Yeayi Kobina writes: Salvaging the remains of your 20

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The morning of my thirtieth birthday I woke up feeling no different in my body, except a panic button had gone off in my head-I was out of time! All the motivational quotes had said the twenties were for living it up, making mistakes and finding out who you are. I had done just that.

I had spent my twenties doing what I loved, writing, producing content and doing what we all do best: holding our crumpling life together, pretending to have it all together, tied neatly together with a smile. Yet here I was feeling like I had wasted a majority of my life- All this in the ten minutes I laid in bed figuring out if getting out of bed was worth it.

I do not believe I can effectively put a name or description to this particular period. I was still a child at heart, eager to chase my goals. It wasn’t exactly mid-life crisis, no, this tumult was more of breathing while been pulled under water.

 I could blame the economy for not having any substantial saving to binge shop to feel better, or for the loop of waking up, go to work, spend time thinking about closing and getting back home. This rinse and repeat phenomenon had become a comfort but it had created a web of impossible decisions – work, money, career-all these decisions were so of overwhelming with the inescapable knowledge that I was failing at life.

I had a job, a place to sleep and I was not starving, I was in a better place than most but nevertheless I was ragged with guilt that I had failed that 13 yer old boy who had dreams of conquering the world. I hadn’t even conquered the art  of getting out of bed on time.

Nonetheless, I was here with no choice but to face the next decade of my life. I got a note pad for the first time and wrote down my goals and re-accessed my twenties. Was there anything worth salvaging? I had started and failed at three Start ups, lost money and people. So, there were lessons, learnt by repeating the same mistakes.

If care was not taken, I was going to spend my thirties paying for mistakes made in my 20’s, and my forties fixing those made in my thirties.

Writing everything down gave my a clearer picture. My first few months, I spent on financial literacy, saving, paying of debt. You have no idea the freedom that comes with being debt free. The key to being financially free, always know you can save a percentage of what ever you earn, if that’s not enough, start something on the side. I started a tutorial class which provided a substantial fund to clear of my debt. It was exhausting with little to no free time sometimes.

Second it was key to know life was finite. Three friends had passed in their twenties. These days, I am keen to take my scheduled rest days simply because I feel like it. There are days I turn off my phone, find a location (even if its just my porch) catch up on reading or TV shows I’ve been saving up. Such moments are great for your mental health. (what’s a man when his mental health turns on him)

A third and what I believe to be the most important was to find a tribe because it was impossible to keep my goals without the support of friends I could count on. They knew my flaws and helped without judgement. If you’re lucky you can one such friend but I was blessed to have two.

We make mistakes in our twenties because we are expected to, the thirties aren’t necessary free of them but you’re venturing into it with experience and as cliché as it may sound, I like to believe that with age comes wisdom.

The next decade could really be about living your best life while  setting up for your future.  There’s still time to change your life, chase a new career path and thrive. Here’s to thirty and thriving.

By Yeayi Kobina

The writer has played multiple roles in broadcast journalism, news anchoring, branding and programming communications, scriptwriting, and content producing. He has worked as the lead producer of TV3’s flagship morning show, Newday.

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