(Photo cred: etsy.com)
I received a text at 7 am yesterday sharing with a small group of friends a pleasant and unexpected surprise involving a pizza box. As me and the girls flourished in the group text with numerous jokes, “I knew that!”s, and emojis aplenty, I was reminded of a few things.
I’ll be 27 on Tuesday and I tend to become more reflective than usual as my birthday approaches each year. How have I grown this past year? In what ways am I the same? What lessons have I learned this year? What are my goals for the next 365 days? In between the laughs and screams I got from the group text, I was able to remember a few pointers from 26, thanks to the pizza box.
1. Life comes at you fast. – I’m not sure how much clearer this statement can be. Life can and will change in the most unexpected ways and sometimes those changes will make you feel like you will not be able to adapt or survive. News flash: you will. In the words of the famous expression: “Remember that person or thing you thought you couldn’t live without? Well look at you living and ish.”
2. Always keep hope. – In conjunction with my last point, life will present itself in ways that have the potential to make you choose bitterness. Notice how I worded that. One of my most major lessons this year is that bitterness is a choice. Hurt is a natural reaction to what’s done to you but bitterness and hardening is what you choose to do. It’s hard to hope and be bitter at the same time. You can’t be open to possibilities and closed to them at the same time. Always choose hope. In the words of the late great Dr. Maya Angelou, “Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.”
3. Unexpected events are not always bad. – Listen, when considering life’s unpredictability, we almost always think in terms of the negative. But some of the best things in life are completely unexpected, such as this now storied pizza box situation. We are so busy planning how things should happen and how things should go, we don’t leave enough room for life to surprise us in some good ways. Form an expectancy that good things can and will happen no matter how big or small, especially if your life is about giving good. The principle of sowing and reaping.
4. Intimacy is about truly KNOWING. – Now I know some of y’all have been trying to figure out what I’m referencing with this pizza box. Not my story to tell…lol. However, know this – it was among the most intimate things that could have been done to the recipient of this action. Why? Because it showed that the person has worked to know her. It was not a big, elaborate action that was gaudy and out there. Many of us gals don’t even want all that 24/7 anyway. Love is in the details, those small actions that demonstrate love and care – that time you notice a small difference, the “just because” actions and words, the not being afraid to let people know that you like us or love us and that you’re legit. When you take the time to know someone and know the ways to their heart, that makes the difference. That is what causes you to go deeper and that is what causes love to be reciprocated in some of the best ways. Some of y’all are seeking to know other things…………but try really knowing who the person is, their essence.
5. If a person desires relationship/friendship with you, they will pursue that desire. – Beginning and end. There are no excuses to void this statement. I was told this right after a break up by the person who broke up with me and though it hurt badly at the moment, it was the truth. As my Dad said on Sunday, “Love initiates.” And listen, if someone says “it’s not you, it’s me.” BELIEVE THEM. I don’t care how you feel about that statement, it’s true and you should govern yourself accordingly. In the words of the urban lyricist Drake, “Believe me, believe me.”
6. Know your worth. – Y’all…please. PLEASE. I can’t tell you how many situations I’ve gotten into chasing someone or something to validate who I am. Chasing the high of “love” or “acceptance” and that low of rejection was almost unbearable. When you know who you are and Whose you are, you have no reason to accept anything less than what you deserve. And if a man or woman never comes along who wants to walk along with me in relationship in life, that’s FINE too. It’s funny because I always expected to be someone’s exception/game changer and when I proved not to be, it broke me down. First, I never should have went into situations expecting to be an exception/game changer. People’s histories ARE important; don’t completely disregard. However, a person’s history should not be the only thing considered either. Wisdom will teach you to discern who the person is. Plus, changing the pattern of how someone does life should not be your goal in a relationship. Take them as they are and if you inspire good and healthy change, BEAUTIFUL. I am aware that I am such a powerful and unique individual that there is the strong possibility that there will be one young man out there who will look at me and KNOW that I am worth knowing, sacrificing for, sacrificially and wholly loving, and worth becoming a better person for. And I will feel the same about him. In other words, I will be the exception/game changer in his life and he will be the exception/game changer in my life – the ones that matter in the long-term. This day may never come but I’ve managed to still be an optimist when it comes to love so I’ll hold on to that.
7. Celebrate the good things in life with friends. – [Good] Friends are a gift from God. I was truly reminded of that this year. When good things happen, no matter how small or big, group chat your friends and have an emoji and gif fest! I mean…you’d text them if something crazy happens, so why not when something good happens? Good friends will celebrate with you when you’re celebrating, mourn with you when you’re mourning, challenge you when you’re wrong, love you flaws and all, and see the beauty in all your ashes. Take advantage.
I hope y’all have enjoyed these reminders from a pizza box. I’m proud of the Ashley going into 27. I’ll see y’all on the other side :-).