2019 Year in Review

 

Now that I am out of school, the end of the calendar year is finally a natural transition point during which it makes sense to stop and reflect. This is the first annual review that I am publicly sharing (inspired by James Clear). It is my opportunity to take stock of what went well and didn’t go well this year and how I want the next 12 months to look like. 

 

I wrote a 2018 Year in Review (YIR) that I did not publish last year, but plan on going back and doing so at some point. 2018 and 2019 have been stark contrasts to each other and I think it will be interesting to share both. Furthermore, publishing this YIR is a step towards improving one of the things that did not go well for me this year: publishing content. Here’s to a 2020 of more creation! 

 

1. What went well? 

My PhD work was published as the cover story of a top journal

I graduated from my PhD last year feeling like a failure. In academia, you are judged by the quantity and quality of your publications and I graduated without a single publication after 5.5yrs of work. I spent 14 months following graduation compiling and refining all of my work into a concise paper. This year, my research was published as the cover story of a top journal (one of the most prestigious in my field). The work was covered in several media outlets like JAMA and MIT News and I was invited to give a TEDx talk about it. 

I moved to California, got engaged, and started a company!

I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. I remember my first time visiting several years ago and having a sense that this is where I was meant to live. I am thrilled that finally moving out here has not disappointed - I love living in the Bay Area.

My boyfriend and I got engaged after over 7 years of being together - it was a beautiful surprise along the cliffs of Half Moon Bay surrounded by our family. 

I co-founded a boutique data science consulting company - Edge Analytics - with an incredible team of 6 people (2 part-time) and we are blessed to have more inbound work than we can say 'yes' to. I have always wanted a life of “prolific collaboration with many people” (direct quote from this 2014 interview) and consulting is one great way to live out that wish. Plus, consulting is much more fun, fulfilling, and intellectually-stimulating than I could have ever imagined. 

I prioritized family

My grandma passed away at the beginning of this year. I was heart-broken and struck with guilt because I had pushed off going to visit her and now would never get the chance. I compensated by making family a priority this year. I set a goal to see my parents at least once per quarter and talk on the phone every week. I successfully met and exceeded the in-person goal (including 20 days with my mom visiting family in Brazil). I wasn’t able to meet the phone goal but we talked more often (26 times) and longer (20hrs) than last year so the trend is good. 

 

2. What didn’t go well? 

Reading 

I read 23 books last year, but only 1 book this year. I still haven’t figured out a way to incorporate a regular reading habit into my life in California. I would like to work on this in 2020. 

Creating content 

I did not publish any content (blog posts, videos, photography, etc.) this year. I have a dozen half-written articles and almost-there Youtube videos that I have been meaning to post for the past two years. I want 2020 to be the year where I finally carve out time for creating and posting content. 

Music and Dance

I love music and dance. They have both been part of my life since as long as I can remember. The end of my PhD broke me a little (or maybe a lot). I stopped dancing and playing music. I still haven’t finished putting back all of the pieces of myself that broke - music and dance are major pieces that I want to put back together. I don’t yet know how to engage in music and dance in a fulfilling way outside of a university-setting, but I hope to explore some options in 2020. 


3. What am I working towards? 

Building a thriving business and vibrant team 

I am excited for 2020 to be a big year for my consulting company. We want to continue offering outsized value to the companies we partner with. And we want to continue welcoming brilliant people into the team and cultivating ways for all of us to learn and grow. 

Making memories with the people I care about

This year I experienced the joy of taking weekends off for the first time in my life (who knew that weekends were such a glorious thing). As a result, I have been trying to fill that time with more intentional activities with friends - visiting out-of-town friends, mini golfing, game nights, renting an AirBnB with a group, firepit and mulled wine nights, etc.. I want to continue planning memorable experiences with the people that I care about. 

Creating things

My passion is creating things - whether it be a consumer product, a video, blog post, dance, or music performance. I want to create more in 2020. 

 

2019 in Numbers: Summary of the Things I Track 

 

2018

2019

Tomatoes / Online Courses

2,682 tomatoes of PhD work

45 tomatoes (22.5hrs) of online courses (things I want to learn)

Travel

Didn’t track

64 days 

International: 
25 days in Brazil (Breakdown by state: 9 days in São Paulo, 5 days in Bahia, 5 days in Amazonas, 4 days in Rio de Janeiro, 2 days in Minas Gerais)

8 days in Mexico (Puerto Vallarta)

4 days in Switzerland

Within USA: 
5 days in Massachusetts
4 days in Texas
3 days in Washington 
3 days in North Carolina
2 days in Oregon


Within California: 
10 days of overnight in different cities around Northern California

Parents

25 days in person with my mom

23 days in person with my dad

19 phone conversations (10hrs)

34 days in person with my mom

14 days in person with my dad (1-2x per quarter)

26 phone conversations (20 hrs)

Did not record conversations in May. 


Missed 12 weeks where we didn’t see each other in person or talk on the phone for at least 20min. 

Social

86 days of doing something with friends 


~75 different friends


The friend I saw/talked to the most: 17 days, second most: 7 days

119 days of doing something with friends 


~125 different friends


The friend I saw/talked to the most: 24 days, second most: 19 days

Exercise

44 days of exercise (top types of exercise were yoga: 21, lifting: 14, cycling: 10)

56 days of exercise (top types of exercise were yoga: 34, running: 8) 

Books

23

1

Meditation

Didn’t do 

68 days in a row of Sam Harris’ Waking Up meditation course 

(I didn’t like the impact of meditation on my mood, so I stopped.) 

German

Didn’t do 

45 Pimsleur classes

Arts Performances (music, dance, theatre)

Didn’t track, but very few

8