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End of The Year Food For Thought life Self Love and Personal Growth

2021 lessons

In 2021, I celebrated my 2020 wins. I really graduated from college. I really gave birth. I really moved states, back into my childhood home. I really started a new phase of my life.

I spent 2021 raising a newborn for the first time. In 2021, I recovered from childbirth and surgery. I can admit now that I went in and out of postpartum depression. I watched my baby grow and celebrated her first birthday. I started working again for the first time in a year, going back to a company I was working for for years. I then quit said company months later. Then, I started a new full time position elsewhere and was recently told that I am getting promoted. I was hesitant about getting vaccinated, then got vaccinated, then helped out with covid vaccination clinics. I recently got my booster shot. I saw movies in the theater for the first time in a year. I saw family and friends for the first time in (a) year(s).

2021, like every year, had its own ups and downs. I managed to meet some of the goals I set and that is worth celebrating. Every year, I have takeaways. In the last days and beginning of the year, I always reflect. These are the lessons I learned or relearned in 2021.

Be flexible

It’s beneficial to have a plan but some things happen out of the blue, regardless of prior planning. It’s just as important to be able to adjust to what life brings as it is to stick to your plans. Also, some deadlines or goals are unrealistic from the start. Sometimes we need more time. Sometimes a goal that was once achievable suddenly won’t be because of new information or life events. Release tight control on how you want things to go. Sometimes those unplanned moments can lead to something bigger and better.

Be realistic

You can do almost anything you set your mind to. Go after what you want. But also, figure out if what you want is realistic for your life. Make sure your desires are workable and not a fantasy. If they are out of reach, make adjustments to make it realistic if it is actually what you are willing to work for. Please note: it is easier to stick to a goal when you are specific, hold yourself accountable daily, and qualify it. In a way, this goes hand in hand with being flexible. It wasn’t until halfway through the year that I realized some of my goals weren’t realistic. Some of this was due to my recovery from surgery, or because of covid and my desire to be extra careful for my daughter, or because of work, or because I simply didn’t want it anymore. Coming to terms with the fact that not all of our goals are realistic is a part of life. It can actually encourage our growth and steer us in the direction of something that is actually attainable.

To do lists are helpful

Writing things down not only can remind you a task needs completing. For me, it seals the desire to do it. It’s a tangible list of what my plans are. Whether it is for a day, a week, a month, to do lists help me manage my time and encourage me to complete what I have in mind. Crossing of an item, no matter how simple, releases some serotonin.

The US is systematically flawed

If you know you know. If you don’t, I won’t be the person to convince you otherwise.

Parenting is a whirlwind

Parenting is different than I thought it would be-not in a bad way. I’ve talked about motherhood in different posts. My biggest takeaway so far is that there is no right way to parent. And as parents, no matter how much we research, we make it all up as we go along. Parenting is a different type of unconditional love. Parenting provides a new perspective for everything.

Forgiveness doesn’t have to lead to anything more

Forgiving a person for harming you is not even necessary or realistic all of the time. I believe you can heal and move on without forgiveness. Maybe one day I’ll feel differently. That being said, you can also forgive someone for what they’ve done to you, without rebuilding or reconnecting with them. People can apologize and you can accept it, but it doesn’t change what has happened. Trust doesn’t automatically restore forgiveness. You can forgive and still be done with them. I did.

All relationships take mutual effort

Relationships are give and take. And when a problem arises, it is not up to only one person to fix it, no matter who is at fault. The effort may not always be equal because our lives demand different things. However, both people should be trying to some extent.

Every relationship is different

I mention this in a separate post too. It touches on the fact that we can know the same people, but have a different view or relationship with them than the with another person, and that is okay. It also means someone being kind to you doesn’t mean they aren’t horrible to someone else.

Meet people where they are

People are who they are. Sometimes they change. Sometimes they don’t. We can’t rely on who we want them to be. We can’t rely on who we think they will be. They are who they are. If we want more out of them, it is up to us to confront them. If they don’t change, it is up to us to accept them and the relationship for what it is, or to move on. We can only control ourselves.

Balance is hard

Being a full time parent and a full time employee has taught me that balance is hard and time moves fast. It’s difficult to find the balance between commuting and working, spending time with my kid and my family, making time for friends, making time for myself and my hobbies, eating, exercising, cleaning, and relaxing. Balance is important. It is also hard. I hope to get a better handle on it in 2022.

Not everything is an excuse

Balancing is hard. Time moves quickly when there is a lot going on. Someone saying they don’t have time is not always an “excuse.” Just because you “have time” or “make the time” doesn’t mean someone else has to as well. I’ve always hated the word excuse anyways, because the word excuse is subjective in nature. A reason to me can be an excuse to you and vice versa. The difference between a reason and an excuse, in a broad sense, is someone validating whether it is a good or bad reason. When it solely involves ourselves, we are the only ones who can truly decide, if our justification is a reason or an excuse.

Overworking (grinding) is not always good

Please rest. Please plan to take a break and to sleep and reset if you can. It’s important. There are health benefits.

People project a lot

I’m pretty sure I mentioned this in last year’s end of the year post too, but people project more than I thought. A singular sentence can be thrown out there and people will come up with different conclusions because they are projecting their life experience on it. Please note: some of those experiences are rooted in objective truths- because of things like racism and misogyny and how that impacts every system put into place. Sometimes though, their projection has no merit in the reality because everyone lives different lives. I don’t have to put up with something just because you do and vice versa. You don’t have to approve of some else’s life choices for them to live the life they do. Not referring to politics or laws, not everyone will feel the same way about topics that you do, and it is unfair to project your values and thoughts on to them.

