Happy New Year! This is pretty much a tradition on my blog as I do a list every year. Some people call it a resolution, but I like to think of my annual lists as something to aspire to in the new year. Now, let me admit two things: 1) I wrote this list on December 21st, and……..I’ve never completed a list before. I know, I know! But this year, I feel that it’s possible. I aimed big. I believe in myself (and in making smaller goals) and this year already feels magical. So, here’s the list!:
- Go skydiving. If you follow this blog long enough, this has always rolled over from year to year. Last year, I had it all set up: I set the date. I got the directions. I even rented a car to drive out to the flight site and then……brick wall. Truth is, I didn’t plan my time better. I had scheduled a mini-vacay during the weekend of my jump; trying to do everything at once. The result: a super tired Tiffany wanting nothing more than to go home. This year will be different.
- Go to one music festival. Last year, going out of town to see Outkast perform live sparked something in me. After missing Prince at Essence and D’Angelo at AfroPunk, I made a pact that I would go to some sort of outdoor music festival. Even if I don’t go out of town to do so, this year I’m making it a priority to get outside and enjoy music.
- Visit two countries. Remember, I created this list on December 21st with one goal in mind; I wanted to travel internationally. To finally step out of the Atlanta-Miami-Vegas matrix and really see the world. I’ve been dreaming of doing it, but it never went past that. Thanks to a Christmas miracle, not only will this be scratched off the list, I’ll be able to scratch it off before my birthday. All I wanted was two countries, and I’m actually visiting two continents!
- Learn French. Because, why not?
- Save $3,000. I did a 52 week money challenge last year where I successfully saved over $1,000 for myself, but I wanted to aim higher. Can I save more? Of course I can! Plus, I’m not just saving for me, I’m also saving for my daughter’s college. So what better challenge to take on.
- Have a spa day. I went to a spa once….and loved it. Having a day dedicated to relaxation and not worrying about bills, deadlines, or even laundry sounds heavenly. I’d love to have these once a month in the near future.
- Find a new job. February of this year, I would have been at my current job for 4 years, and while most people would see this as a blessing and ride it out (I see the blessing in being employed, too), I feel my time here is coming to a close. There’s just somewhere else I need to be, something else I’m suppose to learn, some other way I’m suppose to be of service. I don’t know where it is, but I’m open.
- Get 500 readers on my blog. Vanity? Maybe. I’m looking to grow as a woman and a writer and I’d be honored if I was able to reach this number this year. It’s a lofty goal, I know.
- Buy a cruiser bike. I want one. I want one. I WANT ONE! Always have. It could be a city thing, maybe a dash of a hipster thing. Either way, when the weather gets warm, I want a bike to travel.
- Donate $500 to charity. A carry-over from last year, I would like to give back however I can. I realized that this goal will probably be spread out throughout different organizations, which is fine with me. I’ve also expanded this to include helping fund small businesses as well.
- Weigh 190 lbs. This goal isn’t impossible, because I can do the work necessary to make this a reality. What I’m focused on is the self-sabotaging that I’ve done to have my weight creep back up past the 200s again. Doing the internal work will show in my external and I can’t wait to write about this success.
- Take 13 weekend trips. Re-defining my weekends. Another push to travel more. Three-day weekends especially.
- Get a sew-in weave. Because lazy. Also versatility. Plus, I haven’t had one since I was a teenager, so it would be fun to play with a different look for a while.
- Cook 100 vegan meals. I’ve done the math on this one. I also at the tail end of last year begun to purchase more vegan cookbooks than I could count. My challenge is having the energy to actually cook them. This may have to be a weekend thing *looks at goal #12*…..oh y’all keep me lifted in encouragement.
- Go on 3 vacations. One down, two to go. Again, a way for me to relax and reconnect because my job won’t give me the time off, so I’ll take it for myself.
That’s my list, folks!
