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Archive for the tag “goals”

Season of Single

There have been plenty of pastors and older, wise married folks who have said, “Don’t rush into marriage. Learn how to enjoy your season of single.”

Most of the time, women, myself included have plugged our ears and started singing “la, la, la” because we wanted to be in love so badly. And what’s the highest height of romantic love? Getting married or so we think.

At 32, being in school and working and really having to prioritize my time has made me kind of realize that I’m nearing the end of my season of single, so I need to make it count.

All of my resources, my time, my money, my energy, my fun time, vacations they belong to me!

This is going to be the only time in my life where that is the case. We all know that I’m still on the fence about children, but I’m very interested in being married someday. I’m going to be sharing resources with someone. Even if he makes more than me or equal or whatever, I’m going to be sharing my resources, I’m going to be accountable to someone else.

I was just talking to a friend about how hectic my schedule is and about to become. I’m going to the Art of Cool music festival in Durham, NC next weekend; I have my 10 year reunion at my university; I’m going to attend a wedding in a city and state I’ve never been to in June and oh yeah, I’m still doing school. A good friend of mine is itching to go to Greece in the fall, and honestly, I’m ready to pull the trigger and do it.

This stage in my life is for ME. Now all stages in your life should be about you, but no other stage than right now is about me or will ever allow me this much freedom, even though it feels like every moment is accounted for because of my school and work schedule. The strictness of my schedule has actually opened me up to LIVING in my free moments. Even making the decision to take out thousands in student loans to go back to school, that was a conscious decision I made for ME and no one else. There’s something special about saying, I’m worth this. It’s going to work out because this is a part of my purpose. This is necessary. I’m already appreciating the benefits and what being back in school is doing for my mind and my self-esteem. I keep telling people this was the time to do what I’m doing. I wouldn’t have appreciated it the way I do now, I wouldn’t have a razor-sharp focus on why this is so important and so worth it if I did it any sooner.

I’m taking deep breaths and in my spare moments when I’m relaxing, I’m truly doing so. I may actually go off to Spa World in Va. and veg out for a few hours over this weekend to recharge since I’ve given up my Massage Envy membership.

It’s about me now and I get it. I fully get and appreciate it and it doesn’t feel selfish or wrong. I don’t feel guilty about it and while thinking about love and a future with a great person does hang over my head from time to time, I can say I’m happy right now and I’m happy alone. DID YOU HEAR THAT UNIVERSE? IM HAPPY WITH WHERE I AM AND WHO I AM RIGHT NOW!! Everything belongs to me right now. My money, my time. It’s my world. I have full autonomy to do exactly what I please with it. I’m learning to value how liberating and powerful that is, because this too is a season. This won’t always be the case. And when my season does change, I want to know that I took full advantage of every resource and moment and spare time and extra dollar so I won’t walk into my new season with any regrets. I can accept the joys that come with the next.

 

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Back from Vacation… Back to School?

Hey folks.

I’m feeling refreshed, brand new, beautiful, and did I say refreshed?

Spending the last six days on the lovely island of Curacao was exactly what I needed. Seriously. Having a real vacation will open your eyes. Usually, I’m always trying to add a day or two to a weekend, thinking that’s going to really do something.

WRONG.

A real vacay is basically a week. Gotta take that time. It is essential. Our culture has it so twisted. We work and work and we think it’s honorable to work ourselves into the ground. But we mistake hard work ethic and spending hours and hours at work and staying late with being better and a good worker, but we have terrible health.

We don’t know how to relax and enjoy our lives.

What are we working for?

Every morning I’d wake up and go to my balcony to pray and thank God for being there and having such a wonderful opportunity. I asked for clarity and direction in my life and to find the same peace and happiness when I returned home. I prayed for the ability to see the beauty in my everyday life and live it.

So that led me to thinking about things that I’ve loved to do and things I enjoy. Projects I’ve temporarily abandoned, things I’m scared to do, things I thought I’d be doing. Things that will feed my soul.

So I’ve come to a few conclusions.

The T-shirt company has been left undone.

My novel. But I don’t want to finish. I’d rather write about something else now.

And a master’s degree in public health. It comes to me every six months, this urge to go back and pour myself into study, education and learning.

I do not want the debt, but at the same time, there’s this part of me that feels like studying public health will lead me to my greater goal of becoming a mental health advocate and combining my skills in communications with that.

USC has an online program and it may be worth looking into. It’s among the top MPH online programs. It’s only two years of my life, and when I think about what I’d been doing with the last two years, well. Yeah. I probably should have thrown myself into a program two years ago. LOL.

