the next update — Tolani 3.0.
By tomorrow, I will be swapping my 20s for a much bigger number — 30. I will no longer be able to check the 20s box.
I am a bit terrified about this and more, and I can only describe that fear like it’s the end of the world and I am stuck in a windowless room with my favorite person in the world (yet to be determined as it keeps changing). “But what do I really have to be afraid of?” You might ask? Actually, nothing when I think about it. Unless you take into consideration that my 20s were a long and unending reel of events that read like that four-hour-long movie you go see at the cinema. You remember laughing at some plots and shedding tears but can’t seem to be able to describe in one sentence what the movie was all about. Also, I think it also has to do with the clock furiously chiming away behind me. I don’t think my new age will define me, neither do I believe that I am that old. Your 20s feel like you are handed a palette where you can make splotches or patterns and no matter what the end product is, you are given a pass because everyone expects you not to have figured it (or life) out. Your 20s are a time for exploring who you are and making as many mistakes as you can knowing that you will still be able to save yourself, like the heroes in every Hollywood movies. The summation of my fear is that the leniency applied to me by me and faceless others during my 20s will be stripped away immediately. That my exploration pass will be revoked instantaneously in less than 24 hours and I don’t know if I am ready to deal with this. It’s expected now that I should have everything figured out.
Also, my 20s felt rushed and yet dragged slowly. I graduated college, began my first job, quit my job, got married, moved across continents, and began grad school.
A decade ago, just as I was about turning 20, of all the words I received from guests at my birthday party, this was the one that stayed with me the longest: “Your 20s is the time to define the lifestyle you want to leave, your 30s is when you begin to live in that life you have created for yourself.” This, I think, I am prepared for. If there’s anything I have learned in my 20s, it’s that I can learn from my mistakes and these don’t define me in many ways. That I can rise above my limitations and can achieve whatever I set my heart and might to do.
In my bid to do something differently, I will spare you the tortuous litany of “Thirty things to do before turning 30” and instead, I’d like to pass on some gems of wisdom to you as I leave this revolutionary decade (truly, it was life-changing). Here’s everything (not really) that I have learned thus far:
- You deserve to be loved not for what you can do, give, or say. But because you are.
- You outgrow friends sometimes (and they also outgrow you), and that’s OK. Be OK with that. Don’t force friendships.
- Find yourself that one person that’s your person. Who accepts you (warts and all) and isn’t obsessed with changing who you are. But gives you room to change at your own time and pace.
- When you don’t love yourself, you can’t really love others well. Ergo, be gentle and kind to yourself.
- Laugh and have a snort with that once in a while.
- Eat your dessert first, life’s too short!
- Family does not have to be consanguineous; some friends stick better than your own brother/sister (Source: The Holy Bible).
- Be kind to strangers — call your in-laws (or parents) once in a while :-).
- Forgive easily; love fiercely; apologize quickly.
- Give unto others not for what you expect to get back. But do so because all you have isn’t really yours; you are merely a custodian.
- Read, Read, Read; Repeat.
- Take care of your body (it’s where you live) and don’t neglect your mental health too.
- Dance like no one is watching.
- Have a gal (or guy) pal you can call at any time and be goofy with.
- Grief is a process that cannot be rushed. Cry if you need to do so.
- Seek help if you need; if that means seeing a friend, therapist, counselor, religious leader, or your bartender
- Try not to always be the smartest person in the room all the time; there’s a lot to be learned from others if you can keep your mouth shut for once.
- Read, Read, Read; Repeat (So important, I had to list this twice).
- While you are a product of your past, don’t try to be a statistic. You can rise above any predicament.
- Be cordial to everyone but don’t give your confidence away too easily.
- Sing, sing, sing (not only in the showers)!
- Pray and meditate.
- Having a heart of gratitude will help you quit comparing yourself to others.
- Be dependable; say what you mean, mean what you say.
- Show up where and when you are needed.
- Cooking is an art; baking is a science. Sometimes, you have to stick to the recipes to yield good results. This theory can be applied to many other things in life.
- Travel as often as you can.
- Make friends with people who share different views from you, nothing builds your tolerance (and of course, camaraderie) better.
- Be spontaneous.
- Stay young at heart.
I don’t know what the next 10 years will be like, but I am confident in my ability to embrace all that it has to offer. I also have an arsenal of loving friends and family along to way to encourage and strengthen me on my way. Here’s to 30! It’s not the new anything. It’s just what it is — thirty, and like most women my age, I am teetering 30, albeit in a trudge!
Here’s also to the new upgrade, Tolani 3.0. I don’t know if it would live up to its expectations of being a more efficient, low maintenance, faster, user-friendly model, I guess we will all have to wait to see :-D