It’s always fun to reflect on the past year before fully embracing the new one. I enjoy reading 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. Here are a few of my favorite things and lessons from 2017.
Family: I love living near my parents. My sister is moving back to the United States after three years in Africa, but the rest of us are all a short cab, crosstown bus, or subway ride away. My mom is always up for an adventure and we did a triathlon, duathlon, and a 30-mile bike ride this year. My dad and I have dinner every single Sunday and, because he lives 10 blocks away, I end up seeing him at my childhood home often. I frequently turn to my family for advice and am so grateful that they are always there for me (and vice versa) when things are great or tough.
Friends: I have an amazing group of friends. One of my best friends in the entire world lives half an avenue away. I live with another of my best friends. I have close friends from my sorority and college in the city and around the country. I know it can be difficult to make new friends as an adult, but I’ve been fortunate to make so many amazing friends from Six Degrees Society, The Wing, networking, blogging, and writing. They are some of the first people I call or text during good times and bad.
Journalism: The other day someone asked me what I would do if I could do any job in the world and money didn’t matter. I said exactly what I’m doing now. I am so fortunate that I was able to turn writing into my full-time job. I truly love researching topics, speaking with sources, and the writing process. Now that I am writing full-time, I have more time to explore different topics like technology, psychology, and even writing about celebrities. I’ve also tried different writing styles like writing very quickly as a news stringer for Women’s Health, writing a personal essay for Well+Good, and writing for print. I also published my 100th Women@Forbes article and interviewed inspirational businesswomen I admire. The highlight was definitely having my first print article published in Glamour and having it make the first page!
Running: This is something I never thought would be something I’m grateful for (like, ever). I started running this year and ran my first 10K and then my first half-marathon. My friend Morgan has been so supportive and encouraging. I’ve run all of my races with her and we get brunch afterward! I am already signed up for the New Year’s Eve run in Central Park and two half-marathons in 2018, and I’m continuing to use Run Keeper to train.
Elana Lyn: I was able to transition from law to marketing and journalism because of blogging. I didn’t devote as much time to Elana Lyn when I was working full-time and expanding my writing portfolio. I am so happy to be writing Elana Lyn more often again and hope to continue to write at least two or three times a week in 2018 and beyond. I write for so many outlets now, but I enjoy having a spot to publish anything I want without having to get a pitch approved. I can share everything from interviews with women I admire to new beauty product finds to career advice. I’m so grateful to everyone who reads Elana Lyn whether they read daily, weekly, or just pop in every so often!
Weekends: I worked from about 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every single Sunday during the past five years. I spent Sundays writing blog posts and articles because I also had a full-time job. Now I take the weekend off and it’s so nice to be able to go to brunch, go to a museum, go for long runs and not feel guilty about not getting work done. Taking time off on the weekends helps me be more productive during the week because I’ve had time to recharge.
New York City: Every single time I go for a run in Central Park, I think about how happy I am to live in New York City. I love that there is always something fun to do, whether it’s going to a museum, seeing a show, spending time in Central Park, or discovering a new boutique workout studio.
Collaboration: I know a lot of people through networking and everyone is so supportive. We really go by the mantra collaboration, not competition. Some of the best things that have happened in my career so far have happened because of people I’ve become friendly with — they recommend me to their editors (or vice versa), introduce me to people they know and think I should meet, or provide advice on everything from pitching publications to setting rates. I wouldn’t be where I am without them and try to be just as supportive.
The Wing: I am really good at working from home. I had so much practice from working on articles on weekends and late at night. I don’t get distracted (although I like being able to watch a TV show during lunch) and am better at focusing at home rather than in noisy coffee shops. This year, I joined The Wing, a women’s only co-working space and social club, and I absolutely love working out of the gorgeous spaces and some of my friends are members. I’m excited to start meeting more members at events.
Getting Out of My Comfort Zone: I’ve gotten a lot better about trying new things and getting out of my comfort zone this year. I’ve made big leaps like choosing to write full-time and smaller ones like writing about new topics and trying different styles like personal essays, news stories, and event coverage. I also started running, which was so out of my comfort zone and is now something I love. When I interviewed Naomi from The Lifestyle Edit she shared excellent advice: “Growth means pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. Remember, your dreams are on the other side of your fears. Courage isn’t the absence of fear but the willingness to feel fear but do it anyway.” More of that in 2018, please!