Growing up as the eldest and only daughter in a family of four other boys was a blessing. There are times, however, when I feel that my childhood was too protected to have prepared me for real world challenges later in life. Granted, my parents did the best they could in terms of providing for me, ensuring that I received a decent education and exposure to extra- curricular activities. However, the sounds of conformity to the norm were too loud and for the longest period in my professional life, I thought conflict is necessarily a bad thing, self –sacrifice is something to be proud of and worst of all, I had to put everything and everyone’s priority ahead of mine . That was what was expected of a polite ,Ethiopian girl.
As I matured and gained more life experience, though, I wish I knew these things sooner.
That it will all be ok.
Making and admitting to mistakes used to be so painful that the whole thing was bordering on the absurdly funny. Now, I know that this is part of the learning process and I embrace it with open arms.
Not everyone is going to be my fan
Trying to please everyone; all the time is a recipe for disaster. I have experienced mild to serious panic attacks in attempting to do just this. So this comes from experience. Trust me when I say “It’s ok to say no, to disagree and express your feelings in an assertive manner” – whether it is with a shopkeeper I will never see in my life or with my life partner or professional acquaintance.
I have to put myself first
This took me quite a while to realize, too . After spending more than half of my current career in a field that doesn’t get the appreciation that it deserves, I’m saying “well, it’s never too late to find what I want to do with the rest of my life”. After all, not everything is about what is “expected of me at this age”
Everyone has issues
It looks like almost everyone is struggling with this, that or the other. Family issues, career setbacks, relationship challenges, financial burdens, health, political outlooks, fear of the unknown. You name it. Everyone is taking it one day at a time. We should give each other a break. With kindness, compassion and mutual trust, everything is going to be A.O.K.
Dreams do come true
Well… this may sound too naïve considering everything that’s gone wrong locally and internationally in the past couple of years but with hard work , a huge helping of gratitude and a pinch of humor, even in the most desperate of times, I have full confidence that it is possible for my dreams as well as everyone else’s to come true. They have to. It’s only a matter of time.