It’s always nice to reflect on the past year before fully embracing the new one. I enjoy reading on old blog posts and articles because it’s a great reminder of how I was feeling at the time and how much I’ve grown. Even though I didn’t write about everything, this year was a mix of highs and lows. But I learned a lot about myself, and the support network I surround myself with, as a result. Here are a few of my favorite things and lessons from 2015.
1. Friends: One of my closest friends said something this year that really resonated with me, not because it’s unexpected, but because it’s something not everyone practices. She said that she believes friendship is being there for someone when things are really fun and when things are really tough. I always try to be there for my friends 100% of the time, and even more so when they need someone the most. I’d never want to be the friend that is there for dinner, brunch, and a gym class but not the late night phone call, doctors appointment, or cookie delivery after a bad day. This year I was lucky to be surrounded by some amazing, supportive, loving friends — some that I’ve known for years and some that I met this year. I’m really grateful for them.
2. Family: I also leaned a lot on my family this year. I feel fortunate to have such a supportive, kind, loving family. Whether it’s family dinners, phone calls, vacations, or a long series of text messages it’s nice to know they are there for me and vice versa.
3. Elana Lyn: Elana Lyn really grew and developed this year. I changed the name, rebranded, started new series, and met so many inspiring women. Anyone who blogs knows that it is hard work — but the people I’ve met, the opportunities I’ve received, and the people who read make the hard work worthwhile. Blogging can be isolating at times. When I’m sitting on the couch writing, I forget that so many people actually read and relate to what I write, so I’ve loved meeting readers in person or through emails and comments. It makes my day when someone says that a post has helped them with their job search, career, finding something to do in NYC, or any other topic. I’ve started taking blogging more seriously and treating it more like a business and I’m excited to see how that evolves in the coming year.
4. Say Yes: I haven’t written a post about it because I was waiting to settle in, but I started a new job in October. I wasn’t looking for a new job and was happy where I was, but I was approached by a recruiter and the opportunity seemed too good to pass up. One of my favorite quotes is, “Say yes and you’ll figure it out afterwards.” I decided to trust myself, take a risk, and say yes. I’ve gotten better at saying yes to new experiences this year. It’s tempting to settle and get complacent in the comfortable, but you learn a lot from stepping out of your comfort zone. There is a great chance that you’ll be happier as a result and, even if you aren’t, you have to have the confidence that you can pick yourself up and figure it out.
5. Writing: I was published in Levo League, The Muse, Skillcrush, Career Contessa, FastCompany, Time, Business Insider, The Huffington Post, Refinery 29, Brit + Co, and more. It can be scary to put your writing out there, but I’m glad that I did!
6. Speak Up: I learned to speak up, defend myself, and ask for more in both my personal and professional life. You really have to be your own best advocate and stand up for what you deserve. Sure, you may not get it— but you won’t know if you don’t ask. I think that this has to do with becoming more confident with yourself and knowing your value.
7. NYC: I will always love NYC. Even though I grew up here and live here now, I try not to be complacent. There are so many exciting things to do and see if you take advantage of them. I’m going to start featuring more of my experiences in NYC in the coming year.
8. Fitness: I’ve tried new fitness classes and gotten into a fitness routine. It makes me feel less stressed, more energetic, and happier. I’m going to continue sharing my favorite fitness boutiques and classes around NYC.
9. Relaxing: I’ve never been good at relaxing and taking breaks. I like being busy and constantly doing something — whether it’s writing a post, getting together with friends, or writing an article. (I wrote about work life integration, freelancing with a full-time job, and how a side hustle can help you with your full-time job.) But this year I learned the importance of s-l-o-w-i-n-g down, going to a barre class, and embracing “me” time. Sometimes you just need a Netflix marathon, face mask, and glass of wine.
10. Presence: I learned a lot about being more forgiving of myself and others. My wise older cousin said something that really resonated with me. She said you can’t fail in your 20’s because you’re still figuring it out. It’s not just your 20’s, a lot of people I featured this year talked about not feeling like they have it all together yet. I don’t believe that everything happens for a reason, but I do believe you can learn something and grow from every experience. (Even, or maybe especially, the challenging ones.) Instead of regretting or over analyzing the past, I hope to get to a point where I view it as a learning experience and move on stronger as a result. I always want to jump ahead to the next step — but this year I want to try to enjoy the present.
Here’s to a happy and healthy New Year! As they say, the best is yet to come.
P.S. Here are my 2014 favorites!
Photo by my friend Pinsi Lei.