With a stretch and yawn as if I had just completed an Olympic-themed hibernation event I woke to a new day and a brand spanking new year! I don't feel any different. I'm not magically better at any one thing than I was on yesterday. I slept for most of the New Year's Eve festivities and it truly felt perfectly normal for a change. There is a small bit of jealously watching those who had a blowout party and danced the night away. Then I am reminded of the times when I woke on the 1st day of the new year with a rocking hangover so that less than 1 percent of jealousy I mentioned earlier has quickly diminished into nothingness. Besides, I am 49 and have no time for regrets and sideways ginger ale sips from the sofa all day.
I love new beginnings. I always have. The start of a new movie, a fresh new pair of boots, a crisp bag of chips just opened to a perfect level of freshness, and of course seeing the Amazon delivery truck outside my house, yet again. If 50 First Dates was a person waiting for that blue truck to hang a right at the corner and stop in front of my house, it'd most certainly be me. It's all in what moves you. I'm pretty simple on most days. I require normal things and try to give as much as I receive. As a writer whose mind is wildly teetering between sanity vs insanity, I believe I have finally found my balance.
Writing gives me the freedom to escape from the reality of life when I choose and for that gift, I am forever thankful.
Reading through Happy New Year texts and social media posts this morning with one eye open while searching for my reading glasses makes my heart feel happy. After the past couple of years, it's no surprise that we all want what feels like normal. What tastes like fantasy and what makes you dream like you did when you allowed your thoughts to run completely free. So how do we get back to all of that? It's simple, you gotta allow yourself to. Let go of what you feel you shouldn't be doing just because someone told you it was silly or because you are afraid of all of the great things that might happen. One foot in front of the other is how I plan to step through life. It isn't always rose petals perfectly laid, one because my cats would never allow me to be that great, but it is Chapter One and you can write it, however, your heart desires. Go on an adventure and amaze yourself with what is waiting for you.
The deeper question here is, how much longer do I have to wish everyone I encounter a Happy New Year?! My cutoff is somewhere between the end of today or February 1st. Hey, what can I say I'm a sucker for giving well wishes.
With love, light, and an overflow of blessings, I am wishing you the best that 2022 has to offer. Sending you positive vibes and teleporting catchy beats you won't be able to erase from your memory no matter how many tequila shots you have.
I couldn't think of a better way to close out an amazing interview series than to sit and talk with this amazingly talented soul. With a humble spirit and a drive like no other, it's easy to see why everyone loves him so much. A talented musician, writer, editor-in-chief, driven entrepreneur and CEO, Donovan "Groov" Henderson is someone you should know if you don't already. So, kick your feet up, learn more about him, support his creativity and get into his Groov...
◆ How are you doing on this amazing day?
I’m doing quite well. I have a beautiful wife and five children, my life has been blessed beyond measures. An amazing day indeed.
◆ When did you realize you were in love with the art of music?
You know what, when I think back, I would have to say it was around my early teenage years. I was exposed to a lot of different types of music at the expense of my grandmother and her love for listening to the radio in the mornings. I can remember her always having the local radio playing, in another room, and I could hear it, before getting ready for school. The local radio station would play some of every kind of music, pop, rock, R&B, folk, you name it. Little did I know, it was at that point, that my music palet was being formed and it continued from there. I started recording music, from the radio, on cassette tapes in my room, picking out my favorite songs. I began buying records, turntables, and deejaying became my thing. That’s when I began to really fall in love with the art of music.
◆ As an entrepreneur what has been most challenging?
The most challenging to me is, not having the necessary working capital to really function at the highest level possible. Most of what I do from an entrepreneurial perspective comes from my savings account. I don’t have any investors of any kind.
◆ If you had to describe yourself in the form of a song, what would that be?
Tough choice here, but I was able to narrow it down. I would say it’s “So Ambitious” by JAY-Z & Pharrell Williams from the Blueprint 3 album.
There is definitely a shift in the atmosphere. Everything has been packed away and perfectly stored until next year! I can hardly believe it myself. I am one of the first people to pull out the storage bins with most everyone wondering, 'why so early?' In some way, I am sure my entire year is planned around the grand unveiling of my treasured and loved decorations.
Literally, no signs remain that Christmas existed within the walls of my home. Except for finding a bit of glitter here and there one might wonder if my heart was a big ole lump of coal. Oh, far from that my friends. If they were hiring for a stand-in for Mrs. Claus I would be a perfect fit, with a few minor tweaks here and there.
