2017, In Reflection

The week between Christmas and New Years is ripe for reflection. I’ve spent the past week reading, writing, and playing so much piano, which is a lovely end to 2017.

This year brought more change than I could’ve expected, but in the best possible way. Most notably, I quit my job without a new job lined up, packed up a suitcase in September, and moved from NYC to SF.

I’ve learned so much this year, and in lots of ways, I felt like I was paving the path for me to run on in the years to come. Some of my top learnings:

1. There’s no substitute for consistency and hard work. There are no shortcuts, and I’m proud I took fewer of them this year.

2. Free time is more plentiful than I thought, and I use it more wisely now. Less Netflix binging, more learning about literally anything on the Internet.

3. At the same time, free time is precious. I’m more intentional about my friendships and spending time with like-minded people.

4. I don’t ignore my natural tendencies — I’m most productive in the morning, so shuffling my schedule to be early to bed early to rise allowed me to get in a workout and some reading time before work.

5. No more saying sorry when I’m not! This is something I’ve been working on for a couple years, and I’m making steady progress not to undermine myself when speaking with others.

6. Track what I do to stay intentional about it. I got more serious about tracking my workouts, weight, and daily steps, and it’s helped me consistently work out or to walk when I otherwise would’ve taken the MUNI or Uber. Tracking my caloric intake is useful for analogous reasons. Professionally, tracking my accomplishments has been incredibly useful.

7. Knowing how to sell yourself is one of the most useful skills there is. My first stab at this was asking for a raise at my last job, and I’m grateful my manager at the time made me fight for it even when she knew it was well deserved. Since then, I’ve had to negotiate offers and do self-evaluations, and practice makes better (far from perfect).

8. Being unemployed for 2.5 months taught me how to deal with unstructured time and pressure. Staying unemployed was more stressful than not for me, and I experienced a lot of anxiety and loneliness that I didn’t expect after the exhilaration of quitting my job. Still, I enjoyed long walks in Central Park and going to the Met on a Wednesday, and in general, enjoyed life at a different pace for a while.

9. Make time for family, always. I still call my mom every day, and it’s 10 minutes I almost always enjoy. This year, I traveled with my mom to the depths of the Amazon rainforest. The most magical moment of 2017 was waking up at 4:30, catching the sunrise in a boat on the river, and seeing Macaws with her. She braved her fears of water, and I’ll never forget her amazement at seeing those birds.

10. Living with kindness and generosity in abundance is the best way to live — the only way to live. I chose kindness whenever possible, and was as generous as I could be with the ones I love. Sometimes, things didn’t go to plan, but for the most part, it only added to my personal happiness.

I’m thankful for everything and everybody in my life in 2017. I’m especially thankful for my old and new friends who have made SF feel less strange and lonely. Onwards to 2018 🚀

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