New Year, Who Dis?

Hey there dear reader! Haven’t spoken to you since last year (I know, corny)! With one full day into 2017, it is important to reflect on the past as we move forward into the future. Below are my some of my top moments from 2016 in no particular order:

a) Completing the 2016 Spartan Race Sprint: Imagine running in a 5 mile race where its pouring down raining in approximately 50-odd degrees while completing 20-27 obstacles, alone. I’ve looked at doing the Spartan Race for a few years as a mental and physical challenge, yet I constantly made excuses rationalizing why I couldn’t do it. I made a commitment to myself to do it in 2016 and I definitely made it happen. I rolled through mud under barbed-wire, jumped over a fire, and launched a 5 ft. javelin into a bale of hay on my first time (85% of people don’t complete this obstacle on the first try). Once I crossed that finish line, I was proud of myself  for making a commitment and knocking it out of the park while exceeding my own expectations of finishing in 3 hours (finished in 2:40). I found myself in part of a new community of people and shared stories with other Spartan Finishers throughout the year. Going through an event like the Spartan Race is an experience that many people don’t understand and connecting with others about the most difficult obstacles, the rain, and more is one for the books. To say the least, this is now a annual tradition that I’m doing next month to kick off the new year. Arooooooooooooo!

b) Securing a wedding and reception venue: Those that have/are planning a wedding understand how important and daunting this actually can be. When the Queen and I started planning out our wedding, we had meetings with different venues between Las Vegas and all throughout Southern California before we solidified a place that fit our needs for our special day.  We’d find a great venue, but didn’t like the staff attitudes OR they wouldn’t pronounce our names properly. There were a few places that did not want to provide us with what we wanted. Finally, we secured a location in early 2016 that not only matched what we wanted but also fit into our budget. Shout out to our coordinator, John!

c) Getting Accepted into Doctoral Program: When God open’s a door, you have to walk through when its time. Making the decision to go back to school to obtain a doctorate degree is not a decision that should be taken lightly as it forces one to change every aspect of their life for an extended period of time. Add the planning of a wedding, leadership roles both in national and local organizations, and working full time on top of everything else and it’s a big deal.Once I submitted my applications to multiple programs, I started getting acceptance letters from each one. Never in a million years did I ever think that I would get accepted into a doctoral program and I can honestly say it was God to find the program for ME. I declined one program in hopes of getting accepted into another and God ordained it to happen. I found a program that works for my schedule, challenges me to be a better scholar-practitioner, AND even had a study abroad component. In a few years, you can call me Dr. J!

d) Going back to New Orleans with the Queen: For about three years, the Queen has made it clear that she always wanted to go to New Orleans and 2016 was the year! I purchased our tickets, hotels, and more to ensure that she had an awesome time in a city that I hold close to my heart. Connecting her with someone that I appreciate and look up to was truly a moment for me.

e) October:  The month of October was one filled with love, excitement, and music!  Earlier in the year, I found out that not only Drake and Future were going to perform, but Bad Boy and the Family was having their last concert at the Forum. Needless to say, we needed to be there! While at the Drake concert, I was able to secure the Queen and I VIP seats for only $20 which was definitely a great decision. Drake performed a medley of hits, but really I didn’t really turn it up until Future came out. Surprisingly, I knew every single word of is songs and I had an AMAZING time. The energy came through like a blast and I was satisfied. One week later, Diddy brought the entire Bad Boy squad to the Forum and I lost my voice. Seeing them perform all of my favorite songs from my childhood like All About the Benjamins, Can’t Nobody Hold Us Down, and more made me appreciate Bad Boy THAT much more. People don’t give Bad Boy the credit that they deserve because they truly laid a foundation for a lot of different people. The lasting image that is more powerful than I think many people younger than 25 would appreciate is having Diddy, Dr. Dre, AND Snoop Dogg on the same stage TOGETHER. Anyone that remembers the media influenced West/East coast beef can appreciate this moment. Also, I celebrated another year on earth as it was my birthday and getting together with my friends to do nothing but karaoke was awesome (thanks, Bae).

These are just a few moments from the year that stood out to me during a hectic time in America with the election results. During a year that brought us more hatred against/for marginalized bodies, sexism, and racism, I had to have a few moments to be happy about. Thank you 2016 for opportunities for growth and enlightenment, but I’m happy to close out this chapter. 2017, what it look like?

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