Oh 2011. What a year. In reflecting on the year I can't help but think about how this time last year THE black woman all over the news was Oprah Winfrey. Remember? The OWN Network was making it's debut on January 1st with great fanfare and hype. I wondered for her then what must it be like to start your year off like that? How do you live up to it, exceed it, manage it, hell - survive it?
While I didn't launch a network last year - it was a pretty remarkable year with incredible gifts of love, grace, challenges and new starts.
CWUW directs us to Live Life Well. I've said this before, but the mission is so empowering and the words so non-judgmental. Wellness is a pretty defined concept, but how we get there - the implementation is so personal and individual.
Wellness for me this year meant finally getting my grill together. Getting my butt to the dentist and replacing those old silver fillings from childhood with nice modern new chicklet-ish white sealants. I also had to deal with a broken tooth and I had long ignored and finished up some bridge work. I was broke, but smiley. My dentist is a sista who retired from the Air Force. If you gotta give a bunch of money to a dentist, it's nice to know that it's someone who served our country.
In celebration of my new smile, I also decided not to take off more than I can chew. PTO, volunteering, social commitments, family commitments, work. I was serious. It was hard, too. Since my kid has started school - I'd been all up in the PTO. Grant writing, cookie selling, committee working, whatever. Not this year. I wrote a check at the beginning of the year, voted on stuff that I could online and sent cookies for the Teacher holiday recognition. Couldn't do it and amazingly enough didn't feel a lot of guilt about it.
Living well at work this year meant doing what I can well and removing myself from toxic people and situations. That is hard. I work in Washington, DC which has so many type A personalities. Work here is a definer, it's the first thing people ask when you meet them. Where you work, what you do is important here. It's important to me, but on a different level. So this year I was on an assignment that brings a lot of prestige in my office. But it also brings a lot of work. High level, deadline intensive work. The team is led by a brilliant young sista who while she knows she is brilliant doesn't know much of anything else. She is very disrespectful, has no bedside manner and is not too interested in learning from those around her. In any event, after months of serving on this committee, delivering product and holding not just my own but the owns of other committee members - at the expense of my other work, I made the decision to bounce. Get off the committee at a stopping point, thank folk for the experience but bounce. Now with type A's you don't quit. I was well aware of the price that I was to pay in the eyes of some by leaving. But it was a risk that I was willing to take. My career outlook is a little different than that of a 20-something hot shot. I'm looking to do my job well, serve the public, take care of my family and save for retirement. When that is your focus, you can make different decisions than folks who are looking to have their portraits hung in the lobby.
So, I left the committee. Used the golden Taurean voice to articulate all the reasons why the committee wasn't a good fit for ME and bounced. Folk came to me whispering about my courage and my strength. Yeah, whatever. I'm happy and sane. If my leaving that committee costs me a prime, cush assignment in the future so be it. I'm well at my job now. No longer feeling sick and was damn proud of myself for recognizing my limitation and readjusting the situation to accommodate myself.
Same with family stuff. Family is in Indiana, New Jersey, Georgia - there is not the time, money nor energy to see everyone all the time. Now where I was straight realistic about finances and the limitations on time - that didn't prevent me from extending invites to family. It was a pleasant surprise when they took me up on invitations. This year we were blessed to have Rhonda and Rashida top off our year with a January visit, my husband's mom came for Spring Break, friends from Holland came after her, my mom and step dad came after them on Mother's Day weekend, my husband's mom and my mom both came within a couple of weeks of each other this summer and my cousin and his wife came after Thanksgiving. Definitely going to do a repeat on that for 2012. When folk say, "When are you coming home?", I'll say, "Why don't you come visit us? We already home...living life well!".