Updated: Apr 30, 2019
If you asked 19-year-old Kori where she saw herself in 10 years, she'd tell you with no hesitation that at 29 years old she'd be married with a kid and a half, the editor of Essence magazine and a New York Times bestselling author.
She'd then proceed to give you a detailed breakdown of her entire timeline: editor by 25, married by 26, renowned author by 28 and two little melanated munchkins by 30. She had her whole first decade of adulthood mapped out and not a doubt in her mind that her life would happen exactly how she'd envisioned.
Bless her heart, 'cause this is what actually wound up happening:
Graduated from college, moved home with parents and diagnosed with a chronic autoimmune condition called dermatomyositis at 22; recovered and found complete healing less than a year later with no signs or symptoms of the disease since. (God is amazing.)
Started working at a local media company and got promoted to associate editor at 23.
Got into a serious relationship at 23.
Launched my blog, AccordingtoKori.com, at 24.
Ended my two-year relationship at 25.
Left my associate editor position for a role in marketing communications at 25.
Left that job for a corporate communications role at a software company at 26.
Launched BlacktiviD, a weekly event guide catered to Black millennials in the Detroit area, at 27.
Reconnected with my ex for a brief period before deciding to cut all ties at 27.
Battled with stress and anxiety at 27.
Started going to therapy and making my mental health a priority at 27.
Quit my job and got offered a role in content marketing two weeks later at 27.
Met and started dating an incredible man (at my new job) at 27.
Moved out of my parents' house and bought my first home at 28.
Healthy, happy and still blossoming at 29.
No husband or kids (yet). No Essence. No NYT bestseller (pending!). Just me, my choices and experiences, and the lessons I've learned (and am still learning). Although the path I envisioned for my life 10 years ago is nowhere near the path I wound up traveling, the greatest lesson I've learned is that all things work together for my good (Romans 8:28).
Had I not been diagnosed with dermatomyositis, I probably wouldn't have acquired the faith I needed to heal. Nor would I have been able to share my testimony to raise awareness and give hope to those who are still battling this and other autoimmune diseases.
Had I not launched my blog, I wouldn't have this amazing platform where I can share my life experiences on growth and healing to inspire others.
Had I not moved home to Michigan, I wouldn't have created a resource that has helped connect hundreds of Black millennials around the Detroit area.
Had I settled and stayed in that relationship, I probably wouldn't have taken the steps to become stronger mentally and spiritually within myself.
Had I not stepped out on faith and quit my job, I probably wouldn't have been blessed with my current one or crossed paths with the man I'm dating now.
So today, as I enter my 29th chapter of life -- the final year of my tumultuous twenty-somethings -- I'm blessed to have found the faith in God and the peace within myself to redefine my success. It's not getting married or having kids by a certain age, or even becoming the editor of a major lifestyle magazine. Success, for me, is self-sufficiency. It's being confident enough to live life According to Kori and not by society's or anyone else's standards. It's being content enough to trust God's will rather than lean on my own understanding (Proverbs 3:5).
Because at the end of the day, His timing is far more perfect than any timeline I could ever concoct or imagine for myself.