11 Realizations Learned at 29 Years Old

When I turned 29 a little over a week ago, I compiled a list of all the things that took me a while to realize, and now let me share it with you:

1. You can’t take back time, so make every second count.

I feel the power of time more than ever now and have reevaluated where I allocate my time. As Benjamin Franklin says, “Lost time is never found again.”

2. Have patience for your parents and respect them wholeheartedly.
As we get older, our parents become increasingly dependent on us–half the time you don’t know it because they try not to get in your way. Every once in a while, check in and ask them how you can help. Better yet, hang out with them a couple of times out of the week and stop ditching them for your friends or significant other.

Respect your parents by picking up their phone calls and by being conscious about the language and tone you use when you speak to them. They deserve your utmost respect. Whether it was intentional or not, our parents brought us into world excited, yet scared as fuck. No matter how [un]satisfied you are with your upbringing, believe this: your parents did the best job they knew how to do.

3. Always have a goal and work quietly towards it.
Your list of goals should be an ongoing thing between you and yourself; accomplish one, create a new one. What are you trying to prove to others by letting the world know what your goals are? Marie de France says it best, “The fool shouts loudly, thinking to impress the world.”

4. Save 17% of every dollar you earn and start now.
Realistically, we all spend money on shit we don’t need and there’s nothing that can stop us from doing so. I realized that when I save 17% of my earnings (and yes that means $0.03 for every dollar), the things that I need never need that 17% that I pushed aside. It’s such a small amount that shouldn’t affect your ‘needs’ that all adds up in the end.

5. Take advantage of your health insurance and review the claim details.
Whether you’re the primary holder of your health insurance or you’re covered through your parents’ employers, keep in mind that the insurance company is sucking money out of your pockets like crazy.

Make time for that teeth cleaning, that physical, and go to the doctor for every bit of unusual happenings to ensure you’re at your best health.

It doesn’t end here. After every doctor visit, review your claim details and make sure that your health providers’ claims are valid.   Something I experienced myself recently: doctors lie for money.

6. Get married when you know you’re with the one to enjoy the benefits of marriage sooner than later.
At 29, unmarried, I just realized that there’s so much to gain from marriage. For one, health insurance. Every month, $300 of my hard-earned money goes towards health insurance. If I added a spouse to the plan, it would have been $350 per month.

Though this isn’t the case, let’s say my boyfriend worked for the same company and paid for his own $300 a month insurance. That’s a total of $600 a month for us both (unmarried), when it could be $350 (married)!

…we could be using the $3,000 a year towards something else.

7. Just as family is important, friends are too.
You’ll hear it coming from everyone and anyone, “There’s no such things as friends,” in conjunction with “Family is all you need.” I have strong opinions about these sayings: (1) There are such things as friends, so stop preaching this just because you don’t have any. (2) Family is all you need, but it doesn’t imply that your friends are chopped liver.

8. All public-enabled social media accounts have motives.
If someone’s social media account is public, there’s a motive. Maybe s/he’s promoting her/his business. Maybe s/he’s trying to grab the attention from someone that is not in her/his social circle. Why else?

My advice? Keep your shit private. Share things you want to share with the people you want to share it with. Decline followers where you find it necessary.

9. Squats are essential.
My ass at 24 years old looked so much better than it does at 29. Why? Because squats were a part of my everyday routine back then. *Note to self: do squats.

10. Cooking your own food saves lots of money.
IMG_8308This one’s probably my favorite realization–I can cook! It looks and tastes delicious and it saves me a lot of moneyI My cooking skills/practice came late in the game.. I started to learn over the summer when I was 28. From learning how to make my own salad dressings and sauces to cooking flavorful meals, I’m especially proud to know I can cook (and I love watching my boyfriend devour my food).

11. Praying eases the soul.
As a Muslim, I am to pray five times a day. Doing this did not appeal to me growing up because back then it seemed too much of a task. Now that I’m older, I pray to Allah every chance I get (primarily to gain clarity and remember Him), and I realized that when I pray, my soul is at ease. Alhamdullilah.

The Classy Baby Shower

ImageFor my sister and brother-in-law’s baby shower, I used every ounce of my energy conceptualizing what I wanted the baby shower to look like sans the guests. I’m the type of person who won’t go shopping (for anything) if I don’t know what I want; with that said, any moment I got to think, I’d think. I’d mentally decorate my living room with pink, grey and white things, write it down, and then buy the supplies when I got the chance. I made sure a lot of the decorations were handmade since it would be more meaningful for my niece.

I got many compliments and comments about how “classy” the baby shower was—mind you, there were no silver platters or champagnes being served!

Through assisting others with classy wedding invitations in my heyday, I’ve acquired the skill of “having an eye” for clean designs. It has been both, a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because nothing I do is tacky, but a curse because I spend a lot of time on details.

The McUsbay Wedding

I drafted this post two days after the wedding, but didn’t come around to posting it until today. It’s semi-perfect because today marks the newlyweds’ one week anniversary.

Witnessing the matrimony of my dearest cousin Niki and her now husband Matt was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen this year. It always makes me happy to see people in love, especially when the love is shown heavily from the guy. When my sister and I first met Matt, the first thing we said to each other was how we could see how much he really cares for Niki. I observed the way he’d palatably treat her like a queen. In Niki’s vow to Matt she mentioned how he had always been invested in her happiness more than she is in her own, and her words really stuck out to me. Her words to/about him were so honest and powerful.

The vibe of the McUsbay ceremony and celebration felt so natural and fun—just like the personalities of these two lovebirds. They even had official 4th of July pins made (that I’m totally going to rock) and a fun Photo Booth that Joel and I took full advantage of!