Investing in the New Year

Well, 2013 is gone and 2014 is here! I hope that everyone is already having a great new year. My new year has already started off much better than the last. I remember bringing in 2013 by myself watching the ball drop in Time Square on television, as my partner, Daniel, was sleeping because he had to work super early at the hospital on New Years Day. There may have been tears even, but no use in looking back, right? This year, however, my partner, Daniel, and I both had off New Years Eve and Day, so we went to a friend’s house for a New Years Party to bid farewell to the past year and welcome the new one. Afterwards, we stopped at a couple local bars to further the celebration and were back home and in bed soon after. It was a night spent with friends and festivities and definitely has set the stage for a great year!

Happy New Year 2014 from the D's

Happy New Year 2014 from the D’s

Today, we got up early and I fixed us some breakfast before working out and cleaning out our closet and dresser with all of the clothes we have worn little to not at all this year. We donated the clothes to Goodwill and went to a late lunch with Uncle Grant at The Colonnade Restaurant. Despite the long wait, we enjoyed a delicious Southern meal that included cornbread, pork, collards, and black-eyed peas so that we might have good luck and wealth this year. At the New Years Party, we actually read our horoscopes for the year and made wishes while releasing Chinese lanterns into the night sky. Here’s to hoping for a prosperous, lucky, and healthy new year for us all!

Although I would love to not give a fuck in 2014, I simply do give a fuck and my biggest goal for this year is to invest. I want to invest in me, my relationships, and my personal and professional life goals. I want to also invest in each moment as fully and authentically as possible. I want to invest in the human capital of myself and those around me to work towards becoming the best versions of ourselves, however we define and understand what those versions are. Investing means giving my time, energy, and resources towards life in meaningful and purposeful ways. It means staying healthy, giving of my talents and strengths, and always continuing to learn and challenge myself. It means remembering my purpose and working towards it every day. Robin Sharma wrote, “investing in yourself is the best investment you will ever make… it will not only improve your life, it will improve the lives of all those around you.” So, this year, I plan to invest. First, in me, second, in others, and third, in the moment. Every moment that I can. May 2014 be my year of investing!

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Looking Back and Looking Forward

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice.” -T.S. Eliot

Out with 2013 and in with 2014! To quote one of my favorite musicals, RENT, “I can’t believe a year went by so fast.” I remember that this time last year I was in a funk. I was NOT looking forward to 2013. I was basically dreading it. As a pretty goal oriented person, I did not have a lot of goals for the year because in 2012 I finally accomplished my biggest educational goal of obtaining my doctorate. How could 2013 compete with that?

Well, as I soon found out, 2013 was still a great year and I learned that each year holds it’s own potential to be great if you allow yourself to be open to it. In 2013, I got a pretty big promotion (and raise!) to Assistant Dean of Students, moved into a new Campus Center with a new office, and got to help build and work along aside an outstanding group of people. I also gave my first (paid!) keynote address, presented at several conferences, and even got an article published! Outside of my professional work, I started eating better and getting more serious about staying healthy. As a result, I lost over 15 pounds and ran my first 10k with Daniel. I could not have imagined doing that before the year began, but so thrilled that I look and feel better than ever! I also went to Pensacola Beach, FL for memorial day, visited Charleston, SC with two of my best friends, Clifton and JP, and even went on my first cruise to the Bahamas with my family this year. Just this past week, I traveled the Midwest with Daniel to visit family and friends for the holidays. Looking back, I really can say that 2013 was hardly a year that I should have dreaded and truly grateful for what a great year it has been!

As for 2014, it is shaping up to also be a great year! I am looking forward to going on another cruise with my family to Jamaica in February, presenting at two conferences in February and March, completing at least one article and starting a couple others, taking the last class I need to complete a graduate certificate in qualitative research, and celebrating Daniel’s huge accomplishment of finishing nursing school in May and becoming a Registered Nurse this summer. I want to continue to eat right, stay healthy, and work towards my life goals this year (as well as consider these resolutions). I want to also start reflectively writing more through this blog (perhaps using daily prompts like these) and continuing to find ways for self-improvement (like life coaching). I am sure that this year will hold many other opportunities to travel, learn, and grow and I am really looking forward to what the year has in store for me, my family, and my friends.

