Reflecting on 2016

To know me is to know my love for planning. I love setting goals, crushing them and reflecting on them. And while January is not the only time of the year I set aside to do this, it’s by far my favorite time of the year to pause and set new intentions.

This year, I put much more time and effort behind it than I ever have before. I could say it’s because I’m growing and learning what works best for me over time, but if I’m honest, it’s really because 2016 was the first year in a long time that I wasn’t able to achieve major goals I set for myself. By December I was carrying around so much disappointment and frustration that I knew I wouldn’t be able to move forward until I spent meaningful time working through it and shifting my mindset.

So these past two weeks I’ve been deep in reflection, specifically shifting my focus from what didn’t work out in 2016 to what I was able to accomplish.

If there was a book made about my past year it would be titled, “She Did, Where She Could.” And when I really allowed myself to reflect, 2016 was full of creativity and connection (and other good things):

  • Connecting with my local community: At the beginning of last year I had the privilege of helping organize the “Breaking the Silence” Oakland Town Hall on Girls & Women of Color. I launched the Oakland Chapter of Walker’s Legacy, organizing an event focused on authentic leadership for women of color in business. I also spent a day, along with other tech employees, helping Planned Parenthood of Northern California increase their reach and impact.
  • Strengthening my relationships: While I still feel like I have a ways to go, I’ve worked really hard this past year at being more intentional about my relationships with friends and family. I’ve made more time for sending cards, calling, meeting for dinner / coffee, and visiting (for those in other cities) the people I care about than ever before. Most importantly, four years in, Heather and I are happier and healthier as a couple than ever.
  • Traveling to both new and favorite destinations: I started the year off with my usual trip to Trinidad for Carnival. During the summer my parents and I visited my sister and niece in Luxembourg, after which we hopped the TGV to Paris, where I had the pleasure of being my parents’ personal tour guide. Last fall I ran my first international half-marathon with my sister in Lisbon. I then made my way to Porto with Heather for mandatory tastings and concluded the trip in Barcelona, where we spent my 30th birthday enjoying a Catalan cooking class and (surprise) private Queer Tango lessons!
  • Continuing to build my community: I love hosting, and I opened my home up to friends more in the past year… from Black Girls Rock! watch parties to book clubs to impromptu wine nights. It’s been a complete joy. Heather and I have been cooking much more (read: Heather cooking, me tasting/eating), so dinner parties are up next!

  • Speaking more and more: I continued to moderate and speak on several panels last year, but most excitingly I gave my first keynote at the 2016 Berkeley-Haas MBA orientation, and I was invited to speak at the Lesbians Who Tech Summit in NYC. Both experiences pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me grow.

  • Rediscovering and exploring my creativity: In 2017 I hope to write more, but last summer I wrote a blog post about my inspiration to start making things with my hands (What Stuff Have You Given Up?). It was the beginning of my creative journey for the year, leading to me building several different LEGO sets — including the White House(!), teaching myself how to make wigs, starting to sew again and experimenting with photography.

And, as always, I’ve been busy reading lots of books. Here are some of my favorites from the past year, in order of “GO READ IT NOW!” to “Great for your next vacation…”

(1) Just Mercy (2) Homegoing (3) Between the World and Me (4) Big Magic (5) The Hard Thing About Hard Things (6) An Untamed State (7) The Girl on the Train (8) Shantaram

While I may not have accomplished some of my most important goals last year, I am grateful for a year full of so many incredible experiences. I’m also grateful for the time to pause, take a step back and reassess my goals for 2017.

Cheers! 🍾