Hello guys and girls,

How’s it going? It’s a bit rough on these streets in ways I cannot elaborate upon. Lately, I’ve been experiencing this thing we call growing up and boy, is it hard. I’m learning so many things. Some from my life and many others from other people, their lives and their advice. I’ve put together a few thoughts and lessons.

-Sometimes, you give 100% and still lose because while the road to success is paved with hard work (or smart work), not every path paved with hard work leads to success. And you know what? That’s okay. Because your best will have to be enough in those times. You will have to be satisfied in the simple knowledge that you gave 100%

-Be nice to your parents. Call them. Text them. Tell them you love them. Show them you love them. Make them happy. They won’t be here forever.

-Everyone will not like you. I remember being about 11 and telling my mother that no one gossiped about me. She laughed and said “They do. You just don’t know yet”. I had been so hurt. Now? I accept that truth. Sometimes, it’s good gossip. People talk about how great you are. Other times, they discuss your flaws and failings and then there are those who will malign you. Guess what? It is perfectly okay. What people say about you says more about them than it does you.

-It is okay to not have an opinion about every topic. It is also great to have an opinion and keep it to yourself. I believe that unless a person is your friend and needs honesty from you, keep all negative opinion to yourself.

-Be patient. Don’t say ‘yes’ too quickly. My friend Esther believes that “Every opportunity is not necessarily a good one” and I agree.

-Don’t be afraid to feel things. If you’re sad, take time to understand your feelings. My friend Tiwa says “Sit with your feelings; call them home”. Repressing emotions is bad for you.

-Love fearlessly. Never be afraid to put yourself out there. So what if your heart gets broken? You’ll survive, every time.

-Be aware of your abilities and limitations. Avoid overconfidence. I think it is important to receive the right kind of validation. With regards to skill,this is best gotten from people who either have no reason to lie to you or who are proficient in said skill. Don’t let just anyone “yass” you into thinking you’re great at something.

-Take a few hours every week for yourself. This is wonderful for introverts. Just be. Read, write, listen to music, pray and re-center.

-Self control is my favorite fruit of the Spirit after patience. Work on your self control. Do not let people push your buttons. Try not to buy everything you want immediately (unless it’s a book, of course). Don’t reply to messages when you’re upset.

-Learn to make your point without raising your voice. This is something I’m working on.

-Ask questions. Ask for help. Ask. Ask. You’ll never know if you don’t ask. Sometimes, all you need to do is ask google.

-Let people help you. Don’t hide all your problems from people who love you. I used to think that there was no reason to ask for help if people couldn’t take away said problem. Never underestimate the power of praying friends and family.

-Do you. Always. It is tempting to keep looking over your shoulder to see who’s doing better and whose life seems just perfect. Quick secret: No one has a perfect life. So work on you. Work on your own life, relationships, education, craft. Do you.

-Learn to apologize and say please and thank you. These will take you places.

-Be kind. Don’t be quick to think the worst about people. Cynicism takes you nowhere, really.

-Be enthusiastic about life. Get excited about the little things. The egusi you’re going to have tomorrow or this new book you’ve just bought. Find something to look forward to everyday. Make time for all the things that are important to you.

-Don’t waste time reading a bad book. Unless, you’ve been assured that it starts slow. Otherwise, don’t torture yourself.

-If you’re looking to be a writer, write. Every single day. Put thought into texts and tweets. Find better ways to put words together. Practice every chance you get. Remember how you were when you first learned to read? How you read every sign board and bulletin? Yes, same thing.

-Set a reminder to smile everyday. Just to work the muscles. Also, never be ashamed of your laughter for it is the sound of your own joy.