As I reflect on 2019, I feel tremendous gratitude for the life I am cultivating daily. When the year started, I bought a habit tracker (Meraki) to keep me focused and mindful. I detoxed from social media (except to post random updates) and committed to read more. Each week, I identified a few key practices for meditation, working out, connecting with myself, and connecting with others. I also wrote a daily gratitude list. I began to notice subtle shifts in my mood; I felt more grounded. I kept up with this habit tracker for about 6 months, then my writing began to trail off. It made me more aware and accountable for my actions, but near the end of the year, I was doing a lot less meditation and more binge-watching Netflix. It’s ok, I’m not trying to judge myself. I did read 25 books and re-read a handful as well. Going forward, I’ll pick this back up. I love having a place to record little moments for me to remember. I’m glad I wrote down high level goals and accomplished them. It’s become my new diary, and I’m happy to resort to good ole pen and paper.
Truth: This year I set out to speak up, stand for my values, and stay grounded in what’s right for me. Oftentimes this meant checking in with what I needed and making changes, and just straight up saying no.
Early in the year, in a sweat lodge in Santa Fe, I set out to tell my story and began writing my book. I was on a mission to advocate for mothers and reclaim our worth. I got to 26,o00 words and took a pause. I was feeling burnt out from work and anxious about several re-orgs and changes in my department, and after some reflection, I decided to start job hunting. Fast-forward to 6 weeks later, I turned down 2 job offers for higher titles and salary to stay at Indeed. I’d found a huge advocate in my new manager, and we worked together to make a case for my promotion in October.
In mid summer, I got asked to work on a side-of-the-desk project to help women, who’d taken time off for caregiving, return to work. This fascinating research and strategy led me to form ideas on the changes working moms need to thrive. I knew the work we were doing was important and meaningful, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
Growth: This year I wanted to find opportunities to step out of my comfort zone and try new things. I also got to witness a ton of growth in Amaya.
She potty trained, transitioned to a big girl bed, and took her first flight to California where she experienced the beach and LEGO land.
With all my focus on working moms, I attended a leadership summit and several conferences on diversity and inclusion, and in October, I answered a call to lead. I decided to found the Parents & Caregivers inclusion resource group at Indeed, and right before the holidays, we became official! This was a huge moment for me. I pivoted from my original plan to write a book, but I’m now serving my mission in a deeply impactful way and reaching more people. I’m excited to advocate for better benefits and policies to empower Indeedians to thrive at work and care for their families. Beyond Indeed, it’s important for me to use our platform to bring these ideas to other companies and their employees globally.
Right before I submitted the application, I faced some hesitation. I knew I was meant to do this, but I feared it would set my career back (and I had just gotten promoted). But with some positive reinforcement from my manager, I moved ahead and am so glad I did. For the first time in a while, I listened to my gut and not my head; I chose bravery over perfection. And it seems someone noticed. I was nominated for an Austin Under 40 Award. I’m humbled and thrilled to see what the coming months unfold.
Equanimity: This year I needed to set a strong foundation for self-care. For this goal, I wrote “be un-messable with” and “be a strong leader for Amaya.”
Funny enough, this meant some much needed time away from my family so I could be with myself. The trip to Santa Fe with Christine did wonders for my soul and gave me great clarity. I took several hours off every Sunday to write my book and work on the IRG application. I made time for yoga, swimming, and meditation as well as long afternoon walks. I communicated my needs to Andy often, and he checked in with me frequently too.
Play: I set an intention to get on the floor, get messy, and play. I have so many amazing memories from taking Amaya to the beach for the first time and watching her squeal, to playing tea party to dancing to Peaches and Run the World. As she develops stronger relationships with her classmates, it’s fun to get together for play dates, birthday parties, and holidays. Amaya is also super close with her cousins and loves playground time with her grandparents on our trips to Houston. She rode a zipline for the first time and loves hosting make believe birthday parties for her friends. Random spurts of play for me this year included skateboarding and ballroom dancing.
Health: Lastly, but most important was focusing on my health. This year, I got a consistent 7-8 hours of sleep almost every night. It’s the key to everything else. I also shared tons of deep belly laughs with Amaya, cut down on caffeine, and took a few mental health breaks from work. I mostly chose yoga or swimming over boot camp. I also recognized a low level of constant anxiety since becoming a mom. I think stress is definitely an underlying cause of my neck and shoulder pain. So I’m looking for a therapist in the new year.
All in all, there were some challenging moments in 2019, but I feel abundant and grateful. With strong intention, awareness, and clarity, I truly feel I’m living my life to the fullest by scaling back on things I don’t need and doubling down on the things I truly want.
I’m excited for 2020 and the start of a new decade. My intentions for truth, growth, equanimity, play, and health will carry forward, along with a couple good habits I’ll re-build into my day. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone manifest their greatness. I’m thankful we’re all walking this path together.