I’ve typically been pretty bad at celebrating my birthday. The last four years or so I’ve worked on my birthday and then took myself out to dinner afterwards. This year I wanted to something different. Originally I booked a cruise but then realized that I wanted something on a smaller scale. I went and booked a 4 day getaway at an all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic that was off the beaten path. It was good to get out the country but also good to know that DR makes the 8th country I’ve visited this year. Which isn’t too bad since I decided to scale back my travels a bit. I had an amazing time except for the small fact that people who travel solo are often “invisible” so you have to hunt down the wait staff for EVERYTHING. I sat by the pool and the beach and had some amazing naps with just the sounds of the waves and an unlimited number of drinks. It was truly worth the money and the experience. Next years birthday vacation is booked already.
As this year of my life starts to come to a close I realize that there’s a lot that I want to do. While I have definitely had some milestones this year that included finishing my PhD, I’m not satisfied yet. Working in a hospital again has reminded me of how short life really is. I’ve had numerous patients who have passed away without any warning. I’ve had a lot of major changes that were unexpected but I also got hired on to my dream job (at least past time). So far I’ve gotten the opportunity to travel a little bit and I’ve visited 8 countries. I’m hoping to develop a good work life balance in the coming year and maybe flex my entrepreneurial muscles just a bit. The whole dating thing has absolutely been a bust so far so I figure I’ll just set goals around what I can control. Here’s to bigger and better things.
Earlier this week I had the chance to chat with a friend (I’m using this term loosely) that I catch up with about once a year. We usually meet up in person but schedules wouldn’t allow it so we had to settle for a video chat. Have you ever had a conversation with someone and there were SO many things left unsaid that the conversation just felt heavy? It was like that. I was cool and kept it as surface and general as possible without getting into anything too personal. Annual conversations aren’t the best outlet to bare your soul. But as I talked to him I remembered the memories we’ve had over the years. I remember a moment when we were hanging out and I felt both incredibly happy and incredibly sad at the same time. It was a bittersweet moment in exponential proportions. It’s interesting how conversations with someone can bring back so many memories. I realized that I haven’t met anyone lately who even remotely compares to him education wise and also in ambition. While it’s not a bad thing, it does make dating just a little bit harder. The point is that there are some people in your life who you love but you really should only speak to once a year.
Like many black women, I have a love-hate relationship with my hair. It really tends to have a mind of its own and rarely submits to my commands. These days there’s a lot of hype on embracing one’s natural beauty and avoiding chemicals in order to leave hair in its natural state. About a year or so ago my hair was very damaged and required a hairdresser intervention. She gave me a protective style in order to help my hair to grow back. I’ve always had very thick hair that was challenging to manage. Growing up, my mother used a relaxer on it for a few years and then changed her mind deciding that I needed to go natural. It was ok for a few years. I didn’t look my age because of the cornrows but I really didn’t care that much because we lived in the middle of nowhere (literally) with no boys in sight for miles. However, after moving to the Atlanta metro area I decided it was time for a change and (finally) my dad backed me up in getting my hair relaxed again so it would be easier to style. Fast forward two days ago when I finally took my hair out of the protective style that it had been in for over a year. My hair was completely chemical free. I washed and dried it about 3 times in an attempt to get it to the point that I could comb through it. I broke several combs in the process and still was unable to get through all the tangles. It literally would not cooperate and I decided that I needed to see an expert. Once at the hairshop I had a brief consultation with my stylist who took one look at my hair and recommended putting a relaxer back in. As much as I liked the idea of being chemical free, the day to day upkeep of it was a commitment that I just was not willing to make. So I agreed and I am now back on the creamy crack. I can comb through my hair and now I can swim and workout without altering my entire day. It’s a beautiful thing. Will I ever go natural again? To be honest, probably not.
Today almost everything related to chocolates and candy is half off because the day is over. It’s always fun to see all the corny and sincere Valentine’s Day declarations. From the self loving single who proclaims that it’s his or her day to pamper themselves to the newly engaged couples with the smiles from ear to ear and to the older couples who have raised a family together and now are empty nesters. In years past I greeted the day with a mixture of frustration and happiness for all the people posting pictures of the awesome stuff they got. It warms my heart to see people happy and (at least for a few moments) publicly recognizing their significant others. It’s a day to appreciate what you have and acknowledge the role of love in the world–at least some degree.
It’s been a really long week for a variety of reasons so I decided to make the best of my one day weekend. One thing that I really enjoy is music because it’s a universal language. There’s rarely any significant period of time that goes by without me turning on a song or playing an album by an artist I enjoy. I haven’t gone to a concert in a while because I’ve been either traveling or working but when I saw a flyer advertising the concert of an artist who I enjoy listening to, I bought a ticket on a whim. While I really wanted to stay at my house and sleep, it’s a goal of mine to get out more and be more social. Plus, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to go somewhere that didn’t require me to use my professional skills in some capacity. Despite the fact that I bought a ticket, I almost decided against going last minute because of all the extra effort. But I went and I’m glad I did. The concert featured soul music and many of the songs performed were remade versions of some great hits from decades past. Avery Sunshine was among one of the artists that performed and she was absolutely amazing as she sang and engaged the audience to sing her background vocals on one of the songs. There was great energy and I enjoyed sitting back and taking it all in. I have a lot of respect for artists who can hold a space without losing the audience and still be their authentic selves. Everyone enjoyed themselves and the concert finished around midnight or so. It reminded me of how therapeutic music can be. Maybe the focus this year will be on exploring where I live instead of traveling quite as much.