As we approach the new year, I cannot help but reflect on what a fulfilling year its been on many fronts and I can easily come out and say this 2018 recap note won’t be some sappy sad saga – 2016 was by far the dumpster fire year of my life but we have learned from all that in 2017, moved on, and implemented some new rules in 2018. That being said, there have been plenty of highs and definitely a few lows. There have been fruitful moments as well as some challenging ones. But nonetheless, I feel more and more whole and wise with each passing year. While traveling over the holidays, brainstorming in the shower and zoning out during spin class, I tried to come up with the biggest lessons I’ve learned in 2018 or some of the biggest “aha” moments I’ve had. I’m keeping it real because I have learned a lot from people who have shared their stories so I hope sharing mine helps others who may be going through similar situations in life. These lessons were game changers for me and my mental health!😊
Stay In Your Lane
OK so I know this is a really millennial thing to say but it’s really true. There were many-a-times when I would get frustrated seeing other people receive opportunities that I did not receive. There were times where I saw others be rewarded in ways that I also thought I deserved. Sometimes I focused on how far other people had gotten in life (work, engagements/weddings, property purchasers etc) and thought to myself “WELL WTF AM I DOING, am I doing something wrong?”. I realized that if you keep going after what you genuinely want to achieve, your efforts are eventually rewarded. They may not be the same “milestones” as others but we are all operating on different wavelengths and timelines in life. And this is something I constantly have to remind myself. I probably talk about it every year but it’s a mindset that requires constant implementation. I also realized, the more I focused on myself, the less I cared about what was going on around me (or on my Facebook newsfeed). Once I got into this mindset, tables started to turn for me in various (positive) ways and I felt more empowered to work harder. It’s a funny thing but its true – if you truly want something, the universe will conspire to give it to you if you put in the time, energy, and prayer.
Stay Authentic – no matter what.
You are your own brand. I have said this for years and there will be people around you who will try to shake you up to fit you into their mold and view of the world. Do not give in and don’t let anyone change your narrative . Most people have issues processing or accepting people who are different from them or have something they don’t. For a majority of my 20s, I always got made fun of for being “different” although I just thought I was being myself. People have told me to behave a certain way to fit in or keep up with the rest of the world. I’m not trying to fit in anywhere, I’m just trying to get by on a daily basis. I’ve heard all sorts of things – from men making fun of my blogging or me being a “basic b*tch” to hearing other girls saying things “who’s going to marry a girl who wears swimsuits”. While these comments do get to me in some ways, I do not let it deter me from continuing to do what I do best – me. I like me the way I am and I haven’t really had any self-esteem issues in that capacity to let what others say bring me down or change me. As long as my parents and close friends support me in my endeavors, career, and lifestyle, I am good to go and don’t need anyone’s commentary or stamp of approval. I figured I’ve come this far doing me and putting myself out there that unless someone’s opinion is adding positivity and value to my life, I am not going to bother with it. The people who create noise…well, they can kindly work on themselves instead.
Friendship is a 2 Way Street
Boy. This was a tough pill to swallow in 2018. For years and years, I took pride in the fact that I was really good at maintaining relationships (family friends colleagues etc). I would bend over backwards being there for people during their happy times, mundane times and bad times. I would be the first one calling up (near and far) friends to check in and see how they were doing, I would be the first to make plans , I would travel across the country even when it wasn’t the best financial decision just because “my friends want to do something and they want me there”. You get the gist – I had a bad habit of putting the people I cared about first, always. Then later this year, I started getting busy in my own life, not that I wasn’t busy before but I was able to juggle work, hobbies and relationships really well. When I didn’t have time to be the first one asking to FaceTime to catch up or check in, I noticed that instead of people reaching out to me and asking me what I’ve been upto… I started getting complaints and heat about “how I wasn’t being a good enough friend” or how I “wasn’t fast enough in responding to text messages”. Some even asked me if our friendship was over because I hadn’t reached out in 2-3 weeks. I started to find this comical because all these years when the same people were throwing out excuses that they couldn’t handle making time for me because of work, grad school, boyfriends etc - I cut them slack and let it slide. In fact, being active on Instagram stories led some of my friends to think that they didn’t need to check in on me because “my life looked fun and glamorous on the gram”. Sadly, I couldn’t remember the last time someone had genuinely asked me “How are you?” or “what have you been upto?” since we last talked. I had to give my friends and loved ones a taste of their own medicine by prioritizing myself long enough for them to either realize that our friendship is a two way street…or for me to realize that their presence in my life is no longer needed/wanted. It was a difficult realization and situation to deal with but in the last few months, I feel happier knowing that I’m not going to cater to these expectations if the same efforts aren’t being made in return. (Don’t worry, I didn’t cut that many friends in this process – but quality over quantity has some major truth y’all)
