Every year I seem to have made a comment like, “I can’t believe this year is almost over.” When 2016 began, I was recovering from a 2015 that brought a lot of change: the death of my mother, life as an empty nester, the birth of my professional career, and the realization that at almost 50 my thoughts about my present and my future must be purposeful. I spent moments in 2016 reflecting on my past and the journey that delivered me to my present state. In 2016, I owned the fact that the events of my past did not define me, but that each moment of my past had the ability to impact and influence each future moment in my life. In 2016, I also owned my life calling to use my voice to encourage, empower, and enlighten villages with the hope of building supportive, healthy, safe spaces for young people. I began to think of myself as a living lab experiment yielding interesting observations about the constants and the variables in my life.
One thing in my life that has been a constant has been the chaos that came with being a caretaker or the support network for a primary caretaker. The constant caretaking created a constant positioning in a role very similar to that of a first responder. Beginning at age eleven, I helped my mother and father care for my sister after her first mental break. The following year after my father had his first heart attach I helped my mother care for my sister and my father. During middle school and high school, I watched my mother spend at least one night a week in the country caring for Mama Love as we continued to support my sister and my father. The caretaker theme continued into my adulthood and I began to believe that my purpose in life was to ensure that other folks had positive life experiences at my expense. By the time my kids and their friends were added to the pool of needy subjects in my life, I had perfected the process of having the backs of multiple people with varied types of needs and at various levels of neediness. I moved through life like a kid dancing the May pole dance. I skipped from the hand of one person or cause to the next. I often found myself grabbing the next hand before letting go of the former. At some point in 2016, I saw that I was still skipping around that May pole getting worn out from managing stuff. However, the energy output felt different and I returned to the question: Was there a difference between my pre 2016 life and the life birthed in me in 2016? The answer was emphatically, “Yes, there was a difference!”
There was a difference between reacting to a crisis delivered to me courtesy of another person and then becoming a part of the solution or management of the crisis simply because I could do it or just because I cared about the person or the cause. It was quite different thing to have the crisis delivered to me and then making a decision to examine the situation and the potential impact on my life before deciding to be actively involved in the management of the crisis. There was a difference in the helplessness and felt in the former circumstance and the empowerment I felt last year when I used my brain and my voice to protect my time, energy, and resources. There was empowerment when I decided to choose to use my gifts and talents for situations related to the calling for which my life was purposed. There was a difference between the exhaustion I felt pre 2016 from engagement in situations that I managed, but did not control and the gratifying exhaustive feeling that came from stepping into a challenge I knew I had the ability to strengthen or change for the better.
Life is different when you believe that you are in control of your decisions. In 2016, I challenged myself to initiate actions that would further my goal of living out the calling on my life. I decided that I would spend my energy enhancing my skill sets or empowering other people to strengthen their villages by focusing on ownership of their personal development and decision making. I have never been an advocate of new year’s resolutions because I always feared that I wouldn’t be able to follow through on the year long challenges. I feared that the resolutions were made to be broken. I learned in 2016 that I had a better chance of meeting the challenge of a New Year’s resolution if the driving force was my passion and calling. Last weekend as I uploaded my blog, I celebrated the fact that each week except in 2016 I posted a blog entry. I celebrated the fact that I made a decision to use my voice to promote positive, supportive villages for young people every week of a year.
I get one time to live this life and I plan to use my time to focus on decisions that make the things and people around me better. I will choose to make decisions and take actions that make me better and I will promote the same attitude among those I encounter. In 2017, I plan to be about the mission of my blog which is to encourage, empower, and enlighten! I hope that my audience will spend 2017 making decisions to live their callings and passions out loud too!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!