Not So Stupid Advice from a 31 Year Old

A few weeks ago I turned 31 which my pal Brittany says is a huge blessing; I’m inclined to agree. I have been incredibly blessed and fortunate to know some amazing people and do some pretty dope things in my life… I’m a little older and little wiser. On my journey, people have given me some great advice and some of it has been down right horrible. One old guy down south told me that “I needed to make a baby in my 20s so that I would leave a seed on the earth just in case I didn’t live to be 30. ” HORRIBLE. My neighbor in undergrad told me “If you gotta pick between staying broke and staying fly, Stay fly til you DIE bruh!” HORRIBLE and STUPID!!! And the classic one: it dont matter how long you been married, you always need a lil something on the side. HORRIBLE, STUPID & STRESSFUL (cheating is hardwork). It is indeed true that some people get old but never grow up… ! So in honor of my 31st birthday, here are few things I’ve learned.. Take what you need:

1. Never form an opinion about someone else based on what you “heard”- in most cases, you probably heard it from someone who only told the part of the story they wanted you to hear. Take the information, file it away in the back of your mind, and then form your own opinion based on your own interactions. Sometimes what you heard is true but sometimes its hogwash!

2. Live below your means- If you make $500 a week, live a $250 lifestyle. . Some people have gone without food because they didn’t have money. I have gone without food because I didn’t want to be broke (drink a liter of water and go to bed). Two essential life guides: First -your bible, then your budget. I don’t have a problem living like a pauper today if I get to spend the rest of my tomorrows like a prince. You will also find that there’s something oddly fulfilling about seeing commas and zeros in your bank account. It helps you sleep better at night too. ANNNND you have not known a greater joy than being able to bless the people you love and those in need on a level that leaves them scratching their head.

3. Make it memorable- Life is not about the stuff you collect. it really is mainly about the experiences you create and the memories you make. Have breakfast on the balcony at 3am with your boo {boo as in your (future) wife or husband} in your pajamas and even if you don’t eat the burnt waffle at least take a bite… 5 years from now you’ll still be laughing about how horrible the waffle tasted and how romantic and crazy the whole idea was… and here’s whats so cool about this-You don’t need money to make lifetime memories. You will need some courage, a good measure of creativity, and someone to share it with… and Ive found the more random and spontaneous and impromptu- the better. Just Make it memorable.

4. Most of the time- negative naysayers are very insecure people; make sure you don’t allow them to deflect their personal insecurities onto you. People will tell you that your socks are too loud in the pulpit because they themselves are afraid to wear them. Or that you shouldn’t be friends with certain kinds of people, people because they themselves are uncomfortable in their own skin or any number of other ridiculous things. Constructive criticism is one thing (it’s useful and necessary) but narrow-minded critique from insecure people should be avoided like the plague.

5. Be your own version of happy. If you like sitting in corn fields and watching the moon, do it every chance you get. If listening to tv in Spanish makes you smile even though you don’t speak a lick of Spanish, binge watch Spanish tv. If you like the way your 600lb body looks in spandex, then spandex every centimeter of it (blind me, Lord). Whatever makes you happy, Do that. And don’t worry about the people who don’t get it. You probably won’t get their’ s either- I will never understand my sister’s joy of dipping cookies in MILK AND GRAPE Juice…(barf). Life is better lived when it is lived based on your own version of happiness- not your parent’s version, or your pastor’s version, or your partner’s version. Be your own version of happy !!! (Disclaimer: …unless your happy is killing you- and by killing I mean spiritually, physically, emotionally, or spiritually… if it’s killing, you might want to pump the brakes but if dying makes you happy… well… I’m praying for you.)

Generally speaking: Trust your gut. If you’re in charge, arrive first-never last. Never EVER make a speech of any kind without first giving some thought to what you will say. Always make friends with people on both ends of the totem pole. Don’t answer the phone if you don’t want to talk. Don’t snoop for things you really don’t want to find. Smile at people who don’t like you. Trust God.

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