Dear Africana Woman,
I turned 39. My goodness I am Gorgeous!
Hahaha I have a friend who tells me to calm down when I start to big up myself. But seriously if you are not your own hype woman by this age, honey I am concerned okay. Now, I have been going back and forth on whether I should write about what I learned in this past year or talk about what I plan to do in this next year. I think I am going to do a little of both. So I will talk about the 3 top lessons I learned as a 38 year old woman and then talk about 9 plans I have for my last year in the thirties.
My vision started going blurry. My left eye has never really worked well since I was a teenager. Therefore, I depended on my right eye for everything. I wore specs for a brief stint until an optician told me there was no point. So early this year, my strong eye, the right, started experiencing blurry vision and migraines. I was soooooo sad about it, and in denial for no rational reason. I went for an examination and was told I would need glasses. I didn't get them. Eventually, my sight was awful. To the point that I could not look at a screen for more than 10 minutes and that's my office. In the end my family intervened, and got me glasses.
I always thought I was okay with ageing. I have had grey hair since I was 15. I am not moved by all the anti ageing techniques that are out there. However, the thought of losing my sight through me off, despite it being a natural thing. I am also not the first person to wear glasses. Now that I have them I actually feel great. It's so important to get the help you need sooner rather than later. When it comes to your health you know what you need to do.
"When we are young we sacrifice our health for wealth and when we grow old and wise we realize what's most important—and become willing to sacrifice all our wealth for even one day of good health."
I have always thought the reason that I could not commit to physical exercise was because I did not love myself enough. When they say look after your temple, I try mweh. I don't drink alcohol. I am a vegetarian and I eat pretty clean. I do not smoke (never have). But now tell me about exercise. I just could not get myself to stick with it. In the past, I have had a personal trainer and done group programs but they never lasted.
This year I started exercising from home with a virtual trainer, Coach Sydney. It is like something has just clicked inside of me.
"It's not about perfection, it's about me moving my body"
So there was one week when my coach was not available to work with me live, and I decided that I still wanted to exercise. I asked him to send me a voice note with instructions for my work out each day. Day number one, the first exercise was 300 star jumps. I was like, "This man wants me to quit before starting" But in that moment I also decided I was going to do it. I did not cheat because I knew that I would be cheating myself. It took me one and a half hours to get through the whole workout but I did it. With no one watching. Just me and God as my witness.
Mindset shift. I am different. Not perfect. Just willing to keep going.
I met a boy. I can see all the aunties sitting up and paying attention. Calm down. Turns out that boy does not like me ... back. What happened was I met this guy in a business setting. As we started to work with each other, the more we learned about each other. Then straight out of a KDrama, one day I woke up and realised wait a minute I like this guy. Only to be told it's not mutual.
What I loved about this experience is that it made me rethink a lot of things about my life. From limiting beliefs, stereotypes and biases I hold around men and relationships. It is no surprise that in my 3 year vision for my life there is no room or mention of a romantic partner because it simply was not a thought. Then this chap comes along and completely messes up the picture. I really had to think about if I were to get into a serious relationship how would that affect my plans? I do not have all the answers but I loved reading in The Alchemist this quote:
"You must understand that love never keeps a woman from pursuing her Personal Legend. If she abandons that pursuit, it's because it wasn't true love.”
I am so grateful for that brief encounter because it brought so much healing to me. First of all praise God that I did not attract the 'bad boy' wounded by his past. I am so happy to know I am past that nonsense. I got to experience emotional intelligence, excellent communication skills, similar values all in a pretty good looking package. It opened me up to the possibility of having a serious relationship.
The 39th Floor
Whenever my birthday comes around, that is when my new year begins. Now that I am 39 I have been thinking about how to make this last year in my thirties grand. I decided to make 39 decisions and commit to doing them or rather becoming them. Because we do not have all day I have decided to share 9 with you:
1. Learn a new skill i.e. run/walk in a half marathon. This one is actually a dare. Sis, I don't know how to run. In fact, I have a phobia of leaving my yard. So this is going to take me out of my comfort zone for sure. Please join me on this journey. Send me tips on everything I need to know. By the way I have a whole 12 months to complete these decisions so don't panic.
2. Take Africana Woman podcast on an international live tour. You heard it here first, we are coming to Kenya, South Africa / Lesotho and Zambia of course. I am so excited about this. I get to partner with two phenomenal women Khanya and Doric from the UnlockWomen podcast. We are going to create magic. Keep your eye out for more information.
3. Host 3 Retreats. I figured since we will be in these countries anyway, why not host retreats whilst we are there. So our 2024 Africana Woman Retreats are in Lake Tanganyika, Durban and Mombasa. To register sign up here: https://forms.gle/RgL2JMM24dz43aXa6
4. Set up a recording studio at home. I am talking the whole nine yards. Sound proofing, mics, cameras, mixers etc. with a feminine touch.
5. Write a book. Please I beg, I know I have been saying this for a while now. It is part of my creative process. I have a mental block around perfection, because I keep starting and stopping. So the first book I am going to write will not be perfect. And if it's 5 pages then that's how long it is. I just need to write the first one.
6. Host a monthly party at home for friends and family. This is me trying to break out of my hermit ways. I will talk more about this another day.
7. I want Kirk Franklin arms. Have you seen them? I was like okaaaay Kirk, 53 sure looks good. I am giving myself at least one year to get some kinda definition in my arms. Please when I get it no one will drink water. hahahaha
8. Spend quality time with my son on adventures, reading and cooking.
9. On my 40th Birthday I am going to be seated by a beach surrounded by love and laughter. By the way if you are turning 40 next year and particularly towards the end of the year, send me a message if you would like to travel somewhere fun together.
As I have mentioned, I have made 39 decisions. It's kind of like writing a letter to your future self. I am excited to see how this year plays out. Feel free to hold me accountable by checking in every now and then.
By the way on this photoshoot I got to work with my favourite creatives. What is even crazier is that Donna from Kamanga Wear is born on the 10th, Pearl my makeup artist is born on the 11th and I am born on the 13th. You have got to admit there is something about October babies that is super creative. And We Gorgeous.
Thank you to my glam squad:
Photography - Eness Photography
Makeup - Pearl Beauty Makeup
Dress - Kamanga Wear
Fitness Gear - Marsha Fitness
So my Darling, I leave you with this quote
You know, I always felt pressure to hold tightly to my youth, but then one day I woke up, and I thought, "Why am I torturing myself?" Everyone gets to be young, but not everyone is lucky enough to grow old. ~ Lydie (Virgin River)
You can always find me on Instagram @Chulu_byDesign. Always remember to love yourself flaws n all and live a life you absolutely desire. Oh and could you do me a favour by sharing this with someone who needs to laugh today. Thanks. Chat soon.