When I Was 17
When I Was 17

 

The thought of 17 sends trembles through my bones. I was so naive and green behind the ears thinking I had life figured out. 

 

Seriously, I thought it was as simple as 1 + 1 = 2, but as we grow and experience life that's not quite the case. We all know by now that shit happens and things don't always workout the way we wanted them to. I for one can attest to that.

 

I remember saying that I would be the host of 106 & Park by age 23 and living in my high rise apartment in the middle of NYC. Fast forward 6 years later I was a struggling college grad serving tables at Olive Garden maintaining an apartment my roommate ditched me with. 

 

Might I add she moved her boyfriend in during our lease and left his butt behind too. WTF?

 

At 17 the world felt like it was at my fingertips, but I had no clue what was about to happen. 

 

Life. 

 

The important things were prom, graduation, college, and not repeating an outfit too soon. Little did I know that my hopes and dreams would be challenged left and right. Little did I know that my sexuality would be my liberation. Little did I know that within my adversity was my opportunity. 

 

The only thing I know now is at 17 I didn't know shit. 

 

Socrates once said, "I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is I know nothing." 

 

Those words slapped me straight across the face when I first heard them. None of us are perfect and sometimes through social media we see imitations of perfection consisting of: hair, makeup, money, squad goals, and cars. 

 

Let's be real even Beyoncé has daddy issues and she "runs the world." 

 

See me at 17 probably praised those things, but now at 27 I see imperfections as authenticity. Sadly, many of us are still trapped mentally at 17 and haven't realized it yet. 

 

There comes a time when you surrender to your imperfections and say, “I don't know.” In some cases this is our personal breaking point. (BTW I think I've had a few of these.) It's really okay not to know. There's an indescribable flow to life where the gems are secretly hidden. 

 

As a person who formally “knew everything” at just 17 I challenge you to know nothing, but strive for everything. 

 

 

Lessons Learned 10 Years Later... 

 

1.) Always Stand In Your Truth

 

Being honest with yourself can be one of the most difficult things in life. For years I ran from my truth by solely focusing on work as a distraction. Then came the time where I literately had nothing, but my truth. 

 

Until I made a true effort in loving myself did I discover the power of love. See we set the standard of what love is individually. The way you love another person is the reflection of how you love yourself. 

 

2.) IDK is OK

 

Accepting that you don’t know opens you up to what life really has to offer. Its like we’re fed this false reality of having to strategically be “put together”, but none of us really do. 

 

I for one admit everyday that I don’t know what I’m doing, but I have a vision of what I want. In essence I’m creating the “How” my own way. 

 

I don't know what I'm doing, but I have a vision for what I want. 

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3.) Save. Save. Save.

 

No matter what stack your coins up. Until I had nothing did I learned the importance of saving money. Granted I was never an over spender, but I could have paid more attention to planning for my decision making. 

 

If I would have known life post graduation didn’t automatically come with a job I would have spent a lot more time prepping to face the world alone. 

 

Better believe I know how to stretch a dollar even more now!

 

4.) Be Flexible

 

There are multiple ways to get to the same destination. Even if you hit a dead end it doesn’t mean give up on the journey. This is where you reroute. 

 

Countless times I’ve been thrown off track whether if it was faulty people, a dead car, or losing a job. Regardless the situation I was flexible and determined enough to adjust myself. 

 

Don’t allow the journey to deter you from what you want out of this experience. Go for it! 

 

5.) Trust Your Gut

 

When your gut speaks listen. There is something about your intuition that echoes through your core. In that moment pause and honor it. 

 

Anytime I’ve ignored it nothing right ever came from the situation. Especially with men. I’ve come across my fair share of toads in hopes of prince charming. Save yourself the trouble and turn the other direction when it comes over you. 

 

6.) You Are Worthy

 

Like many others I had to grow into myself worth over the years. Taking that time is vital in setting the standard for those around you. 

 

People will ultimately treat you however you treat yourself. In other words show up or speak up.

 

7.) Make Your Own Way

 

Forget the blueprint your mother, father, or guardian set for you. This life experience is solely yours. Be selfish with it and make it your own. Not until I decided to live for me was I able to really thrive. 

 

If I would have known this sooner who knows where I would be today, but like 17 I’m still green behind the ears, but open to all life has to offer me! 

 

How about you?