Yesterday, the first of my year-end posts featured 11 books that impacted my 2019. One of the titles I listed was The Alchemist by Paulo Cohelo. I mentioned that the lesson I learned in this year’s read was to fiercely follow my dreams. Each year early in January, I write a list of annual goals. By February 2019, I had read The Alchemist and it added more spark to my fire to get’er done. In 2005, I had experienced the most life change I thought I ever would. As the saying goes, you can’t know what you don’t know; because 14 years later, the year 2019 takes the record.
Allow me to encourage you to make your list, do your work, and cause your dreams to come true too.
Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it.Maya Angelou
I have appropriately named 2019 as The Transformation Year. In actuality, there is never one single transformation year. It stands to reason that as I settle into the choices I made this year, I will experience its aftermath and dividends in the years to follow; but there has to be some point called the Beginning and for me it’s certainly 2019.
Today, I’m sharing the year’s highlights as I worked my way down the “My Goals” list.
The Story: At 21, I entered my first public classroom and I knew teaching would be my main jam. I never thought I’d remain in what we refer to as K-12 education, but I knew I’d always be teaching in some way or another. With graduation nearing, I became immensely intrigued with my own career trajectory and somehow found myself daydreaming about being a college professor. Once in graduate school, I learned the word “tenure” and had become attached to the idea that one day I’d be a tenured college professor. In most cases, educators on the collegiate-track work as an adjunct professor first to climb the academia ladder to tenure. My 21-year-old self did not know what I know now; so the goal was written like:
Become a college professor…by…nah just become a college professor—who cares when I make it happen?
More Story: This year, it became obvious that I’d need to begin accruing collegiate teaching experience quickly if I wanted to accomplish another goal on my master list. I took my 12-year old goal and combined it with my immediate needs. And so, my 2019 goal-remix was written like:
To be hired by a college or university as a faculty member (did not matter the type) as long as I was on the faculty track. (Psst…Universe—even better at a private, 4-year university).
Dream don’t work unless you do!Unknown
Result: In 2019, I was hired by three colleges. 1 technical college and 2 universities. It worked out where I was able to serve at each. But the permanent position was a private, 4-year university. And just like that, yo’ girl made a dream come true. #professorgoals
The Story: Again at 21, I was hired as a camp counselor for an organization that had a great partnership with my alma mater. I enjoyed this work; though I most-liked the role of my then-supervisor’s position. Eventually, I wanted to not just work with a camp program, but to oversee it. And so, my goal was written like:
To be hired as Summer Camp Director for an Atlanta-based program. (Psst…Universe—even better if the camp focuses on Blackness, Literacy/English, or Agriculture.)
You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.C.S. Lewis
Result: In 2019, I was hired as camp director for an agricultural program. It was hands-down one of the best experiences of my Summer ’19. And just like that, yo’ girl made a dream come true. #missboss
The Story: I had lived in Atlanta most of my life and I know no other city nearly as well. I love Atlanta; so I was not desperate to leave. However, I did desire to live somewhere else besides my hometown. And so, my goal was written like:
To live life, experience adulthood—live, work, play in another city outside of Atlanta.
No matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.Lupita Nyong’o
Result: Since I was looking for jobs anyway, I decided to broaden my search outside the state of Georgia. Lo and behold, the offer that I permanently accepted moved me right out of the state. And just like that, yo’ girl made another dream come true. #byeAtlanta
The Story: In alignment with my goal to be a tenured college professor, I added returning to graduate school to earn my doctorate degree. But before I committed to that time-consuming process, I wanted to grab a graduate certificate (or two). I could not make up my mind on whether I wanted to earn my credential in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) or in Spanish Translation. So, I decided in favor of both. And so, my goals were written like:
To be accepted into graduate school—earn the TESOL certificate (Fall 2019) and be admitted to the College of Arts & Science (CAS) to begin the Spanish translation certificate (Spring 2020).
