Reflections on 2017


What a year! I know so many people talk about how quickly time moves, but for me this year (and most years) feel more like decades. I'm not sure why time moves so slowly for me (and I'm certainly not sad about it!), but thinking back to last January it feels like a whole lifetime ago. Was it really only 11 months ago that I was marching Portland's streets on a cold and rainy Sunday? Only 7 months ago I visited Austin? Only 3 months ago we were hiking the Redwoods?

Maybe it's because a lot happened this year. Eli graduated! I moved to a new position at work. We took a road trip to California. But mostly this year has felt like a lot of waiting. 2016 was a life-changing year in so many ways (some good, some with orange hair), and 2018 will likely be just as momentous. We're taking a 3 week vacation to JAPAN in January (Japanuary), then Eli and I are moving to Seattle with 2 good friends and starting our life together. 2017 has been the in-between year. The middle child of years. The long-distance-relationship, long-work-hours, long-time-waiting-for-Eli-to-graduate year. Perhaps that's why it's moved so slowly?

But, while 2017 may not be as remarkable as the years that surround it, it's worth reflecting on. Here goes.

What am I most proud of? I'm most proud that I was able to maintain some of my most valuable relationships this year, and prioritize them. This was Eli and my first (and hopefully only) full year of dating long-distance, and I'm proud that we were able to still feel close as a couple. I'm proud to have 2 wonderful friends that I got to spend a lot of time with, and that I was able to be there for my family through good times and rough times.

What area did I struggle with the most? And what lesson did I learn from that struggle? Spending my first year in corporate America. This was my first full year in "The Grind", and while I love my job and the organization I work for I understand how easily a corporate job can become your entire identity, and how empty that would feel. I've struggled with feeling terrible at my job, with finding a sense of identity and purpose outside of work, with feeling chained to my desk and wondering whether I'm making the world a better place. I'm incredibly fortunate to have a job I look forward to, that supports me in so many ways and which is incredibly flexible and lucrative. In so many ways, I won the lottery with this position. But, even my organization isn't exempt from the realities of being a business in America, and the cultural norms that go with it.

What are my 3 happiest memories?

  1. Spending the day with my mom at The Grove. Although our early-December trip was already planned, my grandpa died just weeks before we were scheduled to visit. He was 94, lived a good and long life, but it was still a blow to my mom. We had a few days to spend in LA before the funeral, and while we should probably have spent more time helping my grandma move things or visiting other relatives we did what my grandpa would have wanted us to do: eat cake, shop, and gaze in awe at the beautiful people of LA. It was just the perfect day in the sun with my mom, despite all the sadness.
  2. Dinner at Fogo de Chao to celebrate Eli's graduation. I love food, and while I don't eat a lot of red meat I definitely appreciate a good meal. And this was the best! Going to FdC felt really special, we were there for 3+ hours, the food was amazing and it was great to celebrate with Eli's family. Definitely a special meal.

Who did I spend the majority of my time with? Was that energizing or draining?

Eli, obviously. I love spending time with Eli. He calms me and my anxiety, grounds me, and I feel so at ease when I'm with him, like there's no where else I need to be or anything else I should be doing.

What new skills, hobbies or activities did I try this year?

I took a salsa class! I'm so glad I took it, but I also didn't renew it after the first month. I think, ultimately, I just need to make time to do fun things like that. I think Zumba might be in my future? We'll see once we move to Seattle.

What money was the best spent? What is one thing I created this year? Who or what am I the most grateful for? What surprised me the most?

Looking Ahead

As previously stated, there's a lot in store in 2018 for me. I'm not a big resolutions person, but next year I want to make a conscious effort to have fun. Once I started working, it's so easy to just be tired all the time, and feel like you have to save your energy for the weekdays. I keep having to remind myself that I am 22 years old for goodness sake, and that I'm allowed to be more spontaneous, make a few mistakes, and not need to live such a routine and orderly life. In the next year I'd like to try to do more things that bring me joy, and not worry so much about being in bed by 9 every night. My wallet, my body, and my work can handle a little less discipline.