9 Things I wish I knew when I was younger – Joy Ehonwa

9 Things I wish I knew when I was younger – Joy Ehonwa

I still have the journal I kept when I was a younger woman. I recently decided to go over it, and I made some interesting discoveries.

My essence, thankfully, is still the same, and I still have the precious friendships that I cherished 10, 20 years ago. Yet, in the midst of so much to be grateful for, I experienced some bittersweet emotions as I read through accounts of unrequited love, betrayal, new love, and hopes for the future.

If, somehow, I could reach out to the woman I was then, these are the words I would say:

1. They say you can’t find everything you want in a life partner in one person. While that’s mostly true, I can tell you for free that the price for compromising on your core values is high.

Screenshot_2016-03-03-02-40-38-1-1This determination of yours to choose a partner who shares your spiritual values, material values, love for children, and financial principles is something you must keep. And you see this “willingness to learn” you wrote about? You have NO idea how important this will prove to be in a mate.

2. Your list of “people I will never forget” is cute, but there is more to not forgetting people than remembering them from time to time. It’s very easy to neglect to call and text. And even when you do these, it’s equally easy to stick to light, fluffy hellos, to not talk about important things, to not back up your words with actions. Forgetting people is easier than you think. It takes work to truly never forget someone.

3. I find it amusing that you think it will take you up to two years to “completely uproot *Frank from my system, from under my skin, from inside my head…” and it is saddening to know, from my vantage position, that it actually will take you that long to get over him. Such deep emotion, devotion, and sacrifice for someone who isn’t ready to commit. Certainly not the best use of your time and energy! In time you will understand that an emotionally charged relationship isn’t necessarily a loving relationship. There is no glory in being a martyr for a man. I wish you wouldn’t be so silly.

4. It’s wonderful that you understand the power of mentorship already. I need you to know that the responsibility for maintaining a mentor-mentee relationship lies primarily with the mentee. You will get as much out of your mentor as you reach for. And make sure you find a way to add value too.

5. Nine times out of ten, it is a bad idea to let a man you’re not married to come between you and the friend who sticks close than a sister.

6. New Year resolutions don’t work, you poor thing! Commit to authentic lifestyle changes and enlist the help of people who care, to hold you accountable. In the same vein, it is not just enough to write down dreams. You must set goals (SMART goals), come up with an action plan, constantly review them, and work hard. Otherwise they’re mere fantasies, and I see you have plenty. Sigh.

7. This new guy you’re so openly “dying” for will not ask you out (which is fortunate for you because you have next to nothing in common!) What is wrong with you? Can’t you see beyond your nose? Two whole journal pages for only him, and he has shown no romantic interest in you! Haaaay God!

8. This sweet relationship you have with your Maker, telling Him everything, desiring to please Him, and seeing His loving hand in all you do, is something you will have to fight to sustain. This world will disdain it; religion will try to strangle it; your own heart, prone to wander, will drift away from it. Thankfully, He never lets go.

9. A new love again. This girl, you like man sha. This love letter of yours is so deliciously romantic, but this relationship isn’t going to last, or lead to marriage as you so clearly desire. Why? Partly because you haven’t learnt to be grateful for what you do have and what’s awesome about your relationship — your increasing focus on flaws and shortcomings will drain your joy and passion — but mostly because, some things are simply not meant to be.

Unfortunately, I cannot go back and tell my younger self these things; they are probably best learnt at the feet of experience, anyway. Still, I hope some other young woman will read these words, and be enlightened, encouraged, and inspired.

*Not real name

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