The Year of 30: Life and Blessings from 2017

 Photo by Mahdi Gransberry

Photo by Mahdi Gransberry

Forward momentum. If I were to sum up the last 365 days of my life, these would be my words of choice. With the passing of each year – the last three years in particular – I've watched in awe as I've traversed through a multitude of challenges and triumphs. 2015 was a year of rediscovery and recovery from my known voice ailment. 2016 brought forth the joy of my wedding as well as my completed sophomore project, 'Ode 2 A Luv Affair.' With a positive path towards progression, I still approached 2017 with a spirit of anxiety as it brought forth the inevitable: my 30th birthday.

In August of 2017, I was six weeks out from the date and afraid. The myriad of influences I'd received over time from movies, television and personal testimonies from others left me feeling inadequate. Ten years prior to the date, I'd set a number of personal and professional goals to have accomplished by 30 and the fact that even one of those were unattained was frightening. Here I was, all of 29 without a record deal, without having traveled to Japan, without having National acclaim for my work. Hell, how was I going to become the next Brandy if I couldn't even get my music posted on Soul Bounce? Not to mention, I'd yet to come to terms with the “do I or do I not” inquiry regarding motherhood and the inevitable race against time and my biological clock. These, among other things, became mentally draining.

Suddenly, in the few weeks leading up to my day, everything clicked. In the same fashion that I'd been inadvertently dismayed by this upcoming decade of my life, I was also told by many that this would be the decade that everything would come into place and that I would gain a sense of clarity. As each day went by, I felt myself grow more self-aware, more confident and most of all, more content with where I was with my life. Things that I once thought mattered became trivial, and my focus shifted from what I had yet to achieve to appreciation for all that I had managed to accomplish. Here I was at 30, with a stable livelihood, a wonderful husband, a thriving music career and a myriad of creative opportunities that had been presented to me with the existence of my musical work. This moment was one of the most self-assuring moments that I had ever experienced, and I only wish that I had come to this realization sooner.

 Photo by Mahdi Gransberry

Photo by Mahdi Gransberry

Regardless of my personal transgressions towards this new era of my life, nothing was going to stop me from bringing in the year of 30 with a BANG. 9 months prior, I began planning the first party that I'd ever thrown for my adult self. It was a celebration of my adolescence, upbringing and memories from high school and beyond that would be appropriately titled: B~Free's Dirty 30 for the 99s and the 2000s! With the help of many talented friends and comrades, I was able to put together a tribute and dance party that featured music from my formative years; including B2K, Ja Rule and Ashanti, Pharrell Williams and Destiny's Child. The evening was a HUGE success as the entire audience – myself included – had the time of our lives!

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 Photos by Weston Rich

Photos by Weston Rich

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Around this same timeframe, I also came to terms with one of the strongest mantras that I'd yet to fully grasp until now: Let Go and Let God. My husband and I set out on a personal journey in September to improve and expand upon our living conditions. There were exactly three opportunities to do that presented themselves one after the other. Being new territory for the both of us, as each one came, I felt myself go through a rollercoaster of emotions; beginning with excitement, then uncertainty, and settling upon disappointment. By the third opportunity, I'd grown to be extremely heedful and resistant for fear of failure. But, among our many conversations with The Creator, my husband and I learned the essence of putting focus and effort on things that were within our control, and leaving the rest up to the universe to determine for us. Through an extremely grueling 3 month process and many false starts, we were finally blessed the day before Thanksgiving with the purchase of our first home!

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Today marks the first official day of 2018. The many life lessons, celebrations and accomplishments of the past year have only increased my excitement for what's to come. As I prep for the first quarter of the year and the curation of my largest full-length concert in April, I have a fresh outlook on life and a strong belief that something great will be on the horizon for me in my personal life as well as my career. Here's to peace, prosperity and many blessings to all as we continue to traverse through this thing called life.

B~Free

 Photos by Mahdi Gransberry

Photos by Mahdi Gransberry

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