Every fall it seems like I go through the dance of should I go back to school.

I think now is the time.

I’m not married, I don’t have any kids. It’s really time to pour myself into something hardcore and have a large goal to accomplish. It’s time. I’m scared, I don’t want the debt, but it’s time to open myself up and really push to another level.

Welp, I’ve already gotten return calls from admissions offices at USC and George Washington U. Looks like I’ll be studying for the GRE…

Oh boy.

I promise to do a more in depth review of my vacation. I just got distracted by this life-changing school decision stuff…

Blank

I was thinking about something last night and this morning.

My goal in life is to not be ridiculously wealthy. I would like to comfortably pay my bills and not have to think about it and when I want to travel, or eat out or buy something I really like, I don’t want to have to feel like I’m sacrificing to survive, or living from check to check. Just a simple existence. And I’d like to buy a house someday.

This became clearer when I went to the transitional housing shelter to drop off the food I made. The woman in charge was a fellow former journalist, her husband also in the business. She seemed like she was passionate about what she was doing and generally happy.

I already knew a long time ago (and I’ve mentioned it here) I want to work in mental health advocacy or with a program that helps women and girls.

It’s a new goal.

As I watch the world of journalism morph and die all around me, seeing talented friends and colleagues lose their jobs everyday, and the decline of great journalism for whatever it is that’s out there now (even though there are great blogs and non-traditional forms of media that I love), my initial dream of being a great reporter, who ends up writing a great weekly column well into retirement is over.

I’ve been fortunate to have lived my dream in a number of ways. I wanted to be a newspaper reporter and I did it. I got to cover awesome events and go to places and meet people I would have never imagined.

I wanted to become an editor and that was a major achievement for me. And I’ve been one for nearly 7 years. God is awesome. And as this industry changed, I was changing with it. Even though I was getting further and further away from writing, I was learning about content management systems, social media, video, podcasting and broadening my skills.

Sometimes I felt like the odd woman out working for a very specific kind of media company that most folks when I attend media conferences haven’t heard of. But I’ve been stable and blessed.

So the question is what now?

I’ve got no kids, I’ve got no husband. As my father has told me numerous times, if I want to switch gears at any point, I have the right to do so.

I have amazing friends who have taken insane leaps over the last few years. They’ve gone back to school, they’ve left stressful, unfulfilling jobs, they’ve even left the country and they are all doing just fine. They still have places to live and food to eat.

What real risks have I taken?

I’ve been wondering what’s next? And instead of wanting a Pulitzer, I want to be more impactful on a smaller, micro level.

I don’t want to run from new challenges.

I didn’t realize how sometimes, there is a great challenge in being comfortable because now you have to hold yourself accountable for what you do next and the level of energy you put in towards that.

When you are grinding for your life, it’s easy to make goals and decide you have no choice but to achieve them.

I thought to myself that this is the first time in my life that I didn’t have an immediate do or die goal.

I’ve wanted to buy a modest house or condo, but it freaks me out and I haven’t really saved money.

The tee-shirt company is still in limbo because I’ve made the excuse that I need to get my credit card balance down to something more reasonable so I can use it to buy inventory.

I dream of going to Greece and my goal is to do it next year.

But unlike when I was a kid or a college student, my future hasn’t seemed so clear lately.

In fact, it’s felt blank.

Love life? Blank.

Professional life, blank.

There once was a time where I thought maybe I wanted to be like my bosses’ boss and run a bunch of publications and deal with the politics and madness.

Eh, not so much.

Being like the woman running the transitional shelter seemed waaay more appealing as of late.

I used to always think about doing more, or the awards I didn’t win. Or that maybe my career as a reporter was too short. I missed having front page stories and bylines and rushing off to do a story.

But I’ve always been where I’m supposed to be. I’ve been blessed. I’ve had moments and achievements to be proud of that no one can take from me. I’ve fought for my respect, for my paycheck, for my current position.

I’ve tried to aid other people in their personal and professional success and offer encouragement and support.

So I have no clue what’s next. But I’m starting to notice that as I get older, I’m wanting a simple life of giving back and service. I don’t need to be flashy, or have a corner office but I want to lead a comfortable life full of food, loved ones and travel.

I don’t think that’s a bad goal…

My Tentative Message to the Girls’ Conference

I don’t even find it a coincidence that a few moments ago, I was invited to speak on a panel for a young women’s conference in my hometown in March.

I’m basically a week away from turning 31 (where I told my best friend, this is the year we ‘show em how it’s done, 31’), and I’m reflecting and such anyway.

