(g)ains, bruh.


Yes, yes y'all! Last week, I celebrated another year on this oddity of a planet called Earth. And of course, in true BFF fashion, my friends were hella-quick to remind me that I am old. An old foggie. An old fart. Old as dirt. Old Spice... All of it. But you know what- I don't mind. I'm aging with every breath, as is everyone else; and as the late R&B princess Aaliyah once crooned: ♪Age ain't nuhthin but a number!♪

And, let's just say... my number is "thirty-FINE", honey! OK???

Thinking about the person I was in my 20's as compared to the person I am now, it's glaringly evident that I've made some legit "growing gains". We've all heard of growing pains - but growing gains are the things that have improved in our life as we get older. We so often weigh ourselves down with thoughts of aging, and feeling like we haven't "quite made it yet"- whatever or wherever "IT" actually is. We are so quick to look at our peers and question our own rate of progress, our success, our value, based on theirs. I've most definitely been guilty of this many times, and I don't think that habit ever truly goes away as we get older. However, due to my Libra-gang spirit, I find myself compelled to sometimes call a time-out on that nasty habit of self-deprecation, balance my thoughts, and take a quick moment to celebrate myself and the gains and strides that I've made over the years.

It's as simple as taking a minute and making a mental "ya done good list". Wanna see some of my gains? Well- here they go, in no logical order whatsoever:

My Top 10 Gains Whilst on my Journey to Adult Life:

  1. Accepting that avocados, kale and Brussels sprouts are not the enemy, after all. (Okra? Still the devil though! You cannot tell me otherwise.);
  2. Becoming a homeowner and starting to build equity;
  3. Cutting cable and finally realizing how ass-backwards and mind-numbing stations like BET and MTV really are. There was a time when I would gladly pay money to access these TV channels and actually rely on them to keep up with the trends. AND THEN I GREW UP!!! NOTE: Ratchet reality shows still hold a special place in my heart, but I can stream those anywhere for FREE-99!
  4. Being more open-minded about meeting and letting different kinds of people in my life.
  5. Learning to carefully cultivate my own mental happy place through various mediums and pass-times;  
  6. Being more present with and grateful for my family;
  7. Internally applauding myself whenever I get carded at the liquor store;
  8. Carving out time to road trip and reconnect with my close friends, who in physical distance, are no longer as close to me as they once were; 
  9. Embracing my new-found ability to spot and call bullshit with a quickness;
  10. Expanding on my personal style via thrift shops and enjoying the bragging rights that come with how LITTLE I spend on things, as opposed to how MUCH. 

As ridiculous and insignificant as some of these may seem individually, I think it's imperative to take the time once in awhile to just sit back and take stock of all the positive steps that I've taken over a period of time, no matter how small. Unfortunately, it seems to come more naturally to us, as a society, to downplay and doubt our own personal achievements - especially when compared to everyone around us, and the images of "success" that we see in the media. But the truth is, in our own individual ways, we shine quite brightly. And just because others may not see it - it doesn't mean our successes are anything less than awesome or aren't worth mentioning. And just because someone else is successful in a particular area of their life, it doesn't automatically make you a failure at your own life.

Put it this way: think about a scenario where you'd have to play "never have I ever" with a current celebrity (say a Basketball Wife, a Kardashian, or a Disney kid-turned-adult). Chances are, they'd probably be drunk off their ass within the first 5 minutes, simply based on all the preposterous and degrading things they've had to do in life in order to get to where they are, that you've probably never had to do in your own life. Sex tapes, bankruptcies, addiction to plastic surgery, infidelity scandals, substance abuse, etc. Horrible things that we may not see because we're so busy focusing on what it is they do have, never thinking about what parts of themselves they may have had to sacrifice to get where they are.

As mentioned before, I am absolutely guilty of sometimes getting sucked in and down on myself by seeing the "success" of others and questioning my own. It's human nature. But, thankfully - i also have no shame in rooting for myself or being kind to myself whenever I need my ego to be stroked. After all, who knows me better than ME? 

So, sure - my friends can crack all the jokes they want about me getting "up there in age". I don't trip. Why? Because, although my back pain is real and my slowing metabolism is a muh'fucker, I can tell that I've evolved as a person. Maybe not drastically- but significantly enough for me to notice. And what's more, I take extreme pleasure knowing that I'm still not the friend who falls asleep half way though a movie in the theater. They are, lol!

True - my "turn up" game these days may not look like it used to when I was in my 20's, but it's still much better than theirs. I can still hang til 2 A.M...

In my Snuggie. 

At home.

With a nice hot cup of tea. 

That's GAINS, bruh. 


Shaolin Says ;)

Shaolin "J" Style


Creative writer. Professional ranter. Canadian-born. Caribbean blood. Probably the worst introvert you'll ever meet.