Last year I wrote an “autumnal reflection” in August, as it was the beginning of another “year” but with very minimal changes. I smile a bit when I read that post, because I referenced August 2017 as if it were so far away at the time. I suppose it did feel like that, back then.
It’s been a heck of a year. I almost wrote “it’s been a tough year”, which it was at times, but in retrospect it didn’t feel like that at all. A lot of my friends and I talk about how fast time seems to be moving these days – friends with kids mention time goes by even faster – and this past year went by in a blur. Some weeks felt like they dragged on forever, especially during an especially difficult day at work or a week full of problem sets that never ended. But somehow, we survived! And it’s been an exciting year and even more exciting summer.
Career first and foremost, always ;). I quit my job! I was fortunate enough to be given a great opportunity at my old financial services firm, but I knew that’s not where I wanted to be long-term. My old team was super flexible, gave me a lot of responsibility considering my experience, and was a wonderful stepping stone to where I am now. I was again fortunate enough to be given another kick-ass opportunity in consulting, where I’m based in Boston. It’s only been a few weeks, but I love it so far (knock on wood). I think I always belonged in consulting – solving business problems for a corporation, then moving on to a different business problem once the first case is over, is right up my alley to ensure I never get bored. Tiring, perhaps, but not bored. There’s definitely no way I could’ve done my masters degree with my consulting job – perhaps another reason why I stayed at my old job for exactly 2 years? Oops. I am 100% a Slytherin after all – hope it carries through for the next phase of my career!
Somehow, after a LOT of complaining and a lot of cramming, I finished my masters from H. University! To be honest I don’t think people really understood how difficult this was to do, since I worked full-time in NYC and was essentially a full-time student at one of the most prestigious universities in the world, in a different city. Also I wrote a monster thesis – which was difficult enough in undergrad, when it was supposed to be my entire life. This time I juggled 100000 other things at once. Yes, I’m tooting my own horn. I unpacked my diploma today, and I was reminded of how it was a heck of a lot of hard work – especially given my personality as I didn’t exactly sit at home and study with all my post-work free time all the time. New York City is a difficult city to be in, with all the competing pressures of friends and social events and new exciting activities and restaurants to try. And I wanted to do it all.
I tell people now that it wasn’t really worth it. The degree, sure – but I recommend going full-time for any degree instead of what I did. It made sense for me because I wanted a degree while not giving up a salary – but if I ever go back to school again (a very strong “if ever”) – I’d definitely go full-time to take advantage of everything. Plus I’m not sure that I could balance it all at once, again.
I wish I were one of those people who were able to “not have a life” and not be pressured to go out and explore- I could probably be a much better student that way. Alas, the FOMO is real – not so much with saying “no” to hangouts I don’t want to go to (I’ve gotten a lot better at realizing who I actually want to spend time with), but because most of my true friends usually invite me to an activity or a place that I want to experience! I don’t regret this at all, however – NYC is truly one-of-a-kind, and I’m glad I took advantage of it so much. The worst part about living in NYC was sharing a tiny apartment with many other people – but I suppose that’s an experience every recent college graduate has right out of undergrad, and was good bonding 😉 But we’re very happy to have our own “grown-up apartment” in Boston, finally. I’ll miss you, NYC friends, NYC food, and NYC life!! Maybe one day we’ll live there again……
I’ll miss my patronages a lot. NYC has so many wonderful social and charitable organizations – I had really gotten involved with the Lincoln Center especially (it was, and still is, my dream to sit on the board of the most prestigious fine arts organization in the world) – and I was sad to send my goodbye email to the team. Boston arts scene isn’t quite the same, obviously…but it’s smaller and more charming, and perhaps more personal that way. I’m not worried.
Oh, and we got engaged! I suppose all of the things in my “two-years-post-college” plans/dreams came true 🙂 We’re happily relocated to a beautiful Back Bay apartment, with real furniture and my own kitchen (I still love meal prepping and making it a game to see how much I can save while making delicious and healthy meals!). It’s been a few weeks and I definitely feel a lot less pressure to “do” – and more time to “be”. I guilt-free go home after work, cook dinner, clean, hang out with M, pursue a few hobbies, etc whenever I want – and also guilt-free go out with friends and explore however much I want. I love our life together. (And that’s the most sappy you’ll see me get on this blog. Ew).
More on the engagement in my Barcelona/Italy blog post (yes, I’m delinquent on posting travel updates – obviously it’s been a crazy few months!).
The next year will unfortunately be a bit less travel-heavy- sorry, blog-followers! Even though I traveled a lot less in the first half of 2017, it was still quite a good amount….especially with our extended trip to SE Asia. But now financial priorities take precedent, as M will be a grad student until our late 20s, and we have a wedding to plan! So it’s time to SAVE SAVE SAVE. Although, oops, I’m pretty sure I said this last year as well, as I was determined to buckle down and do my work/save for big Asia trip. But it all ended up happening anyway, even though my restlessness never got quelled. Hopefully I find more peace in staying put, rather than roaming around all the time – I hope to find that balance between adventure and serenity.
Those are the main updates, I suppose. It’s been a crazy time of happy change. And I promise to post our wonderful travels soon – I still owe you the posts below. In the meantime, please always visit me in my beautiful Boston apartment and we can have a dinner party or work on my bucket list 🙂
West Palm Beach
Thailand (Bangkok and Chiang Mai)