My 20s were the some of the best years of my life, yet they were also met with great challenges. I’m now in my early 30s and I am learning more about myself each day, which didn’t come easily. Our 20s can be considered some of the greatest moments of transition; we’re no longer in high school yet we’re not quite independent or “grown” as we may believe we ought to be at this time. We’re getting a small taste of the ‘real world’ while we’re away at college or figuring out a career path. Our 30s are also years of transition. We’re more familiar with who we are, what we like, what we dislike and we’re more focused on where we see ourselves in life. Although we have acquired this amount of understanding through trial and error, there are still moments when we may experience feelings of insecurity. We may even feel a bit lost. Not to worry, this is completely normal and expected during these years of discovery. It’s how we become “unlost” that counts the most and lends to our success as we navigate through the rough tides.
Let’s delve into the “Tameless 20s”. I say “tameless”, because for me these were the years where I was a true rebel. I did what I wanted, when I wanted and had at least 5 of my girls with me. We were the ‘Original Girlfriends’ before the T.V. series (smile). My early 20s were all about breaking the rules and making new ones. I was attending a HBCU and was a social butterfly, yet, I had a good head on my shoulders; I knew how not to exceed the limits. By my third year, I had changed my major three times due to the different interests and talents I had. It took three to finally realize that my major should be rooted in what could generate a decent living AND in what I loved and enjoyed. There were so many distractions at that campus; yard shows, step shows, Hip Hop and R&B artists who would perform or do autograph signings, and not to mention I was on the collegiate cheerleading squad traveling every weekend.
My attention was in so many different places. I began to see how all of these things were pulling me from my ultimate goal, which at that time was graduation. After some careful thinking as well as an unsuccessful majorette tryout (laughs), I decided to transfer to different university. Although it had a traditional college appeal it was void of senseless distractions. I graduated in a year with a 3.5 GPA. Due to being in a more professional environment, I was able to tap into other gifts and strengths that would be extremely useful in my current line of work. I definitely maintained a “work hard, play hard” motto; therefore, my girlfriends and I rewarded ourselves with various travel excursions to celebrate our accomplishments.
At the age of 23 I became a Registered Member of the Nation of Islam, under the direction of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. With personal growth and development came spiritual awareness and a yearning for a deeper understanding of myself and a more profound connection with Allah (God). This decision would be the catalyst for tremendous elevation as well as trials as I accepted a new and healthier lifestyle.
The remainder of my 20s comprised of me obtaining my Masters degree, a marriage, a divorce and starting two businesses of my own. Changing my environment, redirecting my focus to my goals and seeking spiritual enrichment were my methods for surviving my 20s. I had to make tremendous sacrifices, but it was well worth it!
Now, for the “Thriving 30s”. Although I’m early into this phase of life, so much has transpired including a third business. It’s at this time where we become more familiar with who we are, where we want to be in life and who we want in our circle. Speaking of, since my 20s, my circle of friends has gotten smaller, by choice and circumstance. I’ve learned that this is also normal and very beneficial. Rest assured that you will be blessed with more likeminded people who will support, guide and share your journey.
Becoming “unlost” doesn’t mean that everything will be perfect. It means that you must be willing to aggressively push toward learning and accepting who you are and what you want despite the odds and opposition!
Only you can find yourself, so turn on your inner “GPS” (Gifts, Purpose and Strengths)!
-Ebony S. Muhammad