One thing that I’ve noticed over the years is that we always tend to give up on ourselves towards the end of the year. You start to see the social media posts in late summer/early fall where people will say, “maybe next year will be better.” Then when January gets here, we say “this will be our year;” it happens every year though. What I want to know is what exactly constitutes “my year?” A marriage? A baby? A new job? Something more devastating like a death of someone close to you that really makes you reevaluate life? And why is it that we blame our experiences for making the whole year bad, or good for that matter. But seldom do we hear, “this was my year!” Well, I can’t actually say 2018 was “my year” because again, I don’t know what is supposed to make that year mine, but I can say that a lot of great things happened in 2018. I came up with a handful of professional and personal experiences that I consider building blocks (or bricks as I’ll refer to them later) that shaped my 2018 and prepared me to face 2019 head on.
I was accepted onto the SHRM Young Professional Advisory Council (YPAC) in December 2017 for a 2018 volunteer role. I was ecstatic because it was something I had dreamed about for several years. Little did I know that my role would lead me to so many things beyond my wildest imagination. I started participating in Twitter chats like #nextchat and #HRSocialHour because I was going to be hosting #nextchat on behalf of the YPAC. I started connecting with professionals from the #HRTribe that I had never met, but I was excited to get to know. I had an opportunity to meet a lot these fantastic people when I attended #SHRM18 in Chicago, and it was like one big family. The connections I made there were invaluable. I was invited to record a podcast with the hosts of the HR Social Hour, Wendy and Jon. And later in the year, I was invited to be on an episode of HR Talk with Ricky Baez and JC Connors. My role on the YPAC also led me to becoming a regular SHRM Blog contributor and to co-hosting a weekly blog with my friend Lorena called “The Future of HR.” Who knew that one volunteer role would cause such a positive trickle-down effect.
Although my professional life revolves around a lot of volunteer work, it’s not my entire professional life. I do have a paid day job that I spend a lot of time at. In late 2018, my world there got turned upside down when I found out my company was being acquired and merged with three other companies. I had no idea what this would mean for my future at that company, but I was excited for the opportunities. There have been a lot of changes, and I’ve been pretty much non-stopped for the past four months, but I’m learning a lot. I feel pretty blessed to be a young HR pro experiencing what I’ve been through over the last couple of years.
On a more personal level, I experienced a handful of things that made a huge impact on my year. While they don’t all feed back into one core experience, they all helped me prepare for what lies ahead. After losing my cat Roxi in November 2017, I didn’t think I’d be ready to adopt any more cats for a while. But I was introduced to two beautiful cats in December 2017 that I ended up adopting in January 2018. They are Zellie & Draco. Zellie was four years old and is the mother to Draco, who was not quite three months old at the time. I didn’t know it then, but they would become my everything. I got to take them on vacation with me in October. We took a 5-hour drive to Hilton Head where we met my parents for a wonderful week at the beach. My visits with my parents were a little different this year; different isn’t bad either. When I was home (West Virginia) for Christmas 2017, I basically said I was only coming home in the summer from now on. So, I took a trip home over the 4th of July weekend, and that was it. I spent that week with my parents in South Carolina and then they came down to Florida for a week right before Christmas. Let me tell you, it was a nice visit and we had a great time. But not being home / with my parents on Christmas, was so weird! As much as I dislike snow, I will most likely have many more Christmases in West Virginia; now I just gotta figure out how to get those kitties to go with me!
The last truly impactful thing that occurred in 2018 was when I found out about my Diabetes. It was hard to take in when I first found out. I spent a lot of time thinking about what I needed to do to be healthier. I decided to give up an amazing opportunity I had been given to be on the HR Florida Conference Committee; trust me – that was a very difficult decision for me. I am the type of person that says yes to everything and I tend to put others first. But the Diabetes was a wake-up call and I realized that 2019 was going to be about putting myself and my health first.
I’m truly excited to see what 2019 brings. My 2018 experiences continued laying the bricks on top of an already established foundation. They helped me prepare for what is next to come and gave me some things to look forward to. Recently Michelle Kohlhof, a member of the #HRTribe, wrote a blog on what her words to live by in 2019 would be and it opened the doors to a great conversation. It got me thinking and I decided my four words for 2019 are strength, connect, cherish, and presence.
- Strength: because I want to become healthier and be around for a long time to come.
- Connect: because I want to continue networking and growing my network.
- Cherish: because we all deserve to be loved and cherish and I have a lot of love to share; especially with my newest non-biological nephew born on New Years Day.
- Presence: because I need to make time for myself and be present in all that I do.
Bring it on, 2019!