Mindset affects reality

I kind of hate this saying, but it’s true. Your thoughts can shape your reality. Life is hard and it can be hard to control your thoughts. Intrusive thoughts exist. However being negative all the time, even if the situation is negative, will make things worse. This isn’t to say you should always see the brighter side of things either. But again, balance and moderation is important.

Be intentional with your time

Even if what you’re trying to do is waste time, that is still intentional. Life speeds by and you never know what’s going to happen and when. It was a 2021 goal of mine and it led to me being more present.

There is nuance to everything

Most subjects are multidimensional. There are layers to things and in order to have a full understanding, you have to acknowledge and understand each layer. The easiest way for me to explain this would be to compare it to intersectionality. As women, life is different than men’s. But as a black woman, it’s really different than a man’s experience. Different factors influence people’s choices and realities. That’s why some situations may not always be as it is seen on the surface.

2022 is here!

2021 went by so fast; it didn’t even feel like holiday season. 2022 has started and it has already been interesting to say the least. Here’s to hoping that this year will be an improvement from the last. Here’s to the future!

Categories
life

Exciting News Alert

In the midst of a pandemic, I found myself working, sleeping, and social distancing, with the exception of one person I would see outside of my household. I know, shame on me. That’s besides the point. My point is that all the signs were there, but I was not looking for them. I peed on a stick for clarity and peace of mind. I was not even late yet, but something told me to check. My coworker encouraged me to check. You could say it was my location’s bonding activity. After checking, I wouldn’t have to worry about if I was or if I wasn’t. I would instantly know. That was the ideology among us.

I always figured I’d be a single mom because I saw how society was growing up. I noticed how there were many depictions of single moms in the media. I have seen friends or classmates more often closer to their mothers and with less interactions with their fathers. I’ve seen how men treated strangers, and saw them with my friends and I. And because of these initial thoughts and depictions, I was always prepared to go through the process with or without the baby’s “father” by my side. The idea of me having a baby in my mind had always existed, regardless of if I had a husband or boyfriend there by my side. That never mattered for me because I always wanted to be a mother more than a wife. Maybe the baby dolls targeted to girls impacted me too much. I actually had one that would eat gloop and shit it out so you’d have to change its diaper.

With all that being said, fast forwarding, I saw two lines on the stick. It was an earth shattering moment. It is safe to say deep down I knew. As I said, the signs were there. Instead of freaking out while waiting for the results, I was calm. I was trying to convince myself of all the reasons why I couldn’t be pregnant. I believe I reacted this way because deep down I knew. And still I was in shock when I found out. I cried and took some more tests and cried more. I tried not to freak out. I freaked out. And I told the people around me. It was too much to comprehend on my own.

I struggled with a decision for months. It took weeks for me to fully believe I was pregnant. Even though deep down I knew what was right for me, at that point in time I was hesitant. I wondered if I was really ready, wondered if I was doing right by the baby by continuing the pregnancy, wondered if I was doing right by the guy. I thought about what it would mean for my future and what it meant for my present. I thought about where I would live and all of the support graciously thrown my way. I was stressed to tell people and stressed about the thought of having to explain myself.

It’s easy to say how you will react to a situation when you’re not in it. It’s easy to say you want a baby when you see a cute video or when there are babies around you. It’s easy to say you’ll get an abortion if you got pregnant before a certain time in your life. Its easy to say you’d never get an abortion. It’s easy to say you’d keep or wouldn’t keep the baby in an unplanned pregnancy when it is just a thought. The mindset is different for every woman.

Before I found out I was pregnant, I thought I would get an abortion. But when it actually happened, I didn’t jump at either option. For me, it felt like either choice would change my life. It was the first time a test actually said positive. The fact that I always wanted kids and to be a mom followed me. The fact that I never saw myself having kids conventionally stayed with me. The worry of regret haunted me. An abortion didn’t seem like something I could emotionally handle when I’ve always wanted a family of my own. I kept wondering what if I never get pregnant again and what if I never have this amount of support again.

I decided to continue with the pregnancy because of the timing of things. A five year chapter of my life was coming to an end. I was months away from securing a degree. I knew and was reminded of all of the support I had. My parents told me they would help me in every way regardless of the choice that was mine to make. I felt like out of any time to change my life, what better time then when my life was already heading towards change.

I also believe everything happens for a reason, whether philosophical or spiritual or not. And yes, there are reasons as to why I got pregnant. Still getting pregnant isn’t exactly easily. And because I am in a time in my life I feel I can amend to add a baby, it felt like it happened for a reason. I had always felt like I met that guy for a reason. I believe the universe, God, or whatever you want to call it, would not lead me astray. If this pregnancy was meant for me now, I’d continue through okay and deliver a healthy baby. And if it wasn’t meant for me and it just happened, I believed and still believe I’ll miscarry. I have faith in the universe mainly because I couldn’t manage without it. Nothing is random to me.

This pregnancy journey has been a ride, which I’ll explain more in another post. And though I made the choice to continue with this pregnancy, it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have the choice later in my life to end a pregnancy if I see fit. It doesn’t mean women should lose the choice to terminate pregnancy, whether it be their first or second or hundredth. It doesn’t mean anyone should feel bad for having an abortion. Pregnancy is a whole lot and people with uteruses should be able to choose for themselves to keep or end a pregnancy. I decided to continue with this pregnancy and even though I’ll technically be a single mom, I won’t be alone in the slightest.