Where did August go, seriously where did 2017 go? I remember sitting around my grandparent’s house in middle school hearing them talk about how time was flying by, and I was thinking what, time is moving so slow, can I get to high school, graduate and be grown already? HAH!  We don’t know what we don’t know and little did I know, as a hormonal pre-teen who had figured out most of the world’s issues by 11, I too would live long enough to feel like time is on fast-forward!

I welcomed the year with a clear mind and open heart. I accepted great things were on the horizon and the best of life was within reach.  The best of experiences, relationships, career success and most importantly our own beliefs we carry about ourselves. Now, I don’t know if its just me, but two minutes have been passing in what would take one, right?  Meanwhile,  before I go further into my thoughts on staying focus, and being committed to our goals for the remainder of this year and next; I’d like to reflect back upon 2016.

Something interesting transpired with me the latter part of last year which surprised me a bit.  I consider myself a faithful, grateful and appreciative person. Considering those aren’t such difficult characteristics to possess when things are going well; I challenge myself to find positive perspectives in things especially during times of adversity.  Most times, I’ll realize there’s a lesson that needs to be learn, other times, I chop it up as a consequence of a bad decision I’ve made. Either way, it’s the cycle of life. We win at somethings while we lose at others.  With that understanding, I can usually count on myself to have a healthy perspective toward how my life unfolds. I aim to take full accountability for the situations I find myself in and the experiences I’m apart of because I believe our thoughts, beliefs, and the actions we choose culminates into the life we experience (another post for a longer day).  ; )

Last year, I found myself living in Chicago excited about the new change in scenery, my relationship with my fiancé, and enjoying Jala’s senior year of high school. I embraced various monumental moments that came along with having a high school senior. There were the obvious college applications and visits, basketball season, and me mentally preparing to send my baby girl off to begin a big and bold new chapter in her life. By mid-year, she was graduating high school, end of August I dropped her off at Syracuse, and less than two weeks later, we would reunite in San Juan, Puerto Rico as I marry the man of my dreams. The rest of 2016, I spent in marital bliss and enthusiastically penning my first book, Make Your Mark: Personal Branding Through “On-Purpose” Living.  It was a great year, actually an extraordinary year, presenting some of my life’s greatest achievements and treasured moments.

So when 2017 first rolled in, (wait till you hear this ish) I had the audacity to find myself uncomfortable almost fearful, a few times yes more than once, in conversations around certain unfortunate circumstances 2016 brought with it.  I  was deeply saddened by the deaths of family members, a friend, and celebrity icons (Prince and Muhammad Ali especially) that I deeply admired and will always have immense respect for. My presidential candidate did not win the election and I found myself in the hospital twice.  Still, I felt extremely blessed to have experienced many more incredible moments than troubling ones. Of course, I had moments of frustrations and disappointments, but overall 2016 was unbelievably fairytale like. I could’ve of dreamt of a more magical engagement, wedding, honeymoon bliss etc. However, instead of me acknowledging my year for what it was, there was something in me that in particular moments of hearing a friend talk about how dismal 2016 was, I somehow felt that by honoring my reality I would devalue hers. During our conversation mainly revolving around, the many deaths the year brought, I expressed my hopes for a better 2017. But by the end of the conversation and two glasses of Riesling, I knew everything unpleasant that happened to my dear friend in 2016. Worst, I felt drained, sad and if my life was at best, dismal. FOR REAL!

For some reason, in our complicated human nature,  it’s sometimes more comfortable to connect with others through sharing struggles of lack and unfortunate experiences. Which is ironically the opposite of grateful and appreciative.  Later that evening, I replayed the conversation over and over in mind several times before checking myself and making peace with joining a pity party that I should’ve never been invited to.  I took away from the lesson of the evening, that honoring my own experiences good or bad will never devalue the next persons. When things are good, we he should take pride in acknowledging we’ve had a good day, season, or year, and is doing well; after all, isn’t that what we want? So when things are great, we must own it, acknowledge it and enjoy it. The cycle of life will certainly continue. And, nothing ahead is promised.

With that, 2017 has brought it! Some incredibly rewarding days, a few trying ones; however,  I’ve never had more clarity around the work I find soul in, the people I’m choosing to serve, and the goals that are possible when we put in the work with faith, a grateful heart, and an appreciative spirit. I’m excited about what I was able to accomplish with my first book, Make Your Mark: Personal Branding Through On-Purpose Living, its tour, my first year of marriage, being present and faithful with my mom as she prepares for brain surgery, watching Jala grow and some dope travels. I don’t know how the last four months will unfold, that’s not up to me, but I’m committed to being my best, doing my best, and giving the best way I know how. And,  I encourage you to do the same. With that, who’s down to commit to staying faithful, grateful, and appreciative of this incredible gift of life?

 

XOXO,

The Brandista 

 

 

 

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