Self Reinvention: Why you need to do it and keep doing it

Man in Black Backpack during Golden Hour

Last year, I made a very important decision that changed my life. The decision to rise above who I thought I was, and recreate someone new. My dorm room is tiny. In between a closet and bed. I sit at a desk littered with research papers and an empty bowl of oatmeal– I had in the morning before rushing out for my 9:30 am class. It is Friday. In front of me is my 13.3. inch MacBook pro.

I feel that pressure in my chest again. It’s an uneasy feeling. This normally happens when my intuition is trying to tell me something. My head begins to swim with questions, “What is it this time? What is the universe trying to tell me?” Prior to having episodes of uneasiness, I’d been telling myself, “I need to change, redesign my life, myself and start afresh.”

“This is it,” I say to myself. No more procrastination. My self-reinvention starts now.

Fast-forword to today, I’m a new person. That uneasy feeling is no more. I feel brighter, energetic, and more confident. I feel as though I own my life now. I’m not a spectator watching others, I’m the owner.

You too, can feel this way, if you make the decision to own your life and breathe life into yourself.

For me, self-reinvention means cleansing my life of as much negativity as I can. It means looking inside myself, letting go of bad behaviors, becoming self-aware, thinning out relationships that no longer serve me, and cultivating new habits that are in my best interests.

One thing to know as you embark on this hard, but yet, rewarding journey: Never feel guilty for wanting to change or changing. Just like you’re entitled to life, you’re entitled to self reinvention.

It’s your right.

As human beings, with feelings and emotions, it’s natural to worry about other people’s judgement. But you have to realize that people who are for you, will be happy for your growth. They might even be motivated to reinvent themselves because they know that change is one thing that is constant.

Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.

– John Maxwell

You need to reinvent yourself because happiness looks good on you. Your growth will make you happy. Don’t agree? Try it and see. With self reinvention, comes an authentic identity. A real alluring personality.

Here are some of the changes I’ve made:

I created a vision board.

While visualizing in your mind, the type of person you want to be and the life you want is important, having a vision board provides a sense of purpose and direction for your life. It will inspire you to take action. To soldier on when the going gets tough. Whenever I feel stuck or unmotivated, I revisit my vision board.

What to do: Make a Pinterest account and create your own vision board. What are your aspirations? What do you want out of life? Is there a goal you want to achieve but motivation is nowhere to be found? Creating a vision board on Pinterest can serve as an invaluable tool to motivate and inspire you to get up and take action.

I started meditating and exercising frequently

As you start your self-reinvention journey, negative thoughts, anxiety, and sometimes imposterism are bound to come up. You know that feeling where you feel as though you’ve grown into a better person, where you’re proud of your growth, then all of a sudden, you feel like you’re going to fall back into old habits, or you feel like you need to be hard on yourself to maintain the new person you’re cultivating. Meditation and exercise can and will eliminate those feelings, but you have to be consistent to see results. Every morning after my meditation, I go for a run.

What to do: Get into the habit of exercising and meditating. There are youtube videos and podcasts on meditation that can serve as a guide if you don’t know where to start. For exercise, start with walking or jogging. Create a daily schedule that can allow you to make these life changing practices a habit.

I read more often

I’ve always been a voracious reader, so reading is something I love. My favorite genre is nonfiction but lately I’ve been reading memoirs. I’m currently reading Becoming by Michelle Obama. By reading about the life experiences of other people, you’re able to look into your own life, you’re able to see different ways of being in the world. Reading will introduce you into worlds different from yours.

What to do: Not everyone loves reading but it’s a habit that can be developed. Start small, pick up poetry, read and instead of trying to make sense of what the author is saying, interpret it in your own way, from your own understanding. Allow it to feed your imaginations, let the words speak to your soul and in no time, you would be reaching for books of every kind because you want to know more.

