{YML Voices} Growing Pains and Lessons Learned

by Alicia Harper

April is one of my favorite months of the year. Why? Well, it’s my birthday month! [Insert image of Alicia doing the running man here.] At the end of the month, I’ll be turning 28 years old, and contrary to the popular belief that women feel melancholy or anxious with age, I’m actually excited to be turning one year older… and a little bit wiser.

So far, my twenties have been replete with growing pains and lessons learned. There’ve been ups and downs that I am truly grateful for because I now feel confident enough to live by the lessons that I learned (and continue to learn).

Lesson 1: Don’t always take things personally.
I’m a pretty sensitive person and I can be pretty emotional. While I don’t cry over everything, I do feel everything. But I’m finding more often than not, that when someone says or does something potentially hurtful, it’s usually not about me. In fact, most of the time, it’s about them – their personal battles and the head space that they’re in at the moment. I’m learning how to apply this to my life. And it feels darn good! (Of course, sometimes it’s me and not them, at which point I try to evaluate and re-evaluate my approach to certain things.)

Lesson 2: Don’t accept anything as face value.
This one sort of goes along with the first lesson. Throughout my twenties, I’ve learned that this much is true: no one shares their entire testimony and everyone is fighting some kind of battle. There’s a saying that goes, “Be kinder than necessary,” and it’s a saying that I constantly try to remember because I’ve seen that a little compassion can go a long way. This is especially true when I see other mothers with their children, husband, and seemingly perfect life.

Lesson 3: Say what I mean and mean what I say.
Day after day, I’m getting more and more in touch with my feelings. And day after day, I’m taking the risk of expressing those feelings. It’s not always easy, but it’s been much better than me regretting not stating my feelings in the first place. These days, I’m seeing my worth much more clearly and I know that I deserve to be loved and understood… for exactly who I am. (And so do you.) Let me tell you, expressing my feelings has been a totally freeing experience. Life changing, even.

Lesson 4: Co-parenting may be ideal, but it’s not for everyone.
Sometimes solo parenting – sans a co-parent – is more effective. I haven’t written about this in a while, but Aiden’s father has not been in his life as of late, and I don’t see him being an active member in Aiden’s life for the foreseeable future. I’m okay with that. And I’m preparing and putting things in place so that Aiden will be able to effectively cope with it at the appointed time. Co-parenting is certainly ideal, but in my case, after surviving domestic violence and after Aiden’s other parent not expressing much interest in his life, I’m at the point where I feel like this little thing called single parenting (without the other parent around) is some kind of wonderful. And you know what? It really is!

Lesson 5: It will all work out in the end.
Lately, my body has been doing this thing where it reacts to a lot of stress by breaking out in hives. (I’m not joking and it’s not pretty. At all.) That wasn’t a good look for me – literally – so now the first thing that I tell myself when a potentially stressful situation presents itself is this: “Self, take a deep breath, calm all the way down, and know that it’ll work out in the end.” Then, I figure out a game plan. No need to fret, worry, or stress myself out to the point where I’m breaking out. I take things little by little, and slowly but surely, things start to come together in the way that it’s supposed to. This helps me put things into perspective and focus on my bottom line, and that, my friends, is a beautiful thing.

What are some lessons that you have learned and applied to your life?


  1. These are good advice to live by thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi. What is Alicia’s blog? Also, her twitter name?

  3. Great advice Alicia!! And I agree, single parenting is wonderful!

  4. Positive Innergy says: