Happy New Year: 14 Things I Learned in 2014

What an amazing year! 2014 was fantastic, and I am looking forward to more great things in 2015. Instead of my usual recap post, I wanted to share 14 things that I learned this year.

1.  Stay inspired.

This year, I learned how important it is to have positive people around you – people who are doing amazing things.  While it is easy to just sit and bask in someone else’s awesomeness, it is better to observe (and bask a little) and let their awesomeness inspire you.  I learned to look not only at their outcome, but also the process, and figure out how I can apply their determination, drive, and ambition to my own goals.  I learned that listening to someone make excuses is draining, but listening to someone make a way, when there seems like there is no way, is empowering.

2.  Dream big.

I can’t say that this is something that I learned this year. It is more like I learned that it is okay.  That’s all I have on that.

3.  Don’t forget.

I have notebooks upon notebooks of ideas that I have collected over the years.  It has been like collecting puzzle pieces one at a time.  While it can be confusing, and frustrating to try to peek into the future and see what the puzzle will look like when it is all done, it is important to just keep collecting those pieces.  I write my ideas down so that I don’t forget that each one is part of a bigger picture.  You just never know.

4.  Plan to be spontaneous.

Keep an overnight bag packed… Underwear, jeans, night clothes, t-shirt, socks, flip flops, swimsuit, and your usual personal care items.  You just never know when you’ll get an opportunity, and the last thing you need to be doing is running to the drug store for travel sized stuff or washing clothes.

5.  Keep promises to yourself.

It is disappointing when other people let you down, but it is just downright painful when you let yourself down.  If you promise yourself rest, a movie, or a manicure, keep that promise.

6.  Don’t be shy.

People don’t bite… usually.  I am painfully shy sometimes, but this year I learned that if you don’t speak up, someone else will, and you’ll have to live with the fact that things could have been different if only…

7.  Most things (and people) can wait.

…. and that’s that.

8.  No one needs you as much as you need you.

I used to feel obligated to so many people.  I learned this year that no one needs me as much as I need me.  I am no ones last hope, last opportunity, or only chance.  If I can’t do, won’t do, or don’t do, folks will just have to find another way.  If they don’t? That’s on them.

9.  Figure out what you can live without.

I learned deciding what I can live without, opened me up to finding more fulfilling things to fill in the spaces where they useless things, relationships, and activities used to be.  I had a lot more time and energy than I thought!  I just had to learn to apply that time and energy to things that were going to enhance my life.

10.  Sleep changes things.

I totally changed my sleep pattern this year.  I go to bed earlier, and wake up earlier.  Those quiet hours in the morning have really changed how I go about my day.  I am less cranky, and while I miss a lot of good TV, I have been able to accomplish things that I never thought I could.

11.  Nothing is certain.

If someone told me that I would do half of the things I did this year, I’d have called them a liar.  I had big plans for 2014, and I was able to see several of them through.  I hosted several Caribbean Mom Chats, hosted the Anancy Festival, wrote my second book, and started a book club. However, some of the biggest things that happened I never even saw coming. This year, I interviewed Roger Mooking (!), traveled to NYC twice – once for a filming of the Chew, and again on behalf of AT&T to Blogging While Brown, traveled with the whole family to Turks and Caicos as a blogger to experience Beaches Resort, traveled to LA with my daughter for the taping of her show, and got accepted to law school… yeah… ALL of that happened and then some, and NONE of it was on my radar in 2013.  Knowing that nothing is certain doesn’t mean that I won’t make plans for what I want to happen in 2015, but I will definitely leave room for God to do his thing.

12.  I don’t have to.

And no one can make me. *crosses arms like a 2 year old*

13.  Why not?

People always like to tell you why you can’t do something.  If you haven’t walked away after “you can’t,” then you may as well ask why not.  If their answer doesn’t include that because God said so, you are free to walk away at that point. No explanation required.  This year, my family managed to have one full time working parent, one part time working parent in law school, and homeschool. What can’t we do again? Not tryin’ to hear it.

14.  It’s never too late.

There are a lot of things that I’ve always wanted to do, and have put off.  I have wanted to be a lawyer since I was a little kid.  This year, I made a giant leap towards that childhood dream.  I wasn’t going to apply… too old… too busy… too tired.  But you know what?  We are always going to be “too” something, so with the encouragement and assistance of a few amazing people, I went for it.  I might be “too” a lot of things, but as long as I am alive, its not too late.