Learnings & Personal Retros

2018: Year in Review

Although time is finite, it seems like each year in review approaches sooner than the last! Each year, I pick a thematic word to center me amidst chaos, stressful choices, and when I’m feeling like a complete failure in one or all ways possible. “Vulnerable” was my 2018 word, and I’m proud to say I did many things to fulfill this focus. This vulnerability can enter our lives in more than superficial aspects. I learned in embracing vulnerability, I also embraced who I am instead of who I felt like I needed to be, which taught me even more about how to also let others be vulnerable in front of me! It’s a beautiful thing when you can put your walls down so others can follow your lead, and actually, do it!
Without further ado, here are some of the memorable accomplishments from 2018 – may it encourage, inspire and help you learn from my own mistakes as you tackle our part of the world!
1. Finally submitted to be a PopSugar content contributor. My article was accepted and published within one month of submitting! I’ve since written several other pieces that will soon be out into the universe for other mass sites as well, which still blows me away. Although the published accomplishment is worth celebrating, all the inner-dialogue and encouragement to even take this plunge is actually what I’m prouder of! My biggest lesson learned: When we are about to do something bold, our brains remind us that failure could hurt – thank your brain for the reminder, and embrace the learning or success that soon follows!
2. Ended a toxic relationship I’d maintained for years, simply because we’d been friends for years. Stepping back from how I felt after our conversations, I finally realized how annoyed, and negative my demeanor was. Conversations don’t have to be all about sunshine and bacon, but it should be mutually rewarding based on giving and take. I realized this relationship was mostly a long-term pattern of this person’s struggles, without pausing to truly support or encourage my own problems in life. I held on to this relationship for its sentimental value, too blind to realize how drastically the conversations had shifted over time. I was more fearful about their reaction than I was about the loss in my life. I used this ephiphany to be kind, understanding, but also firm on my decision, to preserve my own health. It was hard, I was sad but then felt immediately lighter, happier, and grateful for their time over the years. Knowing your own self worth is important and that includes what you aren’t willing to tolerate. Know your non-negotiables and make them truly non-negotiable!
3. Bought the dream car I’d told myself I shouldn’t or couldn’t buy. Admittedly I was inspired after finishing “You’re a badass” audiobook but it was much deeper than a one-time suggestion. Growing up extremely poor, transportation was a very sensitive thing between my parents. There were days where I’d miss school simply because our car wouldn’t start. There were softball practices I was late to and had to run extra laps because our car broke down, again. I’ve usually been conservative with my car purchases. After evaluating my buying behavior, I realized my car trade-ins were each an attempt to get my dream car without paying the hefty price tag. I was reminded of this compromise usually in some way or another each time I drove my car. Now, my car reminds me I kick ass, am ambitious, and sometimes, dream big, all without financial remorse because of good financial planning. Although it’s not an asset and a superficial belonging, I love my car more than any other and it brings me joy every time I am in it.
4. Started actually saying no to work tasks and projects that didn’t excite me. Often I found myself quickly reacting to what was asked of me due to an assumption I was being asked because whatever I was given, was important. I realized this was not the case. I needed to help my team or boss communicate a clear priority of this thing over the thing I was asked about yesterday, so we could clearly understand which one gets my time and energy. Commonly I find the issue to not be a lack of saying “yes”, but an unclear answer to “If I could only work on ONE of these three things this week, which is the most valuable?”. Use it, learn it, love it, and embrace the earnings!
5. Traveled internationally with my best friend for the first time, and WOW! We spent an amazing week together down in Havana, Cuba, and surrounding islands, and the entire time was actually enjoyed. When I look back at made the time so enjoyable, personally, I realized how unplugged I was from all technology during this trip. It allowed me to focus on the humidity in the bar we were in, or the combinations of spices in the meat we were eating. We had such a blast together, we are already planning our next adventure.
6. Left my dream job of four years, for a larger role within a new industry. Leaving my former employer was very difficult. I cared and was connected deeply to the company’s mission, a continued focus on their customers, and the culture of autonomous collaboration. For nearly a year, however, I had expressed frustration with my supervisors based on a mutual opinion that I was capable of more but the opportunities were not present within the company at the size of role I was now ready for. I could either stay comfortable, in a role I knew and performed well in, or I could stretch my career into the uncomfortable and scary. I opted for the latter, and haven’t looked back except to congratulate former colleagues. I very much wanted that door to remain open so I could possibly return when the time was right, but they have a lot of systemic cultural leadership issues to address while I’m gone.
7. Six months after starting in this new position and still (just less) scared I’m going to mess everything up, I was promoted into a senior leadership role. I now oversee staff and very very large budget of high visibility portfolios which still scares me. Some days I’m just more or less scared and feeling like I know more or less of what I’m doing than the day before.
8. Reduced my body fat by another 8%… and then my thighs gained back 4% :\ I also gained lean mass, hit a new deadlift and squat PR, all while recovering from multiple surgeries and weeks away from the gym.
9. 3 oral surgeries in 2018 forced me to slow down, and after shattering my wrist bones for 2 additional surgeries to finish the year, accept help. I was blown away by the kindness and love I received from some of my keto friends, and the feeling of absolutely not knowing how I can repay someone’s thoughtfulness took me some time to digest. I learned it’s not always about reciprocating, and it’s okay for someone to do something nice for me without immediately taking action in return.
10. Speaking of finishing the year, I witness the most colorful, vibrant, and longest fireworks show I’ve ever seen in my life, In Reyjkavic Iceland, as we said goodbye to 2018. This was a highlight of the year for me because Iceland’s geological wonders have forever been on my bucket list. I’m a big geology nerd, so hiking a glacier, then walking down into a volcano or climbing a waterfall was perfect. I highly recommend visiting this beautiful island, regardless of time of year. I visited in the middle of winter and still really enjoyed all 10 days, even if each only had about five hours of sunlight!
With a year full of travel, new beginnings, saying goodbye to old, and embracing the vulnerable feelings in sharing more of myself with the world, I’m glad to have learned a few things, and also shared them with you. Happy New Year… In March. (Timely updates are one of my 2019 goals now, I’ll get there!)

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