31 Years, 31 Life Lessons

Me having fun in Raleigh North Carolina #Travels

I am officially on vacation. This means that I am doing my favorite thing: traveling. I had a ball in North Carolina and my next stop is Alabama to visit the Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration. I also just had a birthday. Since I turned 31, I thought of 31 life lessons I’ve learned to date. Some of them I am still working on (like my patience) but they are lessons life has taught me were important nonetheless:

  1. Always put Yah and Yahoshua first. YAH is faithful. He can and he will.
  2. Be yourself. People don’t have to like you and you don’t have to care.
  3.  If it doesn’t feel right that’s because it’s not right.
  4. Remember, the more you know, the less you speak. Sometimes the loudest one in the room is also the weakest one in the room.
  5. Watch everything. Let nothing go over your head. Listen to body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions. Hear everything people don’t say in words.
  6. Establish boundaries, let people know what those boundaries are and remind them when they have transgressed them.
  7. No is a complete sentence. You are allowed to turn down a commitment without feeling guilty about it.
  8. Marriage is sacred. Protect it. Remember that everything doesn’t belong on social media. Learn to experience something beautiful and tell no one.
  9. New beginnings. It’s never too late to begin again.
  10. Love all. Trust few.
  11. Be patient with yourself.
  12. Call your mother. You only get one.
  13. Pay attention to yourself. Your actions reveal your heart.
  14. Speak up. People don’t know how to love you if you don’t show them. If something irritates or annoys you, say it.
  15. Never sacrifice your integrity no matter how enticing the opportunity.
  16. Don’t chase people. If someone wants to be in your life, you’ll know.
  17. Because of the increase in lawlessness, the love of the world has grown cold so be kind, be gentle, be considerate.
  18. Karma is a real thing. If you don’t want it to happen to you, don’t do it to others.
  19. Some people say that cucumbers taste better pickle.” < See how this statement makes no sense? Just because something sounds deep, doesn’t mean that it is.
  20. Be a fool for no one.
  21. Friendships are sacred. Don’t go around calling everyone you friend or sister. Make them prove it.
  22. Remember to check on your strong friends.
  23. Assume nothing. Validate everything.
  24. Laugh. Let joy rub off on you. One day you won’t have the privilege of being in a good mood. One day things won’t be so joyous and you’ll just have the memories of when they were.
  25. Make memories.
  26. Don’t ever look down on someone for not knowing what you know. There was a time when you didn’t know either.
  27. You don’t know what you don’t know.
  28. Spend time alone. Get to know yourself.
  29. Be willing to walk alone, than with a thousand snakes.
  30. Remember the homeless as if chained to them. Let their condition be a reminder of your humility. Your life could always be worse.
  31. Remember that there is a way of correcting people without telling the whole world. Educate, but do not make people feel less than they are. Even if someone is wrong, give them the tools they need to be successful but leave them with their dignity.
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Moments Become Memories

Don’t waste it today. Don’t waste your time or hold back your goodness. Do not withdraw your kindness or take for granted the gratitude you can gift to someone else. Gift someone today. Crown them with hope and courtesy. Who knows which of us will be called back to the dirt. Whose breath will leave their lungs to be stored away in the chamber where breaths are. Whose body will melt back into the dirt? Whose bones  will become the home of carcasses that roam the cemeteries? We are told to live every day like it is our last. But how? How do we take what is cliché and make it real? Think of moments. How they live for only seconds at a time. Think of pictures. How they capture those moments when they become memories. Don’t gamble with your life today. Enjoy the warm weather, accept the truth for what it is, and apologize. Apologize and forgive like a well of “I’m Sorry’s” that won’t run dry anytime soon. Be not held captive by anything or anyone. Do not enslave yourself to pain and emotion and sorrow. Always be forgiving. If only because it makes no sense to give us flowers when we’re gone. Do not weep for me, or throw arms around caskets that could have hugged my flesh when breath stopped the skin from melting back into the earth. Don’t waste it today. Don’t waste your time or hold back your goodness from those who need it. You don’t know if today is their day or if it is yours. Because moments only live for seconds at a time and soon they become memories.

