10 Things You Should Definitely Toss Before The New Year Rolls Around
I’m not sure if it’s because I don’t do holidays, I am a Rosh Hashanah observer or what, but I really do find it fascinating (sometimes even funny), that right when November pops up, so many folks will make these grand declarations about all of the things that they are going to do…after New Year’s Day. So…you’re going to wait two whole months, as if tomorrow is guaranteed, to make big changes in your life? Doesn’t that sound more like procrastination more than anything? I mean, why not start right now? Like…right now.
More or less, that’s what this article is about. In the spirit of seizing the day and also in honor of those who may put stock into the turn of a calendar year, here 10 things that, by getting rid of them, you can feel lighter, more focused and ready for your new season — whether to you, that is tomorrow, next week or yes, January 1, 2022 (sounds crazy to say, doesn’t it? Whew, chile!).
1. Expired Stuff
There is nothing like buying some canned goods, telling yourself that you’re going to use them, and then when you finally get around to it, you realize that because they were put way back in the back of your pantry, they now are totally expired (le sigh). Y’all, I don’t care if it’s food (including spices), make-up, sunscreen, medicine, tea bags (yes, tea expires; the only food that doesn’t is honey), eyeglasses (get your annual exam; lens prescriptions can also expire); motor oil; paint or batteries — if it had an expiration date on it when you bought it, check it now to see if it’s expired or not. If it is, it’s not going to benefit you on any level at this point, so it’s time to let it go.
2. Certain Streaming Apps
Recently, I was teasing a friend of mine who, a couple of years ago, tried to be slightly high ‘n mighty about the fact that, while I still had cable, she had “downsized” to streaming apps. As we were comparing notes on how that’s been going, she is now paying about $75 more than what my monthly bill is. Listen, I know that the pandemic’s lockdown had us all thinking that we were going to watch more television than ever but, looking back, is that even really true? As grandpa used to say (on loop), money doesn’t grow on trees and there’s no point in wasting money on streaming apps that you only barely watch, right? Cut some of those subscriptions so that you can put those coins to much better use.
3. Clothes (and Shoes) You Haven’t Worn in 1.5 Years
OK, most interior designers, stylists, and professional organizers will say that if you haven’t worn something within a calendar year, you need to either donate it, sell it or toss it. I know that most of us aren’t going to do that which is why I extended a grace period of six more months. I’m about to actually do some getting rid of things in a couple of weeks, not because I don’t adore all of my fashion investments but because I treat my closets like I do my weight — when something doesn’t fit anymore (my body or in my closet), that’s my cue to do some transitioning.
Besides, from a lot of the studies that I’ve read, Americans only wear about 18 percent of what’s in their wardrobe. So, why keep holding onto things that you haven’t worn in three years now, just because you like them? Hell, if that was true, you’d be wearing it all more often. Yeah…it’s time to move on.
4. The Old Make-Up in Your Bathroom Drawer
Although I’m not a huge make-up wearer, a sistah does adore some mascara and lip color (the lip thing is totally out of control!). And I must admit that back in the day, I didn’t change my mascara as often as I should have (which needs to happen every 2-3 months). Honestly, I’ve got some lipstick that has far exceeded its shelf life at this point too (those are supposed to be swapped out every six months or so). We’ve all got a cosmetics drawer; it’s a rite of passage for women. One day, put on some of your favorite music and clean yours out. I promise you that you’ve got something lingering in there that your skin has been ready (past ready) for you to get rid of. If you need a bit of a cheat sheet on what to do, check out “When Should You Replace Underwear, Make-Up, Bedding, Washcloths & Towels?”.
5. Memorabilia from Your Ex
Pardon the pun but I’m still unpacking why so many of us like to keep things from our ex (or exes). I mean, I get that some memories are precious but if something is truly over, I’m not sure how much holding on to memorabilia is going to help any of us to move fully forward. I mean, isn’t the fact that most of our past is on social media, so it’s not like we can’t hop onto a site and catch up on their world in 10 minutes or less (please try and keep that down to a minimum, by the way)? That said, if things ended well and clean and you can look back with peace and closure, I guess a pic or two isn’t too bad.
Yet if there’s a part of you that is still hanging on (when he is not) or you are close to tears every time you look at that birthday card that he got you two years ago, sis, stop torturing yourself. Things carry a certain amount of energy. Clear out the power of things that are holding you hostage on an emotional level so that you can get some fresh and new life into your space.