Remember to celebrate milestones as you prepare for the road ahead.Nelson Mandela
Result: I completed by TESOL certificate in November 2019 and I was admitted to CAS. Spanish Translation certificate here I come! And just like that, yo’ girl made a dream come true. #BlackandEducated
The Story: Once I had received offer letters from colleges, I added a new goal. It’s the only goal on this list that I did not start the year with. This goal has been on my master life list; but it had not been assigned to a particular year yet and I never saw it happening for me in 2019 as I wrote my January list. And so, my new-to-the-list goal was written like:
To guest lecture for or with a tracked/tenured professor. (Psst…Universe–even better if the professor is a faculty member in the School of Education or Arts & Sciences.)
Lil’ Context: In the world of higher education, there are no resumes—only curriculum vitae will do. There’s a section titled “Presentation and Publications” that list your works (spoken and written) in your own academic field/interests. New to the faculty game, I had nothing to add yet. I inquired on how a newbie gains that experience fresh in building. The answer – find a faculty member who will allow you to sub for him/her or join him/him.
Hold fast to dreams for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.Langston Hughes
Result: I did not even have to ask for this opportunity or seek it out. Turns out that one of the faculty members who sat on my interview panel was impressed by me. When she had a special topics class to teach, she remembered my work in Linguistics (particularly AAVE) and asked me to teach her class! And just like that, yo’ girl made a dream come true. #lecturelady
The Story: My oldest son wanted to join a speech/debate club or team while my youngest son wanted to join a dance company. It was on my heart to make both happen for each son. And so the goal was written like:
Enroll MIT#1 in Toastmasters and enroll MIT#2 in a dance company—or in my own language, become a debate mom and a dance mom.
You are worthy of your wildest dreams!Ms. Jae
Result: MIT#1 participated and completed the first round of Toastmaster (even earning a distinct ribbon) and MIT#2 was accepted into a dance company. His audition was amazing, he passed the choreography round, and he handled the interview like a pro! And just like that, we all made our dreams come true. #supermom
The Story: As a psychology major and a person who is captivated by human behavior, I enjoy counseling. Up until this point in my life, I had always been involved with counseling as a couple or as a family; but never as an individual. I really desired to experience one-on-one counseling with just me and my own therapist. And so, my goal was written like:
Secure a therapist for myself before 2019 closes.
More Story: Each time I tried, something off-putting happened causing me to reset all over again. By November, I became adamant about prioritizing myself, my time, and my money to gift myself with beauty of individual therapy. My appointment was booked and I had the time off approved. I arrived to learn that the therapist was no longer available. And just like that, I was back at the drawing board. I collected myself and began my route to work (you know, at the university 😊); but before I had made it, I decided to stop at a local chicken joint to enjoy an hour to myself and just let it burn.
When you want something, all the Universe conspires to help you achieve it.The Alchemist
Result: As I savored my No. 1 combo, I opened my laptop to begin the search all over again. I was in a funk, but a determined one and I remember thinking… You’re just going to see all the same ones you saw last time and you don’t want them. To my surprise, I saw a new face. As I ran through her specs and visited her website, I found myself feeling familiar, satisfied, and happy. I dialed her up, left a message, and resumed my route to work. When I met her, I knew she was the one. My first session was lovely! In the last month of the year, I crossed off the final goal of 2019. And just like that, yo’ girl made the closing dream come true. #helpthyself
As I sit at the end of this year and at the end a decade, I am overwhelmed and consumed by many feelings and many thoughts. Yet, the one that stirs in me the most are the words of Ancestor Maya Angelou.
I am recalling my 15-year-old self reading the words to “I Rise” for the first time.
I am recalling my 16-year-old self reciting the words to “I Rise” every morning in the bathroom mirror before school.
My younger self is meeting my today self or maybe it’s a spiritual familiarity between the woman Mama Maya was and the woman I am.
In either case, my Inner Woman finds 2019’s closure in these words:
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I used to want the words ‘she tried’ on my tombstone. Now, I want ‘she did it!’Katherine Dunham
In the words of Katherine Dunham,
Whew! 2019—it’s been a year! Bring it, 2020!
What were your 2019 highlights? Did you make any dreams come true?
~Love, Light, and Dreams