What would the new year be without my obligatory annual blog post about my dearest hopes and dreams for the next twelve months? Probably less annoying right off the bat, but indulge me once again, as I wax aspirational at the exact moment one year dies and another begins. And this is more than a simple baton hand-off from one year to the next. We’re leaving a decade behind by crossing this threshold. Luckily, we can celebrate the stubborn passage of time even as we mourn it.
As always, I’m a glutton for tradition as well as for punishment, and these yearly plans of attack have become downright necessary, at least in my own head. So, here it goes, the 2020 remix:
Prioritize my writing
Last year, my writing suffered almost criminal neglect. Had it been a child, I would’ve permanently lost custody and served time in jail for abuse. Had it been a significant other, I’d have returned home one day to find all its things missing and a Dear Asshole letter on the kitchen counter. This unforgivable neglect didn’t come about due to a shortage of ideas — those were plentiful and rapid fire as usual — but from a jam packed schedule and lack of appropriate prioritization. If I’m being real, I dropped the ball.
Let this serve as my solemn oath that I will not allow this to happen again in 2020. Hold me to this, y’all. I mean it honestly and truly. Writing is my first love, and, like a long suffering spouse, it has watched me pursue professional opportunities and success over the last twelve months while it waited at home, patiently putting away another slow cooked meal I never made it back in time to eat.
I have a few dozen ideas brewing for future pieces — both fiction and nonfiction — and a fully built out digital plan for my blog. You’re going to hear a whole helluva lot more from this woman in the new year. That’s good news for some. Bad news for those clinging to racist, patriarchal, and backward views. Also bad news for those without a sense of humor. How do y’all live?!
Keep building something out of a whole lot of nothing
After the 2018 midterm elections, I had a sizable chunk of nothing to do around mid November, which was awkward, considering I’d spent the entire year working 70+ hour weeks. I think my life as a military brat made life as a campaign staffer a little easier to stomach, because the uncertainty of no paycheck combined with zero prospects didn’t trouble me as much as you might think it should. My childhood was one long ticker tape parade of starting over and wandering into unknown places. You learn to roll with massive changes in your environment. Suffice to say, I didn’t freak out too much at my sudden unemployment. I had a cushion where money was concerned (a surprise half paycheck at the end of November combined with savings I’d socked away during 2018, mostly because I stayed too damned busy to spend it), which allowed me the grace of considering what I wanted to do next. This period of reflection really is a beautiful thing in this work. Usually, folks have to jump at whatever comes next, even if it’s only temporary, because we all need money to live, and bill collectors don’t give a shit that most of this work is fleeting by design.
That doesn’t mean I spent the last six weeks of 2018 doing fuck all. A friend and I jumped right on the development of an organization that was just beginning to come into focus for us. Before the end of November, we’d put together our first proposal. Before the winter holidays shut everything down for the last few weeks of the year, we had the second iteration of that proposal. In January, we had a meeting that changed the course of the organization we’d end up creating. By the final week of February, we were off to the races, and we’ve been plugging diligently along ever since, doing better than I ever allowed myself to imagine possible in December of 2018.
It’s amazing to think of how far we’ve come over the last year. The two of us, in the trenches, making shit happen. And, in 2020, we’re going to take this to another level. That’s a threat and a promise, depending on where you’re standing.
The best part about all of it is that we made this organization, almost completely out of nothing. That doesn’t mean we didn’t have help. We absolutely relied and thrived on the goodwill of friends that took a chance on us, propped open doors so we could force our way in with the brute strength of our shoulders, and created space for us to set our folding chairs down at the table where the important shit happens. Not to mention our long suffering families that supported us and put up with the late nights, early mornings, road trips, and seven day work weeks. All of these folks know who they are and how much I love and appreciate them. They should also know I intend to do everything in my power to make 2020 our year. This isn’t just about the two of us. It’s about all of us. And we’re going to win, together.
Get tons of my writing published
No, y’all aren’t experiencing deja vu. This is a perpetual resolution and, damn it, I’d love to see it happen on a massive scale this year. What I can tell you is that I’m going to write more blog posts. I’m going to self publish a novel. And I’m going to shop around a nonfiction book that incorporates some of the marvelous gems y’all have already read in this blog, as well as some gems you haven’t yet had the pleasure (or annoyance) of allowing to light up your screens. If I’m being honest, you’ll likely see this resolution in 2021 too. At this point in my life, it’s an antique.
Accept what I cannot control while controlling damned near everything else
I’m a planner by nature as well as nurture. In this case planner is a fun little euphemism for control freak. I’ve caused myself great distress over the years by attempting to manage all the chaos in my little corner of the world. On Sundays, I used to envision the entire week ahead and then make sure every day went exactly as planned. If you invited me to a dinner party midweek, it’s unlikely I’d attend because that wasn’t on the schedule when, days earlier, I constructed the plan for that evening. If an event outside of my control knocked me off schedule, it was the cause of great anxiety and annoyance. As you can imagine, these types of events happened with unfortunate regularity. Oh, safe, silly me.
Working in politics has disabused me of my near compulsive need to control every single aspect of my life. I rarely know what I’m going to be doing from one week to the next, and no two days are even remotely alike. I have come to accept that chaos is constant, and I need to plan what I can but be prepared for my calendar to explode without warning, leaving me to pick up the pieces ASAP, and rearrange them into a completely different order. Things often change radically depending on the news cycle, funding, the race, etc. I’ve mostly made my peace with it. Don’t get me wrong, I still have my mini-freak outs (I am a type A, after all), but they come under control rather quickly, because there’s nothing I can do, save drive myself batshit crazy over the fact that I can’t do anything. In 2020, I just want to lean all the way into this embrace of the unknown, the chaotic, the — gasp — unplanned, because I know I’ll be happier for it.
Continue being guided by what I know my worth to be
The best part about 2018 was that I gained an intimate understanding of my own worth and my own potential. And 2019 only enhanced that understanding, as it was the year I truly stepped off the beaten path and into the wilderness. As a daughter of two extremely supportive parents that made it clear I could be whatever the hell I desired, I did already possess an appreciation for my own intelligence and ability. But I’m also a black woman born in a country that values whiteness and maleness above all else, and the world does its best to chip away at the self confidence of anyone it doesn’t place at the center of all things.
I made a few very tough career choices this year, based solely on the gap between my own estimation of my worth and the estimation of my worth made by the person offering me the position. It was hard to turn down some of these opportunities, many of which I would have jumped to take only a few years earlier. But, ultimately, it was the right choice, because if I don’t value myself and operate in that deep understanding of my worth, no one else will either. In 2020, I want to make these decisions without worrying I might be mistaken. I do know my worth, and that in itself is a gift. I want to live that worth all day, every day, and do it unapologetically.
These are my hopes, intentions, and promises for this brand new sparkling set of 12 months. In 2020, may we be successful in all we undertake, may our causes be just, and may we operate with empathy, resoluteness, and humility.
Happy New Year, y’all. Let’s make this one count.