2017 & looking forward

Just another attempt at succinctly reviewing the past year of my life–and what a ride it has been. I finished my college education with everything wrapping up beautifully, graduated(!), lived in a different country, read, traveled across the world, started my first full-time job, and moved into my own apartment. It wasn’t my most challenging year but mostly a time where I was able to reap the benefits of many years of really hard work and it felt amazing. I constantly had to pause and truly take a good look around because there was an overwhelming amount to be utterly grateful for. In summary, this year has mostly been a transition year that was land marked by a major milestone–I graduated college. Graduation has been looming far beyond my reach for the entirety of my life and to now change my language to assert that I’m a college graduate is something I suddenly find myself taking for granted. I also now work for a global firm and that alone is such a change, to casually mention my work and job and receive only impressed responses. It feels good but also so strange. I also officially full-time live in New York which has been another thrilling dream to finally realize. I walk around and I see such friendly faces, a new neighborhood to explore, and the light reflecting on a building in a new way and I sigh and am so utterly grateful to be here. Going into this year with the comfort of the knowledge that I am exactly where I should be and where I’ve always wanted to be is such a blessing and I still don’t think I can quite adequately express it. Going forward into this year, I need to continue to make the right steps forward. More generally, it has been a year where it seems like talk of change and talk of actual initiative that finally involves the oppressors is happening. However it is, at the same time, a time when radical events are constantly breaking news makes it harder to recognize what is normal or absolutely inexcusable when several shocking things are happening at once. More specifically concerning the U.S, it is a shame that the election of a blatant white supremacist is what required more white folks to recognize the ways they contribute to implicit and explicit forces of systematic racism in this country and that oppression and sexism firmly holds this country back from actual progress but I guess that understanding is the first real step to more change. Progress is progress and I recognize that it is slow and stubborn and so susceptible to massive back steps but I am tentatively optimistic for a positive direction forward in this upcoming year. But, what genuinely worries me most is that a change in attitude when it comes to climate change and massive sustainability efforts will similarly require something truly devastating to happen–the loss of cities, climate change worsening political issues and hastening refugees, the extinction of several significant species at once, hotter and hotter years, and continued weather disasters. I often wonder, what will it take to make the excess of air conditioning, lack of recycling, diet changes, and overall truly simple and easy life style habits seem to be imperative necessity instead of the continuation of superfluous and embarrassing waste and disregard for yourself and others. When will these changes become a non-negotiable necessity versus a luxury of time, life style, and desire. This is something that will be a leading driver in my year and my life going forward. I look forward to figuring out how to encourage my friends and family to give the environment a second thought, without just shaming or guilting them.

Accomplishments

  Obviously, my greatest accomplishment was successfully graduating from university with my bachelors. That week was everything I expected and the whirlwind of events, emotions, awards, ceremonies, photos, and drinking was definitely more than I anticipated. But ultimately, everything ended and wrapped up beautifully and I couldn’t be more happy to close that chapter and look forward to the next one. Some of my senior year highlights include the marathon, running bilingual college readiness workshops, winning some cool awards and feeling as if I left some tiny legacy behind, participating in a pitch competition, organizing another bootcamp and entrepreneurship conference, moderating my first panel, waitressing (for the first time), and somehow doing well in my classes. Getting recognized for some of my work during graduation awards ceremony was gratifying and humbling in ways I did not expect and it was exciting to realize that the work I have accomplished throughout the past four years have been noticed and made some amount of a difference. Most importantly, it made me want to remain accountable and active in my aim to keep social justice and sustainability as driving forces for the remainder of my life. Another accomplishment was figuring out how to realize a meaningful and worthwhile summer and making my desire to travel abroad a reality. I packed up and left for a good amount of the summer almost immediately following graduation. I packed a single suitcase and left for Ecuador with vague ideas of what I wanted to get out of my experience. I will always cherish that restful and calm time where I was so present and content. I read and traveled and learned and practiced new grammar structures and explored Quito and hiked and survived without constant wifi and observed everything as wide-eyed as possible and biked and woke up early and saw sunsets and was so happy to be there. Then, I somehow managed to swing another, arguably more ambitious trip all the way to South Korea less than a week after. After spending my summer traveling and commuting between the city and home and watching nearly all my friends start their jobs, I finally I started my first full-time job. My job has been something that has been in the works for a couple years and I was elated to finally walk into 30 Rock and get my badge and start this new professional chapter. It was exciting to see my intern friends return, meet new people, and start training for work in 3 different cities. Adjusting to full-time work and travel was exhausting, especially because I spent my weekends frantically viewing many apartments. But again, it all worked out and I moved in and I further settled into my job and apartment and new life. Adulting feels like such a welcome change that I was more ready for than I even realized, and that alone feels like my greatest accomplishment of 2017. But a lot of what I accomplished really couldn’t have been done without the support of my friends and family who got my butt through school and college and now adult life. On a daily basis, I am blown away by the ways my friends and family manifest themselves in my life: by showing up and cheering, by stopping by to say hi, by snapping and asking to get dinner, by answering my call, or staying up late to talk, helping me rationalize situations, by listening intently and asking for more details, following me and talking me out of bad choices, or talking me off a ledge, or remembering to invite me. I am more lucky than I even realize to have so many extraordinary, generous, and kind people in my life who would bend over backwards for me. That was what made graduating so hard–leaving my university safety net of a huge community people who like me was hard but my summer of travels and meeting new and exciting friends made me realize that you can find community anywhere you go. And a special shout out goes to my new network at work–I have only encountered the kindest of people who check in me and make sure I am adjusting and not struggling and that I like my job and I am so thankful.

