Five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes. That is how many minutes exist in one year. Multiply that number by 60 and you will know how many seconds exist in the same year. Time is, inevitably, one concrete way to measure and define a year of one’s life, but as I have learned in 2021, it is not the most accurate way.
A year of LIVING
Covid-19 entered our lives at the beginning of 2020 and, after burning some gas, it sped back up and we are ending this year with the revisitation of not our friends and family, but instead masks, mandates, and much time to ourselves. Currently we are staring the Omicron variant in the eye, as it camouflages itself as the common cold or the flu, and we are steadily losing loved ones. Yet even in the midst of all this death and despair, somehow life still blossoms.
For every post that I saw of someone losing a loved one, I saw a post for someone welcoming a new loved one. From births to marriages (and engagements), my timelines have been filled with so much LIFE that it truly warms my heart! I saw my social media nieces and nephews take their first steps, eat solid food, smash their first cake, graduate from various education levels, get jobs and their first paycheck, and fall in love. Seriously, yall have been living, living!
I know it’s been hard, though. It is often hard to find the will to live when everything around you seems to be in disarray, but, as my brother in Christ shared on this past Sunday, we must LIVE!
Personally, I put on more weight in the past years than I am comfortable with admitting. Carefully thought out angles and great clothing options have hidden what I did not want to show for some time- that depression was weighing me down, literally and figuratively. After much prayer and consideration, I decided that it was time to make a true recommitment to my health and I began a lifestyle change this past Tuesday. Because I did not want my change to feel like a hopeless resolution, I started before the New Year. And on this last day of 2021, I am choosing to thank God for my life, by constantly choosing what is healthiest for me.
A year of being alive has made me see that it is finally time to LIVE.
A year of LAUGHING
Sarcasm is a defense mechanism of mine. Whenever I am feeling awkward or unaware of a situation, I turn to dry humor as a way to cope and find peace in the situation. I fully recognize that my humor and response are often ill-timed and can make others awkward, but, again, it’s a defense strategy of mine. I’m sorry!
To say the least, 2021 has been a year of uncomfortable situations. And as I traversed through each situation, I turned to the things that bring me joy and laughter to cope.
The smile on my niece’s face as she recaps her adventures of fifth grade learning.
The banter of my students as we discuss football teams.
The joyful glee of my mother as she watches her granddaughter perform on stage.
The cries of praise and worship from churchgoers all over the world as we found new ways to worship.
The peacefulness that comes with holding Levar’s hand as we drive all over Maryland/DC/VA/PA.
Yes, there have been some uncomfortable situations that have called for defensive laughter, but there have also been some beautiful moments that have called for genuine and joyful laughter.
I know that every minute of a year will not be happy and will not allow for joyful laughter, but I promise that for 2022, I will find more of those moments and I will laugh like my life depends on it in each and every one of them.
A year of being alive has made me see that it is finally time to LAUGH.
A year of LOVE
Whew- this year has been a bona fide year of LOVE! Not only did God lead me towards true professional love, opening a door that I never thought possible, but He also taught me the true meaning of love.
Funnily enough, God told me that 2021 would be my year of love. He guided me to share the meaning of love and I chose to do that with a monthly post of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a. By the end of the year, I had finally learned that I had so much to learn. I thought that I loved my family, my boyfriend, and myself, but it turns out that I didn’t even know what that word truly meant and each month, God gave me another opportunity to learn its true meaning and purpose. Love is patient and it is kind; but it also is not selfish, does not remember wrongs, endures all things, and does not fail. Love continues on beyond time and situations; love is eternal and has no beginning or ending. Love is so beautiful and unyielding, that the Greeks use four words to encapsulate the diversity of this powerful word. Love is God is God is love.
Though relationships and titles have changed in my life this year, one thing has remained the same- LOVE. Wait, one more thing has changed- I have finally learned how to love me. In pouring out love to others, I have finally learned how to love myself… with more than just food. Minor things like monthly massages, and rekindling my love for writing have allowed me to refill my cup, before I attempt to pour into others. In 2021, I also learned that love is one of the greatest gifts that I can give to others- so I give freely and with no restrictions.
A year of being alive has made me see that it is finally time to LOVE
Beloved, this year has been many things for many people and I would never belittle or diminish your individual experiences. However, as this year ends, I am choosing to focus on the love and lessons that I want to carry into 2022. One of the greatest lessons that I learned this year is that it is OKAY to leave toxic relationships. Whether it is professional, platonic, or romantic; financial, emotional, or mental- end toxic relationships before they end you. In the new year, fight for you. Seek the healthy, seek the wholeness, seek counseling or therapy (if you need it). Whatever you do, heal.
My friend, everything else can remain here, but the LOVE must move on.