Two Goals Down. #acui14

1978913_10101571371366036_2627168318887609916_nI made a list of goals (as I do at the end of every year) that I’ve been working on. I’ve been fortunate enough to complete two of these goals during my trip to Florida. Yeah, the place where I know I would never live, but my father does live near Orlando so trips to this state have to happen. What made it even better for me was that the ACUI Conference I was scheduled to attend basically made my travel plans much easier.

So just like that the first goal was already done. I wanted to visit my dad and step mother because it had been almost 5 years since I’ve been there and that is just totally unacceptable. Sure, I’ve seen them in NYC and even in the Dominican Republic, but I knew early on last year when I heard about this conference location that I was going to make it my business to visit family.

However, the other goal was for me to run a 5k at some point this year. In my head, I wanted to do this before I hit 40 in June. I circled April 9th on the calendar because I knew that the ACUI Fund Run would be that opportunity. The thing is, I know myself. I know that it wouldn’t take much for me to back out which is why I told no one that I was running this race. I signed up for this race last year in St. Louis but I backed out because sleep was my friend.

So, I knew in December I was going to try to do this. I did the best I could, in this cold ass winter that we had, to run and prepare. Of course, what discouraged me is that I would have to get up at like 5:30am on the day of the race so I can be up and ready to register at 6am. Despite the several beers I had the night previous and going to bed around 3am, I managed to get my ass up to run this race. How did I do it? Let me tell you a little story about that.

When you go to a conference, you should be personally challenged. You should be able to meet new people and rekindle old and existing professional relationships. I was on a panel the first day of the conference called Men of Color: Retention in the Profession. It was in that session that a fellow colleague sitting on the panel with me, Hayden Greene said, “You need to be a participant in the environment in which you want to thrive.” Those were very powerful words for me at the time because if there was any doubt on whether I needed to give myself to every part of this conference, it was gone at that moment. The 5k wasn’t just about me it was about being a part of something larger and like most conferences, these activities are there to help you get to your desired position in life.

So at any point if I felt socially inept, I thought about that one quote and when that alarm went off at 5:30am, I got up without hitting the snooze. I dragged myself down there with my Barnard sweatshirt prepared to run my legs off. The amazing thing about all of this was that there were so many people that were up that morning ready to do the struggle along with me through this course. Luckly, when the race began, I was able to latch on to a friend that I met two years ago in Boston and we pushed each other because after the first mile, I was ready to go back to bed.

So less than 40 minutes later (39:27 to be exact, because you know I just had to time myself), I managed to cross the finish line. No one there, except my buddy Jaime, knew how much of an accomplishment this was for me. That 5k represents all the things that I said I would do that I finally did. It made me think about this novel and how of a long road it’s been. It made me think about all the goals I have yet to accomplish. I can and will finish what I set out to do. It may just take me longer than I thought.

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2014 Goals

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In many ways, I feel like this year has gone by so fast. For the most part, it’s probably because I’m really enjoying my life and time flies when you’re having fun. I looked at the goals I set for myself this past year and I didn’t do all that bad. Some, of course, I didn’t even come close to accomplish and others I nailed.

So the disclaimer in all this is that I do not do New Year’s Resolutions. I set goals so that I can feel a little bit more accomplished by the end of the next year. I only completed 60% of my goals from last year but I suppose that is better then zero. I will try to do better for 2014. I will set ten personal goals and move from there.

The absolute number one goal for next year is get this novel published. I can’t stress that enough. I have put a lot of work into this book and I’m looking forward to this process being over. There are so many things that will go into this (like designing the cover, getting an ISBN, and getting an editor) and I’m ready for it. The one thing that I cannot let interfere with this process is fear. Trust me, I have a lot of it but I’m pushing through it.

Despite all my novel writing, the change in websites, and the multiple Huffington Post entries, I still think I do not blog enough. I have so many unfinished blogs that it is not even funny. Lately, I have gotten either easily distracted or have been too damn busy. My former life in Central NY was not like this. I just need to blog more.

Writing is one thing but reading more is also another goal of mine. For some reason I fell off with this and I need to get back on my reading habit. I really felt it after seeing Zadie Smith talk at Barnard College a few months back and than it was solidified after seeing Junot Diaz speak with Toni Morrison. Now that I have an upgraded Nook, I will be taking reading more seriously. I think I will try to read about 14 books next year.

I ‘m also getting old. I turn 40 in June and I have no idea what I’m doing. I would like to do something awesome for my birthday but I just can’t fathom what that would be. Perhaps a huge celebration? Who knows? What I do know is that I need to continue to exercise. I fell off that wagon too. I have always said that a 5k is in my future and I think in my 40th year, I should just do it.

This past fall, I started going to church again. Much of that had to do with trying to be the god father to my niece, Maya. I found myself getting up early on Sunday and going to mass and it really wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Of course, once Maya got baptized, I stopped going so I think it would be a good idea to start going again. Maybe not every Sunday but maybe twice a month.

The reason for wanting to go back is that I did feel at peace when I was in church. This was more about my own faith with God rather than the church itself. It has also made me think about volunteering and donating more to the neighborhood or just in general. Of course donating is always a little hard but as I continue my debt reduction things will get easier. I’m just happy that I paid off my car this month.

I have been in NYC for almost a year in a half now and I’ve returned to my old ways as a New Yorker, which means that I don’t visit other things unless food is involved. I feel like I need to explore NYC more. I was in the Williamsburg section Brooklyn a few weeks ago and it surprised me how nice certain parts of BK can be (yes, that is the Bronx in me talking). I also went to the Linkedin office a few weeks ago and they are in the Empire State Building which made me realize that that was the first time I’ve ever been in there. Yeah. I have to do better. lol

Finally, I need to visit my dad. I have not been to Florida in years and I need to go back. It just so happens that I will be heading to a conference in Orlando in April. Plans are not finalized but I look forward to the confernce that will turn into a family vacation. Disney is calling my girlfriend’s name.

I hope you all have some goals to set. Once you set goals then you are ready to achieve them. The picture above is from the article Life: Why Should You Set Goals for 2014? Read it. Happy Goal-Setting!