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My Four EPIC Lessons of 2015

By: Donald Flake

A proper New Year’s celebration consist of hanging out with friends at a bar listening to Prince’s “Party Like its 1999” - even though its 17yrs later - turning up with jello shots, partaking in the festivities in Times Square or hearing Anderson Cooper and the unmistakable yet annoying voice of Kathy Lee Gifford…5,4,3,2,1 HAPPY YEAR!!! Here in the Mid-West, winter was showing out, 19 Degrees and snowy, the day was darker than the night, and we caught a flat tire. After 3 hours of struggling to change the tire, the Triple A representative finally showed up.

Learning to Accept Help   

As I write this and reflect, it was actually the first test of the New Year. Not a test in learning how to change a tire ( I had finally passed that test the previous year), but a test in not being too prideful to accept a strangers’ help. Over the years I’ve come to find myself extremely self-assured and not open to asking for help let alone accepting help when it was offered. By accepting the strangers help, we were able to relax in a warm toasty car, be chauffeured to the party we were headed to before the tire went flat and ended up having a great time. The stranger, Joe, turned out to be my girlfriends cousin.

Expanding My Faith

About this time, my personal relationship with GOD started to grow into another stratosphere. The walk began when I started reading this 365 day chronological bible reading plan. Prior to reading, I had many questions about this subject, “Why are people dying unjustly?”, “How are we to believe anything in the bible?  It is, after all, man-made” or “Why do I have to pay tithes? I don’t need marble floors and such to worship.” These questions kept me in disbelief for years - as the teaching goes, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” Well, I asked, sought, and knocked and from this I developed a PERSONAL relationship with the Supreme Being and the rest is history.

Exploring New Career Paths

Reacting to situations and accepting what life hands me has been my modus operandi. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” right? Well, it wasn’t broken per se, but my career definitely needed a fix. What that was, I wasn’t sure but I thought I’d see what was out there. I began searching for other jobs in my field. I was selected for two of them but didn’t pull the trigger on either.

I ended up staying in my current role and after two months, feelings of regret began weaseling into my psyche. Then after those feelings took up residence, my boss, with whom I have a love/hate relationship (let’s just call her Love/Hate), called me into a closed door meeting and said “I’m concerned about your level of commitment to the team and would like for you to challenge yourself,” after that World War III was in effect. Before the conversation there was a seed sized level of regret, but after it had grown into a beach ball.

A few weeks had passed and we meet again this time on better terms. Love/Hate offered me a new position to keep me engaged. I accepted the new role and it was more DREADFUL than the first. After rotating through feelings of indifference, disgust, and anger, I came to the realization that my time there had come to an end.   This epiphany brought a sense of peace and euphoria. My job wasn’t demanding, the pay was excellent, and the benefits, exceptional. Love/Hate was willing to be flexible to keep me onboard and I was thankful for that but still, it was over and I knew it.  I didn't have to wait for it to break to proactively "fix it."

Oh yeah…and of course, WIFEY!

So, remember ole’ girl from the first lesson (Learning to Accept Help)? Well, she is now my fiancé. Yep, your boy put a ring on it. We just got engaged on her birthday, Dec. 24th after two years of dating but not before I put her (and myself) through a psychological rollercoaster.

I was so paranoid that she was going to try and steal something from me or cut me, was in competition with me, lying to me, or just being plain secretive and malicious, but she had done nothing to justify this thinking. I literally had an entire fiction BET story of the week going on in my head staring her as the villain. Crazy, I know. I had to seriously self-evaluate and saw that all this had come from previous encounters and life experiences. I almost missed out on the best thing to come into my life over fears that were completely unfounded. Thank GOD I snapped out of it.

Damn, Bae...So, anyway, to wrap this up, I would say my biggest lessons in 2015 were to trust, not allow fear to steal your life, have faith, and lastly, taking chances you’ve only got one life to live. Happy New Year!!

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