30 life lessons that I learned in 30 years

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It’s my birthday and it’s a big deal because I have been on mother earth for 3 eventful decades! So! Here are the lessons that I am carrying with me as I march upward in life…

  1. Loving myself is not selfish
  2. I can never go wrong with being myself
  3. Spending time with myself is time well spent
  4. Believing in God is not optional
  5. I cannot do it without God
  6. Friends come and go, love them while they are there, let them go when it’s time.
  7. Love is meant to be enjoyed, at least if it ends, I’ll have the memories
  8. Living in the present is HARD but essential
  9. I can love people but not like them.
  10. Not choosing is a choice so I cannot be mad if someone else chooses for me.
  11. “There is no graduation on life… we all learn as we go.”-Lilly said it

  12. Motherhood is a ministry, not a fatality.
  13. It is hard to make people proud of me if I am not proud of myself.
  14. My dreams do not need approval stamps from others
  15. Fall 99 times, get up 100 times
  16. God will give me what I need, not what I want.
  17. All things are working for my good even if I fall apart in the process
  18. As long as I attach my joy to a thing, a person or an achievement, I won’t find it.
  19. I can have joy anywhere, anytime and in every situation
  20. People see me how I see me.
  21. I am pretty darn resilient.
  22. “We have patiently suffered long enough, hoping that someone or some kind of luck would one day grant us more opportunity and happiness. But nothing external can save us, and the fateful hour is at hand when we either become trapped at this level of life or we choose to ascend to a higher plane of consciousness and joy. In this ailing and turbulent world, we must find peace within and become more self-reliant in creating the life we deserve.” ― Brendon BurchardThe Motivation Manifesto

  23.  I cannot just say “Thy will be done” to God, I have to walk the talk.
  24. Doing the right thing is extremely hard but it’s not the reason why I cannot do it.
  25. My tears are not signs of weakness, they are confirmation that I am still there.
  26. “You may trod me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I’ll rise.”-Maya Angelou

  27. I define my value, I decide what is OK and what is not.
  28. I am Free
  29. Self-care is not “I will do it when I have time” kind of thing, it’s ” I have to do it so that I can overflow into my loved one” kinda thing.
  30. “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Prov 31:30

Happy mother’s day every day…

When I was younger, I wanted to be flight attendant because I loved their outfits and the idea of going around the world. My mom told me that if I wanted to have children and a family one day, I may want to rethink that… I changed my mind immediately because I knew early on that I wanted to be a mom.  The day I heard my daughter’s cry was the most beautiful and emotional day of my life. I did not care that my hair was a mess, that I was alone or that I was in pain, she was finally in my arms and she was so breathtaking…

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I thought I loved before but what I  experienced that day and every day since was beyond me… I whine, I complain and I cry… A LOT! But I will do it all over again…

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Happy mother’s day!!!

…to every mom here on earth and to those in heaven.

Because there are many of us, and some of us, for whatever reason, might not hear it from someone else today, Single mommies out there…

Mama! In case you have not heard it yet, please allow me the honor to tell you that you are doing great and there is so much more where that comes from. Happy Mother’s day!

 

Forever Young…

What would the soundtrack of your life be? Would you write it or would you pick your favorite artist to sing it?

I re-read “Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want” by Michael Hyatt & Daniel Harkavy a few weeks ago. If you are still confused about where you want to go in life and what you do, this might be a good start for you.

When I bought the book in 2016, I was embarking on what I thought was a journey that would lead me to fulfillment and Joy.  I felt that I was drifting and I wanted direction in my life. However, I read the book back then and barely did the exercises that were recommended. I put it on the shelf with the intention of revisiting it later.. almost 2 years later, here we are…  It could be that I am just getting old or it could be that I have been reading way too many self-help books but the need to take this seriously kicked in and I felt the need to do the exercises this time around… This is what I learned about me…

I want to be forever young…

“So let’s just stay in the moment… Leave a mark that can’t erase, neither space nor time. So when the director yells cut we’ll be fine”- Forever Young lyrics

Yes! every year, on my birthday, I am forever 21 but that’s not what I mean…

I want to be forever young in all my life accounts: In religion, family, career, friendships, hobbies, etc. I want to be as passionate, as eager to learn and as hungry for growth as I am on the first day of a new experience.

