January is a month full of major life milestones for me, and as I take time to reflect on what has happened in January 2015, I can’t help but also look back over all the other “fresh starts” I’ve made at the beginning of years past!
Ever the “eager beaver,” I try to get my wheels in motion right from the start! So, it’s no surprise I, like many others, use January – our first month in a new year – to jump start big projects and significant life events. However, it may shock you to know I have two major life milestones that occurred on the same date in January.
Five years ago on January 5th I married my husband in Cairo, Egypt. Though we worked hard to make the moment take place as close to New Year’s Day as possible, the process of me marrying him there turned into a two-day adventure. From catching cabs to travel from one government office to another, from the US Embassy to the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, running down city blocks to make it to one office before it closed or to another office before the line grew too long…our persistence paid off, and we’ve been blessed by each other’s company ever since.
Going back even further in time, 20 years ago on that same date, I entered the US Air Force. Taking an oath of service in Raleigh, North Carolina and immediately being sent off by van, then plane, and finally bus to arrive at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, I launched myself into a new life chapter, and the lessons I learned from that experience still guide my steps and actions all these years later. My weeks of military basic training, months of weather observation training, and years of service as a weather specialist not only redefined how I saw myself – as a woman, an African-American, a civilian volunteer, and a soldier – but it taught me where my inner strength lies and how to really enjoy and explore the world around me.
To bring things closer to the present, 10 years ago this month I interviewed for a job that grew into a career I am truly passionate about – alumni relations. To this day I don’t think I have ever walked into an interview with more enthusiasm, confidence, and optimism in my abilities and skills or in seeing the job as an experience of a lifetime. What I brought to this first [civilian] “adult” job will never compare to all I gained from it, including the opportunity to have a “do over” of my college experience at East Carolina. From football tailgates and home games to golf tournaments and awards ceremonies, incoming freshmen receptions to alumni reunions at homecoming, and Piratepalooza to Barefoot on the Mall – these experiences were among those I missed as a non-traditional commuter student but was able to enjoy as part of my “every day” life on the job there. Because of this, I loved (and still love) working in higher education.
Speaking of what I love, I created this “vision board” at the beginning of January to remind and motivate myself throughout the year to do what I love every day. Though I’d heard of vision boards, I had never created one for myself until now. Sometimes in order to achieve your biggest dreams, you have to visualize you are worthy and deserving of those dreams coming true. So, this board is filled with visual messages to “Love My Body” and “Arrive in STYLE,” to “LET IT GO” and keep “Calm. Comfortable. Confident.” On the wall across from my bed, it’s one of the first things I see in the morning and something I meditate on before going to sleep. It has boosted me to start this blog, revive my small business, and take concrete steps to complete by the end of this year a memoir that’s been five years in the making.
Of all the images on my vision board, these quotes and questions speak to me most:
“Every Breath Is A Fresh Start”
“Change your PERSPECTIVE”
“How does my day fill me?”
“What transformation do you hope the new year will bring for you?”
“Step into your power! Unleash your vision, turn passion into profit, go after your dream life.”
In sharing with you my vision board, month of milestones, and goals for 2015, I hope you too will be inspired to outline your aspirations and push towards living your dreams this year and every year.