Hello, 24

Having a birthday so close to New Year’s is convenient for an over-thinker like me. I could reflect on the past calendar year as well my own year once and for all and be ready to take on a new year. 2016/23 was an important year for me – I moved a few times, traveled some, met new people and grew up a ton.

Florida Keys


The gravity of the changes in my professional life is self explanatory. In February, specifically on Super Bowl day, I packed up my car and moved to the “City of Angels”. I made the move to start an exciting opportunity at an advertising agency whose job ad resonated with me more than any other company’s, and it just so happened to be the one company that chose to extend me an offer. It felt so satisfying, and a little fateful. Little did I know, an unexpected opportunity awaited me merely 0.3 miles away from the small studio apartment that I moved into. I walked to an interview on the only free day I had before the start of the internship. That interview then materialized into a career.

I feel beyond fortunate to have worked at both of these companies. They’re opposites of each other in many ways but similar in how they helped me grow. I’ve always been a responsible person, even a little too much so at times, but my actions only really affected myself. Now, however, I’m held accountable for my work that will go on to impact my coworkers, the company as a whole, as well as our clients. In school, a little mistake would cause me a few points off a midterm, but now it might cause the missing of a deadline and worse, loss of business. Thankfully nothing of that sort has happened, but doing everything I’m tasked with to the best of my ability has become more important than ever. I’ve also learned to be more patient, self-motivated, collaborative… the list goes on. While I know that these are things I would inevitably have to learn in any job, I just feel lucky to learn them in positive environments with people whose intelligence and character I admire.

Millennium Bridge & St. Paul Cathedral, London


I still managed to embark on several trips this year despite working full time. I went to Sedona, Seattle, Portland, Napa Valley/Lake Tahoe, Palm Springs, Florida, and finally England. I thought that having limited vacation days would be a difficult adjustment, but it has actually made traveling more fun in a way. Going on a trip using my own hard-earned vacation days and money is one of the most rewarding things I’ve done. Before this, I was able to travel purely because I was lucky and born into a family that not only had the means, but also the passion to see the world (read about my top 23 cities here). It didn’t mean I did anything to deserve going on those trips. Now, even though I’m busier and have a lot more responsibilities, I feel in charge and deserving of everything I have. It’s a great feeling.

Sedona, Arizona


Having a busy schedule led to reevaluation and re-balancing of most of my relationships. I feel like sometimes monumental changes in life can be underwhelming because when they happen, you’re immersed in a million mundane tasks, like those involved in moving. For me, it’s usually not until I have settled in for a while that these changes’ magnitude really hit me. While I was busy getting used to working full time and all the excitement and complications that came along with it, it seemed natural to not see my family as much. It wasn’t until a few months into it that I realized that this truly marks the end of an era. I’ll never live with my family like I used to. Being away in college always felt like a phase, but now is the start of the rest of my life. I have adjusted pretty well for someone sentimental, but I do try to treasure the times I do get to spend with family.

I also find friendships in the adult world much different than in school. As my peers and I are all busy figuring out their own lives, I have become much better at accepting the fact that not friendships are meant to last. I’ve never been one to surround myself with a multitude of friends anyway and now it makes even more sense to only keep a handful of true, close friends around. Though it is one of my biggest goals to become more open and meet more interesting people, I know to cherish only those with whom I have meaningful friendships.

Of course, then there’s romance. This year had its fair share of ups and downs for me. A two-hour distance doesn’t sound too difficult, but that didn’t stop my emotions from swinging all over the place because of it. We are both committed, but that didn’t make us immune to doubt, conflict, selfishness… Reality hardly ever lines up with expectations, in both disappointing and amazing ways. So I’m constantly trying to live less according to my expectations and more in reality. One isn’t better than the other; they’re just different.

River Thames, London


I don’t like to set resolutions, but turning into a new year does give me a fresh burst of energy and determination.

Things to DO: Last year I wanted to read more but it wasn’t nearly enough. I managed to mostly keep up in the first half of the year but the second half kind of just slipped by. I also want to exercise more, cook more, see my family and friends more.

Things to BE: Patient. A little or a looot of patience can accomplish SO much, but I just don’t have it sometimes. I always disappoint myself with my impatience and this year I want to be more conscientious of that. I also want to be more open: to conversations, new friendships, new experiences, anything.

Windansea Beach, San Diego

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