Failings / Room for Improvement

  I’ll keep it brief because I have ultimately decided to not be too critical of how this transition year in particular turned out. But ultimately, I wish I focused a little more of my learning and personal development, but with a year of such transition, it was not really feasible to keep it up when I was frantically getting ready to graduate and leave or traveling or when I was traveling for work and on a schedule that was out of my control. My progress was marked by milestones and immeasurable change–not a bad thing, just a little bit harder to make quantifiable. I didn’t follow through with any personal or side projects which is a bummer because they’ve always been such fun and driving forces to pleasantly distract me. Additionally, I got lazy with working out post marathon and I spent my last semester staying out and drinking and when I started work I continued with networking and drinking and I have found the balance between work and working out to be incredibly difficult unless I’m committed to going to sleep and waking up at exact times that’ll allow for time for both. Lastly, my mental health has been on the back burner and I’m not sure if I have any concrete plans to change than anytime soon because I have been in such a good place recently.

Travel

  Puerto Rico, DC, Quito and surrounding cities and sites, the Galapagos, Seoul, Beijing, Antigua, Dallas, Phoenix, Chicago, Plano, and finally Oregon. Another year of significant travel that has been marked by: living abroad again and visiting Asia for the first time. I cannot endorse any of these places enough and I desperately wish I could return. Ecuador was radiant and subtle and so high up and surrounded by these shining rolling green mountains and volcanoes. The Galapagos was everything I’ve ever imagined, a living piece of history that contain everything from lounging and lazy seals, to ancient cacti, and to enormous tortoises. Seoul absolutely blew my mind by being the most radically different place I’ve ever visited and anyway I’ve tried to put it seems like a vast injustice to truly capturing it’s depth. Also, the food was the best I’ve ever had–every meal topped the previous one. Chicago was charming and quaint, Phoenix felt like a warm and dry embrace, and Oregon was warm and crawling with so much green and fog.

Notable books and more

Movies
  • The Sound of Water
  • Wind River (again, problematic but still striking)
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  • Coco (but I will caution that it was good but I personally found aspects of it problematic)
  • La novia
TV Shows
  • The Sinner *
  • Handmaids Tale
  • Daredevil
  • Club de Cuervos **
Comic Books
  • Saga **
  • America Chavez
Books
  • Drawdown
  • Sapiens
  • Future Crimes
Podcasts
  • Ezra Klein show
  • Codeswitch *
  • S Town
  • The Daily
  • In the Thick
  • Smashing Security
Newsletters
  • Farnam Street
  • Quartz (in English and Spanish)
  • Inside Security
Products
  • Samsung Gear 2
  • Kindle Fire **
  • Samsung 8
A few specific shout outs need to be made, but the first must be to comic books. My boyfriend gave me Saga for Christmas, something I was highly skeptical of–comic books?! He heard Saga was good and also heard me lamenting that I wanted to read more sci-fi, so gave me the first two volumes (also, hilariously, I was incredibly confused by issues vs. volumes for awhile..). It swept me away–a violent, graphic, sexual, emotional and compelling space opera about an interracial couple caught in between their two warring planets. It really is GOT meets Star Wars (but honestly better!) (and excited for when this will be brought onto a big screen). I managed to finish all of Saga up to date and I love it fiercely because it introduced me to the world of comics and graphic novels and I’m so thrilled to have (finally!) arrived here. I can now get my doses of fantasy/art/illustration/sci-fi without having to read 1000 page books. I have additionally have read, Monstress, America Chavez, Lumber Janes, and Rat Queens. (Can you tell that I’ve been sticking with female protagonists?) I also want to add that my kindle fire makes reading them even more appealing. As for books, I managed to read an interesting variety and I’ve been very obsessed with narrative fiction. To highlight a few, Sapiens altered how I think about humanity and the direction of the future of humanity, Drawdown taught me so much about energy, WomanCode gave me some things to think about but I’m unconvinced about some of its’ science, 1984 made me incredibly uncomfortable, The Mastery of Love was so sweet, Ego is the Enemy was forceful but a little repetitive, The Name of the Wind disappointed me, and Future Crimes was one of my favorites. On stage, I saw a Morons’ Guide to Latin History–which was nothing short of incredible. Same day rush tickets brought us there that evening and it was my first time seeing a one man show but it was funny, smart, and fairly intersectional (my favorite).

Goals for this year?

Feels very strange that I basically had to drag my feet to write this post. I’m not enthusiastic about my lack of enthusiasm and hopefully will figure out a way that’ll get me excited about this site again. Maybe I transition it entirely in one direction or keep it more frequently updated with shorter posts. Concerning my plans for this year…I have some ambitious goals for the year that I’m not sure will all pane out. But they include my first triathlon, 9+1, more travel, reading 15+ books, hopefully studying and receiving a new certification, spending quality time with friends, organizing a hackathon, turning biking into my main form of transportation, being more intentional with my precious weekends, volunteering with a local CSA and garden, exploring more of Harlem, working out on a daily basis, buying all my clothes second hand, and mastering my spending, loans, and budget. I feel confident and committed so we’ll see how this year plays out, especially with my guiding principles in mind. 2018 guiding words
  • I started doing this last year and I think as the years go on it’ll be exciting to see the trends of my past words.
    • ¬†Focus
      • Focus on how I spend my time and money. Focus on spending more of my personal time on learning and pushing myself to meet new goals.
    • Balance
      • I need to figure out the balance for work, friends, spending, life, growth, relationships, social justice, practice, sustainability, social media, side projects and more. I need to figure out the time and how to practice what I preach and practice new skills and old.
    • Reduce
      • Sustainability, changing many life style habits, and attempting to reduce my consumption will be paramount to me this year.

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