I start my day with positive affirmations

Positive affirmations go a long way. The words of the mouth are very powerful. I strongly believe that whatever declaration we make out loud gets picked up by the universe. My mom always say “the mouth was used to create the world, and the mouth will be used to destroy it so be careful what you say.” Life is hard and self reinvention is even harder in a world where people fear change, where most people, if not all, find it hard to accept that someone can decide to become a new person, (turn over a new leaf) but with positive affirmations and mindset, you can overcome every obstacle and adversity.

What to do: Start your day with positive affirmations. Say it out loud with confidence. Look at yourself in the mirror as you say it. Write it down. Remember, saying it has no effect if you don’t believe it. You must believe it.

I released relationships that no longer served me

Get acquainted with the art of letting go. Letting go of people we love can be painful and for some people, it is the hardest thing to do but you must let go and move on for your own good. Clinging onto relationships that no longer serve you defeats the whole purpose of self-reinvention. You can’t take everyone with you but you can love them from a distance.

What to do: Let go

Final Thoughts

There’s no right time to redesign your life. You can start now, tomorrow, or whenever you’re ready. You’re allowed to recreate yourself and the life you’ve always dreamed of. You can become that person you’ve always wanted to be. It’s your right. Keep reinventing yourself because you can. Go on and start your journey, I’m cheering you on.

Why Self-Intimacy Is The Foundation Of Life

Pink and Orange Petaled Flowers In A Vase

Most People, when they hear the word “intimacy,” the first thing that comes to mind is sex. In fact, most people if not all, when asked to define intimacy, more often than not, will associate their answer with sexual intimacy.

We are taught about intimate sex so much that we use the word ‘sex’ and ‘intimacy’ interchangeably.

Little to nothing is said about self-intimacy. The foundation of life.

Self-intimacy, simply put, is being in tune with yourself, feelings, and values. It’s about having a deeper understanding of who you are. It’s about being self-aware.

What are my values? Do I love myself? How can I love me better? What are my needs? What is love? Am I showing up as my highest self? What is intimacy? These questions are a good start to establishing an intimate relationship with yourself. The journey towards self-intimacy may seem challenging at the beginning, just like every other journey that requires inner work, but you’ll look back one day and be glad that you didn’t let the uncomfortable feelings hold you back.

By developing an intimate relationship with yourself first, you are setting strong foundations in all areas of your life. Be it work, school, friendships, sexual relationships, or your daily interactions with people from different walks of life.

Self-intimacy helps you work towards the life you want. It helps you express yourself without compromise. It helps you fall and feel in love with yourself, and it impacts how intimate you can be with others.

3 habits to get you started on your journey towards self-intimacy:

1. Practice Honesty

The cliché, “honesty is the best policy,” sums it all up. There is no true self-intimacy without honesty. Honesty begins with you, not your friends, family, or partner. It’s you. It starts within. Once you develop the habit of being honest with yourself, it becomes easier to separate yourself from your personal narrative and tell yourself the tough truth you need to hear. Honesty is the key to making decisions in your best interests.

The truth may hurt but fooling yourself will enslave you.

– Charles F. Glassman

2. Write Love letters To Yourself

A lot of people underestimate the power of written words. Spoken words are great, but words on paper have different kind of energy. Writing down your words gives you a clearer sense of what is going on in your life. Writing love letters to myself has helped me with managing my emotions and reinforcing my values. It inspires me to love myself even more, and to know that I deserve everything that I want. For days when you don’t feel your best–revisit your love letters and remind yourself of who you are.

3. Make Self-Reflection A Daily Habit

Have you ever asked yourself why most college professors ask students to write a reflective essay after the completion of a project? Probably not. Reflective essays help students to think more consciously about how they approached their project. They realize what they could’ve done differently or what they shouldn’t have done at all. Apply the same concept to your life.

Take a few minutes at the end of every day to reflect on your day. You don’t have to write if you don’t want to. Just sit with yourself, in the comfort of peace and quiet, and reflect.

As you start your journey towards self-intimacy, remember to be gentle with yourself.

6 Self-Care Rituals To Practice Daily

Self Care Isn't Selfish Signage

Taking good care of yourself reflects that you hold yourself in high esteem. One way to improve your quality of life is to make self-care a necessity not an option. Self-care is not something you do once and cast aside to revisit later when you’re burned out.

