Two thousand twenty-two ended very swiftly. Here we are several days into 2023 and I am just now reflecting on 2022. It’s funny because I did the obligatory “2022 reel review of the year” where I posted my favorite memories and pictures. I had a lot of fun and met a lot of great people who I pray will turn into lasting friends. When I really sit and reflect on all that I navigated throughout the year, I wonder how I survived. How did I keep going and creating all of these beautiful memories in the midst of an equally traumatic year?
If I’m honest with myself, I struggled emotionally. I spent many days sad and uncertain. I experienced very high highs and low lows (I spoke about some of this in previous blogs). A job I loved turned into a hellish nightmare. I felt the physical effects of stress and anxiety – grinding my teeth, knots in my stomach, crying, being unmotivated, etc. There was a shift in my relationship with my husband that caused me to pause and question our love in ways I hadn’t before.
As I acknowledge how hard I struggled, I must also acknowledge how I survived and managed to keep myself a priority, because 2022 did not break me and I made it! Three themes come to mind when I think about what enabled me to get through it: connection, authenticity, and rest.
I was deliberate and keenly aware of who I spent my time with. If the energy wasn’t right, I started removing myself from situations and people whose connection didn’t serve me. I leaned into people and situations that were kind, peaceful, nourishing, and fruitful. It’s what my spirit needed and because I was so emotionally fragile, I had to be proactive about protecting my peace.
I was invited to a bachelorette getaway in Medellin, Colombia early in the year where I only knew 4 out of 10 ladies on the trip. I was initially apprehensive about attending, but resolved that if the vibe wasn’t right, I’d just figure out things to do on my own. It turned out to be amazing – no drama, a lot of fun, and true connections made. I enjoyed my time so much that I connected with a few of the women from the trip in other cities throughout the year. One even spent a week with my family and me in Martha’s Vineyard. I’m grateful for these new connections and blessed by the additions to my life.
Another area where connection was important this year was with my therapist. I started seeing a new therapist. She’s amazing and over time I found out that we have a lot in common, including being members of the same sorority. Shewas everything I needed to get through the year. She saw me at my worst, gave me the tools to navigate the most difficult times throughout the year, and listened to me without judgment. On top of all that, she encouraged me and celebrated me constantly. She would tell me, “Monée, you are winning!” It meant a lot to hear her say those words because I didn’t feel like I was winning at the time and it changed my perspective on the reality of my life. I wasn’t perfect and life isn’t perfect, but my efforts are worth being celebrated. It was important that I found a therapist who could really help me but who I also could develop a sort of friendship with.
I had a small epiphany this year. I was at a gathering over the summer when someone began dominating the conversation, bragging, and challenging other people’s thoughts and ideas. This was also someone who typically presents themselves as picture-perfect. I sat back and observed the reactions of other people in the room and it was obvious they weren’t feeling it. Later that evening, I was with a few people from the gathering who brought up the incident and how uncomfortable the conversation was and questioned why this person is consistently like that. This led me to the idea of genuineness and authenticity. Of course, it’s important to be outwardly genuine and authentic with people whom we come in contact with, but what about ourselves? I reflected on how I can be authentic to myself. Am I being true to who I am, to my thoughts, to my desires, and my goals? Am I operating authentically with me in mind?
For the latter part of the year this dictated how I moved. I said yes to the things that brought me joy. I reflected more on what my goals were personally and professionally. I made adjustments in my life that allowed me to be authentically me.
I started following Octavia F. Raheem, author of the book Pause, Rest, Be. I also followed The Nap Ministry whose founder wrote the book, Rest is Resistance. Both of these movements have this simple yet thought-provoking idea that there is power in rest. I started my season of rest in July. I vacationed and eased into life as a full-time entrepreneur, and was deliberately restful. I spent 2 weeks in Martha’s Vineyard – 1 week with family and 1 week without. I felt so free and at ease. I explored the island mostly solo with my bike in tow. I enjoyed the sunshine, people-watching, and beautiful scenery. I spent a day creating more memories with my best friend. I stayed leisurely busy, exploring at my own pace and on my own time. Prioritizing rest was such an accomplishment for me. My body and mind needed it. Moving forward, rest is a part of life. I nap. I listen to my body and am not apologetic about prioritizing rest when my body tells me I need it.
Everything that helped me make it through this year – connection, authenticity, and rest — are the things that will continue to help me thrive. I’ve learned to accept that life is what it is. There are some years when you can’t catch a break. There are some years when you are winning all year long. There are other years with a healthy mix of both.
I realize that if I had not gone through what I did, I would not be here today. Today feels good. I’m hopeful. I’m blessed. I’m still a little stressed but I’m lighter.
At the end of each year, regardless of the type of year, I’m going to end it with gratitude. Why? There are so many lessons and blessings every day whether I’m learning or experiencing expansion, I’m winning!
For 2023, in addition to rolling over authenticity and rest, I’m focusing on harmony and intimacy – a deeper form of connection. I’m excited. Stay tuned!