Thoughts of a Tricenarian: 30 things to do at 30

Updated: Jul 14

It's official, I have spent 30 days as a 30 year old! I am a Tricenarian!

June 11 at my birthday dinner #MinaAt30.

I actually only learned the word Tricenarian when my friend told me this on my birthday, which goes to show we really do learn everyday.


With the Eid celebrations and Aunty Flo moving mad, I had intended to release this post 2 days ago but oh well. That's just life. #MenstruationMatters


I've spend thirty-2 days as a 30 year old and I have some thoughts.


My deep reflections actually started in the beginning of 2022. But before I tell you that story I need to take you back further.


Mid last year, I was inspired by the Nigerian actor (and one of my many many husbands) Richard Mofe-Damijo also known as RMD.

RMD turned 60 last July and the days leading up to his birthday he would post amazing photoshoots with quirky and fun captions alongside his hashtag #60yearsgivesyouwings. I wanted to take things further. As someone who hasn't made much of a fuss over her birthday in the past, I sat down to myself and thought: how can I outdo myself and step into this new decade?


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I then created my own hashtag in January 2022 as #MinaAt30, because being the extra person I am - oh noooo. I couldn't celebrate myself for just one day - as in a WHOLE me?


No.


I had decided that I was going to celebrate myself for an ENTIRE year. 6 months before I'm 30 and 6 months AFTER having turned 30, because as I have said before - dis life na one time yu fit enta am (you only live once), might as well do it right the first time and chop am well (enjoy it).


Last year as I came into myself and became more reflective and intentional on my life choices and purpose. There are a number of things I have learned, unlearned and relearned along the way:


  1. Don't defer enjoyment for the possibility of an un promised tomorrow

  2. Say yes more

  3. No is a full sentence

  4. Forgiving yourself (and others) for actions done intentionally, unintentionally and subconsciously

  5. Breaks are important; career/work, relationships, family ties, friends and online

  6. It's ok not to be ok

  7. The pursuit of conventionalism is overrated

  8. Become comfortable with the uncomfortable to achieve growth

  9. Self-care and therapy is liberation

  10. Disappoint yourself and your parents to find your true passion

  11. There's strength in vulnerability

From the beginning of the year I started doing things I have never done on a personal achievement level, which started with chopping my back length dreadlocks of 10 years on its 10th anniversary (January 8 2022), though I had been doing alterations and cuts to it since October 2021.


Last photo with dreadlocks, January 5 2022

Bye Bye Locs, Hello Tolong Pepe (January 8 2022)

Society is funny.


Growing up, 30 looked like a "big" number. And with the number looking so huge it came with arbitrary expectations. For women, we are conditioned to reach a certain milestone socially or biologically such as being married and/or with children.


As a child at 30 I thought I was going to have been married, live in my own house and be a PhD holder. Please help me laugh in uppercase.

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As I unlearned my approach to these toxic social constructs time ago and learned and relearned on my path of becoming, I can't help but point out these ridiculous standards and unrealistic expectations imposed on a generation only results in brokenness, a sense of eternal loss, a perpetual pursuit of social validation, mental and emotional health challenges and the list goes on.


Life doesn't come with a set of rules or a manual, therefore why should I play by these unwritten ones? I decided to embrace my true self by confronting my fears, breaking down my own high and unrealistic expectations and starting to savor moments more, not be too hard on myself, stand up and show out for myself, thank myself for taking the journey less traveled and work to be more present by not rushing to do the next thing.


Don't get me wrong, I love where I am and where I aspire to be. Looking at my accolades on paper are amazing and I am proud of those achievements but I want more than what meets the eye. There's more to life than winning awards, attending fellowships and earning degrees.


For some who may have found their twenties to be their "prime" it wasn't for me. Call me a late bloomer but for me and where I am, my life starts now.


I composed a list of 30 things I look to accomplish during this new age, let's call it the #MinaAt30 List. There are a number of things I haven't done that to some may be like "How have you never done this?", so I guess it's time I do just that.


Why am I sharing this with you all? As my digital tribe, I love having accountability partners. I want you to hold me down if I fall short like you do, so let's go on this journey together!


So far I have done 2 of these things since I turned 30.


2. On my birthday, I went on a 3 hour hike with Visit Sierra Leone from Leceister Peak to the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary and learned about the surrounding historical villages on the way before eventually getting to Tacugama which was 7 miles!

I huffed, puffed and made it up the hill!

5. I have also done a couple of photoshoots this year, most recently for Eid Al Adha this past weekend:


I think 6 year old me would have loved that I maintained the on brand "Rich African Aunty" essence. I recently came across a similar pic I took back in the 90s.

Dripping in gold since 1998 - Eid Al Adha. Lagos, Nigeria

2 down, 28 more to go!


I wonder what will be third on my list. You'll have to find out.


Ergo sum cogito.


Thirty years young,

Mina Bilkis.


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