“I want all my senses engaged. Let me absorb the world’s variety and uniqueness.” – Maya Angelou
I had a beautiful conversation this week with another friend of mines. We were talking about working in the corporate world and how most jobs don’t necessarily require you to work day in and day out. Some jobs actually just require you to do a decent job. But that wasn’t what I loved about our conversation. In the midst of us talking about how the government shutdown shook all of us, more so me, we shifted into acquiring a better quality of life. I’ve mentioned before that I wanted to be kinder to myself this year and take my breaks when I feel it is necessary, but then he said something that really resonated with me. He said:
Instead of focusing on what you want your life to LOOK like, focus on what you want your life to FEEL like.
I sat with that for the longest; still am if I’m to be completely honest. So I challenge those who are reading this to answer this one question: What do you want your life to feel like?
When I was 17, my mother gave me about $100 and let me loose in the mall. This is something that my mother began doing once I turned 14, due to the fact that we’re both stubborn and don’t see eye-to-eye on what I should’ve worn. I wanted to dress myself. My mother wanted to dress for herself with my body. So I came to my favorite store at the time – Deliah’s – and started searching for clothes. Oh, and by searching, I mean taking a bird’s eye view of the racks and leaving once nothing immediately grabbed my attention. But something did grab my attention, and it wasn’t any article of clothing. It was a book.
I wasn’t sure why this book was even in the store, or why the manager thought that any pre-teens or teenagers should even have a book like this, but it jumped out at me. I leafed through the book and knew I had to have it for myself. I purchased the book and went home to begin learning everything that I could. I did it in secret; waiting until everyone was asleep in the house before I decided to try out what I had learned. I would sit in the middle of the floor with a clear bowl full of ice, staring deep until I could see images like a crystal ball. I took my deck of cards and decided I would give myself tarot card readings. I had a lot of fun, but it also became my little secret. A secret I had to hide from my family as well as my friends. Those with no religious affiliation scoffed at what I was (secretly) doing as bogus and make believe. Those who did saw what I was (secretly) doing as “black magic” and “inviting evil spirits in”. Which is why when my mother found the book (that I could’ve sworn I hid….) she immediately threw it in the trash, but not without a ultimatim: the book or family.
I never had to make the choice. My mother made it for me. She threw the book away while I was at school. I was pissed, but eventually I moved on from feeling that way towards my mom, but not from fortune telling. In fact, in the little time that I did have the book, it intensified my desire to learn more. I went through a phase of wanting to read about witchcraft and magic, but it never stuck with me. The only thing that did, was tarot reading.
Last month, I got my own deck of cards and I’ve been loving them since. I’m still a bit of a novice but the best person to test these cards out on has been myself. It’s giving me a chance to really understand what the cards mean in the grand scheme of it all, especially paired with other Arcanas. There’s one that keeps coming up no matter what question I ask (which lately, I’ve been doing my weekly readings) has been The Heirophant. I can’t ever seem to shake him no matter what I do and I love seeing him show up!
Maybe one day my mom will understand that tarot card reading isn’t some portal to the underworld but rather, it’s a tool to help you learn more about yourself. Maybe she never will. Maybe I should just ask the cards.
I happened to come across this video after my blogging mentor posted another video by her about having someone “pick your brain”. After watching the video, I wanted to see more from her. I’m always a fan of a person who can speak to me in a tough love, humorous, truthful kind of way. I like the “concerned best friend who just wants to see you reach your full potential” feel and Marie gave me that. So how funny was it that this was the video that was recommended to me? You know how I feel about messages that are confirming something that I’ve been thinking or talking about doing. Using the 10-year plan was just what I needed to hear.
In it, she talks about envisioning yourself 10 years from now and ask yourself, “Do I regret not going for that thing/opportunity/person/trip?” Whatever that answer is, then you know what you need to do. You’ll become more focused and determined to do what is necessary to finally go after your dreams. So I really sat with that notion. Visualized my 42 year-old self and wonder if she would look back full of regrets, or would she look back and say “Well played!” as she sets out for the next decade of her life? What do I want to do now? What do I want to accomplish in 10 years? Just something that was on my mind that I wanted to share with you. This song by Tori Kelly sums up everything really well, too!