Now, your turn, what are you looking forward to in 2014? Love to hear your goals and resolutions for the new year!

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Investing in Right Now

I grew up always looking into the future. Always. Day and night dreaming. Of what tomorrow had in store for me. I think (wonder if?) growing up gay in rural Arkansas necessitated being future-oriented as a coping mechanism of the world around me. I was always thinking about (a better?) life after high school, filled with college, career, partner, and, and, and. In many ways, I felt like secondary education was a waiting period for when life really was going to begin for me. And, in many ways, it was. From college until today, I have felt freer to be myself than ever before and many of my life goals have been or are being realized, yet my gaze still focuses on the future, rather than right now.

I find myself spending too much time and energy on considering, no fixating on what will be my next big move–another city, another job, another car, another something. I spend all this time dreaming about the what if’s instead of appreciating the right now’s. I lose out on the opportunities to enjoy what I have in this moment–moments that are the direct result of all the moments leading up to this moment, not the moments yet to come. Instead of always dreaming about the future, I need to invest fully in today, in what I have, and who I share my life with. It is for this reason that I think my new year’s resolution for next year (right now!) will be: Investing More in Twenty One Four!

I want to spend more effort in truly living the life I have worked so hard to get and appreciating the joy that my life has to offer in every moment, not just the future. I want to invest in myself (mind, body, and spirit), my partner (mind, body, and spirit), my pets, my home, my work, and my life. Giving myself permission to enjoy my life, my relationships, and myself without disregard for tomorrow, but with authentic appreciation for how things are today. And, I suppose, there really is no better time to start investing more in my life as it is right now than today!

I was searching for some advice on “living in the moment” and I stumbled upon Jason Mraz’s song Living in the Moment that pretty much sums it up. I also cannot help but think about No Day But Today from the musical RENT, so I posted that below too (sang by the amazing Idina Menzel). Enjoy living in the moment and appreciating no day but today!

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Weekly Pug Pic

Putting Safety First - Cooper All Buckled Up!

Putting Safety First – Cooper All Buckled Up!

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Rain or Shine: No Matter What We’re Camping!

What were we thinking? Maybe that was the problem… we really weren’t!

My friends, Chris and Drew, and Daniel and I decided a week or so ago that we wanted to get away from the city and go camping for the Fourth of July weekend. A week or so ago that was a good idea, but looking at the projected weather for this weekend it did not look quite as good. You can see Friday’s weather for yourself below!

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Against our better judgement, though, we decided to still go to Lake Lanier and stay at Shoal Creek Campgrounds. At first, we were just going to drive up there and check out the site to see if the weather was good enough to set-up. Two days later and more rain that I care to remember, we did more than just “check out” the site… we truly experienced it!

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From grilling out to playing 20 questions under umbrellas in the rain, we managed to make the most of it and still enjoy a wonderful time together. We brought one of our pugs, Cooper, with us for his first camping trip and, for the most part, he really had a great time getting to roam around off his leash, swim in the water, and playing with everyone. On Saturday, we even got to spend the entire afternoon on the lake at Gay Cove, which was surprisingly busy for a rainy holiday weekend. There were a fair amount of boats and people there to make for a fun afternoon of meeting new people and swimming in the water, which Cooper did to the point that he wore his little self out. We also all noticed the floating memorial of flowers in the water for a man who had died from drowning recently at the cove (in memory of Lindy James Murdock), which reminded us all of the importance of safety for ourselves and one another. We stayed at the cove for several hours before making the trip back to our campsite to have dinner and rest up.

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Having sustained two pretty bad storms both nights, we all woke up early this morning and immediately packed up to head home. It was funny that literally all of us had the same idea! By 8:30 a.m., we were all packed and on the road back to Atlanta. Although I am so glad we got to spend a weekend away with friends (and cannot say enough about how important and precious time together like this is!), I definitely am glad to be back home, showered, and enjoying the luxuries of having electricity and running water again. As Daniel said on our drive home, “that does it for camping for me for at least another year!” Until the next time (or year!)… happy camping, y’all!

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