Five years ago I started a personal tradition of writing an annual wrap up around my birthday. It’s become something I cherish as a mile-marker which I use to reflect back on years past, as well as to take time to remember and pay homage to what I’ve done in the past 12 months. I’m guilty of letting time slip by and quickly forgetting what happened. So, I use this as a chance to look back and consolidate it into my annual report of my thirtieth year (in no particular order of importance, nor in chronological order):
Age 30 kicked off in Orlando, with some of my closest friends, having some of the most fun I can remember, running around Harry Potter World. I subsequently spent the rest of the year wanting to go back and re-live that childlike joy.
Travel was a mainstay of this year because after all, travel is “the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” After Orlando, I enjoyed a stay-cation at the local boutique hotel; spent Thanksgiving in San Francisco (and was even able to fit in a mini high school reunion with those of us out West) and finally visited the “Brustein” vineyard in Sonoma; enjoyed three cabin weekends in North Georgia; explored Nicaragua (which was basically a yoga retreat including but not limited to a memorable beach bond fire, new friends, howler monkies, fresh family-style meals, a catamaran with dolphins swimming alongside, and swimming to our very own private beach); a girls beach trip to St Simon’s Island; a visit Baltimore and DC for time with friends from both high school and college; jetted to Portland to see old friends, hike the coast line, and visit a cheese factory; got reacquainted with my favorite US city: San Francisco and did a jaunt over to Napa; had a party weekend in Miami; finally got my chance to visit Israel (after my first attempt 10 years ago)…amidst a full-blown war; visited LA/Santa Monica and for the first time, thought it was a nice city; backpacked through Argentina and had my first experience hiking a glacier; and wrapped up a year of travels back in Baltimore.
This year was certainly the year of freebies which included: massages, a simulated dead sea float, many hotel stays, dinners, conferences and workshops, and airfare. Definitely not complaining about that!
I used some of my skills to teach. I worked with undergrad business students to teach them about networking. I also worked with elementary-aged kids to teach them about financial literacy. I wrote articles to teach about things like networking and entrepreneurship for national media outlets.
I volunteered for organizations like Trees Atlanta (in the cold and pouring rain) and Habitat for Humanity.
My payment processing business grew into 38 states and we launched a successful partnership with a medical purchasing group in Augusta.
I executed 12 Atlanta Under 40 events (totaling over 3,000 people in attendance), and re-launched the Over 40 brand with early success! I took my learnings and packaged them into mini-franchises and set out to find event directors in new cities to bring the fun and networking to them. Fingers crossed for a few launches in 2015!
I embraced being single and focused on the benefits that come with that lifestyle. But, also made some time to date with an unintentional international perspective including a Peruvian, Brazilian, Canadian, Israeli, and even a couple Americans.
I got one step closer to a life goal of being in a bowling league by subbing in one. While doing so, I scored my first turkey!
I picked up a lot of new hobbies and habits. One includes a practice of mediation: which started with 2 hour sanskrit group sessions and evolved into independent daily home meditation. I then converted my spare bedroom into a yoga and meditation studio to practice both. I picked back up my old tap shoes and tapped in my garage. I even got into the cirque arts and learned a thing or two on the silks. I finally switched from film photography to digital and fell back in love with black and white photography and started an online portfolio. I even learned some basic gardening and managed not to kill my tomatoes for most of the summer.
I spent time volunteering as an ambassador for the Metro Atlanta Chamber, Board Member for the Emory College Alumni Board, and Vice Curator of the Altanta Global Shapers. With the Shapers, I helped plan and execute the Shapers first major project: Shape Atlanta, a “hackathon” for Atlanta’s young professionals to help create ideas around ways to improve the city.
I hosted an Olympics opening ceremonies costume party (where everyone had to dress as their favorite country or country of origin)–so basically hosted the UN for a night.
Got cultured and saw the Broadway show “Book of Mormon”. Since one cultural excursion wasn’t enough, I also saw a Rokmoninoff performance.
Dealt with ice storms like the city of Atlanta hasn’t seen in about a decade. When it thawed, took some beautiful hikes in North Georgia.
Had many a movie or tv night with friends and many cherished visits from out-of-town visitors. I even hosted my mom for the first time ever for a weekend of just the two of us.
Had two meetings with the Mayor of Atlanta (one immediately before he met with President Obama). Got asked a lot if I’ll run for politics, to which I say ‘no’. But, I did meet the President of my city’s Chamber of Commerce and thought that that might be the job for me one day.
Continued to think that being Indian-American might be ideal as I had a blast celebrating the holiday Holi (which meant throwing colored powder at willing bystanders).
Just like every other year, I celebrated a lot of weddings, showers and birthdays. One of which was for my twin brother whose wedding was half family reunion, half high school reunion. Subsequently, I welcomed a new sister-in-law to the family.
