People who KNOW ME know me know that I am not a holiday person. I hate it all: the shopping, the decorations, the holiday parties, the biblical fairytales, the white elephants, the black holes of seasonal affective disorder. The irony is that the only thing I like about this wretched time of year is the one thing most people probably hate about it:
That said, I love the week after Christmas a LOT. Not only is it Kwanzaa, but we’re heading into a new year. While it’s an opportunity to make space for new experiences, it’s also an important time to reflect on the year that was. Instead of giving you a Greatest Hits & Misses for 2022, I’m taking a page from one of my favorite writers Laura McKowen (plz read We Are The Luckiest). Here are ten things, great and small, that shifted my mindset and made me grow a little in the past year:
- Evening Yoga – Although I’ve been practicing since I was a wee child, I subconsciously regulated my yoga habit as a morning ritual. It wasn’t until this year that I started doubling up my practice and getting poses in right before bed. The 15 to 20 minutes I take for my evening practice is beginner-level easy and grounding for my soul (my feet never leave the carpet). It’s not only enhanced my quality of sleep, but my body awakens with less tightness. Highly recommended, y’all.
- LinkedIn – I know, I know. This platform often gets a bad rap for being outdated and zero percent fun. There’s truth in both opinions – the site’s branding is in need of an overhaul and you’ll have to go elsewhere on the internet to get the tea on your favorite celebrities or to find hilarious memes. However, if you are looking to build your professional network online, LinkedIn is still that girl. As both a librarian and a yogi, I’ve built connections on the platform that have led to better blog content (such as the Yogi2Yogi interview series) and conference speaking gigs. So log on to the account you haven’t touched in years, dust it off, update all of your awesome accomplishments, and go make friends with strangers who might become your biggest supporters. You can start with me!
- Toni Jones – I hadn’t heard of Toni Jones until recently and I regret having been in the dark this long about this brilliant spoken word artist. I found out about her from one of my favorite reads of the year, Oludara Adeeyo‘s Self-Care for Black Women. This collection of daily devotionals sits at my work desk and I read from it first thing every weekday morning. In one entry, the author mentions a list of songs for positive affirmations and Jones’ No Is Bae is one of them. I streamed the song and have been tuned in every day ever since. No, like LITERALLY, every day. Even my preteen daughter loves Jones’ cool & sure voice divining wisdom over smooth hip-hop R&B beats. It’s been a fantastic and much-needed addition to my self-care routine. Go get you some Toni Jones!
- Blonde Hair – I finally took the leap this year and went blonde! It’s always been a beauty goal for me to go beyond the blacks and chestnut browns of my at-home dye kit years. Kickstarting my divine feminine journey this year (more on that later) really made me say eff it and go for it. I absolutely love it and I think it complements me a great deal. Looking forward to more hair exploration in 2023.
- Monthly Vision Boards – FUN FACT: I still use a paper daily planner. I also decorate it with stickers, color in calendar days, the whole kindergarten bit. I feel like the more creativity I infuse in my planner, the more engrossed I am in my days. The planner I used this year included a special bonus: monthly vision boards. I’ve posted pictures of a few of them on the blog and on the socials. While I keep an annual vision board, having bite-sized reminders of my monthly goals have really kept me at the top of my work and school game this year. (And yes, I got the same one for 2023, too!)
- Public Speaking – 2022 was a highlight for me as a storyteller. I spoke at events about sustainability in libraries (American Library Association’s Annual Conference) as well as my personal story of practicing sobriety throughout a pandemic (Imperfectly You Conference, pictured below). Although these engagements weren’t my first time at the speaker rodeo, I’m grateful for the connections and wisdom gained during these opportunities.
- Grad School Weight Gain – Entering my second year of this #gradschooldiva life was laser focused. TBH, I’m not sure how many el bees I’ve put on since the semester started in August. I haven’t done cardio in weeks nor stepped on a scale in months. My favorite graphic tees are fitting a little more tightly than usual. What I am sure of, however, is that I do not care for once. The mental workout I’m putting my mind and body through right now is focused on a bigger purpose: obtaining my Masters with honors. No doubt, I plan to refocus on weight loss after graduation. In the meantime, I’m happy with my healthy, strong yoga-toned, and, yes, rounder body as is right now.
- My New Bookcase – I know I kicked this post off as a diss track but Christmas happened to come early for me this year. My husband surprised me by building a custom in-wall bookcase in my home office. As a librarian, writer, and avid reader, I don’t have the words to go into how much this gift means to me. That said, organizing my hundreds of books will take a substantial amount of time. I’ll be doing a library tour next year on the blog, so stay tuned.
- Goddesses – The most significant spiritual shift for me in 2022 was stepping into my divine feminine journey and goddess worship. The one who has aligned most with my journey has been Hindu goddess Kali (pictured right). I pray with her daily, allowing her to help me set healthy boundaries and destroy old stories that no longer serve me. It’s been an experience that I never imagined for myself at 43 and look forward to learning more about Kali and other aspects of the divine feminine in 2023 and beyond.
- The Gift of Grace – All of these gifts that worked for me this year – yoga, weight gain, goddesses – led me to a wider capacity of grace for myself and others. I forgive myself faster. I refrain from leaning into old stories of a former version of myself. I continue to learn that control is a nasty illusion. I lead with love more often than with fear. I recognize when my shadow shows up in the form of pettiness, resentment, and judgment (my three go-to fear-based reactions). I recognize and release…most of the time. But anytime I don’t, I take it as a lesson.
That’s what 2022 was for me – like many years – a big lesson. Here’s to more lessons in 2023! Thank you for your support this year. I wish you and yours many blessings.