I very simply stated some 2019 goals stated in my 2018 in review post. I additionally chose the guiding words of execute, simplify, and inward.
Hey, how has it been going?
Honestly, it was a rough start of the year for me. I started with broad but exact goals and felt confident that I could start off on the right foot after a quick and fun trip to Poland over the New Year.
But my life and schedule took control in a way that I was not best prepared for. Starting rightaway in January, I was traveling on a weekly basis from coast to coast for work, struggling with maintaining any semblance of a sleep and exercise schedule, interviewing and rapidly preparing for more technical interviews (therefore was overall distracted), and losing touch with a team of people who were organizing a hackathon for Venezuela in SF.
And as a result, I had to face immediate and painful rejection in multiple forms and then a sudden physical health scare. My habit maintenance was inconsistent. I couldn’t run or exercise without my knee. I was set back in multiple ways and was utterly disappointed and that resulted in a deep complacency that lasted from February to April. I allowed myself to feel very bad for myself and I couldn’t motivate myself to work towards any goals and just did a whole lot of nothing. I knew what was happening but there wasn’t a lot I felt like I had power to change.
It was the weather, I blamed. I was in between projects, I blamed. I had envisioned a different future for myself and with rejection it disapparated, I blamed. I made very early mistakes in management/leadership/structure org with working with the team based in SF that resulted in poor communication and the cutting of ties which I took very personally, I blamed.
It wasn’t my healthiest and happiest time and definitely not the way I had envisioned the start of 2019 for myself.
Is there a bright side?
Well, I was able to devote myself to physical therapy and recover quickly (and I was even able to participate in a duathlon, 5 boro bike tour, and the C-SIG). I was able to normalize my sleep schedule again. I decided that I was going to apply to graduate school for my masters in cybersecurity–and I’m starting in the fall! I’m starting a new client in a new industry working on things that I have not encountered yet and I’m incredibly excited for the change and opportunity. I read more. Also, I decided that because I didn’t have a creative outlet in my life, I needed to find one and cultivate it. So, I purchased a Venezuelan cuatro and I am slowly teaching myself how to play.
Now looking back I recognize, you know, I need to constantly remind myself that growth is growth, whether it is fun or not. It is necessary and sometimes uncomfortable and I am grateful for the opportunity and time to grow and learn.
It was my first time since graduating college that I encountered some “hardship”. And, in all honestly, on the spectrum, it really wasn’t that hard because I was able to recognize, diagnose, and overcome it in a fairly pointed fashion.
Sometimes being “unproductive”, is productive and I am excited to see how it’ll manifest after some meaningful complacent time. (I stumbled upon this and it was a helpful/healthy/fresh perspective that I needed).
I learned a lot and felt as if I set myself up for a stronger end of year that will consist of some more trips, learning on the job, meditation, cuatro playing, grad school, therapy, tris, NYMarathon, and putting some more work in with some results.
I want to tape my guiding words up on my wall to remind me of them on a daily basis.
Hack for Venezuela is a movement that I’ve been attempting to steer for the past year. The movement recognized the need to connect the diaspora to problems caused by the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela by creating technical solutions. The first hackathon was organized by Will Falcon in November 2017. When I met him at his event we decided to collaborate with Denis Cobos on a second hackathon in July 2018 at Fordham University. At that hackathon I connected with undergrad student Mikel Matticoli and he spearheaded the third hackathon at WPI in December 2018.
HackForVenezuela has acted as a catalyst and inspiration for the organization of multiple hackathons (including CodeForVenezuela), networking events, and collaboration. Following three organized hackathons in New York region we are looking to build out our team, mission, further scale, and potentially pivot as we scale into InnovateVenezuela.
…the trend line is clear: 17 of the 18 warmest years since modern record-keeping began have occurred since 2001.
“It’s not a wake-up call anymore,” Cynthia Rosenzweig, who runs the climate impacts group at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said of global warming and its human toll. “It’s now absolutely happening to millions of people around the world.”
Be careful before you call it the new normal, though. Temperatures are still rising, and, so far, efforts to tame the heat have failed. Heat waves are bound to get more intense and more frequent as emissions rise, scientists have concluded. On the horizon is a future of cascading system failures threatening basic necessities like food supply and electricity (Sengupta).ah Despite these alarming facts, nothing dramatic or global or far-reaching is getting accomplished. The journalist, David Wallace-Wells who wrote the biggest story on climate change last summer for NYMag is now asserting that, ah
climate change is not a matter of “yes” or “no,”…[but is] a binary process where we end up either “fucked” or “not fucked.”
