Looking back on the 2010s

2019 Annual Reflection on Growth

Embracing the 2020s

Photo by Nordwood on Unsplash

2019 was incredibly eye-opening, a year of self-exploration and personal growth. I began the year entering the last semester of my undergrad career, anticipating what the future holds after graduation. Throughout the year, I learned a lot about my personal values, social environment, and immigrant identity in the US. I asked myself important questions; What matters to me? What does success mean to me? What do I value? How do I define purpose and meaning in life?

I learned a lot about people and friendships. Some showed their true colors where let's say parting ways was for the best. I asked myself questions like Who do I want to surround myself with? What do I value in friendships? Who truly values my friendship? Who gives me positive energy, and who gives me negative energy?

One of the biggest revelations was realizing my immigrant identity in a foreign country. I noticed how I began molding myself to fit in with the Western way of life, neglecting my South Asian roots. Acknowledging my Sri Lankan identity as my strongest quality helped me further identify those who see me as an equal.

I ended 2019 moving to the city I dreamed of living in, San Francisco. I got an incredible job that I worked tirelessly to get, and I’ve never felt more proud of my achievements. Reflecting back on what I didn’t know on January 1st, 2019 I am grateful for what this year has taught me.

Places Traveled in 2019:

  1. Tokyo, Japan 🇯🇵
  2. Barcelona, Spain 🇪🇸
  3. Prague, Czech Republic 🇨🇿
  4. Vienna, Austria 🇦🇹
  5. Budapest, Hungary 🇭🇺
  6. London, United Kingdom 🇬🇧
  7. La Fortuna, Costa Rica 🇨🇷
  8. New Orleans, Louisiana 🇺🇸
  9. San Francisco, California 🇺🇸
  10. Cape Cod, Massachusetts 🇺🇸

2019 Reading List:

  1. The Moment of Lift — Melinda Gates
  2. Man’s Search for Meaning — Viktor E. Frankl
  3. Becoming — Michelle Obama
  4. Belong — Radha Agarwal
  5. Daring Greatly — Brené Brown
  6. The Four Agreements — Miguel Ruiz
  7. The Mastery of Love — Miguel Ruiz
  8. Why Buddhism is True — Robert Wright
  9. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck — Mark Manson
  10. Sapiens — Yuval Noah Harari
  11. Harry Potter #1–3 — J.K Rowling

Top Documentaries and Films of 2019:

  1. 13th — Ava DuVernay
  2. When They See Us — Ava DuVernay
  3. He Named Me Malala — Davis Guggenheim
  4. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind — Chiwetel Ejiofor
  5. Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates — Davis Guggenheim
  6. The Crown — Peter Morgan
  7. Knock Down The House — Rachel Lears
  8. Free Meek — Erin Gamble

Thank you to all of those who provided their love and support, and for those who taught me along the way. 2019 was a year of uncovering the complexities of life, and the 2010s have shaped me into the person I am today.

In the new decade, I hope to continue growing my personal and professional self, embody a curious mind, and continue learning from people and experiences. I want to focus on building my personal board of advisors, uphold meaningful relationships and give back to my community.

Further, I hope to grow my presence within the philanthropic community and dive deeper into Women’s Empowerment initiatives. Lastly, I hope to find a place to call home and settle into a life of contentment.

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well”. — Ralph Waldo Emerson



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Aarti Amalean

Creative artist turned product designer, fascinated by technology, human connection, and social good