Self-care is a practice, a lifelong commitment that is crucial for your well-being. I’m not saying you’ll never experience burnout, you will, but by having meaningful practices which have a sense of purpose, you’ll be able to handle stress better.

The first step to having more good days than bad is changing your mindset from Self-care is selfish to good health, happiness, and self-care is my birthright. You deserve to feel good. But here’s where it gets a bit complicated: No one will practice self-care for you. It’s no one’s job but yours.

You can’t let yourself go. Life can be difficult, but you can choose to take care of yourself everyday not just during moments of crisis.

Here’s how:

1. Go To Bed Early

I think this is the hardest one for people to practice because it requires commitment and discipline. Start by thinking of all the mental and physical benefits you will reap by implementing a strict early bedtime: clear skin, brighter eyes, more energy, better mood, and many more! Getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep is essential to having a productive day at work and in your personal life.

2. Practice Gratitude Daily

At the beginning of each day, write down things that you’re grateful for. If you’re not into journaling, try having a quiet time where say out loud what you’re grateful for. The benefits of practicing gratitude are nearly endless; by regularly reflecting upon the things you’re thankful for, you’re welcoming more positivity, opportunities, and goodness into your life.

3. Exercise

Exercise/fitness has a special place in my heart. I used to be anti-exercise. I just thought it was too much work. Last year, when I made the decision to take control of my life, fitness became one of my top priorities. When I started working out consistently, at least 30-50 minutes a day, my mood improved, my body shape looked better than ever, clearer skin, and I had more motivation and energy to tackle the day. Try different exercises and find what you like so that you can enjoy exercising.

I love jogging, running, and brisk walking. Some days, I do squats, lunges, and jumping jacks. Regularly squeezing exercise into your day– even if you can only spend 20 minutes at a time– will help keep your energy levels at their peak.

4. Drink water (Water is life)

You may not believe this, but a lot of people struggle with drinking water. Start your day with a glass of water. The first thing I do once I wake up in the morning is to make a tonic: lemon-infused water mixed with apple cider vinegar. If you struggle to stay hydrated, get a portable water bottle that you can carry everywhere; that way, it’s easier to take sips frequently until it becomes a habit.

If you feel it tastes too bland, try adding fruits like cucumber, lemon, and strawberry.

5. Manage your Screen Time

Do you have social media or app addiction? If yes, you can overcome it. I struggled too. I was always checking my phone, playing games on it, and checking my social media every chance i got.

How did I overcome it? I had a serious talk with myself. I asked: Maureen, what are you gaining from this? What exactly is this adding to your life? The answer was –NOTHING. The first thing I did was deleting all my social media. How did I feel? I felt calm, like a burden was lifted off my shoulders.

If you can’t delete your all social media, try setting time limits for them. Your phone should have a setting for that and there are apps that can do that for you as well. I still use social media, but for 20 minutes every week or 2 weeks. Once I log in, check my messages, I log out and delete.

I have a life.

6. Have a Daily Routine

I’m someone who likes to follow rules, so creating a daily routine was very easy for me. There are mental benefits of having a daily routine: Having a routine can help you feel more in control of everything, and help ensure that you have a smooth day.

How to build your own routine: Start by leaving office work at the office, and focusing on yourself once you get home. At the start of each day, prioritize your daily tasks by making a to-do list for the day on a sticky note. Writing down my to-do lists makes me hold myself accountable.

Build a skincare regimen. When you look good, you feel good. Skincare is an important aspect of self-care. Invest in good scented candles for your home/apartment. Scented candles creates an intimacy that sets a mood to a room and can really enhance the feel of your home.

Nourish your body with healthy meals. Fruits and vegetables should be an important part of your daily diet.

As you practice these rituals, remind yourself that by nurturing and treating yourself with care, you’re telling people how you treat yourself and from that how they should treat you.

Because, believe it or not, people are watching and taking notes. Taking good care of yourself is always a good place to start.