I was asked about potential topics, and  the main one that came to mind was about talking to the girls about real things that usually result in success.

Folks talk about dreams and hard work, but no one ever gives the specifics like:

Making a Plan.

Revising the Plan.

Finding Mentors.

Doing what it is you want to do for FREE until someone can pay you.

Realizing that the people you may be helping for free can in fact help you later.

Not giving up.

Not listening to negative people.

Sticking to your mentor like glue.

Befriending like-minded people who have similar goals, so yall can eat Ramen by candlelight together and dream out loud. Those friends will hold you accountable and remind you of your dream when you forget.

Having the understanding that feeling tired and uncomfortable and frustrated and as if time is standing still and you are too– is part of the process.

The importance of giving back.

Finding other strong women who really love you and will nurture you.

If what you are doing isn’t working, doesn’t feel right. Then stop. Find the right thing. Do not waste time. Don’t be scatterbrained and mistake lulls for it not being the right thing, but if you are just totally miserable and can’t see a light at the end at all, you need to find something else to do.

You can’t do anything worth doing by yourself. You have to ask for help.

Mistakes can be helpful.

You have to take a risk. If you aren’t a little bit scared, you aren’t trying hard enough or putting yourself out there. You are playing it way too safe.

The second thing I want to say is, there is money and clothes, cars and jewelery if you depend on your looks, your body and a man. But you still have to pay in some kind of way for that life too.

And now after spending the last decade trying to chase an amazing career and make loads of money, I want to really impart on the young women that everyone won’t be a doctor or a lawyer. Everyone won’t be famous or wealthy.

But guess what, if you aren’t, it’s ok. You are not a failure.  The worst thing you can do is something someone else wants you to do that you don’t want to do yourself. It’s wasted time going to school or picking a job because your parents or someone else told you it would make you a lot of money.

It’s about you finding your lane, honestly. Making an honest living that you are proud of , doing work you are proud of.

Even if you don’t go to college, or you join the military or do a trade, or start your own small business, pick something you are interested in. Figure out how to make a living out of it, then use the internet to track down all of the people you admire in that industry and ask them for advice or bounce ideas off of them.

If you decide I want to make enough money to travel once a year and pay my bills and that makes you happy and you aren’t selling your good good on the street or on Craig’s list, then hunny, you do it.

That was the lesson I’m learning in my 30s. I may not become filthy, stinking rich. It won’t hurt, but I’m proud of what I’ve already accomplished and I live independently and I go shopping to buy the things I like and I handle my business. Sometimes you don’t realize how blessed you are.

Have I been looking for a new job? Sure, but I can still pay my bills and splurge on great restaurants and theater and things I like to celebrate my upcoming birthday. I’m so blessed to be able to do that. Right now, that can be enough until it’s my time to do something else.

I’m looking forward to this event. And now, I have to plan something Olivia Popeish to wear to said event!

Love this song. Makes me want to go get em!!!

The ‘Well Do Something, Then’ Campaign

Photo credit: David Castillo/Freedigitalphotos.net
“Well do something, then.”

There once was a time where when you were a kid (or even for some real belligerent adults), when folks were about to fight they’d stand toe-to-toe and someone would have to be the first to do that step-in-the-face-flinch thing to assert they weren’t playing around, but they weren’t quite ready to just pop off and be the first one to land the punch.

I mean after all, there are usually witnesses, and we all know the person labeled as the fight starter is automatically at fault and eligible for the most severe punishment of the fighters.

An interesting thing happens though.

If the flincher doesn’t go ahead and just throw the first blow, the other person, to show they are now equally fearless as the initiator, will up the ante, and often reply, “Well do something, then.”

Not to be outdone, the flincher has been tested and has to go through with it. If they don’t, all of the pomp and circumstance was for not, and they’ve lost credibility as a bad ass.

If the flincher relents, the other person wins philosophically and usually twists the knife further by saying, “Thought so.” Either pandemonium breaks loose, or the nerve has been lost and the flincher has to slink away in shame.

I often think when we tackle things in life, we are the flincher. We even let life get to the point where it tells us, “Yeah, that’s what I thought” as soon as we turn and walk away after a failure, an embarrassment or if someone hurts our feelings or tells us no.

We want to ask someone out, we want to stand up to a bully, we want to tell people how we really feel, or try something new, or wear our hair a certain way, or we want to take a big risk.

We dance all around this stuff making a big show, talking about what we are going to do, we move our hands, we have a solid stance.

Meanwhile, that thing is staring us in the face saying, “Well do something, then.”

