Photo by Jeffery Erhunse on Unsplash
We get so caught up in the idea that for some reason that these major milestones in life are supposed to happen sequentially, and within every 3-5 business days.
If you’ve been hiding under a rock or if you’re a billionaire, then time has basically stood still since March. I feel like these next few (or several) blog posts that I write will have some level of me grappling with the idea of time. So, brace yourselves beloved. We’re in this together. With that being said, I was thinking to myself yesternight, as I was washing dishes and preparing for the week ahead, that I’ve basically been, “last off the bench” most of life, or so I thought. Meaning, that in almost every area of my life at some point, I have felt as though things do not either work as quickly or go as smoothly as I would’ve hoped for and I was the “last” to experience certain societal “milestones”. In my younger mind (literally 5 months ago), I used to think I was the “last” to get a boyfriend, have my first kiss, get my own place, get married, start my career and get a job, get a car, get funding for school and so forth. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, “Loy how can you possibly say that, when you got a whole PhD?” Sounds like “First World” problems, right?
For one thing, my value is not based on my PhD, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t think that it did in the past. I’ve compared myself to myself most of my life, but every now and again, I would scroll through social media or even look through LinkedIn to see where my peers and colleagues were in their careers (judge yo mama, don’t judge me). A good number of us have all looked to our peers and other people to see how they have progressed in life, in relation to our own progression. I don’t do it often, but I’ve done it enough times, whereby I start questioning my own accomplishments and achievements. Let me also say, I was more prone to do this when I was more mentally and emotionally vulnerable and sensitive.
In some respects, there was a slight stall and delay in my professional and personal life. Whether that’s on my part on the professional side of things, for not “properly” and efficiently navigating the workspace, or more of the issues surrounding structural and institutional racism—most likely both. Like I’ve said before, having a PhD doesn’t guarantee you professional success, whatsoever. However, a lot of my “last off the bench” reflections revolve around the most relatable human needs—love and partnering and then money and jobs. As human people, we want to feel loved, be loved, and if you are not a selfish mofo, you want to give love, but in the same breadth we also want and need income that allows us to meet our basic human necessities and also plan for the future.
What I’ve now come to realize is that I was never actually the last off the bench. Matter of a fact, there is no actual bench. My time to experience certain things in life, just did not happen yet. We get so caught up in the idea that for some reason that these major milestones in life are supposed to happen sequentially and within every 3-5 business days. A lot of it has to do with how the internet and social media has added to the pressure and the idea that struggle and challenge should be minimal as you journey through life, when in all actuality, it simply ebbs and flows. Good and great things will happen to you, and not-so-good and bad things will happen as well. Your goal is to ride the wave as best you can and enjoy the scenery during the journey.
Here are 4 things that you should keep in my mind if ever you feel like you were once like me in thinking that you were the “last off the bench”:
What’s yours is yours
In my time on this Earth, I’ve come to the conclusion that everything that was ever for me, was and is for me. Nothing of mine belongs to anyone else and whatever someone else has, is not for me. You want to have your own things and your own stuff, that way you will treat it well and appreciate it more.
Time is irrelevant
Wheew! This right here is a sermon. Time is generally a social construct that capitalistic ideals and entities have manipulated for us to believe that we are bound to it. When you let go of the idea of timelines and that everything needs to work a certain way, during a particular time, you really begin to live. That does not mean to not be conscious of time, but rather to be mindful of it and don’t let it control you.
Preparation is KEY
If you don’t prepare yourself for what you want in life, then you’re doing yourself a disservice. If this simply means being more disciplined in reading up on your interests, passions and career, then do it. At minimum it can only enhance your knowledge on the subject. You won’t know everything and you will never be 100% prepared, but you will have more confidence in what you bring to the table and in yourself. You will also be more ready for your time to shine, than you would’ve been if you didn’t prepare yourself for those opportunities.
You hold the Power
I can’t stress this enough. We are living in a time where so many of us feel powerless and hopeless, but one thing that remains, is that we each hold our own individual power and agency, and at any given time, we can do better for ourselves, our families, and our communities. Power does not lie solely in the material. The most impactful type of power is your inner peace, resilience and ability to commit to wanting to be a better version of yourself in all aspects of life. That’s real power.