A few weeks ago, I attended a high school graduation. When it came time for the valedictorian speech, I prepared myself for the yawnfest that I was about to hear.
The Valedictorian started talking about everything that she has done to maintain her 4.7 GPA, blah, blah, blah. . .
**Sidebar** WTH do you need to DO to get a 4.7 GPA I will never understand. An A++++?
Anyway, she mentioned how she would study on the weekends, and study all night, on holidays, during other celebrations, etc., etc. Before my head slammed into the concrete from being lulled to sleep, she transitioned into what she missed out on as a result of this: She said she missed many dances, dates, and good times with friends and family because of her incessant study habits. And for that, she said that her life was out of balance. She indicated, that as a result of that, she missed core activities and just general fun that should be mandated as a teen, and, although school is a serious subject, that she took it too seriously, and now wishes that she had created more of a balance in her life. Subsequently, she turned down an offer for one school (Berkeley) to go to another one (San Francisco), because she knew she would fall into the same pattern if she were to attend Berkeley, and that, SF offered more of a well, BALANCE between academia and just living the collegiate life.
She encouraged the graduating class to create a balance in their lives. She flipped the script on them and said that maybe if they PARTIED too much, perhaps they can provide an adequate balance in their own lives by focusing more on studies, and creating opportunities to make time for both. She wrapped up her speech by wishing and hoping the best for the students, and also commenting that she hoped that what she said to them will have an impact on their lives.
I don't know about them, but it hit me like a ton of bricks.
There are a lot of good attributes about myself. There are traits that I have acknowledged within myself, personally, professionally, emotionally, and financially, that are equally outstanding, as well as deficient. I have decided to make a conscious effort to work on the things that are deficient. I don't profess to ever have strong suits on things that I am weak in (such as math); these are not the issues that I refer to. I am talking about relationship and character building. The things that will transition you from one point of your life to another. You should NEVER measure yourself against other people. Only against who you are and who you would like to be. I don't promise to work on them all at one time, and I will no doubt fall off the wagon a time or two, however, Radio Flyer Beware, I'm going to get back on the wagon, and as such, I have decided to commit to the following things.
1. Work and Life Balance. I haven't been on vacation in over a year. And it's not because I'm a workaholic. I would rather be on a boat with music and a book. It's generally because I find other things to do in the area, and excuses where I can allocate the funds elsewhere. I KNOW this is not a good thing and I don't profess it to be so. But I am going to firmly commit to going on one very soon.
2. More exercise. Don't get enough of it. I am a LOT better with it than in previous years. But the issue that generally comes up is the BWH Syndrome (Black Woman Hair); sweat is Kryptonite to our hair. This can be a challenge during your workout regimens, but I can't really use that for an excuse, I have more than enough hair to pull in a ponytail, even though I think I look ridiculous in them, but whatever - it will just have to do. I am looking hungrily to any person that comes up with a way to isolate and contain the sweat from the hair follicles. This person, will in fact become the next Madame CJ Walker in black women's eyes.
3. Being Open. I used to equate being open with vulnerability. But so what if it is? There is nothing wrong with being open, or human, or authentic about what you feel. Keeping it closed in on the inside doesn't change how you feel. No man or woman is a mind reader - and, they probably want to know what you are thinking anyway. And even if they don't it's not healthy keeping all that stuff in.
4. Time management/Scheduling. It's not as if I don't know how to do it. I just don't take the time to do it! :) However, planning your day and your week out for both personal and professional fulfillment often times leaves you MORE open for time for other things, instead of running around like an African Banshee trying to do things at the last minute.
5. Letting go. I believe that's a challenge for many people. I don't harbor resentments against people per se, but I do go on my PH (not player hater - those are my initials) standoffs for people that have tried to throw me under the bus. Anything and everything can happen in the course of one minute (including death), and I don't have the time, energy, or desire to hold onto past things that I can't quite remember what happened ANYWAY, or the offending party has let go of on their own as well. I am not going to be a black woman with issues kind of chick (not that I am), but I'm certainly not going to start any tradition - or create a memory of me being unforgiving. I may, one day, want and need the opportunity to redeem myself - more sooner than later, no doubt.
6. Taking Risks. My teenage years and early twenties were SO serious - too serious (based on some personal circumstances). I didn't really have the opportunity to take risks the way people could - and should do, at that age. I have just recently made some HUGE decisions that will impact my life for the better, but it was, in fact, a risk. A risk that I was not necessary ready to take, but was, ultimately, the best thing I could have done. Someone else who will remain nameless, has also taken a risk with me and on me, and I cannot thank her enough for that. (More on that later).
So, to the Valedictorian of Mayfair High School, your message did get across. To create a balance. And as for THIS Libra, I am now, tipping the scales.
What about you? How is YOUR life? Need to create a balance? If so, in what? (if you are so willing to share. . .)