“…The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what’s ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less…”
I have laboured about what to write on my 25th birthday and the 2nd year anniversary of this platform for almost 6 weeks and the words just did not feel complete…until yesterday.
My 24th birthday was the most underwhelming birthday I have ever had. It was so insignificant (or so it seemed). I enjoyed the day, but I had a feeling deep down that there is more, and wow I was not prepared for what 25 would bring.
Turning 25 for me has always been a milestone I looked forward to. As a young 15 year old on a plane leaving home to go to school in England and knowing I would probably never really return to the life I was leaving, I wondered who I would be at 25. Would I have more clarity about my life? Would I be happy? Would I be successful?
So let me therefore tell you about what happened yesterday.
I stood outside potentially the most beautiful and peaceful 25 person fitting house in the English countryside (pictured above) surrounded by some of my most loved people and had a moment. It was a familiar moment to me, but it probably seemed crazy to everyone else. It was a moment where the past 10 years of my life came full circle and peace descended on me like a dove. As I stood there I began to reflect on the past 10 years…
— Seun Awolowo (@seunawo_) August 28, 2017
Believe it or not, I was a very strange teenager. I felt lonely and thought I had too many weird thoughts so often found solace in rock music, TV Shows and writing poetry. On the night of my 25th, I went back to an anthology of poems I had written in my most confused year as a 15 year old and I stumbled upon these words:
I’m probably only meant for me,
I’ll probably never know,
The warmth of a loving shoulder
Or where my heart should probably go
I’m probably just a sad dreamer
Who will remain forever unsatisfied?
I’m just one little warm heart
That will freeze out, getting used to faces that lied
Ill probably sit here crying
Pondering upon a life alone
I’ll probably find comfort and get better,
Or worse, sink like a heavy stone
My emotions seem dramatic and extreme
They probably are,
Ill probably go to bed wondering
If my boldness is actually my scar
How did a young girl with such a dark perspective on life develop into a fully happy and content human being who is honestly living her best life everyday? The answer: She never ever stopped dreaming, even when it hurt to be confronted with a reality that consistently paled in comparison. Listen to me very carefully people, in your darkest moments, the worst thing you can do, is stop hoping and dreaming. Without hope, as humans we are dead.
So, in true seunawo fashion, here are 4 things I can say got me from there to here:
- Let purpose gird everything that you do
Coming into my birthday celebration weekend I was determined to make my country-house dream a success. I started planning it in November 2016. A couple of days before it all happened; I said a silent prayer (which I shared with my closest friends) that I wanted it to be about much more than my birthday. I wanted it to be a weekend that would change peoples lives for the better and release them into their purpose. So I prayed about it. Why am I sharing this? It is the perfect example of who I became over the 10 years. I became someone who didn’t just see or do things for face value but centred it in purpose always. How do you know something is purpose centred? You know when it is others-focused. Purpose will never be about you alone, it is about people. Never ever forget that.
- Dream both BIG and SMALL and make sure you remember them
What I came to learn for myself through my own reflections and thoughts is that dreaming is absolutely critical to creating. I have learnt that I can have what I visualise if I just develop the faith for it. Why big and small? Because you have to notice the small to receive the big. For many, the manifestation on my 15 year old dream could be a silly small thing that would still have happened had I not seen it. Maybe so. However, I actively choose to see it as an answered prayer and a dream realised. If I can teach myself to remember the small wishes of my heart and celebrate them coming true, then I am building my faith for the big things. You’ve got to learn to savour the small moments so you can honour the big ones.
People who do not expect, do not receive. You have to recieve it in your mind before it manifests in the physical.
— Seun Awolowo (@seunawo_) August 1, 2017
- Actively choose to be a lover /server of people
One of the biggest reasons why I believe my life is so full is the role the people that are in it play. To live your best life, you have to help others live theirs. A mandate I have lived by since the day I heard it is: gather, equip and mobilse. That’s my mandate. I love to host people and create an environment for them to be vulnerable and to connect. That’s the desire that led me to write and it’s the same desire that has sustained my hosting efforts to this point. I also realise that it is not hosting for hosting sake, but that it is actually a gift that I have to steward for the right purposes. What is your gift that can help others? Maybe it is time to really cultivate it.
- Be intentionally and authentically yourself without reservations
Last but definitely not the least, you’ve got to be yourself no matter what. I know this is often a cliché phrase but I hand on heart believe I have lived it. No matter what is cool or relevant I have stayed consistent to my true self and to the voice of God which has guided since the first day I heard it. In my low moments as a 15 year old, feeling out of place and so trapped, I didn’t have anything to hold on to for stability or for reassurance that in the end all will be well. Nevertheless, I lived my life openly and shared the seasons I was in with the people around me.
What was a Nigerian born and bred girl doing being a goth at age 15 in Nigeria where Rock wasn’t even on TV? I was living what I assumed was my best life. By learning to be an outsider for living your truth, I built a resilience and a certain narrowness of vision that allowed me to always feel free regardless of how many people might be watching. I became comfortable with myself and could respect my differences.
Live your life and truth out loud. One day it will be the very thing people admire in you the most. Your pure authenticity.
— Seun Awolowo (@seunawo_) August 17, 2017
It was all these thoughts and more that crossed my mind as I stood in front of that house with an amazing group of friends and family after having the most beautiful weekend. If the girl who penned the words ‘Ill probably go to bed wondering If my boldness is actually my scar’ can be the same girl who is certain that that boldness is actually her biggest gift, then my friends I promise you you can get your mind right and pivot into the #liveyourbestlife crew too.
So my wish for you all for the next season of your life is that you make an active decision to #LiveYourBestLife!! I can wholeheartedly say I am living mine and i hope you join me on the journey of year 3 with bigger dreams, an enlarged heart and an open mind 🙂