Happy New Year!!!
Updated: Jan 2
"Life's not about expecting, hoping and wishing, it's about doing, being and becoming." Author Mike Dooley.
Welcome to the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020. Some goals were met, while others failed to see the light of day. I've always been told that you will start your year how you end it, so I decided to end my year by posting my very first blog.
Today I reflected on my goals from 2019. I had expectations of starting a blog, hoping to impact everyone from the youth to my colleagues and wishing I'd make a difference in the lives of those same people. In my opinion, I FAILED. I failed because I didn't execute in all areas. I'm still excited though! What I'm excited about is that I made progress in other areas of my life. First, doing what many find afraid to do, which is getting married made the top of my list. That day trumped all the accomplishments that I've had this year. Coming in second on my list was becoming the first male in my family to receive a master's degree. Finally, being able to wake up each day to do what I love, which is to instill hope in others. Statistics show that around 150,000 people die each day around the globe and fortunately today you and I have the opportunity to breathe, but most importantly we can make a difference in someone else's life.
July 20th marks the day I married my best friend, which will be the day I celebrate for the rest of my life, but December 20th marked the day we took our honeymoon and our lives changed forever. My wife and I took a cruise to the Western Caribbean where we witnessed some of the most beautiful lands across the world. Unfortunately, we also witnessed some of the most egregious communities and housing conditions one would ever see. While we enjoyed our time in the Cayman Islands kissing stingrays, looking out our window at Atlantis in the Bahamas or eating authentic Mexican food in Cozumel, we couldn't erase the images of the families who had rebar sticking out their roofs made up of whatever material they could find or purchase to keep the rain from soaking their floors. Could you imagine having an unfinished home where you had rebar sticking out in hopes of one day building your son or daughter's bedroom? Me either! But that's a reality for some families living in Jamaica and others in third world countries. One man told me that education is the key to getting out of his current living conditions.
My tour guide shared with me that 75% of all the people in Jamaica are poor, 15% are very rich and the other 10% act like they're rich. Out of that 75%, they all do some form of farming and bartering in order to live on the land. Those same people when given opportunities to send their children to school, all have hopes of their child getting to the United States one day to work and be able to send money back home by Western Union in order to finish adding on to their homes where the rebar patiently awaits. Another eye-opening moment came when I noticed each home had water storage tanks that filled up only when it rained in order to take a shower, hand wash clothes or wash dishes. After hearing and seeing for myself the poverty they live in I instantly became sick to my stomach. What I realized is that over the years I've been ungrateful. Not intentionally, but culturally my way of living has been all I've known.
The following picture on the left was snapped by my wife at the end of our journey back down the mountain after 26 of us were told to hop in random cars that our tour guides flagged down in the middle of the street. When I tell you the look on our faces after our buses air brake blew out in the middle of a small village. All that most of us could think about was how tragedy strikes those stranded in foreign countries, although Jamaica is neither domestic nor international, it all looked the same to us. But with God's glory, we made it through and our driver along with everyone else we met while visiting were all nice people. We can't wait to go back in a few years.
Although 2019 brought so many memories, 2020 my plan is to continue on my path of doing, being and becoming. My father once told me after losing a wrestling match at the age of 11, "failure isn't an option, it's a must." No matter what the world brings, make sure you take into consideration those three words and to execute on your goals. Appreciate the failure that comes into your life this year as well as the successes. They all matter!