The Role of Age in Second Language Acquisition

There are numerous misconceptions and arguments about who is not only able to learn a second language faster, but also who is able to achieve fluency like a native speaker of a respective language.

Is age a factor in second language acquisition? My answer: Yes and no– it depends on the individual.

Person Reading Book

Without a doubt, age does have an effect on our ability to absorb new language and how proficient we can become in a new language. Besides age, there are other factors that influence the process of second language acquisition and fluency: environment, biology, emotion, intelligence, and motivation are some factors that have an influence on SLA.  

The plethora of factors that impact SLA and fluency makes it hard to rule age as the main reason why one can or cannot acquire a second language and attain proficiency.

That being said, I think we can all agree that children who are exposed to a second language at an early age are more likely to be proficient like a native speaker than adolescents and adults exposed to a second language at a later age. I attribute this to the theory that learning is a part of the brain chemistry of children while adults and older children have to consciously learn the information.

Lenneberg’s critical period hypothesis (1967) supports the theory above. He states that language acquisition needs to take place between age two and puberty– a period which he believed to coincide with the lateralization process of the brain.

Based on my own experience, I will say that age and motivation played a huge part in the process of my own third language acquisition– French. This post is focusing on SLA but I’m going to highlight my experience as a bilingual person trying to learn a third language in adulthood.

I’m fluent in Igbo (my native language) and English language. As a child, my mother tongue and English language was introduced to me simultaneously. This, I believe, made it easier to achieve fluency of both languages quickly. Yes, there are people from my ethnic group who are not fluent in their mother tongue. On the other hand, there are people who are very fluent in the Igbo language but can’t speak English at all.

There are a lot of reasons behind this, and I will state a few:

  • One who is a native but can’t speak like a native speaker: The family may have enforced a blanket English-only rule, like saying Igbo language should not be spoken in the house or around the children. Only English!
  • One who is fluent in native language but can’t speak English at all: There are many layers to this reason, so it’s hard to give a straight explanation. Factors like growing up in an era when there were no schools that taught English, living in a rural area (we use rural and village interchangeably in my culture), inability to afford education, and choosing not to learn English are some of the reasons why one may not be able to speak English.

Note: Not everyone wants to learn English and there is nothing wrong with that.

You’ve probably heard it before, but we Africans hold pride of the custom and culture that our families and communities have been holding through hundreds of years. It is the epicenter of our values and identity.

Now, in my adulthood I’m trying to learn French. The French language was first introduced to me in Nursery school. It was a required course at my school; from kindergarten through secondary education. It became an elective in my senior year of high school.

One may ask: If the French language was introduced to you as early as Nursery, why are you not fluent? Why didn’t you learn?

My answer: No motivation.

Back then, I believed that Igbo was the language I needed to navigate my culture and English to navigate western culture. I didn’t see the use of learning French or other languages. Now, I really want to learn French. I’m motivated, but it’s hard.

I have a friend from Tanzania, who is fluent in English and Swahili– the official languages in Tanzania, and also fluent in Spanish and two years my senior. When I found out she could speak Spanish, I was astonished. Her proficiency will leave you wondering if she’s a native speaker or not.

I asked when she started learning, she replied “I started learning Spanish in my Freshman year.”

Surprising right? Not really. The innate ability for language acquisition, differs from person to person, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to learning.

Age is an important but not overriding factor in second language acquisition. However, introducing a foreign language at an early age to young learners makes it easier for them to master and achieve fluency because of the critical learning period.

2 Impacts of Technology on how I Read and Write

Technology is responsible for creating the fast-paced world we live in today. From business and communication, to security, transportation, health, beauty, and online services; these all influence the way we show up in the world today. Literacy (ability to read and write) is by no means an exception here.

black E-book reader beside white and black mug

When I was in secondary school, we only had access to desktop computers. Those desktop computers, found in the school’s computer laboratory, were only used for computer science practical e.g. learning how to build a website, coding, windows operations etc. And, they could only be used under the supervision of the computer science instructor.

