I can’t believe I’m 26 today. Writing that and saying it out loud is actually mad. Little me has really turned big 26 today. I’ve passed the middle ground of 25 and am even closer to 30 – a crazy and at times terrifying thought.
From the moment I turned 25, I was dreading this birthday and the prospect of being 26 made me proper sad. However, I became accustomed to the thought of it as the day drew closer and today I think I’m actually okay. I don’t particularly like getting older, but I am a lot more comfortable with the age I am now and don’t feel as many of the pressures that came with 25. I’m more at ease with who I’ve become and how my life has changed. I’m also out of 2017, which was a horrible year, and I am the happiest I’ve been in a long time.
You read that right, I am the happiest I’ve been in a long time. In fact, I am in a proper good place. A number of things have contributed to that, but it mainly comes down to the amazing God I serve and the impact He has had – and continues to have – on my life. God has supported and comforted me time and time again. He’s granted me strength and resilience, while taking me through storms. He has my back and saved my life in more ways than I could imagine. Being near to Him brings me peace, joy, validation and so much more. My relationship with God is a true blessing.
I’ve also taken time to slow down a bit, properly reflect and take the time to understand what I’m actually doing in my life, as I lost myself for a little while. This has enabled me to really be in the present and appreciate everything around me by really taking note. I have also finally been able to see how much I have achieved and how much I have grown over the past few years, which is genuinely surprising to me and I personally believe is pretty amazing.
The course of my life may have changed when I left university, so I was not where I projected myself to be at 25, but I can now acknowledge that I have something even better and I am so proud of what I’ve done. I’ve started and maintained my own platform for young people, which I intend to develop further. I am a lyricist, published writer and performing poet. I’ve put on a cross-arts programme in my home town two years in a row, bringing young people together and spreading positivity. I’ve been paid for facilitating workshops and had the opportunity to work with some truly amazing young people.
I’ve also had the opportunity to meet very special and wonderful people from different walks of life, who I greatly appreciate. My YP Insight family, my always extending TCFT family, my Queens Gardens peoples, my Mitcham Library crew and everyone in between (I’ll do another post fully highlighting the beautiful people in my life, because they are so many to mention and they deserve the shout outs). I don’t think I would have come so far without the support, advice and laughter provided by them all.
There is definitely a lot further for me to go, and there is a lot more power for me to tap into, but I’m feeling pretty good at 26 at the moment. Even though I say I’m getting old or feel old, I’m actually still young and I have done quite a lot as a young person. I’m also content with how my life is on a more personal level – being married and having kids right now would not be right for me at this time of my life at all with everything that I have to do. I enjoy being single and having the freedom to do as I please – I’m also still getting to know me and working on some of the mess that remains within.
So right now, I can smile and say ‘Happy Birthday to Me. Shaniqua, you are a wonderful, hilarious, beautiful-hearted girl who has so much to give to the world. Don’t sell yourself short, be a slave to fear, or doubt your abilities. With God you can do anything. Love you girl.’