New Year New Things

It’s that time again–almost a week before the new year!  It’s always a time for me to reflect on the current year and set goals for the next one.  Overall, I would say 2013 was a great year.  I didn’t lose any loved ones and everyone remains in great health.  I laughed more times than I cried.  There was heartbreak, which was replaced with the love from family and friends.  I added a few new friends, and allowed a few others to fall to the wayside.  I received a job promotion (more money to give to Uncle Sam—chi ching!) and traveled to awesome new places around the world.  Most years I ring in the new year in midnight mass with the exception of last year and this year.  Since I will be out of the country , I’m posting my New Year’s Resolution list early.

I’m not crafty enough to create a vision board; but if I were, it would have a picture to symbolize this list of fourteen 2014 resolutions (in no particular order):

1.  Purchase a home

I hoped to purchase a home before the end of 2013 but I was unsuccessful.  I’ve made buying a house at the top of my list for the new year.  I’ve always used the excuse that I may return to NY one day as one of the reasons why I’ve procrastinated on buying a home in DC.  I’ve also explained it away as one less asset I have to protect when I get married.  But, I’ve accepted that I will likely live the rest of my life south of the Mason-Dixon line (though I will always be a New Yorker) and my husband and I can always sign a prenup.  So, in 2014 I will become a homeowner!

2.  Listen more say less

I think this one makes the list every year.  Some years I’m better at doing this than other in other years.  Sometimes there is so much more you capture through silence than through words.  In 2014, I’m going to lower my word count.

3.  Spend more time with my family

black-family-extended-360x200I always wish for more hours in a day, but that desire contradicts my need for more sleep.  Nevertheless, I need to find more time to spend with my family.  I spent the weekend with my father who is always a source of entertainment and knowledge.  His patience with me and ability to always know the right things to say is unmatched.  But the time spent with him was also a reminder that he is aging and our time spent together must be cherished.  I’m taking a trip with my number one ace (my mother) over the new year so I am off to a good start with this resolution.

4.  Love fearlessly/Embrace my vulnerability 

A friend sent me this quote that she thought reminded her of me: “Open your heart. Fall in love. Fall in love and do it right; in the most fearless, head over heals, I-can’t-believe-this-is-possible way. Love, with all of your might. And when your heart is so open you don’t know what to do with it all? Let it break.  Let it break. Let it break, and mend, and heal. Let it heal. Then do it all over again. Don’t be afraid. We are capable of the most profound love when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable.” After reading it, I rolled my eyes and flippantly requested that she refrain from sending me such future bullsh*t.  For the few people who really know me, they understand that I possess the ability to empathize (though my word choices may not be the most fluid), but being vulnerable and sharing my feelings is a rarity that only a few witness.  Nevertheless,  I have decided to use this quote to challenge myself in 2014.  We’ll see how this one goes….

5. Take the leap to becoming an adjunct professor

Teaching is one of my many passions.  When I made the decision to change jobs, I spoke with my mentor about a 5-year plan.  He insisted that my plan include teaching a law school class in my practice area.  At the time, I thought he was being crazy and overly ambitious, but he has always believed in me, at times more than I have believed in myself.  I was recently asked to fill in for a professor and teach a few of her law school classes next semester.  I hesitated in taking on the challenge, but recalled my mentor’s vision–one step closer to becoming Professor LIST. 

6.  Put God first

Like #3, this makes the list most years.  It is in my nature to always want to be in control of a situation (I like to say I’m practicing my leadership skills).  At times, I have to take a step back and remind myself that someone higher than me is controlling my life’s journey and therefore I should never forget to put God first.

7.  Trust my gut and never second guess myself

I’m a little book smart; but more importantly, I have a gut that is spot on.  It never steers me wrong or gives me bad advice.  Even when I can’t pinpoint what it’s telling me, I know I should always follow it.  I plan on doing this more.

8.  Charge my friends for legal services

I’m all about utilizing my skills for others, but I usually reserve that for the indigent by taking on pro bono litigation cases.  In 2013, I’ve received quite a few calls/emails from friends seeking legal services–for FREE 99!  Some of them make more money than I do (my ex ‘s business pulls in over a million dollars annually, but he has no shame calling about some legal problem).  As of 2014, my legal advice will be prefaced by a description of my fees.  (Since I know my ex will read this–you’ve been forewarned!).

