For the past 2 years, I've always done a recap for myself and shouted it to the void of the internet. I knew that I had to do one for this year. Just for a bit of context, here are the excerpts from the last two years:

2014

2015

 

It's crazy to think how much my mindset had changed depending on the way I ended the year. 2014 was full of accomplishments from graduating college, starting my first job, traveling, and celebrating the new people in my life. 2015 became so tumultuous for myself as I couldn't find solid ground in my life.

With that, I felt it only be appropriate to do a recap of 2016. I came into 2017 with a concept that I want to practice—reframing. Throughout my life, I spent a lot of time stressing over things that didn't nearly matter as much and so I was just this huge walking stress ball. Instead of focusing on what I can't change, let's focus on what I have control of, what I can learn, and how I can see positivity in dim situations.

Here are a few lessons, reframed:

Finding clarity.

January 2016 - LA

As you can tell from my 2015 recap, my head was nowhere where I needed myself to be. I remember feeling the huge, overwhelming amount of anxiety. I like to say that I use that energy to fuel myself to get sh*t done. Sure, but I also got so wrapped up in the anxiety that learning to take care of myself and living in the moment was really lost along the way.

My boyfriend had taken us to a last minute trip to LA and we got to ring in the new year at The Observatory with The Internet & Soulection. But prior to that, we had taken a day to immerse ourselves in nature at Joshua Tree. It was so much needed to just learn to be in the moment by ourselves as I mentally prepared for the changes that were coming in my life that I couldn't control.

While technically, this is December of 2015, I love this photo. Getting lost in the crazy rocks at Joshua Tree.

Joshua Tree

 

Learning to be flexible.

February - The Whitney

If you've known me for a while, you know I'm a planner. Down to the minute, I would have reminders to let me know what I'm supposed to be doing and where I'm supposed to be at.

Living in New York forced me to loosen up (a bit). It's a unique place where you constantly have choices to make. Being in this environment has forced to me let go and learn to trust what's happening. The more we try to control something, the more things can spiral out of control. That stress and anxiety? All due to trying to control the uncontrollable environments around us.

Above is a photo I accidentally took at The Whitney back in February. I saw something cool, thought maybe I should capture it, and didn't think much of it afterwards. A reminder for myself to be flexible.

 

Exceeding Expectations—for myself.

One main piece of feedback I often get surrounding my career is the way I portray my confidence. I often like to downplay my accomplishments in my work. I don't quite like the attention nor feel that I've deserve the credit. All of my work is not my work. It's a culmination of ideas, feedback, and encouragement from everyone else. While I'm learning to give balance to what others see and what I, myself, see, I'm always reminding myself that how I go about my path is my decision. As Jeff Toll from BKWLD has expressed "It may not always be obvious that I’m competing with 'someone', but I’m always completing with myself when it comes to my work."

In March, I got to see my friend, Stephanie Vera, host LeagueApps first ever Ballin for Charity. It was an idea turned full-fledged reality. She's my inspiration for always exceeding expectations.

 

Giving myself time.

I've also been in a rush. Rushing to finish college. Rushing to start my first job. Rushing into my second. Rushing to go home. Rushing to be somewhere that takes time. It's quite the challenge to sit still but sometimes, that's the most important part. It's not about being idle but giving enough room to grow.

In June, I got to go home and spend time with my family and this little bugger in the above photo. I'm not sure if there is a concept of time for dogs. I do know that my dog lives in the present moment. In fact, sometimes his focus is so intense he's unaware of everything else that's happening. Always with one ear up.

 

It's ok to get away.

The thing about a "hustle hard" mentality is that sometimes you forget about the rest of life. I'm not sure if I would qualify to even have that sort of lifestyle but I did notice this year that I became more married to my work—so much that it often became unhealthy. Unraveling ourselves for a moment from the tangled web of life is difficult, but necessary.

In September, I got to explore Saranac Lake with some friends. We all got to escape from a summer of pure stress. There's nothing wrong with getting away, even for a moment.

 

Refine my craft, first.

Finding my design voice and defining what I'm good at has always been a struggle. There are so many talented people in the world but what are my talents? I spent a good amount of my first few years in design focusing on what everyone else was super good at. The only thing that seemed to make sense for me was refining processes and setting everyone else up for success. You need this resource? I got you covered. Need advice on something and I don't have the answer? Let me connect you with someone who does.

It took a very candid question and a straightforward answer this year from some strangers (now friends) who helped me realize that there are multiple ways to get to where we want to go. First, be good at what you love to do and the rest will come later.

In another "in a moment's notice" experience, my boyfriend and I ended up at Pace Gallery during the TeamLab exhibition as you see in the photo above. The room we were in is named "Flowers and People, Cannot be Controlled but Live Together – Dark / Moving Light, Roving Sight". A reminder that whatever we do, no matter how we choose to define ourselves, we can co-exist.

 

Keep moving forward, together.

Part of it is that you have to keep moving forward. The more important part? Do it with the people you love. This year, I spent a lot of time alone. Distance really brings to light what your relationships with other people are like. Time and distance speed right past you before you even realize it but the people who matter the most will always be there. Do the same for them as they would for you.

Before the year ended, I got to explore Austin with the boyfriend. In the above photo, we were walking down a pretty windy road. We didn't have a car and we couldn't bother calling for one to get to our next destination. Who knows where the road led? It didn't matter, as long as I could do it with someone I love.

 

Anyways, cheers to 2016. Onwards.

I'd love to hear how your 2016 went. More importantly, what do you plan on doing in 2017 that's a bit different from what you normally do? How will you frame it for yourself so that you succeed?