The 2010’s were bananas and downright disrespectful. Let me give you some context on why I’m saying this. 2010-2019 was the most painful decade of my life. The whole decade? Yes, the whole decade! It started in 2010 with the death of my marriage. My ex-husband and I separated in April 2010. After battling lung cancer, my grandfather passed away in November of that year.  I divorced in 2011. I lost my home later that year. Each of my parents lost a sibling to lung cancer, one in 2011 and one in 2013. A couple of months after we laid my mother’s sister to rest, I lost a cousin to pancreatic cancer. My mother was treated for breast cancer and had to endure radiation therapy shortly thereafter. In May 2014, my oldest daughter almost died from a gunshot wound to the chest. Yes, my daughter almost died! My godmother, one of my grandmother’s sisters, lost her battle with an aggressive form of breast cancer in October 2014. Did I mention that my godmother is the mother of the cousin we lost to pancreatic cancer? And that my ex-husband passed away in 2015 after battling sarcoidosis for years. I know….unbelievable. But it doesn’t stop there.

Before my godmother passed away, she insisted that I undergo genetics testing to determine if I carried the same gene mutation that she and my grandmother carried. Well, in 2016, I tested positive for the gene mutation that is linked to breast, ovarian and pancreatic cancer. I had a double mastectomy and had my ovaries and fallopian tubes removed in December of that year. In December 2017, my grandmother’s remaining sister passed away after battling cancer. If you’ve been following my blog, you know that shortly thereafter, I lost my grandmother in April 2018.  To say that her loss has been difficult is an understatement. It’s been a little over 2.5 years since I watched her take her last breath and I am still navigating through the waves of grief. So, this gives you context for the decade; but let me tell you….there is stuff that happened that I didn’t even include. Events that rocked me to my core. More loss, more pain. As you can see…the 2010’s sucked!

Needless to say, I was beyond excited to enter into a new decade. Then COVID-19 happened. The nerve of 2020 to try to thwart my intentions for entering into a new decade in pure bliss and happiness. We’ve just entered into the 11th month of the year and I want to throw the whole year away. But here’s the thing…I’m here. I am alive and healthy.

My intention at the beginning of the year was to choose HAPPY. That’s what I’ve been doing throughout 2020 and that’s exactly what I intend to continue doing. Yes, I said it! I will continue to call forth happiness. Why? Because both the 2010’s and this year have been the most transformative times of my life. I realize that the pain I experienced in the 2010’s had a purpose. That decade shaped me into the beautiful, authentic soul that I am today. The 2010’s exposed my junk and baggage and literally knocked me to my knees. If I am honest, there were times that this past decade almost took me clean out. It is only by the grace of God that I am here and in my right mind and able to withstand all that 2020 has thrown my way. It was in the depths of pain that I found true relationship with God and found ME. Moreover, the 2010’s and 2020 have taught me some great lessons. Therefore, I’m sharing 10 lessons that I learned throughout this last decade and this year. Here goes!

  1. God IS!.  This is my biggest lesson. During this past decade, I learned who God is for myself! I no longer need to rely on the testimony of momma and them. When my back was pressed against the wall, He’s shown himself to be a way maker. I know that He is a provider. He is Jehovah Shammah! Even though I was hundreds of miles away, He was there when my daughter was shot. He’s shown me countless times that He’s a doctor in the sick room. He is a comforter. He is peace and love. The bottom line is that I know that God IS!
  2. Boundaries are not an option.  Those you love will hurt you sometimes. Whether their actions are intentional or not, my job is to continue to love them; but set clear boundaries. Because what you will not do is continue to hurt me, breed toxicity or disrupt my peace! I learned to love some people from afar.
  3. Authenticity is my key to walking in freedom.  This decade has taught me how to stand flat-footed and bow-legged in my truth and own it.
  4. Rest is sacred and is a beautiful gift created by God.  I’ve learned the power of just being and not doing. I reject the notion that busyness and constant activity speaks to my value or worth. This year has taught me the importance of balance, proper rest, and being grounded. Throughout the year, I need to stop, sit and put my feet in the sand or grass to reconnect with Mother Earth and get grounded.
  5. Every healthy relationship begins with a healthy individual.  I must be healthy standing alone. Soul work (i.e., counseling, journaling, and self-reflection) is critical to my individual health. There is no healthy we without a healthy me.
  6. I cannot control the way someone loves me.  I was listening to Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations podcast earlier this year. Iyanla Vanzant was her guest on this particular episode. Here’s what I caught in my soul from that conversation: “You cannot control the way someone loves you. You can observe and learn how they love you. Then, you have a choice regarding whether or not how he or she loves you works for you. You have a choice! You don’t have to stay and try to get him or her to love you the way you want to be loved. Go! Do something different, do what’s best for you. You have a choice!”  I don’t know about you…but that little tidbit set me all the way free!
  7. My thoughts determine the trajectory of my life.  Any over-thinkers out there that resonate with this lesson? Learning to manage my thoughts and not allow certain thoughts to control me has been one of the biggest lessons that I’ve learned this year.
  8. I need community for this journey of life.  I was not designed to do life alone. Even though I’m aware of this, I also learned that not everyone deserves to be a part of my inner circle. Wisdom is necessary to discern who is safe and deserves backstage access to my life.
  9. I have a choice. I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do and neither do you. I am done living my life in accordance with the expectations of others. Gone are the days when I dance to the beat of another’s drum. I trust the knowing within me and dance to the rhythm of my own heartbeat!
  10. I am ENOUGH.  Point. Blank. Period.

I release all the residue of pain that still resides in my soul from this past decade and will not allow the foolishness of 2020 to deposit wounds in my soul. The pain had a purpose and I have learned great lessons throughout the years. I am letting go of what was and I’m choosing happy. Every day that God allows me to rise, I will call forth happiness from the universe. I CHOOSE HAPPY!

Many blessings to you ~ Nephateria