As I focus on the expectations that are set for me, I tend to feel like I am way behind, I become very impatient with myself and I tend to give into negative self-thoughts.

If I remember nothing else about my life plan, I want to remember to extend to myself and others some grace.

I will definitively write the soundtrack of my life, but when the director yells cut, I sure hope everyone that crossed my path remembers my “youth.”

 

On living a little…

In 2013, my philosophy was “Que sera, sera, whatever will be will be, the future’s not ours to see… que sera, sera…” (yes I still love the song and yes! I used to repeat those words to myself quite often)… Well, 2013 quickly became the year that I had to fight the most difficult internal battles and let’s just say that I now look back and ask myself “what on earth was I thinking?” It was not all bad, in fact, it was the year that I really started making my own life decisions. I was 25 (if you have traditional African parents, you will understand).

Why am I bringing this up? People have been telling me to live a little. While some of them are right (I do need to find more ways to have fun), Some of them were really confusing. For example, I am at a point in my life where I cannot justify spending over a certain amount of money on clothes, regardless of how good it looks on me. Yes! I work hard and no! that is not why I work hard.

In reflection, I realize that when I decided to adopt that philosophy in 2013, I also stopped dreaming. I stopped living intentionally and I let life happen to me and it was really the worst thing I could have ever done at such a prime time of my life.

As I am approaching another decade of my life, I know that I AM LIVING.  I am choosing to be intentional about every aspect of my life (spiritual, career, financial, social, family, physical and personal development) because…

“Where water is the boss there the land must obey.” — African proverb

God has the final say but there is a reason why we have to ask before we receive. While it is not always fun to say no to “living a little,” keeping my “why” in mind is a great reminder that it will be worth it in the end.

“Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance, determines your destiny.”
— Aristotle

Exercising my joy muscle

I am challenging myself to read more this year. For February I picked up The Book of Joy and it brought me as much laughter and as much joy the title promised. Not only was this a conversation between his Holiness Dalai Lama (Buddhist), Archbishop Desmond Tutu (Christian) and Douglas Abrams (Jewish) but also, the author successfully relayed the camaraderie between the spiritual leaders interviewed in the book. 2018-02-13 07.36.29

I have many highlights in the book but in this month of love where we are prone to beat ourselves up for falling short on our goals or resolutions, I appreciated the reminder that Joy is a choice.

I was reminded that like any choice that I make, it is possible that I am constantly challenged to change my mind and choose something else. However, this is where I should be OK with being selfish.

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So here we go…

I, Raya Bayor promise to #SHARETHEJOY, see the world through joyful eyes to find the beauty in everything, appreciate everyone and let HAPPINESS be my guide to hug strangers along the way, hold dearly onto their stories and have the courage to let go of my own. To find one another, to feel and to let joy surround me. This is my pledge.

 

On getting validation

If you are like me, you question everything. It is very hard to take that first step unless I see the full picture and I know exactly where I am headed.  Well! my world stopped when I realized that I had to go to Chicago for a week. It was my first time being away from my baby and it was like pulling a tooth for me. Every step leading to the trip was painful, however, I went…

Right before a snowstorm and freezing temperature so I did not see much of Chicago. However, I accomplished the mission that took me there, I completed my first residence in the Social Work program, yay!

As painful as the whole process was, I am glad I went because I left Chicago feeling confident about my skills as a Social Worker and I also got the validation that I am on the right track.

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I did not realize that I was seeking validation for what I chose as a path for my career and I realized that (thanks to the amazing people I spent the week with)  I have not given myself permission to be Social Worker because I am interested in so many other things.  I was terrified of wearing that title because I am interested in doing many other things and I did not want to limit myself.  I made peace with the idea that my abilities are limitless and I can wear as many titles as I want.

Do you find yourself raising walls around you and resisting to grandiose dreams? well, I learned this lesson this week and I am sharing it with you: DON’T!

New Year, New You!

I don’t recall who said this exactly but I remember that she was asked how she is doing in the new year and she said “same s@$t different year.”  I still find that amusing…

How are you feeling so far? Did you have new year resolutions? Are you still on track?

