More trips in 2010, less in 2011, but more in 2012.
How did you travel in 2011? How and/or where would you like to travel next year?
A long weekend> in NYC
Two weeks in Peru (visiting the rainforest, Cusco, Macchu Picchu, Lima)
A few days in Santa Cruz (if that counts)
It will be most certainly be Las Vegas (for CES), Dublin, London, Berlin, New York City.
But will there be the ride across Idaho, a ride in France, wedding in Columbus, Vancouver, Toronto? Who knows….
Last year, I wrote of clear idealism. This year, probably moving on.
Future Self. Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?)
Dear Jenn of 2016,
Keep moving. As you and I both know, our biggest regrets are when we did nothing. Fear is seizes us too easily and causes us to fall in stagnation. Express yourself and your needs…and it will be ok.
Let others take responsibility for their own actions and emotions. If they disappoint you, that’s really their problem. If you have made your boundaries clear, then they know already and then you can decide from there.
Be wary of those who don’t know how to communicate clearly. Mixed messages are a waste of time.
Most importantly, never trust anybody who does not love music.
Dear Jenn of 2001,
That two boys whose names start with Al- were not worth it. You have higher standards than them.
Also, remember to write a lot. You have so much unharnessed creative potential that you don’t know that you have.
I can set my own boundaries without teetering into the deep end.
What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward?
Last year’s lesson was simple. But this year’s lesson was a hard one to learn.
They say that burning bridges is like enforcing that all wars behind you can no longer be fought. That it guarantees that only wars in front of you will be fought.
What is a best friend, after all? Last year, it was about annoying friends but this year it’s about the concept of a BFF.
Friendship. How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst?
I often go through intense periods where I meet someone new—she or he becomes my new best friend. Perhaps for a week, maybe a month, then the intensity dies whether by circumstance, lack of energy, or other.
Then there are the few. Where we make an impression on each other. That for a few moments, we feel the click. You really do understand me! And then there are the moments of “ecstasy” where we are smiling, laughter, pure connection.
This year, I was surprised by someone. I rarely ever consider someone a BFF, because I don’t trust that anybody can consider me one—whether it’s an inferiority complex or my own high standards.
In middle school, a friend…gave me the BFF heart necklaces for my birthday. We called each other best friends, but were we? It was awkward because she gave me both—not taking one and leaving me to take the other. Perhaps I was supposed to offer one half to her, but I didn’t feel that strongly. We competed with each other throughout high school and eventually went our separate ways after graduation.
But this year in 2011, I had someone call me his BFF. Perhaps shyly…in nervousness that it wasn’t mutual. I was hesitant at first never trusting the whole idea of BFF. But I opened up, because I did need close friends. I needed someone to trust me openly, selflessly. And it felt good.
Last years’s 5 minutes.
Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2011 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2011.
Changing jobs…moving horizontally to be a user researcher
Interviewing and finding the best roommate of all
Visiting Peru and meeting my dad’s half-brother for the first time ever
Meeting my long lost cousins, my dad’s half-brother’s kids
Doing the Inca Trail
Ice cream hopping adventure for my 29th birthday
Visiting NYC and having a better trip
Remembering that in relationships quite often the issues are there from the beginning
Deep friendships are hard to walk away from
When you make an effort, you’ll discover the greatest things
TV and movies are easy, because they are not real
Life is real
Not all phones are smart
Spotify is amazing
Sometimes it is possible to overshare
Be open to meeting new people, always
I gave a vague answer last year, but this year the answer is quite certain.
When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step?
Not only do I want to rebuild, but I want to go set my boundaries.
I will still say yes, but I will say no when it does not feel right. I will go out to happy hour, but will limit myself when I am done. I will not let others make me feel powerless and frustrated. I will express my opinion without fear of judgement and retaliation. I will be myself.
“There’s nobody like you, Jenn,” I often hear.
Beautifully Different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful
Like last year, I always wonder about this. Perhaps insecurity and inadequacy gnaws at me, but I am always impressed when people stay. When they are drawn to me. (And why am I drawn to them?)
I know that I am sometimes awkward (appearing “cute” to others) and exhibit nervous naivete. From my mispronunciations, to my awkwardness around physical touch, and open declarations of my nervousness. Also too, I am dedicated to prioritizing time that I spent with others, sometimes sacrificing my own needs…to a fault.
Quite often, I hear “there’s nobody like you…this is why I love you.” In all, I am just being me. And it’s tough being anybody else.
In the last week, I have created schedules and plans. But that’s not really making. That’s just pure logistics and determining next steps.
What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?
Different from 2010, the last thing was not at all “creative”. Last year, it was the digital xmas photo which I did not have the energy to make this year.
A few days ago, I created a CD. An archive of photos and songs. A gift. I was going to include essays—almost of this kind, but relented at the last minute.
Another was the cover photo that I chose for the new Facebook timeline. Having had a history of never changing my photo, I found a photo that complemented my standard balloons on my head photo. It was photo from behind and I chose that as my cover photo on my Facebook timeline.
Last year, it was a person. This year, it’s an…idea…and perhaps a person. The year isn’t over yet, so there are chances.
Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?
A former coworker and I had lunch recently. He and I had barely talked since I was laid off 3 years ago. This was the first time that we got some time…to really talk beyond the very recent happy hour.
When I first met him, he was heading off to Hawaii to get married. He had joined the company just before I did and was hired full-time shortly after. Within a few months, he told everyone that his wife was pregnant. He was older, very hipster and didn’t drink.
And I thought that was what my life could be like.
When I had lunch with him recently sitting in a busy restaurant, I asked about his situation. We were getting something quick at Tropisueño—close to his office, slightly further from mine. His face was full of conclusion—decisions made, a tinge of sorrow…and acceptance. He had just moved to the Sunset while his wife was staying in San Bruno. They were figuring out swapping weekly schedules for his son. He now was open to drinking alcohol from time to time.
“I just found that we couldn’t make each other happy anymore,” he explained.
My ice cream birthday moments.
Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail.
Not like last year’s.
I had brainstormed for the longest time trying to figure out how to celebrate my 29th birthday. And thought about how people often bar-hopped—how I wanted to do something different. How I wanted to be with my favorite people, but I wanted to have as little stress as possible. And then it came to me.
Although the day did not start well, as I made the walk to my first stop…I realized how momentous it was. My friends—many who didn’t eating ice cream—showed up. Many just came because it was me—just me. Some traveled far by car, by taxi, by public transit. Some took a detour after another event just to stop by.
What was so fascinating was all the people that made it—different walks of my life. Most people did not know each other—typical of how my friendships often run. They came from: undergrad at Berkeley, grad school at CMU, work, roommates, brother of a friend, friend of a friend, sister of a friend, boyfriend’s friend, high school… And I loved that they talked with each other.
I watched them and that made me happy. Unlike last year, it wasn’t “active” in the standard sense. But it was watching the connections that formed as we walked from ice cream place to ice cream place…and finally ending up at my place. And how I captured every moment with the camera. So that I wouldn’t forget.