Many people do a year in review highlighting what they have accomplished for the outgoing year. I have done that before, but as I grow and change, I have decided not to highlight all the things I have accomplished or participated in, but I would instead like to list several life lessons that I learned in 2018 hoping that they will be of use to myself and you in 2019.
For the most part, the reason why I have chosen not to do a year in review per se is because WE have been on this journey together. In 2018, my readership doubled, and that is in part because of YOU. I was excited when I first started blogging, just 2 years ago, to have 4000 people read one blog, now it is 100’s of thousands of people from all around the world. I want to say thank you so much for every time you clicked my blog link, for every time you read my work and for every time you shared my work. I do not take that lightly. My mom always told me, “Hannah, people don’t have to be nice to you.” No one is obligated to read my work yet every single time I write something you blow my mind. Thank you. Because of your loyalty and following so many doors have opened for me and I cannot wait to share with you all the incredible things that will be happening in 2019.
Now having said that, I want to give you 4 life lessons that I learned in 2018 that impacted my life, and I hope they will affect yours as we go into 2019.
1. TODAY IS THE DAY. I know that many people wait until January 1 to make a resolution and I had a goal in mind to start working out (which is connected to another life lesson I will share.) So in November I went online and looked up treadmills and found one at Play It Again Sports for $250. It was the best $250 I have spent all year long. Now many people would wait until after the holidays to start a workout plan, but I thought to myself, “Hannah, you can wait until January 1, or you can start now and be 4 weeks ahead of the game by January 1.” I decided to be 4 weeks ahead of the game. I purchased the treadmill, and I am NOT even gonna lie, to walk a half mile was KILLING ME!!! Chilllleeeeee back hurting, breathing heavy, 911 on speed dial!
But I was determined to be consistent and keep at it. Now just 4 weeks later, I can do 3-4 miles with no pain and in fact, went from walking to running part of the time. You NEVER have to wait for a particular day to change ANYTHING that you want to change. January 1 will come and go, and in fact, many people do away with their resolutions just a few weeks into the New Year. But DON’T GIVE UP! Even if you fail your January 1 goal, January 2 is an option. January 3 is an option. February 19 is an option. ANY DAY that you choose to make a change in your life is THE DAY!
2. PREPARE FOR WHAT YOU ARE PRAYING FOR. As many of my Facebook followers know, I have a prayer app named Echo, and you can type your payers and set reminders, and it will notify you on your phone to pray for whatever you wrote. Well, one of my prayers is that I want to travel internationally and share my poetry and commentary on race, feminism, and politics. However, as I started working out and STRUGGLING just to walk half a mile on the treadmill, I was thinking, “Hannah, you are not even prepared for what you are praying for. International travel and speaking take stamina. You will need that as you start to go around the world.” And it clicked for me. If you are praying for something, perhaps you do not have it yet because you have not prepared for what you are asking for. So, when the opportunity presents itself, you are not equipped to handle it, and that is why it fails. Not because you were not “good enough” but because you were not ready to handle the blessing. Every day that I am on my treadmill, I see it as preparation for where I am going. I am preparing my body for the physical strain it will endure traveling, speaking and performing. If you are praying for something ask yourself, “Am I preparing for what I am praying for?” Be honest with yourself. If you are not preparing, start now! Sometimes the only hold up on your blessing is your lack of preparation.
3. ACCEPT THAT THINGS CHANGE. I purchased a Mac Book and a new iPhone. The Mac Book no longer comes with a USB port, and the iPhone no longer comes with a headphone jack. (WTF was Apple thinking?) So, I went into the AT&T store with my daughter to get her a new phone, and I casually asked the salesperson, “Are they ever going to add the headphone jack back to the iPhone?” And she said, “No. Once the technology has changed, it has changed. Rarely, if ever, do things ever go backward. They are constantly moving forward.” And I hated it! I needed an adaptor for this and a plug for that, and I couldn’t stand it! But in her statement, I realized, things change. And we want them to go back because we are inconvenienced, we don’t like it, it doesn’t feel great. But going back many times is not an option. We have to accept a new normal. We have to accept that things change and continue to change often at a rate that we are not comfortable with because it requires that we shift, that we adapt and that doesn’t always feel good. However, instead of continuing to complain about not having my headphone jack, I bought earphones that were Bluetooth compatible. And one day I was in the kitchen cooking listening to music, and I was going to the refrigerator to get something, and I grabbed my phone and it dawned on me, “Hannah, you can leave your phone on the counter because you are not tied to it with the wires from the old headphones.” And I smiled. Change was good, I just had to finally accept it.