I learned a few years ago that goals work better than resolutions. I also learned that I am more likely to succeed when I focus on one thing at a time. So I set quarterly goals. The first quarter of 2018, I want to eat better because as Jim Rohn said…

PS: One of the life-changing videos I’ve watched is a workshop that Jim Rohn did and I watched it Here.

Here is a shortlist that I found motivational to stick to my goals…

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Dear 2017

The word that keeps coming to me when I think of summing up 2017 is “Reset.”

2017 was my 11th year in the US. Towards the end of 2016, after the crying and the anger was dealt with, I realized that I fell off the wagon. Like anyone that falls off the wagon or forgets their dreams along with their journey, I caught myself asking “How did I get here?”

How did I gain so much weight? How did I get into so much debt? How did my thoughts become so toxic? When did my silence begin to oppress me? When did I stop making the best of everything? AND the list goes on…

I needed guidance so I went to the beginning…

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Quite simple rules for a happy life yet so hard to live by…

While I stumbled and fell multiple times,  I promised myself to remember that

  • God is my anchor, not my boss, not my friends or anything else that appears to make me lose my cool.
  • I have my pace; I can be happy about others success and not feel like a failure myself.
  • The sustainable and successful life that I am going for is a “crockpot” success, not a “microwave” process.

Because these goals are valid every minute of my life, I feel that RESET is a good way to describe 2017. Thank you for all the lessons 2017, Bring it on 2018 🙂

On holidays

If you are among those who celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, please allow me to quote the Christmas song

“And so I’m offering this simple phrase
To kids from one to ninety-two
Although it’s been said many times, many ways
Merry Christmas to you”-Nat King Cole

If you do not celebrate at all, then I hope you still surround yourself with love and kindness.

As we get closer to 2018, I am among those that are thinking about what to focus on. I want my health to drastically improve in 2018, it is no longer a wish or a dream, it is a must. I am open to suggestion on how to go about it. I will be reading and studying in the next few days and I will update you all.

from a kind heart to yours.

Learning the hard way

Coming from a French-speaking country, I had to learn that if I am to learn, I must put away my fears of being ridiculed.  There was a woman back home that used to say that she does not get easily embarrassed because she fell in Assigame before. Assigame is the “big market” in ewe and it’s the busiest place in Lome and they are not too kind when you fall so that was the woman’s way of saying that she has been through the worse possible.

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I am sure every immigrant will have a similar story to mine. I realized at some point that if I wanted to learn, I had to put myself out there. I put myself where it is uncomfortable so I can push myself to face my fear of being ridiculed. I was part of a group and we were working on a project. There was a need for a volunteer to write the ideas that we were brainstorming and so I volunteered. Words were thrown out there that I had no idea how to write, so I did what I was thought since primary school, write it the way it sounds.  To give you an idea of how bad it was, I wrote “easter bonnie” instead of “easter bunny.”  lol! Like the woman I mentioned earlier, I had my own share of falls in Assigame so I finished what I started;  needless to say that I was ridiculed and called names. Nothing new there… What touched me was that one of our mentors got up and ripped the paper that I wrote on, then in front of me, he rolled it and put it in the trash can. I believe that it is one of the reasons why this keeps playing in my head, my feelings were hurt but I was more disappointed than anything else. If I get the chance to face that mentor, I would tell him that he was the worst bully of them all. I grew up knowing teachers that corrected mistakes, not to embarrass the student but to ensure that the mistakes do not get repeated. In this day of age where we need more tolerance in our lives, I would like to remind everyone that the United States of America is called a “melting pot” for a reason. People from different backgrounds merge into this country and build a home. So let’s lift each other up rather than break each other down, every chance we get.

Earlier in my experience here in the United States, my English 102 teacher was having a conversation with us and one of my classmates commented that our college was a community garbage because everyone is welcomed.  My teacher could have let that comment slide just like I witnessed many others do. But she used me as an example and asked me how many languages I speak. I told her 5 if I include the dialects that we speak in my country and English. The person who made the comment only spoke English. That teacher boosted my confidence that day. I am grateful that other falls prepared me for that moment where the mentor tried to make me feel small. I am grateful that it did not make me crawl back into my bubble. I learned what an Easter bunny was that day and how to write it.

Remember that we all have opportunities to be the rainbows in other people’s clouds, but we can also be the dark clouds if we choose to. I hope we choose to live intentionally 🙂

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