2017 has been a year of growth, and vague sentiments. More responsibilities have been heaped on, but none were unasked for.
Thoughts of the future hang like a welcomed burden, simultaneously bringing the dread of uncertainty and the anticipation of change. There is the danger of viewing the present as superfluous, and the past as, well, past.
I have always been a little too introspective, overthinking and analyzing each of my actions and traits. Such an obsession of looking inwards probably translates to an obsession with how others see me. Hence, la vie en pose, a life in a pose :)
But it's the new year, so there is nothing wrong with taking a healthy look at 2017 to indulge in reflection, healthy self-criticism, and complaining about problems that I have no idea how to solve.
- An intense #relatablecontent (I know, cringe) moment with Ms. Shankar's article, "You got this because you're a girl." She describes how women's skills and experiences are often overshadowed by the fact that they are "a pawn in the game of affirmative action." When others believe that the opportunities available in tech will be as easy to as attain as simply jumping for a golden coin because you are Princess Peach and not Mario, extreme doubts about our qualifications and reasons for getting that engineering position take root. But given the historic obstacles that women in tech face, we deserve to take those chances to prove ourselves. After all, the end goal for everyone is a functional organization with competent workers that represent a wide range of perspectives. Until the day when the notion of diversity hires become obsolete, we'll keep on coming.
- On that note, while it's cool that my peers voted my friend and me "the next Steve Jobs" for senior superlatives, I am sorta laughing at how despite all the efforts to diversify tech, we still aspire to become a white man. I concede how yearbook polls are simply for fun and not to make political statements, and how contributing to the founding of Apple is certainly a notable achievement. However, I can't shake the feeling that all the younger girls I teach at my local Girls Who Code club would point their fingers at me and say, "Smh, Kaitlyn." Hmm... "The next Sheryl Sandberg" or "the next Safra Catz" or "the next Jean Liu" has a nice ring to it.
- We tend to cheer and aspire to become the person on the stage, the ones capable of advocating for themselves and their ideas. If I recognize that being able to put forth my ideas and get others on board is a valuable skill, why do I feel guilty for preferring the shadows and being uncomfortable with "campaigning" for myself? Honestly, I had this discussion about working behind the scenes during my blog about Girls State, which goes to show my own hypocrisy, as I thought I had accepted that there was nothing wrong in playing a supporting role. Clearly, I am still conflicted between comfortably swaying the agenda in the background by quietly working, or being the public voice that people associate the change with.
- I need to show more gratitude! Again, I feel like a leech for sucking away support and kindness from my friends and family with a sense of entitlement. 2017 was the year I felt the most self-centered and demanding, without giving thought to others. Also, I don't exactly vocalize my gratefulness even if it is present inside, so I aim to focus more on others and think of how I may be able to support them.
- Talk more? Sheesh, I usually like listening to others better, but I can put more effort into driving the conversation. One-on-one conversations aren't too bad, but sometimes finding stuff to say in a group is just hard for me ._.
There is no wrong in accepting that your flaws and quirks as markers of your personality. It's not conceited to be okay with who you are, but it's not bad either to reflect on ways to improve on your own terms. We are all concerned to some extent about how others think of us. Striking a balance between ignoring external views or accepting them with reservations is a skill I admire, as you know, it would be nice to be self-confident without being a jerk. But I suppose exuding self-confidence-without-jerkness is just another pose as well :)
Magic powers are not suddenly bestowed upon you, nor is there a sudden strengthening of resolve in 2018. But setting some goals to strive for is a quaint tradition, so here goes (whether I actually follow through is another question):
- Be kinder <3
- Learn a language (programming or regular)
- Be healthier: Exercise more (lol), drink more water, consume less junk
- Watch less Kdramas (in hopes of becoming less shallow and appreciating inner beauty more T_T )
- Finish my Media List (will post eventually? eh.)
- Learn the guitar (HAHAHA)
- Create a long term codeproject
- Express gratitude
- Get my motorcycle license (because I really want to scoot around town on a vespa)
- BLOG MORE!
It's a new year, it's the same you. Ha! You thought you could change.
Eleanor Roosevelt (whom I will name one of my five cats after) once said, "Do what you feel in your heart to be right- for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't."
So pretty much, YOLO with good intentions. But good is subjective. And subjectivity merits debate and doom on either side, so I guess it's just YOLO. ʕง•ᴥ•ʔง
Cheers to 2018!!