2016 Year in Review

As much as you sucked for the rest of the world, 2016 — thanks for being so good to me. You came in and swept me off my feet when I was least expecting it and I’ll always be grateful for you.

On work

Perhaps what kicked it off was starting the year on a wave of impending change and possibility. Early on, I found myself on a new team at Facebook in a new role. Despite initial misgivings and uncertainty with my decision, I’ve come to love all the newfound communities I’ve stumbled upon that’ve taken me in with open arms and adopted me as one of their own. (I can definitively say that this is most certainly not a given with every team you join and should be appreciated deeply when you find yourself with this privilege.)

On confidence

It was from this whole-hearted acceptance and sense of belonging that lay the foundation for the very best thing I’ll take away with me from last year. Shedding all my lingering baggage and hang-ups from my old environment enabled me to start afresh with a blank slate, open to new ways of existing in the world. From there, a perfect storm of books I was reading and podcasts I was listening to empowered me to at last take steps towards becoming the person I wanted to be: confident, self-assured, and someone utterly unafraid of being their true and unadulterated self. As with everything, getting to that point’s a gradual process, but I’ve gotten so much further towards that goal this past year than ever before.

On moves

In 2016, I finally stopped two years of back-and-forth and plucked up the courage to leave the comfortable nest that was home. Despite being the city that’s been in my backyard my whole life, San Francisco’s both everything and nothing I imagined it would be. I’ve been visiting for years, yet it feels so vividly different to live within its boundaries. Although it wasn’t a major change geographically speaking, it sparked a huge psychological shift in me. Three months in, and the sparkly veneer still hasn’t worn off. I’m looking forward to seeing how my relationship with the city develops in 2017.

On people

2016 had the most laughter per diem than any year of my existence, thanks to the special composition of folks that’ve been in my life this past year. In some ways, it feels as though things have slowly started clicking into place: despite spending much of my childhood coveting the intimate friend circles that’re pervasive throughout mainstream pop culture, I’ve slowly grown to appreciate and rely on the network of micro-communities I’ve developed over time. I’ve also greatly relished the opportunity this year to both rekindle dormant friendships and deepen relationships with multiple folks.


MUSIC

I finally started being consistent with my Spotify usage this past year, which means my music preferences and history are at last coalesced in the same place. And with that, I present to you:

Notable 2016 discoveries include Terror Jr., Kehlani, Handsome Ghost, Kiiara, Lauv, Timeflies, and Jay Park. Honorable mention goes to Spotify’s Hot Rhythmic playlist, of which I knew almost every song earlier this fall.


TRAVEL

  • New York / East Coast

My relationship with New York’s evolved over the years, from being the hard glittering city I admired yet never truly belonged to my second home. I luckily got to experience her in all her magnificent glory this year, including:

the early whispers of spring in May,

Biking along the West Side Highway
Impromptu balloon adventure with the guys

the lingering breaths of East Coast summer in September,

Flying kites in Newport
Castle Hill Inn: this place makes my heart hurt
Hammocks on Governor’s Island
Kids these days
Dia:Beacon — art museum or mattress store?

and the undeniable spirit and charm of the holidays in December.

Ice skating at Rockefeller Center!
Ai Weiwei’s Laundromat

New York, you’ll always have a piece of my heart. My deepest thanks to my gracious hosts, Jess and Bo, that took me in and made these trips possible.

  • Los Angeles
Sad cats r sad

I’ll always remember that night we walked down Sunset Boulevard and shared our hearts (and then left with action items, because of course), and the slow morning after as we lingered in that sunny bungalow and laughed about silk basketball shorts. It never fails to surprise me that my travel highlights are always from the ordinary moments in-between.

  • Houston

Grace Hopper once again rejuvenated my spirit at a point when I sorely needed it; there’s a special atmosphere that forms in the span of that one week that enables the best conversations (on the convention floor, in hotel rooms, over shared meals, during walks, at parties) and facilitates connections, both old and new. I so enjoyed attending the same conference in the same city with some of the same people and coming out of it somehow with a richer, deeper experience.

Torchy’s — cause duh

ONWARD

Although I’m disappointed to see 2016 draw to a close, I’m excited for the possibility that 2017 brings. Here’s to a year of laughter so infectious you can’t help but clap your hands, personal growth in its infinite varieties, on-point gifs that perfectly embody the exact right emotion you’re looking for, and achievements that move us all forward.