What will you be focused on in 2018? I believe that deciding on what you will focus on will decide the kind of year you have.
2017 was a year that started in November 2016 for me. I, like many other people, assumed I knew the direction the world was moving in. There were new challenges ahead that we had to face, but there were also expanding opportunities. I did not think Hillary Clinton was the right leader to guide us to this new world but she was a better leader than the alternative, at least she was looking to take us backward.
I spent November 2016 in despair and afraid.
But, after election day life went on. There was a wedding, the holidays, and a new year which meant to set up new goals.
My goals for 2017 was to become more selective about who I associated with. Debate less about politics and discuss more issues. Make new friends and be an impact in other people’s lives. I was going to pay attention and be involved. I was going to join the resistance. I signed up for every publication, association, and nonprofit that would tell me what I needed to do to fight against the tyranny that was trying to rise.
January 1st started with a minor car accident and the month did not get any better. A couple weeks later I was in a hospital bed with a kidney stone and sepsis. It was the first time I ever truly acknowledged that my life could end without warning. I had been worked up about the election and all that was going on in the country and I realized that none of that mattered as much as caring for myself. I took a closer look at what I wanted to do and where I wanted to fit in. I couldn’t jump at every request to contact my representatives or feel righteous outrage at every Trump tweet. I needed to live.
In February my husband and I took a much-needed vacation to the beach where I got to reflect. I realized that I needed to find some balance.
2017 was still a year of political firsts. I attended my first protest and went to my first candidate meet and greet, had my first campaign years sign, and led a series of neighborly bi-partisan political talks.
There were many great moments in 2017. I went to NYC for what was supposed to be a business trip but ended up being more of a solo tourist trip. I got to be in the live audience of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert the night that Michael Moore was his guest and I got to flip off the Trump Hotel.
I repositioned my career to try to help as many people as possible adjust to what I believe are the realities of work, which is rapid change, no job security, and the need to be self-sufficient.
I started writing more political pieces.
I experienced 90 minutes in an isolation/float tank, a few times.
I cooked more this year and tried a variety of new recipes.
I drove to Dillard GA with my boys and a friend to see the total eclipse of the sun.
I binge watched all 7 seasons of Game of Thrones.
I learned how to use my nice camera that I have had for 2 years.
Overall, the year had more ups than downs on a personal level. On a political level, I am starting finding my voice and trusting that this is a nation of laws and checks and balances. I need to stay involved and rally for the future that I would like to see unfold, but I also need to live for the little day to day moments.
As we welcome in a new year I look forward to focusing on a new story. 2018 will be a story about self-improvement and new friends and continuous work toward a future of greater opportunities, creative expression, and spiritual connection for all.
Happy New Year and may 2018 be your best year ever.
When every single day there is a new report of sexual assault or sexual harassment by a famous or powerful man, and the cases range from months ago to decades ago, it makes me wonder if the news is simply treating sexual harassment as the latest fad.
When #MeToo went viral on social media after the Weinstein case many people realized for the first time that pretty much every woman has been harassed or assaulted. This isn’t a fad it is a real problem. And although it is great that people are becoming more aware of the problem, will treating it as the latest news fad help change the destructive environment women often find themselves in or will it make everything worse for both men and women?
Read more on my post Are all men bad?
I was raised in a family where everyone said what they thought. My dad encouraged debate. My mom ignited debate. The best conversations I have had with my brothers were respectful debates.
When I started working in social media I was blogging about what I experienced, what I thought, what I believed. Many, well-meaning people in the business community told me I should not do that.
Over the years I have fought an internal battle of wanting to write about what I felt was important to talk about and wanting to be successful in business. After the 2016 election, I decided I needed to find my voice again. I am evolving into a political commentator as well as a business person.
I believe that for many reasons business and politics do mix.
Today, I had the opportunity to discuss that belief on my friend, Adrienne’s, podcast.
You can listen to it here.
The morning after the mass shooting in Las Vegas I woke up to over 10 news alerts on my phone about it. My first thought was that it was an ISIS terrorist attack and if that was the case the number of victims would increase beyond the people at the event. It would include the Muslims and those who are often mistaken as Muslims that get harassed, discriminated against, and yes even shot in retaliation.
I saw the name of the shooter. It wasn’t a Muslim. My next thought was if it was a black person. If it was then people would assume it was connected with Black Lives Matter and the whole country will erupt.
It took me 10 minutes to click around on different stories. So many victims, such a huge tragedy. But there was not much about the person you shot them, just a name. No description. That is when I realized, it must have been a white guy. Every other group is defined first by the color of their skin or their religion.
That is when I began to see the systemic racism in the way we all report crimes.
Read more on my Article How the Vegas Shooting Opened My Eyes to Systemic Racism (Subscription Required)
When the national anthem is played, do you stand out of habit? Are you offended by those who have kneeled? Do you think standing should be required? Would such a requirement align with what it means to be American?
When the national anthem is played I used to stand out of habit. I was quite bored waiting for it to be over. Ever since Colin Kaepernick took a knee, when I stand now, I do so with hope and pride.
Read more on my post in Politics Means Politics, My Flag, My Country, My Choice.
More and more I am concerned about the growing division in America and throughout the world.
I once argued that social media was great because it was getting more people involved in the political process. As we have seen recently, people are getting involved by joining groups with ingrained ideas who seek to battle those with ideas even slightly different from theirs. I recently read through a string of comments from people who were in favor of a policy but were bashing a different group of people who were in favor of the same policy because that other group had a different reason for the policy. This is getting out of hand.
And it is getting violent.
In my neighborhood, I started a monthly meeting for bi-partisan conversation. For me, this is the most important activism I can be involved in.We need to listen to each other. That does not mean we have to agree with or support ideas we find irrational or even immoral.
Already 1 in 3 people are freelancers and that number is expected to increase in the next few years. Technical advancements have enabled us to market our skills, build networks, and work independently. In fact, most people I know who have not taken the freelancer leap say it is because they need the health insurance that is offered by their company.
Is Universal Healthcare a threat to corporations who need to keep a workforce tied to their desks?
Read more on my post, Watch what politicians do, not what they say
College is not for everyone. We don’t all learn the same way and we don’t all have the capacity for higher education. Also, not everyone is striving for the suburban life. Many people want a simple job and a simple life.
But the simple jobs and simple life are disappearing. While Democrats rally around the vision of free college, which is not free, Trump and friends have been making promises of a simple life with simple jobs which we know they cannot keep, but still got them elected.
Read more on my article on Student Voices.
My son and I have always had long discussions about world events. I thought this was just another conversational starter. But it was more. My son is 22 years old. The bomber was 22 years old. The question really was how did this guy get so warped and how do we stop this?
Some of the answers I came up with are in my article for Politics Means Politics, Manchester Bombing: Trying to Answer the Tough Questions