I know I joke a lot, but truthfully 2018 was an interesting year. While there were many bumps along the road, I’d like to think it was an okay year overall. Would I do it over? Not in a million years. – But it did bring a lot of good times. There were a lot of tears, but also a lot of triumphs. A lot of opportunities and quite a bit of things to celebrate.
I’ve seen a lot of people sharing one word to sum up their year lately. I tried. Looking back, I don’t think there’s anyway in this world I would be able to capture every experience from 2018 in just one word. All of the frustration, fear, anger, sadness, happiness, milestones. – There’s just no way. I decided to do something a little different. I want to do somewhat of a look back // reflection on 2018 and share 18 lessons I’ve learned. Although the experiences are personal, I believe the lessons tied to them are things we can all relate to in one way or another.
18 Lessons We Can All Take Away From 2018
1. Enjoy The Moment Now: You’ll Never Get This Exact One Back Again
Recently, I shared a blog, Your Presence is Present Enough. It talked about the importance of living in the moment and it also shared ways to be more present. I love capturing memories. I love being able to connect with the world on social media, but there are also times when we need to put down the phones and cameras. Times when we just need to enjoy and live.
2. There’s so Much Beauty in the World, Just Waiting to be Seen
You guys watched and read about my trip overseas. Last year was my first time leaving the US! I visited two different counties, not to mention all of my domestic travels. It was amazing to see so much more of the world. Being in a longterm relationship for so long (in the past), I somewhat lost myself. I didn’t have a chance to understand what I wanted out of life. I was so focused on my significant other and the wellbeing of our relationship, I didn’t make time for me. I didn’t realize how much I’d evolved and how my needs had changed. Traveling has given me such an escape. It’s such a breath of fresh air to just live. Go to a random country where no one knows anything about you. Learn a new language. Taste different foods. Learn different cultures.
3. There’s No Shame In Asking For Help
Do you remember when I released, Heroes Come From Unexpected Places? I got a lot of support from that post. It was a very simple story about my grandad (who is newly diagnosed with Lung Cancer) tried to take out the trash. It seemed so small, but it really winded him and he ended up missing trash pickup anyway. – It’s a really beautiful story; if you haven’t read it yet, I’d encourage you to check it out.
I saw how determined my grandfather was. I saw how strong he was, but I also could see his frustration and stubbornness. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to need help. No one in this world would make it if they had to take on everything alone.
4. The Unexplainable Bonds Are The Best Ones
In life you will meet a lot of people. Certain ones you feel an instant connection with. I experienced that feeling a few times last year. These people will bring you a lot of joy. They will bring you understanding because of the unexplainable, yet undeniable similarities you share. Most importantly, they will bring you comfort. You become immediately comfortable with these people because the connection is so pure and natural. It’s as if you don’t have to try at all. These are the best bonds. These are the people you need in your life.
5. A Clean Home is a Clean Mind
For the New Year, I decided to do some redecorating. I re-did my entire room. I bought a new bed, accessories, got a new dresser and donated quite a few things to Goodwill. – There’s still a bit more I would like to get rid of, but it’s come a long way. The first night I slept in my new room // bed, I had a chance to actually enjoy the freedom of a clear mind. With things scattered around, I found that my brain was also scattered. I was forgetful and couldn’t keep up with things I needed or what I had to get done.
6. Love Starts With You
After my breakup, it was really important for me to take some time to get to know myself better. I really wanted to embrace life as a single woman. – And I did. I realize now, it’s impossible to love someone else (properly) without first loving yourself. Taking time to heal is essential. I hope to live with intention. I want all of my relationships to be meaningful in 2019: friends, family, significant other, ect.
7. Sometimes, You Just Need a Friend
Last year was a hard year. It felt like an emotional roller coaster. There were so many times I would get so depressed. So frustrated. My friends came through every single time. Whether it was dinner and drinks or pick-me-up texts from friends located across the country, the love was real. There are times when it’s just that simple: you need a friend. You need people you can rely on. You need people to in your corner. Whether it’s convincing you to Hike a Mountain, or just someone to wipe your tears, you need people.
8. You Have The Power to Create Change, Do It.
A while back, I created a post called, We Are The Change We Seek. This was influenced by a trip to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation Headquarters and a long talk with a fellow Health Advocate, Brooke Abbott. Every time I speak with Brooke her passion shines through. *You’ll learn more about her and her journey in posts to come.* Seeing how much she does for the community really empowered me to do more. Even just wanting to do more is a start. You have the power to create change and there is no better time than the present.
9. Every Curl is Beautiful
This was my first year actually embracing my curls. It felt amazzzinnnggg! Just being able to let my hair down or shower, go out in the rain without any worries! If you’re also a curly girl, stay tuned! I have a new video coming out about my winter curly hair hacks & 5 easy go-to styles! Subscribe on YouTube and the blog so you won’t miss a thing!
