We asked some of our seasoned Afropolitans to share some of the valuable lessons they would pass on to the younger Afropolitan generation.
On Your Self
• The body you see as fat and unable to wear one of those sweet little bandeau tops, will never be as perky as it is right now. Wear that crop top chick!
• Good sex had nothing to do with the image in your head of the perfect cutout magazine girl, spend less time agonizing over your body and spend it enjoying what it can do. Once you know that sex will just keep getting better. There's nothing like a committed and trusting relationship when it comes to sex. And lingerie, so much fun. Even when you're thirty and your bits are jiggly.
• Losing weight is so hard once you gain it after 30. Starting an exercise regime at 33 is a lot harder than at 23.
• Being popular gets you nowhere – be hardworking, reliable, kind and have integrity. That is what will open doors.
• “To Thine Own Self Be True.” Living by that statement will keep you out of a lot of emotional messes!
• Take a cooking class. You might think it's great how microwave meals are easy to do, and that you won't need to learn to cook, despite the fact that you don't live at home...but it's going to be mega-embarrassing when you meet a man you like, and try to invite him to your house for dinner, only to end up feeding him rancid vegetables and half frozen chicken schnitzel.
• There is not such thing as The One. There will be partners you have a better chemistry with than others, but it's up to you and you alone if you are going to live happily ever after.
• You'll have a lot of bad sex - just to get the guy to like you. Sad but true.
• Don’t get married young and on the basis of infatuation, good looks or good sex. That all goes out of the window when bills pile up and kids get sick.
• Love is worth it. Even if it ends in tragedy, sometimes the hard lessons are the ones that matter most.
• Don’t waste so much time in your twenties chasing after The One, usually the one that doesn’t want you (at least not in the white-picket-fence way you want him to want you), and then define yourself as someone unworthy because of this! Lesson learned: if a man wants you, nothing will stand in his way, but if he doesn't, nothing will make him stay. It doesn't mean you're not worth loving. It means he's not worth your time.
• People will treat you the way you let them treat you. Make your stand and always demand to be treated with respect and consideration, and do the same to others.
• If he seems crazy then he probably is. Stay Away!
On Work and Money
• Stop buying shoes. You do not need forty pairs. Put that money into your bank account and leave it there.
• Don't ever withdraw your pension savings when you switch jobs. You tell yourself you're still young, and there's plenty of time to start saving, but you'll be devastated if you knew how much that money would have grown if you'd left it.
• My father gave me this piece of advice: "Don't be in a hurry with your career. Spend your 20s learning everything you can about your trade. Work in every aspect of the business. Start from the bottom. Then in your 30s - specialise."
On Your Parents
• Listen to everything your parents say, right now, even though it will piss you off. They will be gone before you know it, so go home for breakfast every Sunday. Yes, even if it means you're going there while hungover. Your parents do not care. Go.
• At some point in your 20s or 30s, you will look at your parents, and they'll suddenly become human beings with flaws just like you. Cut them some slack.
• Call your mom. She misses you.
• It's very cute how you think you have a life plan. In ten years time, absolutely nothing that you are doing or have now, will be in your life. Plan for change, because it will happen, whether you like it or not, and when change comes embrace it.
• You will fail. Many times. In your work, relationships and as a parent. It’s normal and it happens to everyone. Calm down, have some wine and try again tomorrow.
• Don’t feel bad that you don’t have the answers to life. No one has the answers or the winning formula – we are all just whinging it, playing grown-up and suppressing hysteria.
• Stay close to your friends and nurture those relationships as you get older. They will be the net to catch you when you fall. And you will fall - just don’t stay down. Get up and try again.
• Be kind to your hairline! • For Heaven Sakes, moisturise.
• Step away from the tweezers! Eyebrows aren't the enemy, you will miss those caterpillars one day.
• Any opportunity to sing karaoke is a good opportunity.
• No one knows what he or she is doing. Really.
• Being right and being happy is not the same thing.
• Your life will change drastically after becoming a mother, but you still wouldn't change a thing.
• Time flies by so quickly, so put down that phone and live in the moment more wholeheartedly.
• Wine is awesome! Learn about it and appreciate it, stop wasting your time on Schnapps or Brandy and Coke.