As this year comes to another end and another begins, I am sure I am not the only one who starts thinking on what the hell happened these past 12 months?!? So many of us say things like, “this year went by so fast” and others the normal cliche of, “2018 is going to be my year!”
Well I, for one will say, for me this past year was a complete cracker jack box of events. I am talking about sucker punching a blind woman, kicking a lame person in the knees when they are already down! I mean, what in the literal actual f**k! I made up curse words this year that should be regularly used. Through it all, I was able to keep a cool head with the world in flames around me. I remember the night the highlight of this years lessons came to me. I was laying in bed, unable to sleep and my brain was on full throttle. Then I just started to speak out to myself, and quickly thought it a smart idea to google keep them. So here are the following top 10 things I learned this 2017 year in no particular order of relevance.
You’re not as young as you once were.
This year I turned 33 years old. I am 33 years old. It is a number that probably wouldn’t have had a significance to me if I had not known the love of our God the way I do now. I have said this time and time again, I am not ‘holier than thou’ , I curse like a sailor but love the Lord outrageously. Jesus was 33 when he died for our sins. I can’t say that I have done anything close to what he has done for us for anyone else, but I have tried to love like he does. This years birthday brought into perspective the amount of time I have actually wasted on my purpose and potential. I can either be sad and depressed about it or change it. I started focusing my gifts and talents and how I can use them everyday. Living in my purpose changes me and the world around me. Sometimes I half ass it, and I will admit that. My advice is to do something different starting right now! At this moment you have the power to start making your life count even more than it ever has before. Be a bigger impact in your environment than you ever imagined. Make yourself known by your actions. You will be a year older this 2018 and you should be proud of what you have done in that time. If anyone has something to say to you about ‘what took you so long’, I want you to get in their face and tell them with authority the following: “I am a fine wine and just take a little bit longer to mature into my purpose. I am a special order and God took more time to complete his will in me.”
Stop taking things personal. Not everything is about you.
This lesson was more of an observation deck if you would entertain me for just a few moments longer. I personally stopped taking things personal the day I quit from Workforce Solutions of Greater Dallas on January 26, 2017. I allowed my direct supervisor at the time to truly get in my head and under my skin. Again, I allowed that. Since then, I have realized that there is always a bigger picture and the agenda is not always against me. There are many people who I love and hold very dear to me that just took things so personal. I won’t get into detail of who and what exactly because those details do not matter here. I say all that to say this: It is a very rare thing that someone wakes up and contemplates how to maliciously hurt you before their feet hit the ground. I promise you, there is not a team of secret agents out to get you or that one person (yes, that person) who lives to only make your life a living hell. Not everything is about you. Now I am not saying that people will not say or do things or both that will hurt us and make our lives a bit more difficult to live, I am saying that you give them more power than they actually have. Not to mention, most of the offenses we suffer go unsaid to the party who is guilty of said offenses. In simpler terms, you don’t speak up. You hear everything from the grapevine. You rely only on third party information. You ASSUME and create scenarios in your own head. You literally put imaginary words in their mouths! This upcoming year, stop getting your information as it pertains to you from any other that direct from the source. Face your accuser, face those who prosecute you. Face that family member, the friend or the person directly and in the flesh. I promise you, this will eliminate much of your stress, strife and suffering.
You’re in control of your life.
This one is easy. Say ‘no’ or say ‘yes’. Stop being so indecisive about everything. Make a decision and stick with it. You can’t blame anyone else for where you are in life. You have made every decision that has brought you to wear you are. Now, I am not talking about severe circumstances; like refugees from a war torn country or any unimaginable atrocity that you may have lived through. There are some exceptions to this but only for a moment. Everyone has a testimony. Everyone.
