2011 Year-ender

2011 was one of the most challenging, terrifying, and rewarding years, in that I faced struggles and there were plenty of times when things felt hopeless. It’s one of those years that others would easily turn their backs from and forget. I learned so much about myself and acted on these learnings to become even better. I am of the thought that each experience can teach us something if we learn how to listen.

So instead of the pains, I focused on the lessons of the struggle: I was constantly beaten down, spiritually, mentally and physically, from juggling 50 hour days from two jobs, but my effort to trudge on showed persistence. There was no weekend where I didn’t have work. The first half of 2011 was draining and terribly exhausting, and through faith and patience, I pushed through. I never told my mother my exact situation– that there were days when the future looked bleak, tasks seemed monotonous and prospects mediocre– the exact opposites of what she wished for her daughter and what I had previously demonstrated when things were going in my favor. Due to my irreverence and perhaps foolishness, I kept quiet, because I knew that had she learned about my circumstances she would have me fly back to the comforts of home in sunny Los Angeles, when all I really needed was to be on my own and find solid footing on my own. I felt disconnected from others, far away from the successes I had previously enjoyed, but I set my sights on my future goals and laid out a plan to get there, illustrating commitment and ambition. I had to realize that in order to make my goals real, I had to make them happen. The onus was on me. So I walked away from the two jobs with professional grace when I realized I need to use my time for better things and bigger dreams, and as nerve-wracking it may be to quit jobs when the economy was still rocky, I value taking risks for bigger rewards. I held on to the idea that my abilities and the resources available to be are better used for more productive outcomes. I realized I had it all in me, and I just needed to know that I was ready. Ready to push through, ready to fight, ready to become that which I want to be at this point in my life.

“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won. It exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours.” (Atlas Shrugged)

Right after leaving both jobs, the first thing I did was to book a flight to France. Even without a job waiting for me back in the States after my Paris break, I didn’t worry about how I would earn money but instead gave myself the vacation because I valued myself enough to think that I deserve to experience something more beautiful than drudgery and low points. I was in Paris, Lyon, Piriac and Nantes with Terence for three weeks, using my blue passport for the first time.

Then, the most amazing turn of events: within a week of my Paris trip, at the time from which I haven’t fully recovered yet, I was contacted by an NY recruiter, and a week or so later, I was offered a position at a prestigious company in the advertising landscape, with an exciting team.. in Chicago! I started in late June, had my orientation and training, and it’s been such a great ride so far– a place that’s challenging, where I’m constantly learning and always pushed to develop further, with a supportive and fun team! It was perfect.

In November, I was invited to go to Durham, North Carolina to visit the Fuqua School at Duke University for a weekend for women workshop– seminars in women leadership and inspiring speakers ranging from professors to alum made for an enjoyable experience. Visiting North Carolina at the right time for the first time– late fall where leaves were dense and the assemblages of trees had such a magnificent array of colors. All in the company of such inspiring, ambitious women. I was glad to be part of this experience.

December was about wrapping up the year, pushing out deliverables, visiting family for the holidays and reflecting back on such a year, with all its troughs and peaks, its moments of struggle and beauty, old pieces joined with the new, and holding on to the idea that knowing oneself, abiding by one’s values, being open to the world, and persistence are all that it takes to make sure anything is truly possible.

Thank you 2011, for the journey through tears and fears, for all the laughter and happiness, and the disappointments and miracles that I continues to make me a better person not just to myself but to everyone I encounter =)

“Promise yourself to be strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind. To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet. To make all your friends feel that there is something in them. To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true. To think only the best, to work only for the best and expect only the best. To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own. To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future. To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile. To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others. To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.” – Christian Larson