Blogging has been a long time coming. I have struggled with what to write, when and where as I tried to sort out what I wanted to focus on and what my brand was (NEWSFLASH: Like Sway, marketing folks don’t have all the answers. Kanye shrugs.). For that reason, I’ve spent the better part of this year nurturing my email list and “blogging” there, sharing openly, transparently letting you know my stuff was so ultra not together. The great part is you didn’t judge me for it and felt closer than ever to the brand that I’ve always envisioned I’d created–the sister girl who doubles as a down-to-earth marketing and creative director.

With all that, I felt like I couldn’t be both, being seen as normal and relatable yet charging professional fees for consulting. The thing I was missing is that I clearly have two markets I’m serving in two very distinct ways and that those who needed consulting pay me and those who just need the community of sisterhood I provided with Ambitious Diva could follow along and get or give what they could. Got it, noted it, moving forward purposely now that I’ve figured that out.

Recently, I took a job as a content marketing specialist at a startup and have really seen how much in alignment I’d been all along with my purpose. I love to strategize and I love to write. I love design, but I’d rather do it for art or myself, than for a client, because it stifles my creativity when I’m bound to their specs and not my vision. Being a part of a true team, full of designers, developers, social media marketers, SEO, IT, sales and service folks allows me to stay where I’m most comfortable–in my lane.

But here’s the thing. Sometimes, in all the shifts, ebbs and flowing of life, and Aha! moments, I still feel discontent. Not because I’m lacking or unappreciative, but because I need to feed something within me that may have been crowded out by a lack of focus or putting nonessential things first. This is something that happens to us all, or maybe just me and my bff who is good for a sympathetic “I hate my life” cry. You tell me.

Again, I really do NOT hate my life, but I get that little thing when I feel like “Is this it?” and I start to wonder what’s missing. I’ve found out that I may or may not be an adrenaline addict, preferring the excitement of ripping and running to sitting still. (Sidebar: In my 20’s this looked like daily runs to Target and Ross after work for more clothes and whatcamacalits that I “needed”. Now it looks like me on Chrome with ten tabs open feverishly working on everything instead of one thing, and ultimately, faking productivity.)

I also realize that men are grossly absent from my life and my marriage clock is starting to tick louder than ever. (If you have Dwight Howard’s phone number, text it to me.) I guess I should be happy about the ubercute guy I met at Starbucks when I happened to actually be dressed like I thought something about myself, but I digress. Yeah, so anyway, other things are missing include travel and meeting new people (uh hem, more dudes). What to do?

If you are like me and feel discontent, even just a little bit, it’s time to assess what is going on. I’m a big fan of capturing inspiration or noting the things that fire me up, so that when I get uninspired, I have a list of things I can try to incorporate. In its most raw form, that is how I become more self-aware. It’s hard to feed your passion if you really are living a life of simply doing things because you’ve always done them or because they are safe to do. So first, observe your passions and pleasures and keep a list of them tucked to the side.

When you look at what you’ve been doing for the last, say 3 months, how much of what you love to do has really been done? For me, it’s been about a year since I’ve gone to a good concert and, honey, that little BET X and all those teeny boppers wearing the same outfits wasn’t for me. I mean, it was cute, but I need some soul and refer swaying and cha-cha slides to hitting the Quan. Thankfully, Musiq Soulchild is in concert soon, and I’ll be looking for India.Arie, Anthony Hamilton, Maxwell or John Legend to be rolling through sometime in the near future. I NEED live performances.

What about time spent with inspiring people? Have you not been spending time with those people who pour into you? I hadn’t seen my best friend since April of last year. That’s insanity. We’d talked, but for her only to live an hour away, we both just had let life get in the way of our regular wining and dining whilst complaining about failed romances, discussing career strategy and planning our next trip. Occasionally, I just have to pick up the phone and call her, or my grandmother, or a good friend to share stories and give me more reasons to keep my head up and persevere.

Then there’s creating. I haven’t devoted time to sewing, making jewelry, painting, blinging out things, or writing poetry for so long. Our hearts yearn for expression, especially if we feel unheard or alone. We need an outlet. That should move us to make art a part of our regular schedule. No, none of us have a lot of time, but none of us can afford to let our hearts to grow dark from not letting our passions shine regularly.

There’s also something to be said about having someone speak positively to you. All of us need to hear that our work is valuable and that we matter. For me, having someone look into my eyes and really believe in me feels SO good. I think each of us must find that, or do that for someone else, in hopes that we’ll reap what we sow and get peace, positivity and love poured back into us. For this reason, I need to let you know that I really feel deeply connected to those of you who take your precious time to read the things I share and who find me worthy of a nice email reply or comment. YOU are a beautiful being and your seemingly small token is huge to me.

You know what else that I need to incorporate more into my life: Serving and giving to those in need. As a caregiver for my dear mom, I give a lot. But there is so much more joy that I feel when I can spend more time with her, not being constantly on the grind, and making sure she’s okay. What I try to do to keep her encouraged and inspired is read a Scripture to her and pray with her if she’s awake before I go to work. Of course, we laugh a lot together too. Seeing her smile is the best so I know that doing extra for her and serving her is the best thing I can do right now.

I have my list of things that I see is missing or not as prominent in my schedule, so now, it’s time to make concrete appointments in my calendar to fill each of these purposes. I have a date with the best sister girl. I’m going to see my grandmother this weekend. I’m planning a trip to the DMV area two months from now. I’ve booked a weekend getaway with mamacita. I’m going to produce a bra decorating party in October (my need to bling stuff is REAL) and I need to get my Musiq Soulchild tix asap.

Really, if I don’t make sure that everything I need to be happy isn’t satisfied, who will? Not to be forgotten is good sleep, good food, and good spirituality. These are things that require little or no money. (You gotta pay for food, unless you got some resources I don’t know about. Holla at a plair.) My overall well-being is dependent on me feeling my absolute best. And really, so is yours.

What are some things you know you need in order to feel happy and at peace? Share them in the comments below.