2011 Oh What A Year!- Part 2

Last week, I talked about how I drew up a blue print to point out the direction I wanted my life to go for 2011, and although things didn’t work out exactly as planned, some pretty awesome things happened along the way.

As promised,  here the continuation of 2011 Oh What A Year!

Volunteer: My very 1st job out of college (actually I had the job while still in school) was a counselor position for a girls’ group home and yes, it was a nonprofit organization. Since that time, I’ve been involved with nonprofit work either as an employee or an unpaid advocate. After I lost my most recent job with a nonprofit organization, I really felt torn about the direction I wanted to go regarding my nonprofit career. But ultimately, the strong desire to help people took control over my heart and soul so I knew I had to get back in the field. Things were different this time around. I knew that after being a direct care worker the best way I could help the many causes I care for, I would need to learn how to become a nonprofit rockstar.  Change agents were thinking outside the box and creating very interesting ways to grow awareness of their organizations. I knew that fundraising was where I needed to be. I still have a ways to go when it comes to cause marketing, but I’m proud to say that I can put a check mark next to raise funds for a nonprofit on my life list! But I’ll leave it up there and probably write a date next to it because I most definitely plan on doing so much more in the years to come.

Crack down on the Debt and build up the Savings: Yeah, so it would’ve helped if I had more reliable income this year, but since I didn’t get the great nonprofit position I was hoping for (yet) I picked up a few personal finance books by people like Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman and got to reading and plotting. I’ll let you guys know of my progress in the upcoming year. Although, I didn’t get to pay off my credit card like I wanted to (I only have 1), I’m very happy I finally paid off my Perkins Loan from college (working for an urban nonprofit helped me along the way). Let’s go snowball effect!

Travel: I have been dreaming of traveling to cool places that I’m aware of, as well as ones people who know me well enough will suggest to me. If you check out my life list, you will see that I haven’t even been on an airplane! But here is the kicker, I have done some traveling mostly up and down the east coast. I have also been to the Bahamas and Bermuda (by ship). I’m thirsty for more, and this time by getting over my fear of flying. I made realistic goals this year: I wanted to do 1 weekend getaway, which I was surprised with a trip to Virginia. I also wanted to attend a business conference, which I volunteered my way into one since I couldn’t afford it! I also wanted to do something fun and completely hobby related so I went to a philly area Anime Convention earlier this year. (I did mention that I like cartoons and anime right?) I’m praying for an overseas trip in the very near future.

Spirituality: I’ve mentioned before that I was sociology major. I’ve studied many philosophers and took a few religion courses ranging from the teachings of Islam, to Buddhism, and of course Biblical teachings. Honestly, they were all very fascinating reads for me.  But spirituality, I’m learning, is so much deeper than religion, and I’ve been on a mission to redefine what God means to me, and how I can apply my understanding into practical and hopefully good standards of living. This year I was trying to “go hard”as a Christian. I realized my definition of “go hard” wasn’t the same as everyone else’s which was fine by me. For me, it simply meant me committing to a church for a sense of community, praying like I was supposed to, and reading more books about this great “I AM”.  I think I’ll be changing the wording in my about section to better match the rest of my online profiles as a “Woman of God”. Spirituality is an ongoing journey and I hope to gain new wisdom and insight with time.  

Overall, this year has truly been an exhausting roller coaster ride for me. At the same time, I can’t go back to the way things used to be and I don’t want to. So, I’m gonna get a good nights rest on New Years evening ready to ride again in 2012!

Hope to see you all in January, because I’m definitely going to have some great stories and resources to share with you!

Happy New Years!

Do You Have A Life List?

Have you ever sat down and thought about what you truly want your life to represent?

For some reason I always think back to grade school when my teachers would ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” My classmates and I would answer by saying things like:  teacher, doctor, lawyer, astronaut, famous actor or singer, Amazon Warrior Princess, (okay maybe that was just me). It’s as if we are conditioned to think that we aren’t “Somebody” if we don’t have a label behind our name. I truly understand why so many people define who they are by their job title. The counseling centers are probably doing very well right about now as people are losing their identities from lack of work.

When I enrolled in college I was determined to become a guidance counselor. I thought that was a respectable position. I liked the idea of saying I’m Lynette, Guidance Counselor. I loved the idea of having summers off. I quickly tossed out the idea of guidance counseling, (at least in a traditional sense) once I realized that path was my idea of playing it safe.

Too many times we choose “safe” because there’s comfort in the familiar. That’s why I love songs like this one. They are affirmations to those of us who struggle with the notion of settling out of fear. We convince ourselves that job security is most important even if the work no longer aligns with our values. I’m not saying be unrealistic about surviving however, I agree with P. Valery who said, “The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up.”  Settling is like sleeping with your eyes wide open. I truly believe small brave steps towards the life you desire is better than nothing at all. I also believe sometimes we have to find the courage to take big leaps of faith.

Thanks to journaling and people who create programs like this one and this one too; I was able to identify my core values, set some goals to accomplish for this year, and start this life list to find my center when I’m feeling off balance. I decided to share it with you as a form of accountability to walk the big talk.

What about you? Do you have a life list/ bucket list that you would like to share?