The time will never be perfect. The pieces may never fall into the correct place. Just….go for it!
As you begin to notice these flavors of love, your awareness will expand naturally. Then it becomes easier to make those loving gestures of kindness and compassion that are expressions of your true self. – Deepak Chopra
I have an announcement to make. This morning, while I was meditating I found love. I found the flavor of love.
No, not that type of flavor (although I did enjoy him and the reality show tremendously). I’m talking about the small things in life that I love. I looked at love as being some grand gesture and spent all my time chasing that high. I was always in pursuit of it because I wanted to feel love and loved all the time. What I didn’t know is that it didn’t have to come from a person. This morning, I became mindful of the small things that I love. Sure, I wake up with an attitude of gratitude, but what do I love about my day? So I became aware of what it is that I love.
Seeing the sun rise. Reading a book. This avocado grilled cheese I made. Pecan pralines. Silence. Good conversations. This new Boots & Beyonce song.
Soon, I could feel love vibrating throughout my body. It felt liberating. I felt I finally stumbled on to something real and all I had to do was sample true love (shout out to Erykah Badu!). Today, when you engage in something that brings you pleasure, say “That is love”. Try it out! It worked for me. Next month, I think I’ll tackle being happy.
Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and as annoying as people think it is to say, “It’s just another day”, for me…that’s exactly what it is. Not because I’m unattached. Not because I don’t have plans. Not because of a personal hang-ups about the day (which by the way, I don’t….i love love!). The reason tomorrow is just another Friday to me is because I’ve learned to show and find love everyday, and this week was especially special.
In a newsletter that I get in my inbox there was a call of action for us to participate in doing a random act of kindness. So naturally, I was up to the task. I chatted up a stranger who looked down in the dumps. I gave out compliments freely. I sent out thank-you cards and e-mails to those people who helped me along the way. I was overcome with a feeling of gratitude and it felt good. Then this morning, I got my own act of kindness.
Like most on the East Coast, it snowed last night and this morning, I knew I was going to have to tackle the driveway. But first, I was going to make the heartiest of breakfast foods. As I was walking past my window, I noticed two people in my driveway. Thinking it was some neighborhood kids, I went outside to see my neighbor and his son shoveling my driveway. “I just wanted to help out, because you’ve helped me out.” was all he said, with a smile. I was taken aback by this gesture. This random act of kindness. This display of love filled my heart to the brim. He may have been a good neighbor and I was just fulfilling a call to action, but this week showed me the power of showing love every day, not just on the 14th of February.
Last week, Beyoncé stunned fans and critics alike when she dropped not only a brand new album, but 17 new videos. But this post isn’t about Beyoncé. This post isn’t even about the album. This post is about the morning after, which has been dubbed “Beyoncé the 13th”
What I saw the next morning and in the upcoming week were more debates and thought pieces than I could’ve ever imagined. Everyone had an opinion about the album and (non) marketing move behind it. It didn’t start a healthy conversation; it started a war. The one line that I saw people use, no matter what side of the argument they were on is:
This is my (insert social media platform) and I’ll say whatever I want. You don’t like it then (insert dismissive action).
That was the most irritating thing about all of it. People wanting to feel how they feel without being questioned or possibly called out on it. How do you grow as a person when you’re always right and everyone else is wrong? What does it say about you that no one can be around you unless they feel the same way about you? The world isn’t full of haters, it’s filled with people whose opinion will differ from yours.
I don’t know, maybe I’m different. I don’t need an “amen” corner, especially if I’m wrong. Erykah Badu once sang, “A man that knows something knows that he knows nothing at all.” and I for one don’t know everything. I will never claim to. Life is the best teacher and I want to be totally open to it. That’s hard to do when you’re in a bubble that gets inflated every time someone “thumbs up” what you say.
Guess this was my rant post, however…let another point of view come in once in a while. The people closest to you should challenge you for the better, not coddle you to remain the same. Yes Men never made anything or anyone great, so turn then away. They don’t ever have your best interest at heart.