On the night of January 4, 2016, I sat on my family's couch and nervously fidgeted with my phone. My one-way, red-eye flight to New York City kept getting delayed and notifications kept popping up on my phone. Part of me thought, "this is a sign, I shouldn't go." The more rational part of me said, "this is normal, just go with the flow." As I continued to fidget, my dog was curled up by my side. I wondered if he knew what was about to happen. I would be flying out to New York with just 3 pieces of luggage. 3 pieces of luggage that would hold my entire life. When will I be back? I don't know. How does one even translate that to dog? Woof?

Fast forward, exactly one year ago today, I moved to New York City. If you had asked me 3 weeks prior to that day if I had knew that I would be doing such a thing, I would have laughed (and possibly cried) to your face.

So, why did I move?

The easiest answer?
A great opportunity for the next step in my career with a company that I hoped to contribute and grow alongside.

The longer, and slightly more complex answer?
Something was missing. I couldn't and quite honestly, still can't quite articulate it. I had grown up in the the San Francisco Bay Area. I went to college at UC Davis (only 2 hours away from home), and I had immediately moved back to the Bay to live and work. I lived and worked in a geographically optimal location as a designer where there's a plethora of resources as well as a large network of digital designers. My family, my mentors, and all my friends were all nearby. However, it just didn't seem enough.

How was 2016?

Hard. The first word that pops up in my head as I type this is, hard.

When you move out on your own for the first time in your life, like truly move out, it's difficult. It gets lonely, you get emotional, and when you're physically adjusting to new climates or situations by yourself, it takes time. I've hit many points throughout the year where I just wanted to leave. Sometimes, I would joke that I wanted to move back but those who knew me could hear it in the slight quivers of my voice that I really meant it. Some of us grow well independently. I am not one of those people (as much as I hate admitting it).

Still, it's been one of the most rewarding experiences so far. To name a few things now for why I'm grateful for this experience:

  • My family has been my biggest rock and support throughout this journey of "finding myself." While I still remember the frightened and angry expression my mother had on her face when I told her I was flying out to interview with a company in New York City, I know that it comes from a place of love.
  • I've always been timid about risk and stubborn about change. However, my boyfriend, has continuously challenged me in both those areas. I've always seen him grow from taking challenges and battling them head on with ease. I am truly thankful to know that I can grow alongside someone whose values encourage mine. Especially, in a bi-coastal relationship, we grow together no matter the distance.
  • The discomfort that I've had in nearly every new situation that I've encountered. Discomfort is never a good feeling. However, that's the best way to grow. Whether that's the apartment hunt battle, finding a roommate, making new friends, navigating the workplace, whatever it is—I am thankful for the growth.
  • Lastly, the friends and mentors I've made or reconnected with. While I'm a total loner by nature, it's always so wonderful to know there are good people in the world who care.

So, what now?

I'm planning on doing a further reflection of the past year in another post. Meanwhile, I was able to document it in a year-long project called Hello 2016. It's a monthly video series that I began on January 1, 2016 to document the change that was happening in my life.

It's been an incredible experience. For a full year, every single day I focused on doing something that was a bit out of my daily routine—pulling out my phone to record moments in my life that I wanted to remember. Often, we do this with photos or we don't at all. There's something about the quality of a video that allows us to be flooded with memories and emotions when we combine imagery and audio together.

And so...

For 2017, I wanted to continue working on my personal projects as a way to find creative fulfillment outside of my day job. I've been asking a few people about their goals for the new year. It's only fair for me to share mine.

  • Build consistency and focus via photography. Back in July of 2013, I spent every single day finding a moment to capture with my iPhone 5. It was during a time of my life where I wanted to refine my skills in whatever interested me. Videos have been very time consuming so I'm switching mediums. I'm still contemplating the direction. All I know is, it'll be fun.  You can see the full July 2013 set here.
  • Most importantly, to incorporate writing back into my life. Hence, why I've started this blog. Writing is a difficult task and I applaud those who do. Whether that's blog posts, articles, essays, or poetry—it's meaningful and difficult. I'm hoping that, over time, I can become better at this particular task.
    • I aim to focus on the following topics: design, travel, self-reflections, and honestly, whatever pops up into my head.

All in all, I hope you'll join me in this journey. Thanks for reading. Until next time!