4. WHATEVER YOU WANT, SEE IT, SPEAK IT, BE IT! I remember the day just like it was yesterday. I saw this AMAZING photo of former First Lady Michelle Obama’s book singing for Becoming in Chicago at the United Center and I was floored! The United Center seats 23,500 and it appeared as if every single seat was taken.
As an author and speaker, I just could not wrap my mind around that many people coming out for a book signing. True, I am not Michelle Obama but why not me? Why not just believe that people will come out to my book signing like that? Why not trust that people want to hear what I have to say? Why not believe in me? And I realized that I need to dream bigger. I posted those comments on Twitter and went about my day running errands. In the checkout line at Target, I noticed Michelle Obama was on several magazine covers and I rearranged the magazines so that Michelle Obama was front and center. No one puts Baby in a corner!
And I went on about my day. Hours later I found out that former First Lady Michelle Obama had tweeted me. And not only did she tweet me, SHE SAID MY NAME! WHAT?!!! How did I go from talking about Michelle Obama to having Michelle Obama talk to me? If someone would have told me, “Hannah in less than 24 hours, Michelle Obama is going to tweet you,” I would have called them a liar.
That exchange showed me NOTHING is impossible! We just have to dream bigger. If you are dreaming, why limit yourself? A dream can be ANYTHING you want it to be, and yet even in our dreams, we limit ourselves. Why? Because if we are truthful, even we don’t believe it is possible. I dare you TODAY, you don’t even have to wait until the clock strikes midnight, to DREAM SOMETHING SO RIDICULOUSLY HUGE, you think there is no way it could happen! Now, the caveat to that is, you can’t just dream, you have to DREAM AND ACT!! A dream + action = DESTINY! Whatever you are dreaming for, prepare for and be amazed at how everything in the Universe will align for you to walk in your purpose!
These are the 4 life lessons I have learned in 2018 that I share with you and I take into 2019. I hope they inspire and challenge you to dream bigger, to prepare, to act and to know that ANY day is THE DAY to start on your journey. Thank you to all my readers. We have shared tales of Sisterhood. We have reclaimed our space by not moving off the sidewalk. We have challenged and fought racism head-on. I know some of my writing made you angry and upset with me. My blog, Dear White Women, I Am Breaking Up With You, challenged many of my readers, and many of them pushed back against me. I welcome the push. I appreciate the exchange of ideas because that is how we learn TOGETHER and grow TOGETHER. It will not always be easy, and I never promised that it would be. In fact, if I have promised anything, I have promised that it would be difficult. Facing yourself in the mirror is never easy. Some of my readers have yelled at me and have been offended only to step back and realize the truth and totality of what I was saying. I have been as transparent as I can be, revealing things about my life and journey to my audience that I have only shared with a few people.
However, I believe if we are going to grow, I as the writer and you as the reader must be vulnerable at times with each other. I do not ask something from my readers that I am not willing to go through. Writing the I, Too, Am Serena blog was a journey of pain and exposure, but it was worth it to me if it meant my story would be the key to someone’s lock.
As we journey into 2019, I do not know the next steps, the next life lesson or even the next blog I will write. But one thing I do know is that I will be honest, transparent and of course challenging. I never signed up to write anything because I wanted you to be comfortable. My goal is always to make you uncomfortable because I believe change dwells in the realm of the uncomfortable. Be ready!
Thank you again for your comments, for reading and for walking this journey with me.
With Love and Revolution,
Categories: Thoughts, Musings and Reflections