2017 is past the halfway point. Can you believe it? If the weather wasn’t so nice, I’d swear January was just last month! This year is zooming by and creating so many lasting lessons, memories, and experiences in its wake, I can’t help but be grateful.
When this year started off, I was optimistic but skeptical. Like many people, I had some goals I wanted to accomplish, some things I wanted to do, but I have those every year. And every year is usually like the one before…a swing and a miss. Plans undone, goals unaccomplished, and self-doubt growing larger and larger. So when I say I was optimistic but skeptical, I really mean it.
Things have been different in 2017, though. I have been different in 2017. First, I changed my mindset. I decided to stop fighting the same battles, stop having the same arguments, and stop doing the same things that were keeping me stuck. Secondly, I decided to try. Try new things, try old things that I’d forgotten about, try new people, etc. And wouldn’t you know, it worked and gave me some of the best times!
Here are my 10 most awesome experiences of 2017 so far
- I went to California. California is the first place on the west coast that I’ve visited. I have been up and down middle America and throughout the south, and I’ve even spent some time on the east coast before, but I’d never been to the west coast. Never really needed to. But on a whim in April, I decided that it was time to check it out. And even though California (Los Angeles) is not my favorite place, I’d be lying if I said I’m not glad I went.
- I visited the house where The People Under the Stairs was filmed. This was by far the highlight of our trip to Los Angeles. It made the traffic, and the sun, and the heat, and the prices all worth it. I am a huge PUTS fan and it was quite the experience to not only see the house, but meet the owner and her daughter. We also saw Murder House from American Horror Story and the house where Rob Zombie’s Halloween was filmed. Ironically, it was right across the street from The People Under the Stairs house.
- Flying with my family. Our trip to California marked the first time we’d ever flown as a family. J, of course, had never flown and it had been years (and years) since Hubz had been on a plane. I love experiences new things with them and taking in new things as a family. I hope that J will look back on these times and feel the same way I feel about them now.
- We roadtripped to Alabama. Lawd, that was a long drive! We left super early in the morning (because we were supposed to leave the night before, but I’m always late) and made it to Mobile that night. The 16+ hour drive was uneventful, but we prolonged it to stop in Mississippi to see my folks. I absolutely loved seeing my husband interacting with his mother, and grandmother, great grandmother, and auntie (who all drove from New Orleans to see him), sister, and new brother-in-law. He hadn’t seen his family in so long and it was just a joyous occasion all around.
- I got to spend time with my favorite aunt. I don’t have the vocabulary to express how good it felt to see my aunt. I just don’t. She means so much to me and to think that I hadn’t seen her in almost 10 years is unfathomable.
- I was child-free for two whole weeks. What is this hocus pocus tomfoolery? Hubz and I without J?!? Yes y’all, it happened. And like two parents that have never had extended time away from their child (in 9 years), we didn’t know what to do with ourselves. We literally sat there on some nights waiting to call our kid before bed because we were desperate to hear her tiny voice. Overall, it was great, though. We look forward to doing it again and I swear next time we’ll be better at it.
- Solo traveling to Chicago. Bliss. Just straight up bliss. I wrote about it here.
- Attending Blavity’s EmpowerHer17. This was my main reason for visiting Chicago back in June and it was one of the best things I could have done for myself. It had to be fate or some type of “Universe was looking out for me” thing because before happening upon a random tweet, I had no idea that EmpowerHer even existed. But I bought my ticket anyway and prayed for guidance. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.
- I got accepted into grad school. Yoooo, I’m still on cloud nine about this one because I really can’t believe it. I had a turbulent undergrad experience, going to “a few” colleges and changing majors “a few” times before finally graduating with my bachelors. That experience, despite all that it taught me, made me question a graduate school’s willingness to accept me into a professional program. My grades were good during the last 3 years of school, but those first couple of years with having a baby, changing majors, switching schools, etc. really took a toll academically. Couple that with the fact that I had outstanding debt at my undergrad institution and couldn’t get my transcripts, and grad school was looking bleaker than a mug. But God (and my mama) came through! And after worrying about LORs, my decent but not stellar GRE score, and that personal statement that had me questioning my abilities and worthiness every other paragraph, I got my (two) acceptance letters. One of the best days ever!
- I started (and have continued) mental health counseling. This may be the best experience of 2017 so far. Acknowledging that I was not well and then actually going forth with seeking help was a major turning point for me. I don’t think that I would have been able to handle everything else on this list without leaning into the skills I’m learning and practicing in therapy. There’s no way I would have been confident enough to attend EmpowerHer without mentally tearing myself down because I was not where the other women were in their journey. There would have been no way that I would have been able to sing “Okay ladies, now let’s get in formation” at the top of my lungs with the other women in attendance and really mean it and really feel that I possessed the same power as them to get stuff done and make great things happen.