Had to say goodbye to friends who moved and sent off a best friend to DC.
Pretended to give a shit about local sports and caught a women’s pro basketball game, a couple men’s games (Hawks), a Brave’s game, and a Falcons game or two.
I traveled back in time to Medieval Times. And no, this didn’t even happen in Orlando. I got veto’ed on my own birthday to do that there.
Bought my first bike as an adult, a yellow cruiser, and did a 6 mile moon bike ride around the city with 2,000 other people.
Attended a charity gala.
Upped my fashion game, thinking that 30 was time to make my wardrobe chicer and sleeker.
Threw a “sha-bbq”–basically a shabbat/ bbq combo. It was the most Jewish thing I’ve ever done short of visiting Israel.
I spoke at several conferences and was featured on several podcasts and radio shows. The press continued as I wrote for or was featured in outets including Forbes, Entrepreneur, Time, The Huffington Post, CNN, Inc, Fox Business, US News, and LearnVest. I even got a monthly column in Entrepreneur.com. I was also named “Atlanta Jewish 40 Under 40”.
I decided to create a a personal website so it would be less complicated to explain to people ‘what I do’.
I showcased at one of the country’s largest book festivals for the 2nd year.
I got closer to my dream of meeting Oprah by attending a conference she put on in Atlanta.
I crashed Emory’s 10 year class reunion.
Read 28 books this year, all non-fiction, I believe.
Was misdiagnosed as having celiac disease and went gluten free the entire year! This is a quite a challenge for a lover of all things Italian.
Poured into my friendships deeply. Tried to listen and be there physically and emotionally for them. Also came to realize that some friendships have changed, and came to terms with that. Similarly, I worked to strengthen relationships with family.
I felt grateful every day to come home to Chairman Meow (my cat), the best roommate there ever was (sorry old roommates, but this is no surprise to you).
Celebrated 7 years of home ownership, 6 years of being self-employed, and 8 years out of college.
I chose to focus this year on wholeness: my 20s felt chaotic to me, with 1 or more major life areas out of balance throughout that time (home life, money, work, spirituality, health, love, relationships, etc). There was so much self-doubt and criticism in my 20s, and I wanted to focus on what was, not what wasn’t. I learned to appreciate myself more, give myself more credit, and take a compliment or two.
Dove more deeply into the beauty of outsourcing: hired a housekeeper, a bookkeeper and a marketing agency.
I reminded myself that if you don’t throw your hat in the ring, you’re certain to fail, so I pitched to Kevin Harrington from Shark Tank in hopes of a shot to get onto HSN.
Continued to seek out people in Atlanta and around the world who are inspiring–and the call was answered.
I set out to do an unassisted headstand– and did it!
I completed a silent film version of the ALS ice bucket challenge as well as successfully executed the “dirty dancing” lift (there exists video evidence of both).
Got sucked into the show “House of Cards” and now forever fear our government’s corruption.
Hosted a party at my parents home (but for maybe the first time, they knew about, were there, and the drinking was legal).
I tried to quit cable but instead, ended up with cable, Netflix, Hulu and Prime. Oops.
I discovered that some idiot (savant) was trying to sell used versions of my books on Amazon for $999.11 (retail price $16.95).
Met Jamie Lynn Spears.
Had my name on the jumbo tron at the Atlanta Hawks game.
Picked a bushel of apples. Still haven’t eaten them all.
Picked up the positive habit of flossing daily. Yet, still had to get a cavity filled.
Dove into an intentional and aggressive investment strategy.
Learned a lot of lessons. Some included: Integration is sometimes better than striving for balance. Sometimes you make decisions that you think you’re better than, and you learn from those ‘mistakes’. There is a lot of world out there, and most of them don’t know or give a f*uck who you are–it’s for me to decide what to make of that and how to write my script. I continue to lean on goal setting, planning, and visualization to help me navigate my dreams. Gratitude is the attidude as I try to wake up every day and immediately say “thank you”, and then reflect on the things for which I’m grateful before I fall asleep at night.
I started my 30s with absolute excitement, feeling that my biological age was catching up with my mental one and it didn’t disappoint! All in all, 30 will go down as one of my best years yet. A year of working daily towards balance and figuring out what I really want. A year of breathing in each moment and shrugging off the stuff that won’t matter in the long run. I reminded myself that life comes in seasons, and it’s important to embrace them while they are there. There is no value in salivating for what you don’t have which you cannot control. Live in the now and appreciate what today brings.
The adjectives I set for myself to define the year were: joy, creativity, positivity, wellness, abundance, and connection. Sounds like what the year had in store for me! Onward to an ever better 31!