6. Unnecessary Social Media (and Emails)
Earlier this year, Google mail told me that my box was about to be full (do you know many emails you’ve got to have for that to happen?!). When I went to investigate what was up, I was still holding onto Facebook messages and notifications, and chile, I haven’t been on there in close to 15 years at this point. Once I cleared a few thousand of those out and then got rid of some of my promotional emails and old emails from folks I don’t interact with anymore, Google stopped sending me those warnings. Paper trails are wise to a point, even in social media and email form.
At the same time, you know there’s stuff that you’ve got that you absolutely don’t need anymore. It’s gonna be a bit of a headache to go through all of that stuff yet one day, while watching a movie, do it. I promise that seeing those numbers of unread (or not dealt with) emails and unfollowing some folks who either are out of your algorithm at this point or who bring nothing beneficial to your life will cause you to feel so much better.
7. Stuff That Makes You Busy but Isn’t Really Productive
A word that I have spent a lot of 2020 and 2021 trying to use a whole lot less is “busy.” While there is no solid right or wrong here, to me, it just sounds kind of pretentious to tell someone that I can’t do something due to how busy I am. I think a part of the reason why I feel that way is because I wholeheartedly believe that none of us are too "busy” to do something; we simply prioritize what we want to do. That said, what I also believe is sometimes we can get caught up in stuff that doesn’t really help us out, one way or another. For instance, there are a couple of clients who I’ve reduced the amount of time that I spend with them. Why? Because they are super cyclic and so, even though they pay me, it’s starting to become a waste of my time to be as invested in them as I’ve been when there are other people who are more serious about hitting certain relational goals.
Also, when it comes to writing opportunities that are presented to me, I’m more thoughtful about what I agree to do. I’ve been writing for 21 years now. I’m by no means a novice and so, not everything is a “great opportunity,” just because it’s pitched that way. Stuff has to honor my purpose, my time, and my mental and emotional bandwidth. If it doesn’t, more and more these days, it’s gotta go.
Before the calendar year ends, do some processing in this lane. If there is something or someone who is keeping you busy yet you know it or they are not really productive in the long run, at the very least, reduce the time that you are spending on it or with them. We all only get 24 hours and life is shorter than we think it is. It’s important that we are as productive as possible. This brings me to my next point.
8. Whatever Drains You Without Benefiting You
When something or someone benefits you, they are advantageous. Some synonyms for that word include helpful, worthwhile and for your best (FOR YOUR BEST). On the flip side, when something or someone drains you, they deplete you of your resources and/or energy. I’m pretty sure I don’t have to tell you how important it is to be responsible with both of those items. You know, over the past couple of years, I’ve had to make some somewhat challenging decisions to release people who drain me because I know that my energy is my life source and spending a lot of time caught up in their drama, their manipulation, or even just their selfishness was depleting me of what I needed in order to manifest certain goals and aspirations.
Just like being busy can be really counterproductive, being drained can be such a waste. Sis, only you know what people, places, things, and ideas are taking more than they’re giving. Now is just as good of a time as any to shift some of those things out of your way — too.
9. Your Grudges
A writer by the name of Sherrilyn Kenyon once said, “Grudges seldom hurt anyone but the one bearing them.” Agreed. That said, one of my favorite takeaways from this year is that generalizations oftentimes stem from pure bitterness (check out “Ever Wonder What It Means To Be Bitter? The Answer Might Surprise You.”). It might be a bit of “red pill thinking” (or maybe just a good dose of spiritual enlightenment) but I really don't get how people think it's empowering to hold grudges and refuse to forgive other people.
Now am I all for setting up some boundaries and making sure that you learn from the experiences that put you in the position to hold any grudge and struggle with unforgivingness in the first place? 1000 times 1000 percent. All I’m saying is, there’s a really huge possibility that no one is really losing sleep over your grudge than you. And so keeping it is such a waste of that precious energy that I was just talking about; energy that could be directed into something (or someone) that will make you see that getting past the grudge is far better than holding onto it.
That stuff in the trunk of your car. Old condiments and plastic utensils from fast food spots. Books you haven’t looked at in five years. Magazines. CDs and DVDs. Lawd, those plastic bags that are underneath your kitchen sink. Containers that no longer have a lid. Hangers that have lost their shape. Junk jewelry. Office supplies. That nasty ass loofah (you know those are supposed to be replaced once a month, right?). I’m sure that I’ve named at least one thing that you know you’ve got that you also know needs to be tossed into the trash.
