September 14, 2011 marked my one year anniversary as a DC resident. To leave behind all that is familiar (but not comfortable), to embrace the uncertain with the belief that your destiny awaits you is a leap of faith that MANY WILL NEVER, EVER TAKE. I think a life without taking chances is a life that yields very modest, mediocre, and disappointing results. Life is a risk, and the only way to capitalize on gains is to get out there and play.
And this takes me to lesson #1:Everybody is taking chances.
They are just not talking about them. Like any prospector on the cusp of a gold find, they are keeping quiet about their struggles. Weddings are taking place after many, painful failed relationships. Careers are being launched after years in the wrong positions in the wrong fields. Decades of living in silence are shattered by the voices of the newly empowered, shouting “I know my Purpose! I know my Worth!” or maybe a little less eloquent, yet just as powerful:
Lesson #2: It is your honor, right, privilege, duty, responsibility…TO BE SELFISH.
I had a conversation with a friend in which I shared a revelation I came to: You don’t get cool points for being a good person. You don’t get an extra pair of wings in heaven for being everyone’s cheerleader or counselor. If heaven exists as the return to glory and hell is a state of mind on earth, a whoooooole bunch of people are going to be very…very…pissed! Your purpose is not to be someone else’s old faithful. their shoulder to cry on. the one who is left when everyone else moves on. For ‘getting down in the trenches’.
No. What you get is let down, broken-hearted, broken-spirited, disappointed, taken advantage of, picked up and put down when it’s convenient. We spend time pursuing the proverbial ‘wings in heaven’ while crawling through hell on earth.
It’s more than fine to say ‘no’, ‘won’t’, and ‘to hell with you too’. A person who cannot recognize the value in their self and their time will always be reminded by others that they don’t value them either.
Lesson #3: It’s more than okay to dream big, dream wild, dream crazy, and dream CREATION! Only then will you realize your PURPOSE!
Once a person realizes the first two lessons, they arrive at a point of ‘now what?’ They’ve spent so much time helping others to realize their potential and dreams that they realize they have greatly undervalued their own. When you ask a person about their purpose, they usually tell you about their dreams. But dreams typically involve the impact a person will have on the lives of others. What’s in YOUR PURPOSE DRIVEN WALLET?
I have had dreams that I have ‘put on the back-burner’. But the greatest dream of all included returning to my first and longest passion: Writing. I had dreams of being a dancer (yes…she who can’t walk in heels will one day Samba in stiletto’s!), a singer, and a business owner. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. But you can’t journey unless you take the first step.
Lesson #4: It is okay to LET GO.
Let go. Let Go. LET GO. LET GO! LETGO! LEGGO! LEGOOOOOOO!
Let go of the ideas you have surrounding your relationships. Your values. Your ideas. Your constraints. Your fears. Your doubts. Let go of your jobs. Let go of your spouses. Let go of your boyfriends/girlfriends. Let go of the friends who do not reciprocate. As a matter of fact, let go of ANYONE who does not reciprocate! Let go of your issues that hold you back, keep you constrained, and make you ‘that person’ that people would rather do without.
Between March and July of this year, I let go of 6 interpersonal relationships. HARDEST THING EVER…that really wasn’t. I realized that by holding onto those 6 relationships, I was not nurturing the 12 relationships that were standing in their place. It was then that I realized that for every person who lives for a season in your life, there are two that would love nothing more than to spend a lifetime with you as your higher self.
Let them go. Stop holding so tightly to old ideas and old relationships.
Lesson #5: It’s okay to start over. Again. and Again. And Again-Again.
If you believe that God created the Heavens and the Earth in 7 days, you realize that each day was the fresh start of a new creation. If you believe that God created woman from man, then you believe that God too knew it was okay to start over again. If you understood how important it was for you to get IT right (and by it, I mean YOU), then you would realize that the life you lived up until the point you decided to do something different was all to solidify your resolve and strengthen you to stand in your truth.
I’ve started over again. Big deal. Who am I to anyone, and what does my journey matter? It doesn’t. The truth is, everyone is starting over. Everyone is revamping. At this moment, I can name many CEO’s who have failed or are failing in their businesses. I can name grown women, women old enough to be grandmothers, still playing vindictive middle school mind games. I can name grown men who are no better off now than they were when they lived in their parent’s homes. The most powerful man in the free world, our President, is facing a crossroads where he has two choices: be stubborn and continue down the same path…or start over. Because sometimes failure to do so means a failure to thrive.
(You knew there would be a political reference in this post, right? This is DC after all!)
I know that I have grown as an individual. Through my mistakes and miscalculations, I’ve grown stronger, smarter, and wiser. I love more passionately. I learn more humbly. I am okay with not being right. I am fine with being me. DC brought that experience for me. From Southeast Pancake Houses to Northwest Dance Studios. From school meetings and political revelations to falling in love with Capitol architecture. To late nights with school books to watching culinary creations with chickpea flour and Asian Pears.
That is my DC experience.
And experience brings evolution.