When One Moment Ends, Another Begins

2016. The “awful” year that seemed to fly by in the blink of an eye. I don’t mean this in the same depressing memes and posts I’ve seen, in which everyone is lamenting about 2016 being the year of pain and suffering, about it being the worst year ever. It wasn’t a horrible year. A trying one, yes. One that engulfed many in heartache, most definitely. But I’ve been viewing it mostly as the year that the wool was lifted from the eyes of many, where the reality of life and the world finally seeped into the forefront of the social media circus, permeating the shallowness of so many with a hard dose of truth. The idealism that we may have felt on 12/31/15 has been chipped at a little, but it doesn’t mean that the year was lived in vain. Some of us attained knowledge of self and others, in ways that made us question everything around us. It was a year of growth – uncomfortable growth – that served the purpose of revealing our strengths, and our weaknesses.

chicago

As I reflect on all of my experiences throughout the year, I feel accomplished, and at peace with everything I’ve gone through, good and bad. I traveled a lot – including my first trip to Europe. I met my favorite hip-hop artist/activist, David Banner. I saw Beyoncé give an amazing concert in my favorite city of all time, NYC. I took a chance with my writing, and although the dream hasn’t come to fruition yet, I am a step closer to realizing it. I rekindled precious friendships that I believed were all but lost, and I came to terms with the fact that some are sadly lost forever. I learned patience, and loving even when the love isn’t returned in the way I desired. I realized that kindness should always be the first choice, and when it’s not an option, then silence is best. And most importantly, I learned that I am not for everyone, but it doesn’t make me any less unique and beautiful.

aer-lingus

Tonight, as you get closer to the countdown, I urge you to give a little reflection as well. Many of you will be out partying until your hearts’ content, but before you do, be thankful for all that you have gone through this year. If you were the same person you were this time last year – hell, if you’re the same person you were yesterday – then you have failed your goal of living and evolving.Be kind. Be loving. Be positive. You made it through, and if you made it through with scars, remember that they can still be healed. Make some real plans – not resolutions, but goals that you can etch away at each day. Look forward to everything that’s ahead of you, because it will be an amazing time. Every day is a gift just waiting to be unwrapped, so make sure you’re present for every moment of them.

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The Obligatory New Year’s Post

Well, this is it folks. 2012 has come to a close, and thankfully, we’re all still here. For those of you who claimed 2012 as your year and have no clear progress to back that up, well, sucks for you. Please don’t claim 2013 until you get to the end of it, ‘k? Right now, most of you have made a list of goals for the year that you’ll either be too lazy to commit to, or you’ll start them for about a week and bow out with no results. Either you’ll be too vague when you make the goals, or too lofty with them. Your best bet if you want to feel somewhat accomplished by year-end? BE SPECIFIC.

But I’m going to make it easy for you. Maybe you don’t know what you want to do; you just want to do something. To help you out, I’ve compiled this short list of five things you can do this year, that you can look back on and feel proud that they’ve been checked off your list.

1) Give back.

This is an easy one. There are so many different ways you can do this, whether it’s by actually getting involved in your community, or writing a check. Not sure where to start? Check out Do Something, a site completely devoted to helping you figure out what to do. If writing a check is more your speed, the United Way is another site that makes it simple for you to click a button and have a tax write-off for the year.

Gandhi

2) Learn something. 

Something, anything. Remember back in the day, when you used to actually keep information in your brain, and not your smartphone? You can still relive a little bit of the past by learning something completely new, by picking up a book, or delving a little deeper into a topic you’ve had some interest in. Imagine how envious your friends will be when you offer up information you didn’t have to consult Google for.

Books

3) Get physical. 

Every year, you all swear that you’ll be more fit, get that beach body by March, and go to the gym in droves for two weeks. And then it gets too cold. And then you don’t want to get up early or be out too late. And then you get sick and decide to never exercise again. Excuses, excuses, excuses. You have no problem setting aside time for happy hour or Love and Hip-Hop, but exercise? Who has time for that? This year, why don’t you actually set aside 20 minutes at a minimum, 3x a week, to get more fit? Sure, it’s not much, but it’s a start. And everyone knows that the only way to do something is to start it. One of my favorite sites for workouts is BodyRock. It’s got a ton of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts that take about 20 minutes. So no excuses!

Weights

4) Get connected.

No, really connected. I love social media as much as the next person (obviously, since I’m a blogger), but it’s no substitute for real-life human contact. Instead of relying on Facebook and Twitter to find out how your friends and family are doing, why don’t you just (gasp!) pick up the phone? Most of us have become so averse to talking on the phone, but it’s one way to feel like you still know someone. Social media isn’t real connecting, especially since most people only post the good stuff. For a week, disable your social media apps, or ignore them. Spend that time visiting friends, or phoning them. It’ll be weird at first, and if it doesn’t work, at least you tried!

Pick up the damn phone.

Pick up the damn phone.

5) Do something new. 

There’s a great video I watched the other day, where the narrator poses the question, “What would you do if money were no object?”. It kind of made me stop and evaluate the things that I do all day, and whether or not they were fulfilling. Most of us talk about the things we would do if we were rich, but most of those things don’t require millions. Some just require time, and ingenuity. You want to travel? Start saving! You want to be an artist? Take a class at a community college. As cliché as this is, life really is too short to be doing things you hate. Find a way to start something you’ve always wanted to do. It’s not too hard to use Google to find things like free or inexpensive courses, or using Living Social and Groupon for those getaway deals. You’ve got an entire year to make it happen.

It's that easy.

Making changes in your life is really not as hard as we make it seem. And if this post didn’t make you want to get your arse up and do something, maybe this great piece by David Wong will inspire you. Maybe you don’t need a jolt, maybe you have this life thing all figured out. If that’s you, please share you words of wisdom, or just let me know what specific things you’re resolving to do for the coming year. A friend of mine re-posted a good idea on Instagram: Start the year with an empty jar and fill it with notes about good things that happen, so you can read them at the end of the year. I say, fill it with those things you’ve accomplished, so you’ll feel compelled to outdo them in the next year.  As always, thanks for reading, and have a happy and safe New Year!

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