Ah, the topic of dating. So unless you’ve been living under a rock – single people usually get the MOST advice on “how to be so you can find someone”. Just because someone is “single” doesn’t mean they’re lonely and it most certainly does not mean something is “wrong” with them. No, most likely nothing is wrong with you or me or any other gal out there that’s single. Us single girls always receive these unsolicited comments about being “too accomplished, too independent, too outgoing, too much into traveling, too much into socializing” and that’s why some of us are single. Let’s not make it sound like those qualities are bad things or reasons as to why girls aren’t able to “attract the right guys”. We are single because we meet immature men who aren’t willing to commit to basic levels of dating or are too into themselves that they can’t handle sharing any sort of spotlight or making time for other people, let alone hold proper conversation. Being needy, emotionally dependent or a doormat isn’t going to get us the guy either. I come from a family where all my female cousins are independent, educated, hold their own, and are just as personable as my male cousins. We were all brought up the same way and were taught to be strong on our own. I have no interest in half-assing something either, if I wanted to half-ass finding the perfect match…well, I could’ve settled for someone a long time ago (and then probably would’ve divorced about 3-4 years later and given my parents a heart attack) but ain’t nobody trying to do that. All some of us are asking for is someone to match what we bring to the table and the energy/time we are willing to invest. I’m not trying to sound whiny - all I want to emphasize is that as a society, we should not put the pressure on females to change themselves for men to like them “enough”. Throw out those magazines that tell you “how to attract men”, be the kind of individual that you would like to date/marry and things will pan out. Like attracts like. No need to put on an act or oppress different parts of your personality to find marital bliss. There’s no bliss in that. I cannot stress this enough.
****for more thoughts on dating read my posts titled “Love Is A Happy Addition” and “Trust Me, No One Wants To Date Your Ego”
The Greater Power Does Exist
I’ve mentioned this before but I had lost faith and felt like for many years, God had fallen deaf to my prayers. LOL like I legit stopped going to any sort of temple or church because I thought there was no point. I prayed regularly to shoot my shot and continued with my daily life. 3 months ago, I was sitting in my car on a Tuesday night in a parking structure, bawling my eyes out because of certain situations that were really annoying me. It was routine for me to get frustrated over personal matters that I couldn’t seem to shake off despite trials and tribulations. I realized I had no control over fixing them a long time ago. Yet again, probably for the millionth time in the last 2.5 years, I prayed to God to put me out of this emotional misery as I felt like I had done everything I could to move past this and move on. I didn’t want to carry this with me anymore. That Tuesday night especially was a rough night (for reasons I won’t share) and I was running out of ways to fix things further. In that moment, I felt like the universe finally heard me and my prayers because I received good news that I never thought I would get and it was a dream come true in a way! Since then I felt like a big weight had been lifted off my shoulders and I haven’t cried or gotten upset over whatever was bothering me before. It’s truly a surreal feeling because after so so so many days, months, years – I feel a sense of clarity and warmth that I hadn’t felt before. I finally feel like I care less and it was just a weird switch and I felt like I received a sign from the universe that there are better things in store for me than to waste my time and energy crying over something that’s a part of my past. Moral of this story is to keep faith, stay positive, keep at your prayers and do everything within your power to get over your mental and emotional hurdles. There’s this saying I live by “You will never get anything more than what’s destined for you and before your time” and this situation really proved that true for me and I am sure it will for others as well 😊
E V O L V E D
If there was a way to describe 2018, it would be the word EVOLVED. As a person, I think my long time friends and family members can say I haven’t changed at my core but I do think the way I approach problems, situations, and life in general has evolved. At 26/27, I realized that I am not the same person I used to be. The things that I used to tolerate have now become intolerable. Where I once blindly trusted, I am now perceptive and cautious. Where I once remained quiet, I am now speaking my truth (and I am sharing my thoughts louder). Where I once battled and argued, I am now choosing to remain silent. I finally understand the value of my voice and my vision and will use it accordingly. There are situations that no longer deserve my time, energy or focus unless it’s for my wellness or the common good of society.
So that’s that when it comes to lessons learned in 2018. I would say the main takeaways are that I have come to terms with myself and the way I choose to lead my life. I focus more on expending positive energy and reading other people’s energies and vibes. Hard work does pay off and it’s important to learn how to be content with what you have instead of what you don’t have. For the things I don’t have, I am working on figuring out ways to achieve them.
2019, let’s do this!