Growing up in an African household comes with the challenges of hitting all the milestones of being an adult. By the time you’re 25 you’re required to already be a doctor and when you hit 30, married with 5 kids. This is where I would say, the struggle is real.
Then you have me the oldest of 4 siblings and I’m still struggling to figure out this thing called adulting. I’m what you would call an abomination in an African family. My parents would deny me with a loud laugh because I’m so far from all the milestones. I don’t believe it’s their fault, but there were certain things my mum should have told me about adulting that probably would have aided me in accomplishing the milestones they so desired.
- You don’t have to be a doctor, a lawyer or an accountant because your left brain is not big enough. I consider myself right brain, which means I’m drawn to artistic tasks such as, acting, writing and everything in between. Growing up, living artistically has being my passion, but holding my parents desire for my future to heart, the artistic part of me had to die. If only I knew of a path to making a living doing what I was passionate about, I would have pursed it sooner than later.
- That marriage is an optional package and not a required deal. It is drilled in our head that we have to get married and have kids because if you’re not, people would provide their disqualifying reviews. Yes, I desire marriage, but I don’t want that to define me to the extent that, not being married makes me feel less than or simply, not enough.
- Being the oldest doesn’t mean you have to be perfect, because your sisters will still live their best lives regardless. The perfectionist in me finds it hard to accept mistakes because I worry about the tone I’m setting for my sisters. But the truth is, I can’t live my life for someone else. I have to choose to be good for me and when I choose to rebel, I’ll pay the consequences and I alone.
- Stick with the piano lessons, you could be Alicia Keys before Alicia Keys was. I quit everything, especially when it’s not going the way I want. When piano lessons got hard, I told my mum I didn’t like it and she allowed me to quit. So, I push back on things I’m passionate about when it gets difficult, because I didn’t provide myself the opportunity to learn perseverance.
- Middle finger to working for companies that only care about their bottom lines. My parents were missionaries and to me that’s another form of entrepreneurship. They showed me that it was possible to work independently, but they knew it came with its challenges and sought normalcy for me. I strive to work independently one day, allowing me to stay in charge of my destiny in some way. But I fear time is not on my side.
I’m uncertain if knowing what I know now would have changed my trajectory, but one thing is for sure, I know better, so I’ll do better, and I’ll share better with my children.
What’s something you wish someone would have told you about adulting? Let me know.