By definition, junk is “anything that is regarded as worthless, meaningless, or contemptible; trash.” Basically, junk is clutter. It’s physical clutter that can oftentimes trigger mental and emotional clutter. Why keep something that is worthless? Before 2022 creeps up on you, get that junk out of your space so that you can relax so much easier. Amen? Hallelujah, chile!
Featured image by Getty Images
Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Imma tell y’all what — it seems like not one week goes by when I don’t see some sort of so-called term that has me like, “What in the world?” For instance, when I first stumbled upon “self-partnering,” honestly, I laughed. Then shared it with some other single people as well as married folks I know. And I kid you not, every individual was like, “What the heck does that mean?” When I told them that it was yet, one more way to seemingly define single living, basically everyone’s follow-up was, “Oh, brother.”
Why can’t (more) singles just be single and be okay with that? Good Lord. Why does there need to be some sort of relational play-on-words to make it sound like we’re with someone — even if we’re not?
Now masturdating? Even though it’s not even close to being a “real” word, it’s something that also brought a laugh outta me — although it was then followed by a genuine smile. The laugh because I almost immediately caught the play-on-words. The smile was due to the intention behind it all.
If you’re not familiar with what masturdating is and you’re curious about why you should even care, take a few moments to at least skim through what it’s about and why I think participating, as a single person, is a pretty cool (and effective) concept.
Masturdate: a date w oneself
What’s Masturdating All About?
Masturdating. Okay, so let the word marinate for just a moment. What does it sound like? Yeah…exactly. And since a huge part of masturbation centers around self-pleasure, it’s cool to explore how “self-dating” could produce similar (as far as pleasure is concerned in a broader sense) results. Because masturdating is all about spending quality time with yourself, pampering yourself, treating yourself— and yes, taking yourself out on dates.
Any of you who may think that masturdating is a consolation prize — and a pitiful one at that — for not being able to go out with another human being or get that dream $200 first date that social media was all in a tizzy about last year (bookmark that) — personally, I think that you’re the demographic who needs to try out masturdating first and the most. Why? Off top, I’ll share my three good reasons.
3 Reasons To Strongly Consider Masturdating
1. It’s an intimate way to get to know yourself better. I’ve been working with couples for a pretty long time at this point and if there’s a pattern that I see arise, OFTEN, it’s that two people are oftentimes so busy trying to “find their person” that they didn’t even know who they were. As a direct result, they found themselves in a relationship with someone who only complemented the “kiddie pool version” of who they were.
That’s why it can be so beneficial to spend time getting to know yourself on the “deep end” of things: what makes you tick, what your passions are, what you want most out of life, what are your interests beyond obvious things — and masturdating can help you to discover all of this. Whether it’s traveling alone or taking out a weekend to drink some wine and journal, the more you get to know yourself, the clearer you’ll be about who complements you on a romantic and friendship level.
2. It will definitely help to boost your confidence levels. I guess since I’m an ambivert, I don’t really get why people freak out at the mere thought of going to a restaurant or movie alone. Personally, I think it requires a helluva lot more energy and gumption to wait around and plan stuff with other people (#Elmoshrug). However, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, there’s no way around the fact that the more comfortable you get with doing things alone, the more your confidence levels will increase — no, soar — because of it.
One article that I read on the topic said that doing things alone can make you more creative, improve your mental health, and help you to be totally okay with being alone (so that you’re not “needy” for other people’s attention). A psychotherapist from a New York Times article on the benefits of spending time alone said, “Getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences, like stress and burnout.” And when you’re able to stare negativity in its face without flinching, how could that not make you bolder, more self-secure, and hopeful about your life?
3. It will teach you to value your time more effectively. In every facet of your world, you’re gonna operate from a healthier place if you’re operating from a “full cup” rather than an empty one. When it comes to this topic, think about it — if you’re constantly waiting on someone to call you to go out or wishing for a dream date with some guy, all you’re doing is wasting precious time that you could be spending taking a cooking class or hell, hiring a chef to make you dinner at your own home.
Indeed, waiting has two sides to it: when it’s in the form of patience, it is indeed a virtue, yet when it’s wrapped up in the notion that you’re not really living life unless you have an audience…it is totally working against you. Choose wisely.
10 Solo Date Ideas To Help You To “Master” Masturdating
So, what if you’re someone who has either never considered actually masturdating before or you don’t really know what to do beyond dinner and the movies? Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Attend a workshop or masterclass that you’re interested in. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn, sign up for a workshop or masterclass. The cool thing about this option is there are probably some in your city, as well as some that you can find online (like here) that are convenient and affordable.