10. You’re Never Too Sick For Love
I’ve always been a pretty independent person. I don’t like having to rely on others for anything. I moved out at 18 years old. I started working full-time around 20. I’ve always had my own home. My bills have always been paid by me. – Moving in with my sister has given me an entirely different perspective on life, love, family and how I deal with my condition. Although I’m very solo, my sister is very caring. She has a naturally “mothering” nature. She’s constantly asking me about how I feel, checking on me, bringing me food. To be honest, I found it bothersome at first. I wondered why she was always so concerned. I became annoyed. As time passed I realized, she just cares. As much as I want to be independent, I know we all need a little help every now and again. It’s okay to let people in and allow them to give you some lovin’ when you’re feeling down. – Even when you’re not!
In the photo above, it was around Christmas time. I was so sick. I had this weird cold // flu combo and I just couldn’t pass it. I’d been taking medicine, but I was so tired and hadn’t brushed my hair in days. Tamia never likes to see her Auntie-Godmommy Shawn down. We opened presents and played with toys together! It really did lift my spirits.
11. The Strongest People We Know Are Often The Most Fragile
My grandmother is truly one of the strongest women I’ve ever met in my life. Not just saying it because she’s my grandmother either. She worked for the post office for over 30+ years, 12 – 15 hour shifts, back to back. Raising bad kids and then bad grands (my sister and I)! She’s amazing. She has always held the family together. Because she’s always been so strong and independent, sometimes I forget that She’s Also Aging, Fragile and Human. I’ve seen her literally do the impossible, from running a household, to Raising My Sister and I When My Mother Was Hospitalized. This women is my superhero. – But even super heroes need love and attention.
12. Two Things You Never Give Up On: You Dreams & Your Faith
When Gary was Diagnosed with Cancer, I gave up on my faith. I lost my hope and my dreams were shattered. I love my grandad. He’s one of my best friends and the funniest, kindest and most honest person I know. When We Found Out He Had Cancer, I was devastated. I went through so many emotions. I was angry at him. Angry with God. I was sad and to be frank: all I could think about was death. How I could possibly live without him. How much time he had left. How I didn’t know a life without him because he came into my life at such a young age.
Recently we got some news… I’ll be sharing more later this month. You’ll have to stay tuned for it!
13. Patience Is Key
This year, more than any other, I learned patience. It’s hard to know when to slow down, especially when it feels like life is so full and the world is moving so fast around you. At times I would find myself in such a hurry for no reason at all! It’s okay to be patient. There’s no reasons to rush through life as if there’s a prize at the finish line. Slow down and appreciate small moments.
14. If You’re the Smartest Person in the Room, You’re in the Wrong Room. Leave. Immediately.
I can be honest with you guys because I’ve told them many times before: When I first met these ladies, I was intimidated! Seriously. Brooke runs Crazy Creole Mommy and Amber Tresca runs AboutIBD and is a health writer for Very Well. I’ve followed these women online for years. I’ve watched them speak on important topics like healthcare and minority issues. I’ve seen them advocate on Capitol Hill. Needless to say, but these are some strong women! When I met them in person for the first time, talk about nervous! My friends are bad a** and they know their stuff. I’m constantly amazed by their work and efforts to give back and advocate for the community. With that being said, don’t be afraid to learn from people. Don’t take intelligence as a threat, but an opportunity. I’m proud of all of my friends and I welcome any opportunity I have for mentorship.
15. If You Dream Big, There’s Absolutely Nothing in This World You Can’t Do
This year brought a lot of opportunities for me. Some you already know of like my feature in the nationally distributed print magazine, Health Monitor, talking about My Experiences as a Minority with a Chronic Illness with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America and Being Featured on the Site Banner with my friend Tina! – Along with other things in the works and that I have yet to announce. It’s insane! I never thought anyone would care about my story or what I had to offer. I was wrong. Dream big and never stop believing in yourself.
16. Babies Are God’s Tiny Gift to the World
There’s no greater joy than the joy a small life brings. You Don’t Have to Birth a Child to Make an Impact.
17. Family is Everything
Whether it’s your God given family, the family you’ve chosen or the family you created: family is everything. Remember to make a little extra time for them this year. – You never know what the future may hold.
18. May We Love More Than We Hate
This year, while visiting New York, Brooke and I had a chance to visit the 911 Memorial & Museum. This is something I will discuss more in later posts, but I did want to acknowledge how much of a life changing experience it was for me. It was so mind blowing to see so much destruction. It was so beautiful to witness so many good people just trying to help. It was so sad to see so much hate. I know we’ve all heard about it. We all saw the video footage. We all post “Never Forget.” – But I strongly believe everyone should visit this museum at least once in their life. It was such an emotional roller coaster. Although I’d seen and heard about what happened, the museum is an experience like no other. It’s like reliving the tragedy. There were points in the tour when all you can do is cry. There is so much more to it than what is seen online. A life changing experience. – Highly recommend.
That wraps up my 18 lessons from 2018. What are some things you’ve learned over the course of the year? Leave them in the comments below! I’d love to create a dialogue on this topic. If you’ve made it this far thank you so, so much for reading. I really put a lot of work into this post. I tried to be as open, honest and vulnerable as possible. I hope you enjoyed and I really look forward to our future together!
Looking to start your goal setting for 2019? Click Here & let’s set our goals together!