I was falling apart at the end of last year. I was busy at my work hustle, behind on my full-time dream, and trying to buy a house. There was a lot going on, to say the least. So, coming into the New Year, I felt completely drained and needed to make my sanity the first priority. In that, I decided that I needed to do less, in a more impactful way.
Somehow, I only remember to order a planner on the first day of the New Year. But let me explain. As the year winds down, I know that I need a planner. I start to think about planners and even shop around for them. I start to think of features that I would want to have included in my planner and then I mull over whether I should use the same planner or switch.
I haven’t written “end of the year” posts much. But I felt inclined this year because well, 2017 has been a tough one. Not just tough, as there have been many great triumphs as well, but the emotional and sometimes even physical burdens we’ve endured collectively has been a lot. And the best way I have always found to cope is through community and sharing.
I’ll start with some of the amazing things that happened.
I was one of those people where I had my whole life planned out before high school. I knew I was going to Duke, I was going to be married by 26 and thought I knew who I was going to marry and what I was going to do for the rest of my life. I didn’t know that life was about to happen and change my plans. I didn’t know how to adapt to the change of not being in my dream career path.I was feeling pretty lost and had no idea where to go next. I felt like I settled for the things I was good at and kept thinking about my dream. I kept thinking about what another path I was supposed to take and how I was going to find it.
I have been living a lie. Lately, the person I portray to be is not who I really am. Every morning I wake up and I squeeze my new form into an outfit that is four years too old. But yet I wear it anyway because it would take too much energy to explain the changes. It has been said that life changes you. But what they didn’t tell me is that you do not realize how much you have changed until you wake up one day with the task of having to introduce the new you to the world. It is true life does change you. It should change you. But what is written in the fine print is that with life comes grief and grief transforms you in ways you would never expect.
The importance of saying no has been a recurring topic of conversation in many circles. Exercising our right to say no is without a doubt one of the highest forms of self-care. But on the other end of that, you have someone like Shonda Rhimes who wrote an amazing book called “Year of Yes,” where seemingly everything changed the moment she decided to stop saying no to everything. So where exactly should our efforts lie? Well, I believe it’s all about learning how to evaluate your yes.
I was urged to query agents before publishing my first book myself. I didn’t think it was possible, but when you talk to someone you respect and they think it’s possible, you follow suit. I researched agents of some of the books I thought were in the same vein. I read the submission guidelines to see how they varied from company to company. I wrote the proposal and fired a few off in hopes that I might hear something and one day be led to that shiny publishing deal so many of us as writers dream of.