In a few weeks I’ll be turning a year older.
This time last year, I was in paradise. I thought I had found the one. It was a different space. Of sweet sighs & love songs. The one turned out to be a lesson waiting to be learned; the past needing to be let go; & a blessing in disguise.
So, this year I’m quite far from that space. It’s like standing on one side of the mountain & looking across a wide valley to the other side.
There is no way of jumping that. Nor do I want to.
The idea of growing older is that somehow along the way we are also becoming wiser. I’ve always embraced that, even if sometimes it squeezes all the strength out of me, leaving my arms feeble & weak. Even grasping.
Wisdom is never a guarantee to an easy life. But it is the foundation to a rich & fulfilling one. It is the wind beneath the sails that keeps the ship on course & fans it to the outer edges of the sea & into transcendent beauty.
But, even with the promise of wisdom, growing old is often met with an unpleasant reaction by many. And if you’re not among those who succumb to the “woe is me for getting old” syndrome, the world still lets you know there is something not quite right about accumulating age digits.
A friend of mine reminded me of this the other night over dinner when she asked what I had done with my twenties. The question took me aback. I didn’t know what to say. A part of me recoiled in horror.
‘Yes, indeed, what have you done with your twenties, missy?’ a voice taunted.
I mumbled some unconfident answer but the question stayed with me & haunted me.
My dream was to change the world.
When I was a little girl, I had a plan – one that weaved itself of itself & stuck itself to the edges of my heart convincing me that I was meant for something much greater than I understood.
I have not changed the world. Not yet anyway. But I keep hustling.
My twenties were spent doing just that – hustling.
Some of us are unique…in a beautiful & challenging way. I was thinking about this the other day & I realised that the odds have always been against me. I am everything the world deems least valuable, the unacceptable, the un-norm;
I happen to be a woman who happens to be black who happens to be an introvert who happens to be African who happened to have grown up poor. Beauty & smarts are not attributed to people like us. And sadly, there are even some who would wish us out of existence.
It’s true. I can confirm it for you – this is not a walk in the park kind of existence. It doesn’t matter what your perspective on this matter is, take it from me. I walk in my shoes everyday. They are unique. And because they are not the common size 6 pair of sandals you grab off the shelf at Target on the way to the maxi – dress collection, they need a different path to walk in; a unique path.
I love the possibility of treading this unique path – holy, unconventional ground. I love the possibility of creating something that has my own personal flavour. This is why I hustle. Pushing through the muck that is laid upon me by virtue of my being in the here & now. In the flesh & blood.
I still dream of changing the world. But I don’t know entirely just what that means or what it looks like. I still dream of birthing beauty all of my own into the world. This is what keeps me up at night – the freedom to be & do that which is sacred & beautiful. For it to be like breathing for me. This is what I hustle for.
Hustling can be lonely. It is also hard. You sweat & hurt & bleed. I have survived years of this. & now I am doing something better – I am learning to thrive while I hustle. Beauty & steadfastness & joy & full-bodied life converge.
Hustling lets you master that space between reality & dreams, grounding you in practical possibility while urging you to keep dipping your toes in the magical.
I probably am what I am today – observant, astute, empathetic, vulnerable, fiercely loyal, passionate, understanding & giving – because I’ve had to hustle my way through life. It’s not always fun but it creates a depth in a person that nothing else in the world can create. I take comfort in that & in the God who has been on my side every minute of my life. My biggest cheerleader.
For the likes of me, hustling is a given but you won’t hear me moaning. At least not everyday 😉 I am learning that life is too beautiful not to hustle through. And so, the hustling continues…