To be a millennial in 2018 is an interesting time. I constantly feel as if I am surrounded by individuals who believe that being average makes them ok. When I was growing up my mother would push us to go beyond what was expected of us. Just going to school and being average was not ok. Simply striving to just get a 9-5 was not ok. The expectation was set on us from an early age that we would be more than what society expected of us. This was especially important being African-American in a country that despite its’ progress still saw me as a potential statistic. Everything that I did was done with the intent that I was going to prove that I was the exception to the rule. I tried to surround myself with people who had similar aspirations as myself and who believed in being better than average. I did not want settle for average friends who did not mind doing just enough to get by. I wanted friends who wanted to stand out and be different in a world of followers. It felt good to say all my girls had degrees, their own place, or their own business, or their own achievements. The reason I chose to surround myself around these folks is because my mindset was that, people who are constantly progressing forward will never attempt to pull you backwards because they are moving just as you are. All too often average folks want you to be average just like them and that was not good enough for me. This does not mean I completely distanced myself from those “average” folks. Everyone deserves a chance to grow and sometimes they just need a push toward being great. At Hampton University, they teach all incoming freshman the phrase, “Good, better, best. Never let it rest until your good is better and your better is best.” Up until this point, if I have offended anyone, I apologize because my intent is not to put down those who are considered “average” but to say that we should never settle for just being “Average”.
See the thing is, we define what average is to us. For myself average is not using every minute of everyday to gradually improve myself and those around me. Average is not striving to be better than I was the day before. Average is doing what others tell me is the right thing to do instead of figuring out what the right thing to do is. Average is not being with the person I love because society deems it unacceptable. Average is going to a job everyday that I hate because I refuse to make the effort to start the business I love. Average is getting a “C” on a test knowing I was capable of an “A” but just didn’t care enough to put in the extra study time. Average is knowing that I have an opinion but never voicing it. I refuse to be average. I refuse to just do enough to get by. I refuse to live paycheck to paycheck and be ok as long as the lights are on. I refuse to be successful on the level that society deems “I have made it” if I don’t feel that I have made it. I refuse to let others around me fall short of great because being average makes them feel content. When is just being average going to not be enough? When I spend to much of my day not being productive I feel I have wasted time. It is ok to sit back and enjoy life but that doesn’t mean be “average” while doing it. Too many people who came before me worked too damn hard for me to just accept being “average”.
Throughout my life I have found that I was always in a rush to do things before God intended for it to be done. With this comes the onset of stress, anxiety, and worry. All three of these negatives can take a physical toll on a person and affect their way of life. Patience has always been one thing I lacked because being ahead made me feel as if I was accomplishing something. For this reason, I have never really taken a true break. I skipped a grade when I was five and have been skipping ahead in life ever since. When you go through your life this way the possibility of meeting disappointment becomes increased.
I had this special plan for my life that included being married by 21, and my first child by 23 with three more to follow each two years apart so I would be done by 29. Me and my husband would buy our first house by 23 and by 35 we would be on an island somewhere enjoying the start of our early retirement. Sounds perfect right? Well, the thing is nothing in life ever happens the way that we plan it out. What I had to learn was that the plan for my life has already been laid out and my job was just to follow that plan as it is instead of trying to make endorsements. Every choice we make, every person we meet, every evolution within our lives happens for a reason. God is just waiting for you to figure out that he is the one in control not you. We feel like we are in control because we are making the choices but subconsciously we are only doing what was already in the plan.
See as I got older, I found myself getting more and more frustrated that the plan I had set was not going the way I had planned out. At 21, I was not married, although I did have my first child by 23. Seven years shy of 35, I am nowhere close to that early retirement on an island somewhere and well lets just say my child does not have two other siblings each two years apart from him. What I had to learn was that although I thought those were the perfect times in my life, there was actually a different plan set for my life. Too often I see female friends forcing relationships because they are in a rush to be married or male friends making choices based off what they think they should be doing right now instead of letting life happen as it should. I watched a friend of mine go from guy to guy trying to make something out of each one just to by chance meet the perfect guy who it was clear she met when she was supposed to meet him.
My sister once said the mistake that people make is they pray to God to make things happen for them as opposed to asking God to guide their steps in the direction to make the thing they want happen. God does not just give you things when you ask for them and this is key information when walking through life. At 27, I have learned to walk in my faith and trust that God will lead my steps and bless me when the time is right. Your journey is your journey only, no one else. There is no perfect time to do anything and no guidebook that says you have to complete certain life milestones by a certain time. The thing is sometimes it takes a few of us longer to realize this but that is ok because you realized it at your time. Patience is a key and good things really do come to those who wait for them to happen when it is right. You have to remain positive and know that your blessing will come when it is least expected. Things may be hard or seem frustrating but you cannot let that remove your faith that life will work itself out.