2017: The year where nothing made sense before everything started to make sense.
You see this picture above represents how I determined to live life this year. Free, uninhibited, fierce. I traveled, explored, wandered and fed my curiosity.
I’m going to start with my biggest accomplishment this year so I can toot my own horn and get it out of the way. Today, December 16, after two and a half, long, grueling years of graduate school, the current phase of my life has come to an end and I have two Masters degrees to show for it. I honestly didn’t start with this goal in mind because I struggled so much in my first year and at some point, thought I couldn’t finish the arduous task I started. But in these years, I have grown up! I changed and developed so much as a person that today I am almost a shadow of my former self. My mindset changed, I began to view life through a more realistic lens and I learned to hold myself accountable for actions. I drafted several plans, strategized on how to follow through, committed them to God and executed. Basically, I came, I saw and I conquered. School phase down, time to make money.
This year I learned about trusting the process and the relevance of timing in one’s life. I call it going through the fire to come out like gold. I was shaken, beaten, pressed down but of course not destroyed just so I could become the refined piece of work that I am today. I decided to put my gift of writing combined with my affinity for getting philosophical and ‘deep’ to good use so I started a self-introspection blog elementsofemancipation.com. It’s still fairly new but I intend to do much more with it next year.
I started actively looking for a job in September of 2016. This one was a very long, rough, tasking process and I had so many low points. But it led me to do an introspective examination of myself, my abilities, skill set, interests and goals so I could determine the way forward. In April of this year when I was on the verge of giving up because I was so drained after all the rejections I had received, I got an internship which was a true answered prayer. This internship that I initially was so excited about became something I started to question God about as to why He sent me there and the role I was supposed to fill because it was the complete opposite of what I thought it was. This was another process that I couldn’t for the life of me fathom why I had to go through but in the end, I passed the test and came out better, stronger and far more knowledgeable than when I went in. I completed the internship and went back to the job hunt struggle. I challenged God to give me a great job offer before my graduation date which is today and He showed up guys *wipes tears*. Six weeks before graduation He came through and turned my story around. I read my offer letter and it dawned on me that this was what I had cried, prayed and fasted for all year. He crowned my efforts with success. Psalm 126:1.
This year my relationship with God improved on so many levels. When I look back at my life over the last 3 years and how I got to where I am today, it is so clear to me that God is at work in my life and is ordering my footsteps to him. He has placed me in several circumstances where I am pushed to the wall and have no choice but to come running back to him with my tail in between my legs begging for forgiveness. I still run and hide sometimes and go days without uttering so much as a single prayer but I always find my way back so thank God for grace. This one is short because my faith is very personal to me but God showed me countless times that He has my back and I didn’t lack for anything.
I gave people way more influence over my emotions than I should have but I eventually learned to really let things go. As much as something or someone hurt me, I learned to overcome with love, forgive and let things go. I finally made the connection between my upbringing and my personality. I think growing up as an only child who dealt with self-esteem and other personal issues affected my personality and interactions with others and made me somewhat socially awkward. So, while I am good at making friends and acquaintances on the surface, I suck at building good, lasting relationships which I have tried to work on but baby steps. I defined that I internalize a lot which also affected some of my relationships because friends couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t share things I was going through with them. If only they knew that this is all I know and doing anything else is a real struggle for me. My attitude in relationships could be much better. I may have self-inflicted and had a hand in the demise of some good friendships I had. I loved and I lost and I started seeing humans in another light; who they really are. People I thought of as good friends betrayed and disappointed me. For someone who has more male friends than female because I somehow get along better with males and I think they have less drama, guys I considered good friends betrayed me and it really hurt. On love, bae and I decided to call it quits and painfully go our separate ways. We had several differences we couldn’t agree on and so as wonderful as we both are individually, I do not think we are right for each other so it was either to keep wasting time or move on. It still hurts but the peace I feel in my heart is incomparable so I know this too shall pass.
I learned a lot about myself this year and I was forced to look inward and accepted hard truths about myself. Something changed in me though. I became less tolerant of bullshit and other nonsense people tried to bring to me. I’m proud to say that I hardened. I realized I am much stronger than I give myself credit for. I had to learn the importance of guarding my heart and tongue. Everyone doesn’t have to know everything about you and even close friends don’t need to know everything. Some things are better reserved for you to deal with and work through alone. One valuable lesson I learned is the importance of maintaining a content spirit and having a positive attitude especially in difficult times. Once I keyed into this, I was able to conquer the challenging situations I found myself in.
You see I love writing these end of year reviews because it keeps me accountable to introspect and analyze throughout the year. Looking back, I can say I achieved 90% of the things I set out to do at the beginning of the year in addition to random, spontaneous goals which is good enough for me. In a nutshell, I was reminded this year that I can do anything I set my mind and heart to so I don’t have to give up even when it’s the easiest thing to do. I didn’t just complete my degrees, I exceeded workout goals, learned new skills, had difficult conversations, visited over ten new cities and shattered previously mentally imposed boundaries. I am so full of gratitude for 2017 because in all honesty, it’s been one of my better years.
Here’s to living like gold in 2018.