Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Pre-New Year Reflections

Happy almost 2014!

Such times send me into bouts of reflection about 2013, which has been a year of great learnings, ups and downs (some self perpetuated and some not), and continual cultivation of PJ as a person. It's funny that I've always mused and thought that the essence of PJ hasn't really changed but when I look back, I realized that the bits and pieces of experience have slowly molded and changed my mindset. So who says you can't teach old dogs new tricks?!

Here are the lessons learned in 2013:
+ Turning 30 is both scarier and calmer than I thought. No the earth did not split open because I did not attain A, B, C or accomplish X, Y, Z but it's pretty intense when the big societal milestone birthday proceeds a whole slew of intense holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and Valentines. Something about this period of time with less sunlight and more cold intensifies certain expectations about life in general but reaching this magical age also calmed me down, which is no small feat! Somehow things are put into perspectives that I didn't expect and suddenly I am learning more about myself than expected. Discovering that happiness can be "manufactured" is very reassuring and I am still in the process of rewiring my brain for happiness.

+ Having and showing vulnerability is ok. Growing up as an Asian American female does something to people: instilling a high sense of standard, strong work ethics, and a tough go-get-them attitude that also comes along with sides of not sure if I am good enough, confusion about when to adhere to Asian or American culture, and heavy patriarchy hierarchical consciousness. The breakthrough this year was the ability to finally articulate these issues that have been floating around, and this vulnerability TED talk was intensely powerful and personal as a step of acknowledging weaknesses and knowing that I have the strength to weather through it and grow.

+ Your job doesn't define who you are but it sure does contribute a lot! Having been on 3 different teams in a layoff heavy environment really taught me resilence this year, along with speed reading. It was pure ironic comedy when I literally lost sleep over a 3 month time period when layoffs was happening, finding out I was "safe", and only to come back from vacation to find out that the company is laying off 20% by 2015! That gave me a healthy dose of reality check! During these times I learn how I want to be treated by work, how I should treat others at work, and while it is important to take pride in what I do and be engaged at work, work does not define me as a human being, thankfully!

I'm especially thankful for the amazing people in my life: friends and family who listen to my ad nauseum and read my email rants about women in the workplace, society, and home, who shared their perspective while broadening mine, who accept my flaws and sometimes lovingly make fun of it, and from whom I am continually learning. It's refreshing to get to know different sides of people, eye opening to be told I am occasionally wrong, and amazing to have support through ups and downs.

2013 has been an adventure. Good bye and thanks for the learnings!

Here's to hoping that 2014 still brings about lessons (though a bit less hard hitting would be nice!) and wonderful people! Cheers!