Expect the unexpected
I have realized through this experience that I can handle situations much better when there is an expectation that if something can go wrong, it might. Don’t take this as meaning to live pessimistically, but in the now. We live in a cruel world that still holds so much beauty. Stay calm when the shit hits the fan. Breathe. We are all dying, everyday. All of us. Money comes and goes. Loves are lost and hearts are broken. As a human race we have truly screwed this amazing planet we live on royally. Storms will come and destroy, natural disasters will bring the world to their knees. Someone you love may be diagnosed with an incurable disease, or tragically die unexpectedly, expected. Things are going to happen that will be out of your control. Control what you can and rebuild what was ruined, revive and resurrect what was taken from you (metaphor). You have and have always had that power.
Stop sweating the small stuff.
I have thrown away so much time and energy to the ‘small stuff’ that comes my way. It is brought to us to keep our focus off what truly matters. They are equivalent to the blinders you put on a horse to not see what is going on around it. We think it makes us better or feel good, it is a thief and you an accomplice to the disaster it creates when your focus is detoured from what your true purpose is. Start deciphering what is important and what will absolutely make no difference. Focus your attention on what matters and what initiates a change in yourself or others. The only small stuff we should be sweating are barbells or jump ropes.
Worry doesn’t fix anything.
Worry should be sentenced to life prison as many lives it has stolen! Listen, worry is death to you. Worry can “kiss my ass”, and you should tell it to do the same. Worry to me is in the same category as cockroaches. What good are they? Why does it cause such a reaction in me? If you could take a snapshot of my face of when I am worrying or looking at a roach, you would not be able to tell a difference. Lets bring it back to 1984 and “don’t worry, be happy”. Seriously, when I catch myself ‘worrying’ I take a step back, then do my best impersonation of Marcus from the movie Bad Boys and “wosaaaaaaaaah.” We need to switch from first gear and get to problem solving. Stop stopping at just worry. Worrying does NOTHING. We know that, we have always know that and that will never change. Stop it!
Eat healthy or don’t. Simple.
This one is a repeat for me. Only this year it was not just about losing weight, but living healthy and a better life. I want to live a life that feels good to live. I don’t want to hurt when I wake up, I don’t want to have to struggle for breath climbing stairs or dancing. I want to have natural energy and desire to do things I love doing. I want to live. How ever you do this, do it with all your heart. I started drinking Greens and bulletproof coffee. I lost 30 pounds and I am just starting. I will give the credit to my grandma Elia, She is a superstar, conquering cancer and shit! I want to be just like her when I grow up, her and my mom.
Just do it. Relationships take effort and communication. Even more so the one with God. If you don’t believe in God, I don’t have an alternative for you because he is the only one for me. Prayer is vital. Prayer changes you. Prayer is nourishment to your soul and we need as much as we can get. No need to complicate this one, its just that easy.
Love unconditionally. Love smart. Love always wins.
The world we live in is hurting. People are hurting. We hurt. Love is the only solution. Love is free. Love is abundant. Love yourself to the moon and back. Love others and bring them with you to the moon and back. Love knows no color, race or religion. Love is love and all by itself. Love doesn’t need your help just you as a vessel for transport. Love will always win, it always has. Loving smart is something different. Loving smart is from the head not the heart. Romantic love doesn’t need to be tricky. Love will reciprocate when in the right place and condition. If it is not, then you need to leave that situation lovingly. Love yourself first the way God loves you and you will be capable to love others and discern the right circumstances to be loved as well. Either way, the love that matters the most is the one where God is always involved and not in secret.
Turn the news off, do something for someone else, regularly. Impact your environment.
This one is a bit of a mash up of things. The news nowadays is not so uplifting. Turn it off sometimes and just ask in prayer for God to address the things on your heart. Be selfless sometimes. Do something for someone else for no reason other than it will bless them. With or without a blessing to yourself in expectation, do it. Buy someone a coffee behind you at Starbucks, pre pay someones groceries, cook your neighbor a meal or cut their grass, pick up some groceries for a family member, send someone a hand written card or buy someones meal. You can literally do anything for someone else. This impacts you and your environment. You can make a ripple in the sea if change. Don’t wait for someone to do something, you start it. Keep it going this year. Inspire change. Be change.