Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Stream of Conscious Holiday Manifesto… Reflections on A Quarter Century
* A writing ritual I do at each year's end. Personal, cathartic-- and for some reason I feature it on my blog. Feel free to skip. Or better yet, try it yourself.
It is the final day of my twenty-fifth year and what a fleeting year this has been been. Twenty-Five passed in such a flurry, I want to do it again. So I will. Tomorrow, on my birthday, I will be celebrating 25. Again. After all, they always say you’re only 25 once... and I never do what they always say.
This year has felt like a turbulent flight and right now I’m idle on the runway trying to figure out where to take off to next. I tried new things like belly dancing and ballroom. I got serious about my book. I believe it is my big idea--- you know, the aha-moment of a lifetime. I moved on from heartbreak and began reaping the benefits of being a Siren (in the making). With a quater-century down, and a powerful loss in the recent path, I began to see how important it is to live like there's no tomorrow.
I began 2011 in Jacksonville, Florida where I was in the third year of a contract with a television news station. What can I say about my experience as a local news reporter except I learned a lot about TV, about myself, and you couldn’t pay me enough money to move down there and do it again. When the opportunity arose for me to re-sign a new contract for another three years as an over-worked, under-paid (and appreciated) TV journalist I said, “No, thank you.”. It’s funny how I was so certain about what I didn’t want even though I had no idea what I did want. The truth is I had no back-up plan and that was on purpose. I have wanted to be a media personality since I was 14 years old. It never dawned on me that I’d despise my first television gig.
But maybe that was paying dues…
It has been a month since I’ve moved back home and I can honestly say I have no regrets. I do not miss working in Florida one bit. I’ve been waiting for the morning when I’d rise and feel like heading to the studio at the butt-crack of dawn, but… that hasn’t happened yet. I’m proud of myself for going after my dream, landing an on-air position right out of school, and moving to a new state where I didn’t know a soul. That gave me some chops. But your twenties are about figuring out what you do want out of life just as much as they are about figuring out what you don’t want. What I didn’t want was to be far away from my family. What I didn’t want was to continue turning mindless stories whose sole purpose was to take up two minutes of air space.
I do want to matter.
I’ve always wanted to matter and in fact, now that I am back at home, getting reacquainted with New Jersey winter, I know that the next move I make has to put me some place where I am making a difference in someone’s life and using my brain. Perhaps I was making a difference as a Black woman on TV in Medium-City, South. My fans often referred to me as a positive role model, but after three years, that wasn’t enough. I'm using this time to re-evaluate.
In your twenties (and twenty-five just happens to be the ultimate metanym for "your twenties") the greatest obstacle isn’t figuring out what you want to do with your life, but overcoming your innate fear of being your best self. I've come to learn that the hardest part isn’t completing the journey. Sometimes it's taking the first step. As I see it, most humans have a deep-rooted fear of inadequacy. I realize that now as my big idea--- the book serves as a gross reminder of the thin line between the life of your dreams and what could have been.
It’s several days after Christmas but it really didn’t feel much like Christmas at all. Still, my soul is merry. I am at home, finally, surrounded by people I love. What my 25-year old person will know this time around is that it is okay to re-prioritize your life. Right now, I love how simple life is, even if this state is only temporary. I love being with my family, hugging my parents each day, and lying in my bed until the sun wakes me up. The daily glamour is gone. I am sans weave and a full face of make-up. In fact, I spend most days in jeans . And yet, in my natural state, I merely feel as if I am back stage, preparing, for the performance of my life.