The holiday season is one of great joy and it always has been for me. The laughter seems deeper, the hugs so warm and comforting, the love always sincere, and the memories are the icing on the cake. I come from a family of celebrations. We make promises to keep it simple but we just don't know how.
Traditionally my decorations hold their ground until right after the New Year. Making the decision to start 'the great takedown' the day after Christmas will go down in history at my house. Have I confused the world with this grand gesture? Well, maybe not the world but a few of my friends are looking like the wow emoji.
When I moved into the house mom asked why I didn't choose to put my decorations in the garage. I gasped and said, 'In the element?!'. Oh no, I want them close by, just in case I need to catch a glimpse of sparkle and what is to come.
After the lights were boxed, the ornaments packed away with care, and the figurines wrapped tight, I missed everything just that quick. Smiled and reminded myself I do this every single year. The space now feels a tad bit naked, however, it will soon feel like normal and the countdown will start all over again. How many more sleeps until the next Christmas? Oh, quite a few, but I'll be ready...
I wake this morning with such joy. With admiration and profound thanks for a day as special as today. A day that is all yours mom! A beautiful day indeed to celebrate a beautiful and phenomenally fabulous person. 80 turns around this universe and you continue to do it all with style and grace. You are so beautiful in every way.
Decembers have always been my favorite. A month of holiday cheer, time with family, making memories, and celebrating another blessed year of life with my dear mother.
As time moves in a constant motion forward we never know what is waiting for us around the corner. What obstacles are ahead and where our feet will take us next. We remain firmly planted in our faith knowing that whatever journey we take it all starts with the glory, love, and grace of God.
When we asked mom what she wanted for her birthday she said I have everything I need. In my mind, I'm thinking but surely you want something. Maybe new jewelry or perhaps a pretty new coat. My mom loves flowers so much, and flowers she received. Cards, sentimental gifts, hugs filled with love, amazing food, and an overflow of happiness. Joy lives within her soul.
If I could carry a tune I would sing for the entire world to hear, but since I cannot I'll just sing it to you. "🎶 Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear mother, Happy Blessed Birthday to you, and many more. 🎶"
With love from this end of the universe to the next, I love you so much mom ❤️
And the choir sang, "It's the most wonderful time of the year." Not sure if it's the mesmerizing lights, the fairy tale that Santa is stuffing himself down the chimney at a quarter past midnight to lay the gifts out in perfect formation or if it truly is the most magical and wondrous time of the year. Pretty safe to say it's all a matter of opinion. For children, they really don't have much of a choice. Falling into a hypnotic trance because what their parents say must be true. Leave the fresh baked cookies out for Santa and if you wake to try and sneak a peek at your presents you will find a lump of coal in your stocking. One of the hardest things for a child is going to sleep on Christmas Eve.
With an overabundance of Christmas movies flooding every channel, decorations in nearly every store you walk into and hints that you should get in the spirit, you do just that or make a failed attempt at pretending.
Having spent several holidays without my family and some not in a relationship, I know all too well how both sides of the fence looked. Constant questions asking what my plans for the holiday would be and the surrounding hoopla that I needed to do something to prove I was not a distant cousin of the Grinch. I had really great friends who would invite me over to share in the festivities with their families so the choice was mine. Stay home and feel a tad bit lonely, or get out of the house and allow the kindness of others to warm my spirit.
I live for the weekends and everything that comes along with it. Mainly the joy that I get to say bye to work for a couple of days is enough to get me going. It's more than that, the feeling of my warm bed that begs me to lay in for just a bit and the sound of nothingness if just for a little while. The perfect opportunity for me to clear my head and plan my day. What might start as a lazy day in my dreams never ends up that way. I'm a busy body by nature and there is nothing I can do to change that. I'm either cleaning as if my life depended on it or taping off yet another wall to start painting. Well, I didn't get around to painting just yet but I did do a pretty awesome job of cleaning if I say so myself. Just to give you an idea, here is a mini breakdown of why my weekend was probably better than yours.
It's a brand new month, so what are you going to do with it? There is something about a new month that feels wonderful. The previous month is a thing of the past, so out with the old and in with the new. With an air of excitability, sprinkled with a dash of unknown happenings, it's like watching a really good movie unfold. You have no idea what is going to happen next but you are in for the long haul and patiently wait to see how it all plays out.
