All my lessons are really just explanations of how I think I’ve changed this year.

They were not concerted efforts at education so much as reflections on past events.

  1. In 2016, I learned grief when my uncle died. I wish the best for my cousin as he applies to college in 2017. I wish there were a way I could sincerely be there for his family and re/connect with him and Margaret, but forced sincerity is an oxymoron and I can’t coerce Marvin to make time for me, just like I can’t fake authenticity.
  2. In 2016, I learned what it means to me to be a woman with choice(s) over my body when I had the one night stand. I am not proud of the impulsive decision I made, and I ask God (and my future husband) to forgive me for regarding sex as less sacred than it is in within the institution of marriage.
  3. In 2016, I learned depravity and how difficult it is for me to make the right decision when my emotions conflict with my thoughts. I’m talking about the surgeon I talked to and wanted to be friends with, even though he was using me to fill a void in his broken marriage, and I was complicit in the sin being committed.
  4. I  watched Grey’s Anatomy and a few videos of appendectomies and then curettages and learned how largely mechanical surgery can be. If any of our doctor friends (Gene, Vivien…probably not Frances, probably not Chris Yuan?) become surgeons, I will have a deeper appreciation of the technical skills they bring to bear in addition to their dedication to the field and to helping people.
  5. I didn’t think much about ethics except as a philosophical exercise during [the third annual] ethics bowl [that I’ve attended], but I learned that I care about understanding ethical principles because it reduces a lot of cognitive dissonance.
  6. When I ventured into Charlotte during the riots this summer, I saw how privileged I am and how hurtful to individuals, families, and society the abuse of police power can be. I was pretty revolted by all the mayhem, but also kind of stoic and in awe that it was a peaceful protest for the most part, comprising of people, just like me, who have feelings and thoughts and beliefs, just like me. It was just sad to see the fringe participants burning things and being unconstructively rowdy, and it was sad to see kids being witness to the violence and social disruption, but it was eye-opening to hear the voices that have been straining to be heard and see how social media and other forces have changed the shape of public discourse.
  7. When I went to the Grand Canyon with my family, I tried to learn to walk in silence to observe the world around me.
  8. When we hiked Stone Mountain in Atlanta, I learned how out of shape I am. I also learned that there will always be a more beautiful sunset, and I hope to see more in 2017.
  9. In 2016, I learned camarederie and friendship and shared some of the best conversations since college/high school with some of my best friends. Like when Michelle called me undisciplined, or when we talked about the core tenets of Christianity (as opposed to Catholicism), or when my aunts and mom talked about marriage, divorce, and family issues with me. I went on more dates and shared more meals with people than when I was in NYC. Hope to be more intentional in 2017, but I don’t regret the time, effort, and money I put into relationships this year.
  10. In 2016, I learned serenity in accepting the changes in my lifestyle, like the slower pace of the Charlotte project and the routine of living in a hotel.
  11. In 2016, I learned that it’s okay to communicate against workplace issues (as when Shawn and I were having problems), but it must be done with tact.
  12. In 2016, I learned to write CAST statements in OBIEE and gained some confidence in Analytics as a result. I haven’t written queries in almost a year, but I’ve learned a little about Qlik and Tableau and aligned to BI Analytics—solidifying my role at Accenture despite not having an industry alignment or knowing what my future career holds.
  13. In 2016, I learned that I am way too ignorant about politics and I hope 2017 provides lessons in how to be more civically engaged, not just vaguely sympathetic to social justice issues.
  14. In 2016, I learned that mead is honey beer and I like naturally fermented drinks a lot.
  15. As I aged, I learned how to approach differences in age, and my own age relative to others, in more nuanced ways. I enjoyed visiting my grandparents and interacting with Becca and her sons as much as I enjoyed snorkeling with college kids in Orlando. When people call me old, or young, I try to remember that age is just a number.
  16. In 2016, I learned more about a lot of people and listened to their stories, dreams, and aspirations. I hope to learn more about them in 2017, if they let me, because I learned that I care a lot about legacy and continuity.

17 Goals for 2017

  1. Read 25 books
  2. Learn R or SQL or Python
  3. Design 1 report in Qlik or Tableau
  4. Create a meaningful Powerpoint presentation on something I want to communicate
  5. Translate 1 sermon
  6. Visit 1 film/ad/music video set
  7. Go on 25 interviews
  8. Send my resume 25 times
  9. Read the Bible through again
  10. Create [something I’m proud of. Idk what yet >.<]
  11. Write 1 Yelp review, 1 movie review, 1 book review
  12. Write 1 essay
  13. Apply to 1 school
  14. Get in an exercise routine
  15. Practice Chinese for China trip
  16. Volunteer 62 hours (Chris chose the number)
  17. Prioritize family time during holidays and weekends