2016: A Year in Review

As it’s been well-documented, there’s a lot of good reasons why 2016 should just come to an end. However, before it does I thought it would be good to recap the year and preview what’s in store for 2017.

2016 went by in a whirlwind. I spent more time on an airplane than I ever have in my life and while I’ve lived in San Francisco for a year and a half it’s just finally starting to feel like home (in part due to the amount of time away) Furthermore, I had the privilege to spend time with friends new and old, and even though I live 3000 miles away had multiple chances to see my family all across the United States.

 

Here’s a quick recap of how I spent 2016:

Weddings, Weddings, Weddings!

I had the privilege of attending and serving a number of weddings in 2016. It was great to see so many people that I care about tie the knot and move to the next stage of their life and to be a part of the celebration with friends and family. Additionally, each wedding served as a great opportunity to reconnect and engage with near and dear friends – they all were almost mini-reunions in of themselves! To be a part of those experiences with so many great people was truly special, and something I am grateful for.

Managing a Bi-Coastal Family

With my sister and I on the west coast and parents still back in the northeast, it makes it difficult to see my family as regularly as I did when I lived in Boston. Even communicating can sometimes be a challenge given the time zone difference. This year, I had the chance to see my family through various work trips, holidays, and celebrations such as graduations and weddings. We even celebrated our first Thanksgiving outside of Rochester! While at times I wish I was closer to my family we really made an effort this year to make it work and I’m grateful for the chances we had.

 

Hitting the Gym

Humblebrag and “insert where’s the weight room joke here,” but this year was the best year I’ve ever had in terms of going to the gym on a regular basis. It certainly helps that it’s a short walk from my apartment. I’m proud of the fact that there were many times this year when I didn’t feel like going to the gym and I had the discipline to force myself to go anyway. I hope to keep this up in 2017 (and beyond)

                                                  Wrigleyville

Travels and Friends

Being on an airplane for over 40+ weeks out of the year is tough but it definitely has it’s perks. Between weddings, weekend visits, and extending work trips to spend time with friends I was able to see and spend time with lots of friends throughout the past year. The most popular spots were DC and Chicago (5) and the farthest away was a solo trip through Italy (my first real vacation in the working world!) These trips are not only fun but give me a ton of energy and joy.

 

                                   Cinque Terre, Italy

 

Career Progress and Milestones

This year, I did a number of speaking engagements on career development to undergraduate and graduate students, had articles published on multiple media sites, started my formal career coaching career (after years of amateur practice) at The Muse and continued my career progression in my day job. Given that your career is something you devote a significant amount of your time to I’m happy with the progress I am making and the experiences that I am getting. Above all, I’ve been fortunate to work for and alongside some really smart people who appreciate working with other people, and working on causes that are worth working for.

Lessons Learned

We All Need a Sounding Board

As thinker, extrovert, collaborator and action driven person, I’ve come to realize that I truly need to vocalize thoughts, ideas and feelings with other people. I guess it took many nights on the road in a hotel room by myself, or cross country flights in silence, or having a roommate and group of friends now who patiently tolerate my thoughts and feelings, but especially after big events, or decisions being around other people to talk to is really important to me. Those who have lived with me, or who have had to spend a lot of time with me are probably laughing at this as they have been directly impacted by this trait over time (and thank you for your patience) and are probably wondering how it took me so long to realize this, but even as someone who is pretty self-aware I find myself learning new things about myself even at my ripe age of 29.

Discipline is Boring and Effective

This year, I set out to make good on some goals that I had been putting off for some time. Going to the gym more, developing a process for writing that was consistent, and jumping into career coaching were all things I set out to do in 2016. What I found was that particularly for ones which required a consistent effort (going to the gym) even though I had made it a priority there were plenty of times when I didn’t want to do them and needed to find some extra will power to get to the gym or churn out an article. This wasn’t fun or glamorous, I didn’t always see immediate results, but what it made me realize is the importance of those ordinary and pedestrian like workouts, or middling articles that really help you develop the discipline needed to pursue a goal. Only when you consistently execute those with 100% effort over and over will you develop the discipline required to achieve a goal. As Ray Allen said, “The secret is there is no secret. It’s just boring old habits.”

Finding Meaning in the Unexpected

2016 was the year of the unexpected (Cavs, Cubs, Trump, Harambe etc.) Despite these surprises, I’ve come to realize that even in those moments of in some cases, shock and utter despair, you have to pick yourself up and make sense of where to go next. I’ve spent a lot of time pondering this question since November 8th, and I wish I could say I’ve come to an answer. Unfortunately, all I have to show right now is the importance of asking yourself the question of “what role do I have in this moving forward?” and not moving forward until you come forth with an answer that you can take action upon. One glimmer of hope – I do believe that pondering that question will give you a sense of purpose, and in the case when it’s about a cause that is meaningful to you it will also give you conviction along with an urgency to act. So even when surprises suck, there’s opportunity to find opportunity to move forward.

Conclusion

In light of a bumpy ending to 2016,  it was a year of growth, learning, setbacks and successes, but all of which I am truly grateful for. After some much needed vacation I’m looking forward to the year ahead!

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