In 2018, I’ve done a lot to soul searching. Maybe it’s my age, maybe it’s that I’m mid-career, maybe it’s that my kids are entering school. I’m not sure what it is but it’s been a year of trying to figure out what I want, where I want to go next, who I want to be, and what type of role model I want to be for my kids.
But change is hard. Figuring out what you want in a world or choices is hard. Taking risks and actually realizing your vision for your life takes guts, it takes being fearless and even taking risks that feel really damn hard.
It hit me this year that I have one life to live and I’ve been coasting for too long. When people look at my life and my successes from the outside they see something I don’t always see. They see someone who has accomplished a lot and who has a perfect life. Well, that’s where social media lies and I know the truth. That I’m human, I make mistakes, and I have a long way to go to have the life I want.
But the thing about me. Maybe the thing I’m the most proud of. I never give up on a goal. Even when it feels hard. Even when I’m not sure there is an end in sight. I keep trying. So I will have the life I want. It’s just a matter or time and hard work and dedication.
As we close our 2018, although I’m not quite where I want to be, I’m closer. With that in mind, I’m sharing my top 8 moments from 2018. Most of these moments involve two things – my career and travel. I’ve realized recently, just how important these two things are to me. I’m so lucky they overlap and my work allows me to travel. But the struggle is balancing my kiddos in the midst of being a working mom. In 2019, I plan to continue to work on that balance, and have a lot more adventures – more of which include my kids, I hope.
8. Exploring the Northeast (a little)
Although we didn’t travel the northeast as much as I had hoped before we moved, we did get to go to Cape Cod, Newport RI, and check out some of the best parts of Boston (the common, the science museum).
7. Attending New York Fashion Week
When I first started Posh in Progress, I wrote a list of goals. One of them was to attend Fashion Week. The interesting pet about it was that I loved it and loathed it at the same time. Despite my mixed feelings of attending, I still loved the experience. I love being in New York. I adore the energy of the city and the beauty of fashion. What I didn’t like was the pretentious air that surrounded it all. The exclusivity of it. But despite those feelings, I’m so glad I was able to attend and hope I can get back to the city in 2019. I miss that energy. I miss that culture.
5. Visiting Miami
In 2002, I visited Miami for the first time and I almost moved there. At the time, I was deciding between FL and AZ. It was a close call, but for various reasons, I chose AZ. I hadn’t been back to Miami since then. For work purposes, I had the chance to visit Miami again, and I remembered all the reasons I loved it so much. The beach, the perfect weather, the sunshine. I also got to visit a few museums and experience the Winwood district. I had such a great time and I can’t wait to go back this February.
5. Winning a Research Grant
Probably the biggest accomplishment of my career, aside from getting my PhD, was wining a National Science Foundation grant to lead an educational research project. The goal of the project is to understand how we can get more underrepresented people to enter careers in engineering. It combines my passion for social justice and equity in education, with a desire to improve the STEM educational pipeline. It’s a major deal in my industry to win a grant like this, and for the first time in awhile, I’m truly proud of myself.
4. Seeing my Son off to Kindergarten
As most parents can agree, sending your first child off to school is a big deal. Although it wasn’t as big of a deal as I expected, since he’s been in school since he was 2, I still felt so much pride and excitement as I saw him off. The feedback I received from other parents and teachers just reminded me what a lucky mom I am and what a good boy I have. My girl starts next year and I’m equally excited to see her off in 2019.
3. Participating in The Social Media on the Sand Conference and Winning a Return trip to Social Media on the Sand
I never thought I’d get to go to Turks and Caicos, let alone get to meet over 100 awesome mom bloggers! Getting to attend the Social Media on the Sand conference exceeded all of my expectations. I had the absolute best time meeting so many inspiring women (like Rebecca Minkoff!), thinking strategically about my blog, and getting to meet a lot of cool brands too. I never imagined I’d get the chance to attend once, let alone twice! I was lucky enough to win a spot at next year’s conference. I seriously can’t wait, and I’ll definitely document the entire experience. If you want to read about my first trip to Social Media on the Sand, you can see the archives here.
2. Negotiating A New Job
I don’t talk about my day job that often, but it is a big part of who I am and what inspires me. This year I did something I never thought I had the guts to do. I asked my boss for exactly what I wanted – to move back to California. This was a big ask because people who work at universities hardly ever get to telecommute. It’s just not the way of my industry. Universities are pretty traditional work places, so I knew this was a major risk. A lot of people, including those very close to me, told me not to do it. They told me that I was risking my job and I was. But I believed in myself. I believed I brought unique enough experience to my position that they might be willing to negotiate with me. Initially, my boss did not bite. He did not like my proposal and he offered me a very short timeframe to commute before I would move on. After more conversations, rethinking how to propose my idea, and winning those research grants, I talked him into it. Although I didn’t get quite everything I wanted, I negotiated nearly all of what I asked for, and it was enough to get me the ultimate prize – what I’ve wanted since we left in 2014 – finally I would be able to move back to California.
1. Moving to California
You know the news – the highlight of my year, by far, is realizing a goal I set for myself more than 4 years ago. I never wanted to leave, and now I’m back. If you want to read more about our move to CA, you can read it here.
As for 2019, I have a few major goals. I haven’t had the mental space to think too hard about them – the move has been so all-encompassing, but I know my major priorities are my kids, my health, and my jobs. Also, continuing to find my happiness again is at the top of my list. I lost it somewhere the last few years, and getting back to Cali is the first step to finding myself again. Wishing you a happy New Year and so much happiness in 2019!