This year wasn’t all peaches and cream for me y’all, but 2017 was 20 times better than last year or the year before that. Beyond the great blessings like snagging new writing gigs, getting my own apartment by myself, and starting this great site, it was filled with a lot of lessons learned (some re-learned). Above all else, I finally found inner peace and happiness again, and became a better, stronger Brittany. I’m forever grateful for that.
But, like I said, it was all peaches and cream, and there were still some internal struggles I had to face head on. However, as I reflect on this year, those struggles definitely solidified some strong takeways and lessons for me.
TRUST IN THE TIMING OF LIFE.
At the end of 2016 going in 2017, I was so tempted to settle when it came to everything. My work. My living situation. My personal life. However, I started reading Shonda Rhimes’ Year of Yes, and it motivated me to get myself together. 2017 wasn’t perfect, but I realized that I needed to change my own attitude about where I was in my life, and keep pressing ahead. That’s when things started to turn around for me.
I realize now that, last year, I wasn’t ready mentally for where I am now. I was still in mourning over the loss of my Nana and aunt, and feeling seriously stuck in life. Looking back, I was in a walking depression, going through the motions. I also wasn’t disciplined enough, or productive enough. I honestly wasn’t ready for all that I’m doing now. But now I am, and I’m going after everything that I want.
This year taught me that everything in your life happens EXACTLY when it’s supposed to. So don’t be discouraged if you feel a little delayed or stuck right now. There are still days when I feel that way, but I know now that everything I’m going through is preparing me for what I asked for, and where I’m meant to be.
GET AND KEEP YOUR MONEY IN ORDER.
Chile. I had my own bills and responsibilities before, but they were chump change compared to living on your own. I don’t have a roommate to split rent and bills, so I had to buckle down for real, and get my ish together! That meant sticking to a serious budget, saving a certain amount a month, and stepping up my game when it came to my writing to make more cash outside of my 9-5. I still have a ways to go, but I’m learning.
However, I LIVE for being able to take care of myself. I seriously feel so strong writing that rent check and taking it down the leasing office ahead of the due date (and then a little heartbroken after the check clears). But my bills are paid on time, my savings are still looking good, and my credit score is muy bueno, so I’m doing all right. But, in 2018, I’m working on ways to make more money…while doing what I actually love.
PLANNING IS ONLY THE FIRST STEP. EXECUTION MATTERS MOST.
I learned this year that all this planning, and writing down ideas, and color coding crap honestly means nothing if you’re not actually executing anything. I had a book full of ideas that I didn’t fully develop until months after first creating Imperfectly B. Partly out of time constraints. Mostly out of fear.
However, I learned that if I’m really going to go to the next level, I have to stop all this planning and actually take strategic action. I have to execute the ideas in my head and in my books, because they’ll never thrive if they stay inside. Plus, nobody wants to keep hearing or talking about what you plan to do, for real. Especially if you’ve been talking about it for ages. Matter of fact, don’t even talk until everything is already done.
NOBODY OWES YOU ANYTHING SO STOP EXPECTING IT.
LAWD. This one was a big one for me. Of course,
we all know most of us know that this world doesn’t owe us anything. However, I think one of the biggest downfalls of my generation is believing that JUST BECAUSE we work hard and are actually good at what we do, that we’re automatically going to be rewarded for it. Or paid accordingly for it. Or promoted for it. Or whatever else for it. That’s not always the case. It sucks, and it’s incredibly annoying and angering, but it’s true.
I had to stop expecting things from other people, and start expecting more out of my own self. I had to make my own executive decisions about how I want my life to go, and what I’m going to do in order to get there. I had to invest more in myself, instead of thinking people would do it for me. I had to build my own supporters that I know have my back, instead of automatically expecting people I know to help me. It doesn’t always happen like that. You have to help yourself. You have to put in the time and effort to make new contacts, create a side hustle to eventually become your main, to put yourself out there for more opportunities and prove why you should get them. No one is just going to hand them to you…even if you do deserve them.
IT’S OKAY TO BE VULNERABLE.
Ugh. So I’m one of the “strong ones,” I guess in my family. Maybe it comes from being the oldest, but I learned quickly to take care of myself. Though I know I have many in my corner that has my back, I’m not the quickest to admit that I need help. And I’m certainly not always the quickest to share my deepest feelings and insecurities. Being vulnerable often makes me uncomfortable, because I never want to feel like I’m unloading on people.
Well, I had to break through that slowly but surely, and began to open up more to a select few about my inner issues with grief, insecurities, and anger. And you know what? I felt so much better after. All of the feelings that I kept bottled up have been released with people that I truly can trust. Once you find those select few you can trust who won’t judge you (but keep it real too), allow yourself to be more open with them.
TAKE CARE OF YOU.
I know, I know. Everybody and their mother is talking about the importance of self-care. But it really does matter y’all. Because you can’t truly be good to others if you aren’t good to yourself first.
And taking care of you is literally anything you want it to be. It can be going out for brunch and endless mimosas. It can be going out to the gym for a good workout. It can be happy hour with friends after a long day at work. It can be a day filled with nothing but sitting on the couch and watching Netflix and Hulu (just don’t make it every day, okay?). It can be whatever you want, just as long as you make sure you are treating yourself well first. No matter what.