36 Lessons I Learned from “What I Know for Sure”

Lessons I learned from what I know for sure

According to my Goodreads account, I started reading What I Know for Sure by Oprah on August 10, 2015. I finished on June 6, 2016.

That’s almost an entire year of reading the same book. Admittedly, there were some months that I didn’t pick the book up at all. I would think about it and immediately push the thought from my mind. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the book; I actually loved it. It just felt so heavy and I didn’t feel like I was in a good place to actually accept and internalize the lessons that I knew were forthcoming.

What I Know For Sure is a guide; Oprah is a teacher

I haven’t always been a fan of Oprah’s. For some time, I regarded Oprah as someone I couldn’t relate to. She was far more enlightened than I and she had so. much. more than me. Those things are still true (I certainly don’t have “Oprah money”) but there’s still so much I can and did learn from her while reading What I Know for Sure.

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A Peaceful Week

Peaceful week

I almost had a mini breakdown recently. Like full on tears and everything. Dramatic, right?

I was lounging on the couch watching TV with Hubz, when it just hit me. The weight of my ever-growing, never-ending to do list hit me. And it hit hard. I tried to explain to my husband what was happening and why I was so overwhelmed with anxiety. He didn’t get it though. This, of course, made me wonder if something was actually wrong with me since it seemed that I was in this alone. I cried harder. There are just so many changes right now and so much that I don’t have control over. For a control freak like me, it’s absolutely maddening.

It’s not just right now though. For the last few months, I’ve noticed that I’ve been getting these little, mini panic attacks at the start of each week. Even before the move, there seemed to be something nagging at me each and every Sunday. The fact that I plan out each week ahead of time was helpful, but it didn’t seem to be enough. In fact, I actually started to get worried because I was doing all these things to make my life run smoother, but it just didn’t seem to be working.

Too many things will always be too many things

My family and I have been staying with my mom for about two weeks now. Me. A grownup woman with a family of her own moved back in with my mother. And it’s been heavenly. This time has really taught (or retaught) me about peacefulness and calm. Being here has reminded me what it feels like to just “be.” No amount of organizing and planning is going to fix what I’ve got going on when what I’ve got going on is too much. I want peaceful days, peaceful weeks, and a peaceful life so mentally decluttering and focusing on one thing at a time has been so beneficial.

Monday

Delegate. This is quickly becoming my favorite word. Trying to do it all is exhausting. J is at the age where she can take on some responsibility and put in some work around the house. Hubz is also not immune to pulling his weight. Superwoman don’t live here anymore, ya’ll. My mother is an excellent delegater, and seeing her action has reminded me of how family life should be: a team sport.

Tuesday

Don’t trip over dinner. These  past few weeks have been amazing if only because I haven’t had to think about dinner once. My mother has made sure that we eat good each and every night. She’s the real MVP. As our time here draws to an end though, I know that it won’t be long until I have to think about “what’s for dinner” once more…and it’s a topic that by and large brings me the most anxiety during the week. Outside of crock pot meals and my failed attempts at meal planning, I’ve found my greatest weapon against dinner anxiety to be restaurants where kids eat free, like Denny’s. At Denny’s, kids eat free every Tuesday with the purchase of an adult meal. What this means for me is that at least on Tuesdays, the dinner crisis is avoided. J can have her Jr. Cheeseburger and I can have my Grand Slam. Since Hubz usually works late on Wednesday, it’s the perfect set-up.

Dennys Kids Meal

Wednesday

Have some boundaries. Gosh, this is easier said than done. To have a peaceful week, though, (heck, a peaceful life!) I’ve learned that boundaries are non-negotiable. There are certain days where I just have to step back and say, “this fight is not mine.” Or other times when I have to check myself because I find that I’m doing more for the person than he/she is doing for themselves. And that’s not cool. Boundaries are literally lifesavers.

Thursday

Say no. “No is a complete sentence.” I cannot count the number of times I’ve heard my mother say this over the years and most recently, over the last few weeks. She is a serial “no” spitter, so much so that some people know not to even ask her for certain things and the ones who don’t soon learn. Having spent some time back under my mom’s wings, I’ve gotten better at saying “no” and sticking to it because I want people to respect my “no.” It’s not okay to negotiate my “no.” It is what it is and it brings so much peace to say it and be okay with it.

Friday

Don’t compare. I have a terrible habit of comparison, ya’ll. Just terrible. Usually at the end of the week, I look back over what I didn’t do as compared to what I *think* everybody else did do. It’s an ugly, ugly cycle that’s usually accompanied by feelings of inadequacy and FOMO. However, in order to be at peace where I am and to really mean it when I say that I’ve had a peaceful week, I had to let those feelings of comparison go. I am where I am and it’s a reason that I’m here. Comparison takes all that away because it minimizes you and your experiences.

