#2017BestNine: Thank you for all of the lessons, 2017!

It’s the final day of the shitshow called “2017” and it’s been one hell of a year for me, both personally and professionally. I experienced a lot of ups and downs, yet I’m still here dawg (Drake voice) and I can only thank the Most High for that. I recall the same time last year, I was working on my very first vision board with my wife and was anxious as to what this year would bring, both good and bad. I didn’t accomplish EVERYTHING I wanted on my vision board, which means I have to take it up another notch for 2018. I’m excited about this upcoming year despite having 45 in the office and oppression still happening to Black and Brown bodies. I have some big things planned for melanatedandeducated.com next year and I can’t wait to share the journey with you all. Here are my 2017BestNine moments (I don’t do too much instagramming to even have nine photos from the year):

  1. My Wedding (and the journey): After getting married, I don’t see how so many people want to keep doing it again and again. It’s time-consuming, stressful, and a money suck at times (plus, as I alluded to earlier, nobody cares about the Groom), yet I don’t think I’ve had as much fun in my life. To showcase the love my wife and I have to our family was awesome. It was a moment that I’ll never forget and I’m so happy that we had the opportunity to share with them. The journey through it all made it worth, but I know that I definitely do not want to do it again.
  2. Burning out: Earlier this year, I was exhausted across the board. I didn’t want to go to work and I damn sure wasn’t feeling school too much. This was weird because despite all of the foolishness that I encounter, I really do love the work that I get to accomplish day in and day out. I’d have meetings and just completely zone out. Here I was taking a full course load in school, working fulltime, and even working a PT job at one point, and thinking that everything was okay. I had to take a look in the mirror and I realized that I was tired. I felt like I was giving too much of myself to others and not securing my own peace of mind. After talking to both my wife and my therapist, I refocused and put more energy into myself and my personal goals. Just like everything else, I matter too. My dreams, my life, and my thoughts matter and burning out helped me remember that. Protect your peace!
  3. Writing: Listen, I’ve been wanting to write for YEARS! I recall reading books and thinking that I could write something much better and provide more insight into real life. Then I started reading blogs, thinking that there’s no way I could write anything remotely interesting or touch on a topic that people would want to read. That changed in 2017 and I couldn’t be happier. I took a chance and wrote a few articles on Blavity, youngblackand.com, and other spaces which I’m proud of. It’s difficult though to be vulnerable in a time where everything is overly scrutinized and discredited, however, I do believe that we need more positivity in the world and I believe I can add some much needed light. Next year, I’m going to take it up a notch and keep putting out dope content. Not to be famous (it’s overrated and I like my space), but to provide different perspectives and energy into a world that needs it.
  4. Buying a pair of Jordans from oversees to resell: If you know me, you know that I’m always thinking about how to hustle and how to make my money work while I’m sleeping. Well, I got some news that there was a pair of Jordans (CNY 12s to be exact) that were coming out and ended up coming out earlier in China. I was told that they’d be a hotseller so I invested the $300 to cop them and ship them from China. As soon as I got them, I put them on reseller sites, eBay, and promoted through word of mouth. I assumed that they’d go quickly because of all the clamoring I read online, yet I was as wrong as OJ was for stealing his stuff back. I learned very fast that Jordans aren’t as hot as they used to be and people are really capping out here for Adidas (I know, surprising). If anyone wants to make an offer, let me know!
  5. Going to Barcelona and London within a 10 day period: Barcelona owes me not one thing! For our annual bruh trip, my friends and I took some time to explore Barcelona and “impressed” isn’t even the word. The city, sights, and sounds engaged all of the senses! The delicious cuisine made me reconsider every spot that I’ve been to in the States that has “tapas” and sangria. These places in the States are westernized so the food doesn’t even taste the same. It’s just different! On the other hand, my trip to London for study abroad was interesting to say the least. I enjoyed exploring the city and learning about the rich, in-depth history of higher education in the U.K., but I wasn’t feeling some of the energy that was being put out in the universities we visited. Oxford was definitely THAT school. It’s eery that I had the same emotions I had at Harvard when I went to Oxford. I felt that there were still oppressive policies and actions at play  (esp in terms of Black bodies) that I don’t even think they realized it. Hell, it’s been documented.
  6. Honeymooning in Mexico: Talk about a great experience! My wife and I just reconnecting with one another while drinking Mango Margaritas was fantastic. Although we had some school work to complete (school doesn’t stop even if it is a break), I just appreciated being away with my wife. Couples need this time just to appreciate one another and the hard work that each person is doing to make their lives better.
  7. Losing friendships: Now, I’m not one to pull the “cut people off in XXX year” card because it just happens. Life just has a way of showing an individual out the door when the season calls for it. Throughout this year, I feel like I lost some good friendships for whatever the reason and I’m still here. I don’t harbor any hard feelings and hope that their 2018 is fruitful regardless of whether or not we talk.
  8. Watching my mentees and students grow up: I like to think that my students and mentees will be forever young, yet I forget that everybody grows older and wiser. This year, some of my favorite students graduated (undegrad and graduate), had babies, and thriving in their careers. It’s a sight to see when someone you hired years ago has a child of their own. I know that they’re adults and they all make their own choices, I have to be okay with that. They’re no longer a 2nd year having 1:1s with me about a roommate conflict. I provided them with the tools they need to be successful and I’m happy that they call and tell me “Yea Jamal, you were right about XXXXX.”
  9. Making it to the end of 2017 despite 45: If we’re going to be honest here, 2017 has been a clusterfuck of an experience for so many people (people of Color and women, respectively) and I believe 45 had a huge part in this. From his insane policies to his infamous twitter commentary, the guy is an example of being a less than mediocre White male having no accountability. It just seemed like every news article was “doom and gloom”, yet I, like many others, found a way to get up in the morning. We had something to cheer for whether we knew it or not. I cannot and will not let the system win, because that means I’ve failed. I can be weary, angry, sad, and anything else BUT I cannot fail.

These are just nine things from 2017 that left an indelible mark on my development in this world. I’m looking forward to 2018 and all that comes with it. What’s some of your top moments from 2017?

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