It's not just any month either, it's the last month of the year to be exact. No pressure to finally finish all of those resolutions you planned 11 months ago while downing your 4th or 5th glass of bubbly. But I'm not counting, so by all means, do you! Chances are you don't even remember what you said. If the pressure of living up to your resolution promise is too much to bare you can always chuck those promises right out the window and simply say fuck it. Just for the record I typically do not use profanity on my website, but then I realized one thing. Keyword being 'my', so...
I'm into lots of things. Shopping, decorating, opening a nice bottle of champagne, playing in the dirt to give my green thumb a bit of exercise, and of course one of my favorites of all time, writing. A new diet, a revised business plan, or maybe even saving money to take that amazing vacation you have been dreaming of are all things worth being excited about. Giving yourself a much-needed reset is important so don't be afraid to jump in and give it all you got!
Of course, this month comes along with holiday celebrations, fun times with family, friends or that special someone. A little perfectly placed mistletoe ain't never hurt nobody, so dust off those plans and make some magic happen!
With as many feel-good vibes as the soul can take, a friendly reminder is to simply enjoy it all no matter what day it is. Plan ahead and set yourself up for ways to enjoy this month instead of working yourself into a frenzy. Time is just as important as anything else, plan accordingly, and thank me later.
In closing... Hello December, I've been waiting for you.
Here we go again, approaching the end of yet another year and wondering where the time went. Somewhere between the middle of September towards the end of October are hints that the holiday season is quickly approaching. Before the Halloween candy is cleared from the shelves, the Christmas decorations are up in their full glory. At this point, you either feel pressured, excited, slightly confused, or maybe even a little angry that Thanksgiving seems to consistently get the forgotten holiday treatment. Either way, get with the program and prepare for whatever floats your boat.
Every year I buy a few new decorations to add to my growing collection of sparkly adornments. If it makes me go ooh and ahh then I know I have found the one that will go home with me. Traditionally I like to get the process started of putting up my glorious 8 foot tall tree immediately after Halloween. Yes, I am well aware this might seem a tad bit premature, but remember that thing about whatever floats your boat? It takes about a week to get everything just right, the proper placement of each set of lights, 4 sets to be exact, the perfect symmetry of the ornaments to ensure I leave enough space for the beautiful bows and the shiny beads. If it seems like a lot, that's because it is. The only thing left to do is plug everything in and wait for the magic to unfold. If anything was a sight to see, this would be it!
I remember the conversation like it was yesterday. "I want to date someone really really old, like around 35." I said it with such ease and conviction that the small audience listening at the time surely thought I was kidding. I assure you I was not. 24 years old and barely knowledgeable about anything of significant value, I was simply just speaking my mind and if given the opportunity, I wouldn't change a thing. Every single moment in life is part of setting a tone for what is to come.
The last of anything is always something to remember. That last slice of cake. The last swig of juice left in the fridge that when gulped seems to be the most satisfying thirst quencher on the planet. Or, the last ticket for that flight you have been procrastinating about that seems to have been waiting just for you.
As I reflect on my 40s, I can honestly say wow with great conviction. There are levels to it all, but this literally takes the cake. Full of lessons about life, self-worth, peace, and evolving. I knew the exact moment my leaf had turned over into a brand-new season and I welcomed it along with an invitation to stay for the rest of my days. Reflecting on times when I was clueless, unable to love myself and mentally shackled by the thoughts of others. If freedom was a feeling, it would be everything within me. My, what a difference a day makes!
I will always love birthdays, especially my very own. The well-wishes, the calls, the cards, the hugs, the friends, and most importantly the family. This year and the years to come I am blessed and thankful to spend my special day with my dear mother. Let the memories be made and the laughter fill my soul. May this last year of my 40s be one to remember. Chapter 49, here I come!
Happy Birthday to me...
For the last 25 years, I have played in the dirt in Georgia. The soil is easy to work with and the temperature was always on my side when it came to a longer season of warm weather. My planting would typically start somewhere around the end of March, to the beginning of April. I applied this rule for flowering plants as well as vegetables. This allows the plants enough time to get adjusted to the new soil, environment, and temperature. By mid-summer, my garden was always flourishing, and quite thirsty. The more my garden grew, the more water my precious plants required. As the temperatures soared closer to 90 degrees in late July this was a daily chore to ensure the plants didn't dry out.
Relocating to an entirely different climate gives me a brand new challenge and adventure. Like a kid in a candy store, I can't wait to dive in! I have a few ideas in store...
AJ writes & blogs from her home in Indiana. You can also find her work as a contributing writer at www.groovmagazine.com
"This is how you do it; you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it's done. It's that easy, and that hard." -Neil Gaiman