How do you make sure to have a peaceful week?

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Things.

Maximalism

Things. Right now, I’m surrounded by things. There are things everywhere. Things that I didn’t even know I had. Things that I thought I got rid of. Things. Just things.

One of the best things about moving is that you get to see all the stuff you’ve accumulated over the years. And if you’re anything like me, it’s a slap in the face. How can I believe I have nothing when I have so much? Why am I constantly buying shit that’s probably unwanted, and obviously unneeded, when I already have so much? Shame, man. Lots of shame.

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Math.

black-girl-standing-on-colored-bricks

History is repeating itself in my home.

15 years ago, I sat in 7th grade staring at my textbook. The subject? Math. Stupid, dumb, why do we need it, math. Okay, so I know why we need it; I just don’t like it. Or better yet, it doesn’t like me because I actually do like math. And one day, I would like to make it my bitch, but unfortunately it’s way too slick for me. I grasp a concept and it throws a letter or two into the mix. I solve for y  and it tells I’m wrong because I initially solved x wrong. Math and I have just never seen eye to eye. That whore.

Now, though, math is playing a really shitty game of “I’m going to screw over your child’s life” and that’s a game that I’m unwilling to play.

See, when I first started having trouble with math, I was much, much younger than 13. I wasn’t a 7th grader, but a 4th grader. My theory is that I missed one day of school and my fourth grade teacher taught everything I would need to know to advance in my understanding of math that day. And because I wasn’t there, I missed it and thus have struggled every since. My friend, who was in the same fourth grade class as me, does not believe this to be true and insists that I didn’t miss enough that day to explain away my pitiful math track record. I disagree, but whatever.  I don’t remember having problems in math before I missed that day, though. I don’t remember having math at all before that day. I was smooth sailing before then, so what happened?

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Apartment Planning, Sunday Brunch, and My Crew

Thanks Denny’s for sponsoring this conversation on apartment planning, Sunday brunching, and hanging with my crew.

Denny's Family

Things have been moving fast this last week. I’m exhausted. Usually, I can’t wish my days away fast enough. This week, though, I’m begging for just a few more moments, one extra hour, or couple more seconds even. Unfortunately, time waits for no man, or woman, and so here I am.

Everything started around the beginning of May. It’s the time of year when we, as a family, start itching for change. Specifically, a change in our environment. Last year about this time, I was rabid about getting a house, even though Hubz was lukewarm on the idea. I don’t know if it’s the promise of summer and the freedom that it brings that brings about the “I wanna move” movement or maybe it’s that we start spending more time in our home to due to fewer work and school obligations, which gives us more of an opportunity to critique it. Whatever it is, this time of year, the “movement” commences, and doesn’t end until something else catches our attention. In every instance, the result is the same. We talk about it, nitpick our current space, and eventually settle on “making our house a home.” We don’t move–don’t even look at other apartment options if I’m to be honest. We stay put.

Sometimes you have to give up the good to get to the great quote

This time it was different though.

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Podcasts for Women Who Love Personal Development

bicycle-on-hill-with-flowers

I am podcast crazy right now. Just obsessed.

Since I’m still training at my new job, I spend a lot of time in my office reading policy, going through webinars, and reading/sending emails. This means I spend a lot of time sitting on my butt in silence. Normally, I pull out my trusty Samsung headphones (#TeamAndroid) and listen to my work playlist. Recently, though, I’ve started listening to podcast. And y’all, my world has been completely opened up. It’s nothing short of amazing, the gems in the podcast world.

Podcasts for Me

Now I know podcasts aren’t a new thing. Serial may have brought it to the mainstream, but believe me, podcast have been around for a long, long time. Still though, every day new, energetic folks join the podcasting community. What used to be a white man’s world, is now a world filled with diverse voices, both male and female, with diverse experiences and perspectives. And I swear it just gets richer and richer in content with every day that passes. I, of course, have found my people with the goal-setting, personal development, self-care, unicorn bunch. Most of these voices are those of women and I admit I haven’t done much in the way of seeking out men podcasters on these topics. At this time, though, I’m happy with who I’m listening to; I’ve gotten so much out of it.

So back to the goal-setting, personal development, self-care, unicorn bunch. My people, if you will. These women are excellent in what they do. Their advice is sound, their spirit is on point, and it’s obvious that they do what they do not out of obligation, but out of sheer desire to motivate change. Change in the way we think of ourselves, our talents, and our ambitions. Change in the way that we talk to ourselves and about ourselves. Y’all, I’m love with these podcasts.

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