Today is my 44th birthday! You might remember this from last year. I’ve added a 44th lesson:
- Pay attention to nature.
- Some friends don’t last forever.
- Physical life doesn’t last forever, but death will continue to surprise you.
- If you don’t like the life you’ve created, then make steps to create a new one.
- Be yourself.
- Love yourself.
- Be nice to people you don’t know.
- People will let you down. Learn how much letdown you want to tolerate from any one person.
- Learn when it’s time to let go.
- Learn when to hold on.
11. You always have a choice.
12. No one owes you anything.
13. You don’t owe anyone anything.
14. Sometimes friends act more like family.
15. Be honest with yourself and others.
16. Kids are not a do-over. They are individuals with their own experiences.
17. If you want more love, compassion or empathy, then give more love, compassion or empathy.
18. You can’t make people like you.
19. It’s never too late to grow.
20. Change is inevitable, whether it’s biological or spiritual.
21. Be grateful for all the so-called bad stuff that’s happened.
23. Accept apologies.
24. Folks will fill in the blanks of your life AND make up their own stories about it; so what?
25. Mistakes are inevitable; try anyway.
26. Institutions look out for themselves.
27. You will attract people and experiences that reflect how you feel about yourself, whether you believe that concept or not.
28. Treat people the way you want to be treated, even if you don’t think they’ve done the same.
29. Nothing is finite.
30. Recognize how you feel in situations.
31.You can’t blame your parents forever.
32. Wisdom doesn’t always come with age.
33. Listen to your children. For a long time, they are a reflection of you.
34. Don’t try to convince people that their belief system is wrong, stupid or inaccurate.
35. Fear nothing.
36. Know yourself.
37.One way to avoid manipulation is to be clear about who you are and what you want.
38. Judging does not equal caring.
39. Treat the homeless as you would your own mother.
40. Exercise so you can continue to move your body in ways you enjoy.
41. Learn something. But figure out if you need to pay for the knowledge or if you can Google your way through.
42. There is no correct way to live life.
43. We’re all connected.
44. Be of service.
This was one of the first kwotes I created. Many friends and family call, text or inbox me for advice and encouragement. Listening to someone with my whole heart and then offering what I think will inspire them is inherent for me. In fact, a former student asked if I was a high school cheerleader because of how much I stand behind and uplift others.
Well, there came a time during my 360-mile commute that I felt I had no one to reassure me. Even a cheerleader needs encouraging, I posted to FB. I couldn’t think of one person who I could turn to that would offer words of motivation. If I called my grandmother, then she’d remind me of how dumb I was to have taken the job in the first place. If I talked with my husband, then he would remind me that this was a choice I made, regardless of his early warnings. If I spoke to anyone else, then they would try to solve the problem for me and that wasn’t what I wanted or needed at the time. I wanted someone to tell me, “Hey! You can do it! You’ve done more challenging things in your life. This is no different.” I found that the only person that was going to tell me that was, ME. Consequently, this kwote was born. Cause, guess what? Every now and then, we all have to dig deep and find that inner strength. Trust me; it’s there.
This kwote popped into my mind after I’d announced to several people that I was leaving my tenure-track position at Florida State University. There was no visible job prospect in April 2015, but my intuition had spoken and I was listening. Even though my instinct was clear to me it wasn’t to others.
My cousin’s response, “Are you crazy?” Mind you he’d asked me the same question when I announced the commute.
My best friend at the time replied, “What??? Now I can’t say my best friend is a professor at FSU!”
My daughter’s reaction, “Are we gonna be poor?”
My aunt’s email, “So what if you’re the only Black person? Since when did that become a big deal?”
My friend and university’s alum, “What? Why?”
This is just a small number of people and their opinions. But in my mind, there were far too many and I didn’t feel as if I owed anyone an explanation for decisions about my life. With the exception of my daughter, none of these people would be affected by how I generated income. This kwote helped me to see the truth.
Oftentimes, this time of year prompts reflection and a sense of renewal. But sometimes we neglect to follow our hearts and inner voice because we’re worried about what family and friends will think about our new paths. Let me tell you something. They’ll be just fine! Now, let me ask this question. If you don’t follow your intuition, will you?
I’ve spent the majority of my life in shame. I was ashamed of being adopted. I was ashamed that my mother had a terminal illness. Then, I was ashamed that my dad gave up his parental rights. I was ashamed that I had to move to a small town my senior year and graduate with 25 people I didn’t really know. I had developed eighteen years of shame.
Once I began undergrad, I unconsciously created my own shameful experiences. Lovers and sexual indiscretions piled up. At that point, the shame covered me. But I kept it hidden.
So there I was, carrying and hiding decades of shame. I doubted that others had similar challenges. Everyone looked so perfect to me, with two loving parents and crystal clear paths paved with luck and fortune. Around 2004, I attracted more authentic conversations. Former students, friends, family, and coworkers opened up to me about their pasts and presents.
Boy, was I wrong.
Everyone else felt just as crappy as I did. They hid it, like me. Consequently, I began to reflect not only on my own, but also other people’s experiences. Rarely do friends and family want to share their innermost feelings for fear of being judged. For fear of being shamed. What is this cycle we’ve created? We live in shame and don’t talk about it because we don’t want to be shamed.
Once I figured this out, I wrote this kwote as a reminder: Don’t worry; the person next to you is flawed too!
*Disclaimer: Typically “flaws” refer to outward appearances, but I use it here to discuss so-called inward flaws.
Behind each kwote is a brief story that I’ll share from time to time. Each one is fewer than 250 words. Here’s the first one.
What if I told you it was all a dream? Would you do what you wanted then?”
Kwoted begins with these questions. Have you ever dreamed? When you do, are you invincible part of the time? I know I am. Sometimes, I soar. I jump off cliffs and fly. Do you? One day, I literally thought, how come we don’t live life like this? Why is it in our dreams (sometimes) we are super woman/man, but then we wake up in complacency? We awake to fears that we created. Why is this?
On some level I understand because I’ve functioned in fear too. I didn’t want to move to Tallahassee because what if Dwight doesn’t find a job? What if the girls hate me for the rest of their lives for moving them…again? What if I move there and don’t get tenure? What if? But in my dreams, I’m SuperKG conquering the world and doing what I want. How can the difference between wake and sleep be different? Because consciousness and bills, that’s how.
Well, that’s where this quote originated. Oftentimes, I wish we would be less fearful when living life. And a lot of times I believe thinking it’s all a dream would be more helpful. Think Matrix. Think What Dreams May Come? Think Vanilla Sky. Think Inception. Think The Wiz. Okay, some of these might not apply, but all I’m saying is we can be powerful in REAL life, not just when we’re sleep.