Encoded

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Certain memories won’t let you forget
they rush before the forefront of your mind
like messages that escaped the past
only to cement themselves inside you
climb their way through blood vessels
encoded experiences written in our DNA
for thoughts do not disappear
do not evaporate from the mind
only to fall short in the abyss of nothingness
they’re instead a strand of silent data
entwined within the past and the present that is you
and sometimes, the future too
encoded memories
they erupt old wounds like falling planes
in smoke filled clouds
a twin tower sacrifice for your humility
a taste of truth for our memories
a thorn in the side
encoded data
so we never forget what falling feels like.

Butterfly, My First Writing Love

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Where do I trace the birth of this longing? I have not photographic memory as many do, nor do I remember the exact moment I said, “I want to be a writer”. And as I ponder this history of mine, the thunder growls and the winds roar. The skies darken this very moment and hover around this building; leaning its body against my windowsill and making my living room look like evening time. I like it like this really. To hear the thunder roar in the midst of the quiet and the skies darken. It has a calming effect on me. The appearance of lightening is a chance to see pure light, and the sound of horns is a reminder of great power. But I digress. Really I just think they must be excited, just as anxious to discover this mystery. A collection of horns and quarter notes gather from beyond the clouds and deep inside the galaxy, shouting melodiously. The floor beneath me pulsates and sends shivers up my spine. Meanwhile, raindrops tap dance against the roof. Perhaps the scream of heaven is prompting me to remember. I do remember the first time I had the material to organize my writing. I do remember my first journal. I do remember my first writing love.

I was just about to turn fifteen, and though by then I’ve been writing for some time, I had not the care of keeping things organized. I wrote at will and on whatever pieces of paper I could find. But the close of eighth grade presented me an opportunity to confide in that pretty pink booklet with the blue sparkling butterfly on the front. I purchased it in Cincinnati Ohio during our eighth grade school trip. I spotted it at Claire’s, a store at the mall, over in the corner and it was a unique version of many of the journals I had seen in Chicago or anywhere. Somehow I didn’t think I would find it anywhere else in the world. As my peers busied themselves in appropriate teenage endeavors, my pupils danced in delight. Immediately upon seeing it I had to take it home. And I must say it dressed up well for our first date. The pink was fluffy and soft; my fingers found comfort when they slept on top the cotton. The butterfly on top shone bright like the dye was squeezed from fresh blueberries, and to top it off there were little diamonds imbedded in its wings. It wasn’t a diary so there was no lock and key. Nor did I use it as such, but it holds some of my early poems. In fact, I pretty much just used it for poetry, and maybe a journal entry or two here and there. When it opened, the euphoria of opportunity greeted me with the smell of fresh ink, and elegantly curved lines. It wouldn’t be long after this that I would begin my collection of journals and notebooks, but none of them would compare to the first. Butterfly was that first real writing love. The rest were merely copies. And as you can see, I still have it, though it is obviously not as beautiful as it once was. I think I’ll give it to my daughter one day. Maybe. OK well, let me just flip through it first.

Coffee and Car Keys

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Two things always made me think of adulthood when I was a kid: Coffee and Car Keys.
I always loved holding the keys in my hand after returning from some car visit I was sent to by relatives. It made me feel adult, as if I was actually the one driving. I think mentally I associated it with adulthood because every time adults came around they had car keys in their hand! Or maybe it was because it gave them the freedom to come and go. In any event, I came to hold my head up a little higher whenever I could walk around with those keys.

Coffee also reminded me of adulthood. It seemed that it was something that only grown-ups were allowed to do. If they weren’t drinking coffee they were drinking liquor lol. All this represented adulthood for me.

 
Feel free to list some of the things that reminded you of adulthood when you were a kid.

 

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