In this exact moment, in this minute, I am the oldest I have ever been and that scares me. It scares me and excites me in equal measure. I have spent the past few weeks attempting to debunk why this is the case, the end result (one that isn’t 100% conclusive yet) has been re-looking my life, my moves and oh boy!

My name is Veon and in another 1.5months, I’ll be turning 24.

Plain old 24.

I say plain old because the digits aside there’s not much really much that’s attached to 24. I mean, 18 was sold as the dawn of maturity. I remember celebrating 21 as the year of the sexy (ha!) and 23 was the birth of my adulting.

But I am here now, perhaps more aware of myself more than ever, proud of myself and yet still finding myself wanting on some days. Wanting, because I don’t live in a capsule and I am seeing people that I grew up with, people that I went to school with, people that I love(d) make insane leaps in their careers and in as much as I am happy for them , I sometimes wonder to myself ‘Babe, when will you ever be that good?’ Comparison is the thief of joy!

My people are getting babies ON PURPOSE. My people are getting married ON PURPOSE. And I am just out here romanticizing fried potatoes, you can’t really fault me because let’s be honest, potatoes are awesome. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t faulted myself, compared myself to others. I have caught myself  doing this and I have taken the time out to have a conversation with myself, forcing me to acknowledge how far I have come as a tiny adult(I hate the phrase ‘young adult’) acknowledging that there is enough space for all of us to win and documenting the lessons I’ve learnt so far.

I realize that I am not the only one that’s going through adulting, so real quick, I’ll share the lessons I am learning as I go about this adulting thing;

1. You have to be your own parent.
When I first moved out (which was just last October) I was hella excited. The thought of freedom can be intoxicating and I let myself get high on it but after a while it got old. I had to sit down and prioritize and tell myself, concert X sounds brilliant but you have to sit your butt at home and work on yourself and do the damn laundry.

2. People cannot be there for you, if you are not there for yourself first
One of the most beautiful things about life is friendships. Knowing that there are people that have my back and will always have it (and I have theirs) has given me the courage to take leaps and risks. But even with such a strong support system in place, you’ve got to give them something to work with; build a foundation and put up some pillars so that the walls and the roof that your friends bring can stand in the force of the strongest winds.
Terrible analogy but you get the point. (Hopefully.)

3. You cannot pour from an empty cup
One of my favourite quotes is ‘It’s okay not to be okay’. I find that you will not always be at a 100% and when that happens, it’s okay to take a step back and do whatever you need to do to get back up. Switch your phone to airplane mode, watch a sad a movie, skip town, sleep in… do whatever your body and soul need to recharge. (But make sure someone knows where to find you; spare people the worry if you can.)

4. You are responsible for your own happiness
Adulting has taught me that I won’t always be in situations that have me grinning; it could be a job that’s doing zero for my morale, or a rough patch in a relationship (romantic or otherwise) loud neighbours when I’d rather be sleeping (or writing this post) whatever it is, I am the only one that can get me out of that particular situation. And sometimes, all you have to do is decide that you want out and you’ll find out your way, but you have to make that decision.
On not so deep a level, be your own cheerleader. I have found that on days when I wake up and affirm that I will have a great day, I have the best days even when the world around me is crumbling. Keep affirming.

5. God

I was having a conversation with a friend  recently and they asked, “Why do you believe in God?” My answer is really simple; I need to believe in something bigger than myself. I appreciate that religion isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but faith ought to be, believe in whatever you need to. Then go forth and slay through life. God | faith can give a sense of order and | or calmness but that’s useless if you don’t use it to propel yourself to better stuff.  Put in the work.

6.Have a little fun
In the words of FUN, tonight (and throughout our 20s) we are young. So go out and be shameless about your youth. Let your laughter echo. Let your limbs move to the rhythm of your fave song; it doesn’t matter if you can’t dance and let love find you, not as a last resort but because you are love too.

Finally, it’s okay to cry.

Love and Potatoes,

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—Veon Ngugi

Veon writes on her blog, The Veon. She believes books are lit and travel is cool.

( Images in this particular blog post shot by Vince. I just edited. )