I’ve been working on/ignoring a novel that I’ve managed to write over 100 pages. I keep saying there’s something missing, and I just can’t get there, but I’m kind of almost done.

“Well do something, then.”

I’ve decided this weekend, I’m going to Kinkos and I’m going to actually print the whole damn thing out for the very first time. No, I’ve never printed it out. Crazy, yes. And I will read it, and take a red pen to it and get all up in its rectum and finally finish that thing for real.

There are two jobs I want to apply for.

“Well do something, then.”

Looks like I’ll be working on that too this weekend.

Unused Living Social gym 3-month membership that expires in October.

“Well do something, then. And stop wasting that money.”

Don’t even get me started on the t-shirt business. Things have slowed down, but I’m not as far behind as I think I am.

“Well do something, then.”

I know a friend who is choosing to live in a fantasy world they made up to avoid dealing with the possibility of rejection and dealing with what other people think of his decision, instead of stepping up and being honest with himself and the parties involved. He’s gonna have to take a risk, it’s the only way, even if he fails miserably. He’s got to take those steps as a man.

His fear is crippling him and making it increasingly more difficult to tell the difference between reality and things he’s made up to make himself feel better.

It made me think of what I’ve been telling myself lately. What are the lies? What is the truth?

Am I thinking clearly?

What am I afraid of? And how do I face that honestly?

I think a clear indication of what’s in your heart is what you decide to do even when you’re scared.

If you flinch more than once, especially after you’ve been called out to, “well do something, then,” no one is going to take you seriously.

How many times have you told folks what you’re going to do? And did you immediately do it? Did you wait until such and such happens? Are you still waiting for such and such to happen?

Do you have to wait for the situation to hit you first, so you can feel justified in hitting back and then by default you’re not the one to get in as much trouble because technically you didn’t start it?

Either way, that’s punk theory. Sometimes you just got to start something to force you to finish what you start.

I’m not in any way an advocate for picking fights, but in these kind of circumstances, we need to be unflinching bullies for our dreams, for our beliefs, for our respect and to just get difficult things done.

You don’t like it?

“Well do something, then.”

Preparation, Opportunity and A Reintroduction to Me

I want something badly.

This came as a surprise to me because I didn’t realize how badly I wanted this particular thing until I realized how close I am to getting it.

They say success is where preparation and opportunity meet.

Opportunity, check.

Preparation, I’m all over it and it means so much more to me than ever before.

I’ve noticed something about myself just this week. Rewind to about six to eight months ago. I found myself saying to friends and loved ones that I wasn’t me anymore.

I was no longer that driven, over-achieving, kick down a door, make it happen,  just one more no away from a yes, girl.

It made me horribly sad, because I thought I lost that girl forever. I thought I was resigned to a life of accepting the bare minimum from myself because I felt I just didn’t have much more to give. At the time, I didn’t.

I can’t go into details about what I’m obsessing over right now but trust, when it goes down, a triumphant blog is to come. (If it doesn’t work out, an introspective one will probably appear.) And the thing for which I am so passionately gunning isn’t really the point of this blog, but the feeling that I’ve derived from this desire.

Being able to even feel what I’m feeling right now is almost as exciting as the prospect of attaining my goal.

But I will say this, upon recent events, my confidence in myself has been renewed and I’m feeling good about the future and the possible new directions it may take me in. Something was finally clicking in the universe, which in turn, propelled me to snap back into some of my old (positive) ways I assumed I lost forever.

Me going to the lengths I am going in preparation for the thing I want right now, would have been impossible months ago. I wouldn’t have had the strength mentally or physically. No way. Fear would have kept me in my bed with the covers over my head, I wouldn’t have dared to attempt this. I would have had a million reasons why it would never work and why it would be impossible.

Today, I see the possibilities. Even a few things associated with this dream that could be an inconvenience, I can see myself managing and eventually eliminating if I chose.

I’m paying greater attention to details, I’m refining. I’m even debating pulling an old school all-nighter fueled by Mountain Dew Code Red (getting conflicting information as to whether or not it is still sold or available) to study even more details of importance that can help me reach my goal.

All of this extra effort may or may not even be necessary, but I don’t want to look back and say I should have done more when I could have done more.

I’m a firm believer that when you are given an opportunity, you owe it to whomever gave it to you– God or human or both, to meet them half way by putting in the effort of honest, earnest preparation.

I’m not sure if I will get what it is that I want. I really hope so, but the fact I have regained the ability to feel this passionately about wanting something and to recognize this feeling and know this part of me hasn’t left for good, I’m relieved. I am emboldened.

It feels good. It feels right. It feels like me again.

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