2015: 6 Lessons I Learned this Year
This year, 2015, has been a sprint, not a marathon. It has been a balls to the walls, all out sprint. It seemed like every time I finished one project, another popped up. Every time I unpacked one set of bags, it was time to do laundry and get ready to go again. I’ve been around the world and back this year – mentally, spiritually, and physically. Literally, I started the year in Thailand and only got back from England last week. AND technically I’m supposed to be in a host of other places doing a whole host of things to start 2016 but I'm not because I’m tired. I’m tired.
Gosh, it feels so good to say that. I don’t think I’ve sat down and breathed until now, as I type this. It’s like my body, mind, spirit, and soul are sitting down and letting out a collective sigh. Screaming, “Finally, rest!” I’m burnt out on social justice and the human condition. I’m burnt out on doing for others. I’m burnt out on acting like I’m okay all the time – like I’m superwoman. I’m not.
It has taken me all year to not only realize this fact, but also to own it, stand in it, and claim it. I’m not superwoman and that’s cool with me. I can’t do it all. There is a problem (word to Wale). But, for most of 2015 I ran around like there wasn’t one. Like I wasn’t uninspired or doubting myself. Like I knew what I wanted to do next when I actually had no clue. I spent the year running both to and away from so many things: God, myself, love, grief, far off lands, and plots closer to home. Fighting with God and myself about what moves to make. Laboring over decisions I already had the answer to.
In an effort to practice gratitude, I tried not to complain. After all, I signed up for this life right? I created what was in front of me. And, all in all, it wasn’t a bad year. In fact, looking back, I saw, did, accomplished, or received most of the things I wanted to. And I’m grateful for that. But, I would also say I did a lot- if not too much. I was uninspired and tired, but like lethargic tired more times than I can count. I think I mostly felt like I was going through the motions. The things I did, places I saw, and moments I experienced, feel much more like stories I heard or read about someone else than things I myself lived, at least for the better part of this year.
At some point, in October I woke up one day and realized this distance between who I’m becoming and the girl I used to be. It’s like trying to act like superwoman all year taught me that I’m not actually superwoman. Matter of fact, 2015 taught me a few things…
1. I can’t control anyone or anything but myself.
2. It is always my job to apply. It is never my job to tell myself no.
3. People will not always move how I think they should. It is still my job to be honest, put myself out there, and act in ways that are consistent with my character - with the person I want to be. 4. I will not always be able to do the things I said I would. It is my job to be gracious and upfront about this shortcoming.
5. People will die. It is my job to appreciate them while I have them.
6. It is always my job to remain open. Love, friends, and experiences will come and go.
Always stay open.
2015 has decimated me and raised me to stratospheres I never thought possible – a few times actually. From Thailand to my grandmother’s death to Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. to big chopping to producing my own research to getting published to Ghana to Peru to losing my “why” to finding “it” again to studying abroad in England to being robbed of time and the heartbreak that comes with that (plus a host of other things) – I have been on a roller coaster ride this year. And even though the carousel never stops turning (word to Meredith Grey) I’m glad this year is ending because hopefully, it means I can get off.
2014 was all about personal growth. 2015 was all about professional growth. And mostly, I’m just praying that 2016 will be about the merging of the two. Don’t get me wrong, I know that balance is bullshit and we’re all really just doing the best we can. But, a lot changed for me this year, in ways that I still can't even put into words. As 2016 approaches, I’m excited to get to know this woman that I’m becoming as I step out of the shoes of the girl I have been. I’m excited to graduate and venture into what currently feels like the vast unknown. I’m excited to stay put for awhile, at least until graduation – I need to be in Ithaca aka the USA to get this degree you know! I'm thankful for each and every experience because God never wastes one and someday, maybe it will all make sense. But, even if it doesn't and I never understand why things happened how they did or get answers to lingering questions, I know that He is always working for my good. I've found comfort in that.
So, as I sit here in my bed and write this post that I was avoiding writing, I pray that you get your hearts desires in 2016. As 2015 becomes yesterday, I pray for clarity, continued peace, boundaries, and a wealth of opportunity today. I know if I do the work AND take care of myself, dreams I didn’t even know I had will come true.
2016, here’s to you. I'm still praying on what I hope for you. But, I've got this feeling that you’re going to be a game changer, a wildly amazing game changer if I have the courage to do the work, put myself out there, and trust in the divine plan.
2015, thank you. For you taught me the most important lesson of them all, I can survive.
Hello, from the other side. It's time to thrive.