**I know I’m a couple days late, but we’re here and we’re back!
I have never been more ready for a year to be over. I thought 2016 was hellish and I was ready for 2017 but this year came in and turned my life upside down. 2017 can pack it up and be gone.
I experienced many things, lost a lot, and gained a lot of perspective. I have been doing a lot of work on myself but 2018 is going to be ratcheted up. I’m really hopeful about next year but before we get there I want to share seven things that I learned in 2017.
- Loss is a Muh’fucka: I have mentioned it before but this year I lost one of the most important people in my life. My grandmother was a mother to me, as well as my absolute favorite person in the world. The first third of 2017 was spent dealing with watching her deteriorate at the speed of light. I have never experienced that kind of loss and, while I handled it better that I imagined I would, I am still grieving. I learned that people do not really care that you are grieving past a certain point. My grandmother passed the day before I was scheduled to defend my comprehensive exams and I still showed up because my advisor ultimately only wants to know whether I can produce. I realize that I may never stop grieving or longing for my grandmother, which I still don’t know how to reconcile that. Now I am at least about to function at a new normal.
- I have amazing friends: I will shout from the mountain tops how important it is to have a rockin support system. My friends are the most amazing, petty, creative, raggedy, brilliant individuals I know. Through the craziness of last year they held me together, built me up, and threated to handle my lightweight. It has been a lesson for me to learn to let my friends be there for me in the same ways that I am there for others. I have been more intentional about giving them the opportunity to be present for me when I am struggling, or depressed, and they rise to the occasion. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Most importantly they continue to remind me that I am enough when the world would have me out here thinkin’ that I ain’t shit.
- I must let go: This is a lesson that I am still working on. I am a control freak. I have to always have a plan. Then there has to be a backup and a backup to my back up. I map things out and consider the options. I am she. She is me. It is how I am hard wired. That being said, life does not work like that. Even if you cover all of your bases, thing hardly ever turn out exactly how you planned. I have been working on stepping back and not trying to hold tightly onto to things that I have little control over. It ultimately will just stress you out, especially when the plans begin to unravel. As a believing person, I am letting God be God. I know what I should be devoting my time and energy to so I have to do that and be flexible and open to letting the chips fall otherwise.
- Selfishness does not have to be a bad thing: Being selfish gets a bad wrap sometimes. It is often associated with greed and withholding things from others in a negative way. As someone that take seriously a life of service, and is often occupying space for others I can tell you how draining that kind of life is. I am usually so busy tending to others and being there for everyone else that I neglect my own wellbeing. I allow other’s to take up more space in my head than they should. I give my energy, resources, prayers, and the look up and wonder why I am trying to make it on fumes. I continue to work through tempering how much I give to others so that I have something left over for myself. I am saying no more often and being more choosy with my time and resources. This is just good self care.
- Disciplined devotional practice is hella important: One of my goals this year was to be more disciplined in my devotional practice, something that one of my mentors always told me I needed to do when I was in seminary. Over five years later, this bit of wisdom has really rooted in me. I have come up with a routine that has increased my quality of life and I have, mostly, be consistent with my practice. My devotional time is like breakfast for my mind and soul. I tried to limit it to 15 minutes so that I could do it then get to work every day but you cannot and should not rush taking care of yourself because the work will always be there waiting on you. Taking that little bit of time every day helps me function at my best for the rest of the day and keeps my bucket full.
- Taking risks: I should do it more often: I am pretty risk averse. As I mentioned, I like to plan things down to the small details. I try to control everything and with that I do my damnedest not to make decisions that I will regret later. This has been good because I don’t make many dumb decisions but it also means that I try not to do things that I cannot see favorable outcomes for. This means that I have probably missed quite a few opportunities that may have been amazing for my aspirations. In 2018 I want to fly by the seat of my pants more.
- I am enough: This remains a hard thing to internalize. Looking at people who seem to be doing more than I am, or have more than I have at a younger age can make you feel inadequate. It can be hard not to measure yourself against other people but you cannot because we have to run our own races. There is a lane that is for each one of us and we have to stay in it, and in the car we have.
Where you are and who you are is enough and you have to gas yourself up and not internalize what another person is doing. It will make you discount your own achievements and the many things that you have to be thankful for.
What did you learn in 2017? Let me know! Happy 2018
Love and Light,