Looking Back on 2016

2016 was a good year for me, a year for replenishment. With my new job in my new career, I was able to afford – mentally and financially – many opportunities this year that I wasn’t able to in previous years. I strengthened friendships that mean a lot to to me and worked hard to let go of the ones that needed to mean less. Taking cues from the successes of past years, I made sure to take action on goals I wanted to see through.

I said yes more and no less. While I’m still finding a good balance and learning what I’m really saying yes and no to, my life is fuller as a result.

Buckle up, because here’s my annual recap of things I did, 2016 edition:

  • Completed my web development course
    • Spoke at our graduation
  • Saw my brother off on his semester abroad in Milan (!!!)
  • Sipped my way through the DC Whiskey Walk
  • Got my first interviews and job in software development
  • Learned to drive manual/stick shift (sorta)
  • Saw Tom Hiddleston and Marc Abraham at the DC screening of I Saw the Light
    2016-03-29 21.34.55
  • Partied in Las Vegas as an adult without my family for the first time
  • Visited Los Angeles for the first time for Don and Megan’s wedding

    • Stayed in an AirBnB for the first time
    • Went to Disneyland for the first time
    • Met the wonderful Briana and Adam in person (congrats again!)
    • Met some Xanga friends for the first and second time
    • Sang karaoke in Koreatown
    • Ate In-n-Out and Roscoe’s and many other LA foods
    • Saw my friend Ran after something like 15 years?
  • Watched Game of Thrones as it aired (versus binge-watching on HBO Go over the summer)
  • Photographed a hot air balloon festival
  • Saw Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band perform
  • Had my first boutique bra fitting experience
    • And finally got bras that fit my not-so-average body
  • Tried heated yoga (I think it was a few degrees cooler than official “hot” yoga)
  • Thwarted identity theft
  • Wound up with a scary-looking but mild case of subconjunctival hemmorhage (aka a burst blood vessel on my eye – I would not recommend looking it up, it’s scary to see blood on anyone’s eye)
  • Attended an IGDC Instameet and made some new Instagram friends
  • Got my very own mentee in the DC tech community
  • Saw my old summer camp friend Yufeng get married in Roanoke
  • Visited my brother during his NYC internship
  • Saw Ingrid Michaelson live – for free
  • Attended the 1st DC Capital Solstice black-tie gala
    • Met Guy Lambert, from WPGC 95.5
  • Moved my family out of the house we’ve called home for almost exactly 10 years
  • Attended ICEBERGS at the National Building Museum to Save Jack!
  • Got stuck in an elevator for the first time
  • Took action to stop teeth from destroying themselves while I sleep
  • Watched The Phantom of the Opera at the Kennedy Center
  • Restarted ballet classes
  • Jumped for joy at my first trampoline park visit
  • Went to a Washington Nationals game with my company (it’s a popular company outing, as evidenced even by my startup last year)
  • Kayaked for the first time and had a blast
  • Visited Christine in San Francisco (my first trip back since 2003!)
  • Saw Kurios by Cirque du Soleil
  • Colored my hair to celebrate autumn
  • Saw Trevor Noah perform live at the Kennedy Center
  • Visited the Maryland Renaissance Festival for the first time
  • Became a Friend of the National Zoo (FONZ), happy to support organizations I love
  • Pulled off my second Hogwarts Spirit Week with a coworker
  • Went to the Kennedy Center by myself for the first time
  • Attended Night of the Living Zoo as a newly minted FONZ
    • Wearing the Sailor Mars costume costume
  • Rode the metro and showed up to work in an Espeon onesie on Halloween
  • Celebrated my 5 year anniversary with Ben early with a trip to the Shenandoah Valley
  • Visited Cincinatti for the first time
    • For RubyConf, my first tech conference!
    • Which I attended as a RubyConf Scholar
    • Gave a lightning talk in front of hundreds of people and the author of the Ruby programming language
    • Walked across a bridge at sunrise from Ohio to Kentucky
    • Went off on a solo photo walk to explore downtown Cincy
  • Celebrated Thanksgiving with Ben for the first time since we started dating
    • Brought my brother along to Ben’s parents’ house where his family friends were all very excited to meet me
  • Shopped on Black Friday for gifts to bring to China from 1AM to 4:30AM and then from 7AM to noon. And then more shopping in the afternoon.
  • Got my first salon manicure
  • Attended the Obamas’ last National Tree Lighting
    • Where I got to see performers like Kelly Clarkson and Chance the Rapper live
  • Found out that my long-standing belly problems can be attributed to something very treatable!
    • Note: Go see your doctor about little things that may be interfering with your quality of life. It may not seem serious now, but if I left my condition unchecked, it could have made me prone to ulcers and gastrointestinal cancer, so I’m glad I am being treated now.
  • Threw a star-themed birthday party that somehow came together to look wonderful
  • Attended my company’s winter event and had a great time with my coworkers
  • Got a flat tire and was reminded that knowing how to change a tire is pretty useless when you don’t have the right tools to do it!
    • Note: You should probably learn to change a tire. And make sure you car has the right tools to do it. Go out this weekend and change your car’s tire to practice. And check your tire pressure while you’re out there.
  • Attended my first holiday party for Ben’s company
  • Saw Laura Osnes and Santino Fontana perform holiday hits at the Kennedy Center
  • Ran a 60-person white elephant exchange
  • Danced the morning away at a 7AM dance party to ring in 25
  • Saw the Northern Lights! (from a plane)
  • Went to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s in China with my family for the first time (my second winter China trip)

This has been a very big year for me. Having a great new job has been a big part of it, as it has allowed me to be able to afford to say yes to many opportunities. (Literally. Having a job that pays me a fair salary for the area is huge. Having that job be a great work environment is even better.)

I indulged my vanity a lot this year, but I think it has a little bit to do with me recognizing that I’m becoming the person I want to be, inside and out. I am taking better care of myself and I am acknowledging that self-care is, in fact, doing good for me! (But I am going to try to keep the vanity in check, because one of my biggest personality trait fears is being too vain.)

2016 was kind of a dumpster fire of a year for the world, but reflecting on my personal achievements and milestones and experiences, it was a good year.

I hope that 2017 will be good as well, and that I can channel some of that goodness and put it back out into the world, which needs it more than I do right now.

Happy 2017! What are some of your highlights from last year?
Are there things you’re already looking forward to this upcoming year?