It is a system that gets worse over time as long as we continue to emit greenhouse gases. We are just beginning to see the horrors that climate change has in store for us —but that does not mean that the story is settled. Things will get worse, almost certainly much, much worse.
Indeed, the news about what more to expect, coming out of new research, only darkens our picture of what to expect: Just over the past few weeks, new studies have suggested heat in many major Indian cities would be literally lethal by century’s end, if current warming trends continue, and that, by that time, global economic output could fall, thanks to climate effects, by 30 percent or more. That is an impact twice as deep as the global Great Depression, and it would not be temporary (Wallace-Wells).ah The facts are only becoming more and more dire and as reported by Wallace-Wells, journalists are trying to honestly report but are also still hesitant to attribute summer fires and more commonly occurring heat waves to the effects of climate change.
The varicolored mountain, with sediment created from mineral deposits over millions of years, was discovered only about five years ago, locals say. But it has become a must-see attraction for hikers, bringing much-needed cash to the area but also prompting concern about possible damage to the previously unspoiled landscape…But there may be a high price to pay for the tourism boom….John Widmer….lamented the environmental destruction occurring from the large number of tourists, adding that “the beautiful and fragile alpine environment is getting completely demolished” by the hordes of eager hikers who journey to the mountain. “I’m ashamed at the fact that we, too, personally destroyed a bit of the Andes during our trek to Rainbow Mountain (Magra y Zarate).ah The struggle truly is, how do you balance the need to protect vulnerable sites but also benefit from “the flood of tourists [that] also brings with them a flood of cash to the small community of indigenous Pampachiri people living near the mountain” (Fessenden).
Indigenous peoples are among the first to face the direct consequences of climate change, owing to their dependence upon, and close relationship with the environment and its resources. Climate change exacerbates the difficulties already faced by vulnerable indigenous communities, including political and economic marginalization, loss of land and resources, human rights violations, discrimination and unemployment (UN).ah The irony is not lost on me and it is something that was incredibly heavy on my mind during my travels. How can I even pretend to claim that I care about the environment, empowering global majority groups, and learning from others when I contribute negatively to sources that will ultimately hurt the world and the people and places in it? The earlier article cited about la montaña also very hopefully suggested that “just as photos on the internet helped establish Vinicunca’s popularity, perhaps reporting about the dangers of over-tourism at the colorful mountain can mobilize preservation efforts for its future” (Fessenden). I definitely agree that reporting and raising awareness can be helpful but I am still unclear on where I stand and what I should do about air travel. Kalmus suggested that quitting air travel would help enormously and that alternate modes of transportation like “slow travel” would be sufficient replacements–suggestions I don’t disagree with. The disconnect and the denial is something I know that I and plenty of others struggle to grapple with…it’s easy to be busy with the rest of your life and dismiss your impact. But, I would argue that individual impact is huge and that anything you can do to ~reduce, reuse, recycle~ would help but I would encourage you to really think about what else can you do and to empower your decisions. Can you cut out air travel or car travel or change your diet or not use an AC? Can you recognize that using fossil fuels might not even be making you happier? Think about all the misery (and emissions!) caused by sitting in traffic and getting stuck with a flight delay. Doing something is better than nothing…because we can’t look back to 2018 and realize that all we did was debate about the harm of straws. You can’t rely on politicians, celebrities, and scientists to fix this problem because I believe that individual decisions and choices have an empowering impact that act as a ripple effect. As Kalmus advises, you need to try to make these changes out of a sense of joy and love because we love this planet, the beautiful places we visit, and people we meet and you can’t forget that they’re nothing but our neighbors and our community that we need to work towards protecting and preserving. Now consider what really needs to be given up–because the answer is plainly apathy.
A little mad at myself that I only seem to remember this site during holidays that align with my values. Again, I need to spend some time evaluating how I want to use this site…but in the meanwhile Feliz Día Internacional de la Mujer / international day of the women.
It is a time to pause and reflect to be grateful and to be critical of what has passed and how we will drive towards a better and more inclusive future. It’s an exciting time to be a woman and a Latina and I want to stress how much in awe I am of the shoulders of other women that I have stood on.
A lot has been done and even more needs to be accomplished. Last night, my roommate told me about a truly despicable case that have resulted in a Yale student being found not guilty in a blatant case of sexual assault. This is just one example of millions of how much more we truly need to do.
From gun control, to inclusion in tech and infosec, to equal pay between men and women and between men and WOC, to change rape culture at school and in workplaces, for safe spaces, for respecting indigenous people, to saving the environment, and more femme led businesses and countries and more. Today is a reminder of what needs to be done and you cannot forget the imperative need to positively contribute to whatever this movement will end up being called in the future.