Johniqua Fort: What have you been thinking about lately?

A timeless letter from your mama …

I’ve started this letter over and over countless times. Few times on paper, several times in my head. A simple question of, “What is something you’ve been thinking about lately?” turns out to be not so simple, honestly, because I am always thinking about everything. If I had to sit down and categorize all the things I always think about, I couldn’t, because they all seem to fall under one. That is: TIME! Every thought process to me lately has been some sort of reflection on time.

Like, what is time?? A quick Google search of the word “time,” and it’s defined as, “The indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present and future regarded as a whole.” Time truly is so precious. Time is something you can’t get back. Time can’t be rewound. Time is something you can’t make still. Time slows down for no one. As I approach the last couple years in my 20s, I can’t help but catch myself reflecting and thinking about time as a whole: the past, present and future.

PAST TIME: reflecting about the past is hard at times, accepting the facts of the past. No matter how much you reflect, it’s time that isn’t coming back. Twenty-eight-year- old Johniqua sees the world differently than I did at 21. I gain knowledge daily, so it can get frustrating that I can’t go back in time and apply the knowledge I have now to certain situations where I could have truly used it. Have you ever told yourself, “If I would have just known what I know now, back then?” I tell myself that daily. But you live, and you learn. I make it my business to give myself grace daily, because everyone is only living for the first time, and there’s no way we could all possibly know everything.

When reflecting on the past, it can get tricky, because if you aren’t careful, it’s so easy to get stuck there. I know, because sometimes, I feel like I am just getting to the point of feeling so stuck in the past, literally stressing over things I know I can’t go back and change. Why are we as humans so hard on ourselves when it comes to that? It might sound simple, but it can be a struggle to accept when things don’t pan out how you imagined, causing you to feel so many emotions. It’s OK to feel these things. Feel them, and move forward. Don’t feel them and get stuck in them.

Once, I was stuck, and I just had to tell myself, “Johniqua, you are going to grow old and remember nothing.” That’s when things started to shift for me, because I knew whatever my story would be, I didn’t want it to end with me feeling like I didn’t do enough of living. I want to look back on my past and remember the good, the bad, the ugly and know that it all led to great things in my future.

PRESENT TIME: My present time for me looks like having my way, in every way possible. Very humbly, I quote Issa Rae: “It’s Me Season.” It took a lot for me to get to this place, so I want to go after any and everything I have ever had my mind set on. I want to actually feel myself in the present time, because so many times before, I wasn’t actually living, just going through the motions not feeling, and there’s no fun in that at all. I would catch myself blocking out my present time, because I’d be too focused on getting to my destination, but what happens after I reach my destination if I can’t remember what it took to get there? Constantly trying to rush to the “Good Part.” But what is the “Good Part?” What if I’m living in the good part right now and forgetting to soak it all in?

That’s why I want to be present in time more. In this present time, I challenge myself to do things I’m truly passionate about. Only be a part of things that make me happy. Period.

Nova & Nyla, I want you girls to know I am focused on finally going after everything I’ve always wanted, and I’m no longer waiting for everyone to agree with what I want out of life. Something I’m loving about being more present in time is that I’m not so stuck in the past and always questioning myself, worrying about if going after my desires is worth it because it’s too late. I’ve finally got it through my head that it’s not too late, and I do have enough time.

Recently, I crossed off a long-time goal of mine, and that was getting my real estate license and becoming a realtor. Since I was young, I’ve always loved homes and have been so curious about what’s behind each door. Looking back, it’s crazy to think I was OK with settling on my dreams just to please others who didn’t consider being a realtor a “real job.” Is it scary to think about not having buyers or sellers? Absolutely. But what’s even scarier is never trying it because someone else told me it wouldn’t pan out. I know I’m passionate about it, so business will come, and I’m going to do big things in Southeast Missouri pertaining to real estate. I see it opening doors I probably never thought possible.

I want you girls to know it’s important to go after what you want in life; never let someone talk you out of what’s been placed on your heart to do. Because in the end, you’re going to be the one with regrets, not the people you let talk you out of your goals/dreams. Figure out your “WHY,” and remain steadfast on the journey. My present time is going after everything they said I couldn’t and achieving it. All while remembering to take pauses often to take in the moments. Every day is a breath of fresh air.

FUTURE: For the future, I just want to look back knowing I set great examples for you two. I want you guys to see that yes, times got hard for me, but I still continued to stride forward and never settled. One day, we will go more into details of my life journey to help you guys navigate your early adulthood journey. Times have been rough for me, but I’ve always known you two where my “WHYS.” My reason has always been Nova and Nyla. So many times, I wanted to give up and just settled on many things, but knowing that y’all are always me, I just can’t. So, I’ll always continue to nourish myself, so I can continue to pour out into you guys.

For the future, I just want to value time more. Every day, be truly grateful for time I can chase after my goals and do all I can to make you two girls happy. I want to see all my sacrifices pan out, so I can give you girls everything you need to shine. In the future, I hope you girls know I truly love you. I will love you today, tomorrow and for all the times to come …

Love, Mom xoxo

Photo by Aaron Eisenhauer

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