I treat birthdays like most folks treat New Year's Eve. It's not only EPIC but It's also a time where I look back at my year and determine if it was successful or not. This year I will be celebrating a birthday. Not necessarily one of those "mile stone" birthdays per se but it's pretty significant to me. I will be 36. Unlike 35, when you round off the number 36 you get 40. That used to scare me. Not so much because 40 is old, but because the impact of just typing that age had on me. (Side bar: Just so you know every year the defining age for "old" is going to drastically leap for me). I am not sure when I developed that unhealthy habit, but the older I got the more I evaluated my success based on the list of the things that I said I would accomplish by a specific timeframe. Just a little advice ....don't do that. I mean seriously, it's one of those things in life that can cause you to throw yourself a massive pity party. Like listening to a Drake song. Other than having Marvin's Room playing on repeat I can't think of too many things that can make you feel like a failure faster than mental noting all the things you did NOT accomplish. In the interest of forgoing everything unhealthy in my life, this year I decided to do things differently. Instead of identifying all the things I didn't do this year I will evaluate my success based on the quality and quantity of things I learned. In no specific order here is my list:
1.Always create ways to have multiple streams of income. Active income (which most of us have) is cool, but find ways to create residual income.
2.Never get so busy helping somebody else build their dreams that you forget your own. This seems only typical when it occurs within a relationship dynamic. The truth is when you are employed by someone else you are in fact helping the business owner(s) build their dreams. Before a job description for your title was developed it first started as a small part in somebody's larger vision. Of course it is a reciprocal exchange because you are receiving payment for your work, but don't get so inundated with the job responsibilities that you forget you have your very own goals. At the risk of coming off as sounding very Dame Dash-ish I'm going to say it anyway..... don't forget to use the talents you've honed to create your own empire! This can be done while still being gainfully employed by someone else....just don't allow your goals to die while you are giving life to those of another person.
3.Never take your blood family for granted. Nobody will ride harder for you than these folks!
4.At any point in time you can choose to have internal peace. I know this sounds like a cliché but I learned this truth during one of darkest times in my life. At times we have little control over external painful situations. Whether said painful situation was a result of something you caused or something that was out of your control, at any point we can control how we respond to it. Choosing a positive response that fosters peace isn't always easy. The irony in this is that at times it may feel like you are fighting to maintain peace. The beauty in this is that it will always be worth it.
5.Never let the praises of others impact your self-worth no matter how highly you regard them. Everyone in the world can crown you queen but stay humble. The way you view yourself must be driven by internal elements. Anything contrary would be giving away too much power.
6.Be careful when forming a relationship with people that are emotionally broken. For starters, broken people do broken things. Second, they can find it difficult to distinguish between you and those individuals that inflicted the pain.
7.Neglecting your spiritual health is like neglecting your physical health. Signs of the level of care you provided will always manifest in your life.
Some of these lessons cost more than others, but they were all worth the price tag. Gone are the socially prescribed list of goals that operate as a yearly litmus test for my success. Reflecting on the byproducts of the lessons, I say I had a pretty successful year. A toast to embracing the big 3-0.....come on ....just go with my lie ;-) .