Essays, exams, poetry, literature, and other forms of reading and writing were done throughout my primary and secondary school years without the assistance of technology. Everything was hard copy and face-to-face. Fast forward to now that I’m here in senior year of college, I can’t talk about my undergraduate experience without mentioning how technology has changed my approach to reading and writing.

Writing in MS word instead of a notebook

In my freshman year, I couldn’t write essays, assignments, and notes in a word document. I wrote everything down inside my notebook no matter how lengthy it was, and afterwards, I will transfer them to my word document and submit what needs to be submitted. Today, I can’t go to class without my laptop, or do a writing assignment without MS word.

Here’s what I found: Writing in a word document helps you improve your spelling and grammar by underlining a misspelled word. When you click on the underlined word, you get suggested spellings. The spelling and grammar check feature allow you to edit as you write. If I need to change a writing piece that I’m working on, I can erase every sentence in a second by highlighting, and pressing delete, instead of spending more time than I should erasing every word and making sure there are no visible pencil marks when writing in a notebook.

Personally, I like how polished and professional my work looks in a word document. I still use my notebook for writing but that’s mainly for math problems and studying for exams.

Reading on-screen vs reading in print

The three things I appreciate about reading in print is the smell of a book, the feel of the pages, and the ability to critically reflect. Novels are best when you read hard copy; hardcovers are my favorite. Technology has taken reading to another level. Now, you can read anything you want on your computer, kindle, and cellphone. College students are highly cost-conscious when acquiring textbooks which is why majority of them opt for the e-version of their textbooks because etextbooks are less expensive than hardcopies.

I spend a lot of time in front of my laptop reading for research and here’s what I found: I skim-read instead of reading to understand. I often print online articles so that I can read them in hard copy and highlight important information which in some cases, may be hard to do when reading an etextbook.

Print books are easier on the eyes. Studies have shown that when reading on a screen we tend to blink less– sometimes causing eyes to become dry and sore, and readers retain significantly less when they read on an electronic device than they do when reading a print book.

I’m less distracted when reading in print than on-screen.  For this reason, I buy all my books hard copy. There is no right or wrong way of reading. It is a matter of personal perspective and how you retain information better. Reading is a joy, so read however you see fit.

Wednesday the 8th

Hey guys! Welcome to my first blog post 🙂 I’m so excited to share my ideas, how-to’s and lifestyle with you. If you want to read more about me feel free to check out the “About me” section on the site; but in a nutshell, I’m writer who is passionate about technical writing and other types of professional writing. I wanted to start by telling you why I created this blog, what you will be seeing more of in my posts, and my journey as a young technical writer who loves technology.

Oh! I forgot to mention, I love reading. How can one be a good writer or gain knowledge without reading? From nursery rhymes to nonfiction, romance, poetry, self help, fiction–the first fiction book I read was Macbeth by Williams Shakespeare and there, you have it folks, I got hooked into the world of reading and writing.

Writing for some comes naturally, but for the rest of us, we struggle. More often than not, it’s a struggle to find the right words for what you mean to say, and write it in a way that’s easy to comprehend. I realized my passion for writing when i was in kindergarten. It didn’t come naturally to me, in fact, today I still struggle (not all the time) with my writing especially when I’m trying to practice creative writing.

Open Book on Table

Professional writing whether technical, scientific, business, journalism comes very easy to me but creative writing….not really. I’m still a newbie in the technical writing world but it’s a craft that i’m passionate about. I got a taste of it when i took my first scientific and technical writing course last year and oh, boy! i don’t think i can let go.

I don’t think one has to be good at something to love it. If you love something and you’re passionate about it, you will find a way to become an expert it. I love this quote by George Turberville that has helped me through my journey “By practice skill is got, by practice wit is won”.

By updating this blog with the skills I’ve learned, still learning, and other things I’m passionate about, i can keep myself grounded in my field of study and life in general. We are in this together! Never forget that if you wish and want to become good at something, practice, learn, ask questions, revise and never give up.

Once again, welcome!

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