9.  Make a power career move

I’m always striving for a new challenge.  In 2014, I plan to make a career move to ensure that I stay on my toes and am honing my legal skills.  I haven’t decided whether that move will be an internal change at my current job, or an external change/addition (see #5) but it will take me one step closer to success.

10.  Redefine success

This new years resolution is somewhat counterintuitive to what I just stated in #9.  But in 2014, I’m redefining  contentment for myself.  I distinctly recall an e-mail exchange with a friend a few months ago where I stated what I would do “when I become successful.”  Her response was something to the effect of “it’s sad that you don’t recognize that you’re already successful.”  I will always be an overachiever, but I am going to ensure that I don’t lose sight and appreciate what it means to to me to be successful (if I accomplish even half of the resolutions on this list by the end of 2014 I will have been successful).

11.  Pray more 

Recently, I was talking to a friend in the middle of the day and at noon he said I should stop and pray.  Huh?Even though we both attend the same church, I thought he was joking.  Then he told me that he had started to pray every day at a specific time.  We’re both Catholic, but we have different ways of praying (he says a few Our Fathers, Hail Mary’s and the Act of Contrition, while I have a more personal prayer with God).  The next day, while we spoke, he reminded me that it was prayer time.  It felt very fulfilling to stop and take a moment during the middle of my hectic day to say a prayer–a practice I hope to continue in 2014.

                                                         

12.  Put less weight in how I am perceived 

I’ve lived on this earth for over 30 years and I am pretty comfortable in my skin.  Typically, I try (and fail effortlessly) to find a way to be amenable to others; sometimes it is at the expense of my own happiness.  In 2014 as a daily reminder to myself,  my cell phone ringer will be set to Lil Wayne’s “Don’t Give a F*ck*” .

13. Tighten the inner circle

I have joked with a close friend of mine that our friendship has reached the end of its rope and shall terminate at the stroke of midnight on January 1st 2014, to which she jokingly agreed.  Although our statements were made in jest, each year as I’ve matured I realize that I have grown apart from friendships that haven’t been able to withstand the test of time.  Oftentimes I get the statement, “damn you know everyone in DC”.  This could not be farthest from the truth.  While knowing a large network of people, I have embraced the joy that comes with knowing a lot of people but having a tight inner circle.  In strengthening the bond with those fifteen people, I will loosen the bond with others. I have never lost a friendship that I did not miss losing, but I have never let go of a friendship that I regretted losing.

14.  Exercise more

This one also makes my list every year.  But the older I become, the more important exercise must become a part of my routine.  I’ve already been selected from the lottery to run the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in April (yes, I am a glutton for punishment).  Therefore, the high intensity workout regimen will begin promptly at the beginning of the new year–or when I return from vacation.

Although some people don’t believe in creating resolutions, it serves as a useful roadmap and outline of the things I hope to accomplish with the start of a new year.  What are your resolutions?

Wishing You All a Prosperous and Happy New Year!

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Unanswered Prayers

Have you ever prayed to God (Allah, Jehovah, Buddha, Shen or whoever guides you spiritually) in hopes that (S)He would answer your prayers, but the prayers were to no avail?  I’m sure we’ve all experienced a time or two where we felt as if this one prayer were answered then life would be so much better.

Maybe He’s telling you to stop dwelling on the wrong guy, women, or job.  Or maybe He’s trying to tell you that He has bigger and greater things in store, so even though you didn’t get that promotion, award, acknowledgement, or acceptance you prayed so hard about, you should continue to live in faith.  Your prayer was unanswered for a reason. That reason may not demonstrate itself right now, but rest assured, I’ve never once had an unanswered prayer that I wasn’t thankful for.  Sometimes our inability to see beyond the now deprives us of realizing that not all prayers should be answered in the manner in which we ask for it.

So, instead of closing your eyes to pray for that thing you’ve prayed for a million times before, wait in stillness.  Because of that unanswered prayer, better things are in store for you!

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