2. Binge-read at a local coffee shop. Aside from their coziness and oftentimes inviting scents, I once read that a lot of us gravitate to coffee shops because we can be around people without having to actually socialize with them. So, if you want to “hang out” while still being able to enjoy a bit of solitude, take a book that you’ve been trying to finish to a local coffee shop, order your favorite latte, and sit in a big-ass comfy chair. Usually, you can sit there for hours, and the staff will be just fine with it (another bonus).
3. Have a spa day in the next town. You can never go wrong with a spa day. And while going with a friend can be fun, sometimes there’s too much talking transpiring to be able to fully chill out and relax. So, go off of the grid, get a change of scenery, and hit up a spa in the next city (or town). There are lots of studies out here supporting that day trips or “daycations” can actually be really good for your long-term health and well-being.
4. See a community play. Some of the best solo dates that I’ve ever been on consisted of taking in some of the local arts in my city. What’s really cool about this particular option is, oftentimes, they are extremely inexpensive, if not totally free of charge (in exchange for making a donation or putting money into a tip jar).
5. Plan a trip. Whenever people say something along the lines of, “If you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed,” I know that they low-key have some (additional) healing to do from past disappointments. There’s simply too much intel out here to support that anticipation (of good stuff) makes us more motivated and optimistic, keeps our dopamine levels up, and makes life more exciting overall.
Since traveling alone is more cost-effective, gives you the freedom to do whatever you want (when you want), and increases the possibility of meeting new people and having new experiences on your journey — why not devote a day this weekend to planning a solo trip? All the way around, it’s good for you.
6. Try your hand at your own “$200 date.” Uh-huh. Roll your eyes if you want to, but it’s real easy to talk left about how a man should be able to just drop $200 like it’s nothing…until you actually try to do it. So yes, while taking yourself out on this type of date could serve as a bit of a reality check, it can also “scratch the itch” of waiting on some dude to do it for you. It’s also way less emotionally draining because, at least when you’re taking your own self out, it’s guaranteed that you’ll enjoy the company…right?
7. DIY some pampering. When you get a chance, check out “5 Reasons You Should Unapologetically Pamper Yourself,” “Want To Love On Yourself? Try These 10 Things At Home.,” “I’ve Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul,” and “When's The Last Time You Actually Pampered Your Vagina?” The bottom line here is pampering is all about, not mere self-maintenance; it’s all about treating yourself to levels of EXTREME SELF-INDULGENCE. So, if nothing else tickles your fancy on this list, at least consider doing that, chile.
8. Feed your creativity. Something that I used to be really good at is art. That said, one of my goddaughters is insanely talented, so she has reminded me to tap back into it. Also, a big part of what got me into the writing world is poetry; I actually used to be a house poet at a local spot. Sometimes, my best quality time moments with myself have been revisiting these creative sides of me — and this is definitely easier to do (and enjoy) alone.
9. Try some stargazing. When’s the last time you took a blanket into your backyard, laid down on it, and just stared at the stars for hours on end? While some say that stargazing can teach you to be mindful, others say that being in that form of nature reduces stress, while others believe that looking up at the universe at night can increase your attention span. All solid reasons to give it a shot, if you ask me.
10. DO. ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. Let me tell you something that nobody will ever be able to make me feel bad about: doing absolutely nothing. I’ve got data to back me up. Good Housekeeping shares that doing nothing can help you decide how you want to respond or react to certain things. I like howThe Guardian says that taking this approach helps you to regain control of what you give your attention to.
TIME magazine says that it can ultimately make you more productive.BBC offers up that it can help you tap into your ingenuity.Henry Ford Health says that it can make you kinder and a better problem-solver. So, if you want to invest in yourself, do nothing sometimes.
Closing Thoughts from the Lovely Javicia Leslie
While some of y'all may know Javicia Leslie from being the former Batwoman, I discovered her back in the day from the indie series Chef Julian (and yes, "Julian" was right to say that "Mo" looks like Tatyana Ali...the real ones know). Sometimes I'll hop on her IG to see what she's got going on and this story popped up within a few hours of me penning this...so, I took it as hella confirmation.
TREAT YO SELF. WAIT FOR NO ONE.
WAIT FOR NO ONE. TREAT YO SELF.
RINSE AND REPEAT.
Sooo…what kind of masturdating plans do you have for this coming weekend? While going out with others has its perks, hanging out with yourself has a ton of ‘em too. Enjoy!
No…for real. ENJOY!
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