Gratitude

Maybe it’s…

  • The holidays.
  • My turning 30 soon.
  • Being back in Lodi, where I grew up.
  • Facebook’s On This Day feature.
  • Watching my niece blossom into the smartest, funniest, coolest kid.
  • My new OCP.

…but I’m feeling extra sentimental these days. In my usual fashion, I’ll share a little bit, in list form. :)

Here are a few of the countless things I’m thankful for:

  • My people. My family (furry ones too!), friends, and coworkers. I could write a book on this bullet alone. Everyone, both near and far: even if we’re not in touch all the time, I’m often thinking of you and appreciate you very much.
  • Automattic/my work. I get to work on fantastic things, with wonderful company, amazing flexibility, and incredible benefits. I never forget this.
  • My health. I’m aging, I can feel it! My wrists are hurting more, my right ankle continues to be problematic, and I experienced heartburn for the first time ever, twice in the past month. These completely trivial annoyances remind me to appreciate my body and all that it does for me, despite the hell I sometimes put it through.
  • Technology/the internet. I have the pleasure of blowing my parents’ minds every time I reveal a bit more of the magic. It’s slow-going, but such a treat. For example, my mom was pumped today because we just got to watch an episode of BBC’s Monkey Planet (she loves animal documentaries) on the TV instead of the iPad (thanks Chromecast!). They have had such rough lives, but they deserve all of life’s pleasures, which we often take for granted.
  • The bay area. It’s beautiful!
  • All things new — good, bad, or inbetween. New experiences, new places, new feelings.

Here’s a glimpse of my completely normal, but 100% delightful day:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Although the photos aren’t anything special, the moments were.

 

The Glass is Already Broken

This post was great, but this portion in particular resonated with me:

temporary

As someone who sometimes fears lack of control and spends more time than I’d like in a wistful state of mind, this is a lovely perspective. Whenever emotions — fear, sadness, regret, anger — get the best of me, nothing brings me back down to earth more than the reminder that everything is temporary.

At my most zen, I’m able to channel this. I’ve noticed, however, that it can be perceived as aloof, cold, or dark. I get that, but it’s not meant to be any of those things. By embracing the impermanence of life and everything in it, I’m able to be my most appreciative.

…On the other hand, can this way of thinking manifest into self-fulfilling prophecies? If you already understand that the glass is already broken, are you less careful in handling it?

(h/t Matt Mullenweg)

2013

A friend asked me what I’m looking forward to in the new year, and I realized that there’s plenty. In the first 6 months I’m headed to:

Portland, ME (Visiting family)
South Lake Tahoe, CA (Debauchery with friends)
Portland, OR (More friendly debauchery)
Austin, TX (Bachelorette party)
New Haven, CT + New York, NY (Reunion with childhood friends)
Myersville, MD (Wedding + reunion with my college roommates)
Zion National Park (Continued friendly debauchery)

I’m looking forward to so many local camping trips and weddings in that time as well.

I have a feeling that the upcoming year is going to be a lot of fun and a bit chaotic (in the best way possible). This made me happy, which made me think of all the other things I’m happy about, so rather than outline what I’m setting to accomplish in 2014, I want to reflect on a few things I’m grateful for from the past year:

  • My and my loved ones’ health and wellbeing.
  • All of the kind, intelligent, hilarious, talented, and fun-loving people in my life, some of whom I’ve now known for 20 years now! Woah.
  • Costumes.
  • Staying up too late for my own good.
  • My landlord who has still not raised my rent, allowing me to continue to live in a beautiful and wonderfully bizarre city that I love.
  • Amateur blogging.
  • Getting engaged at the only Cal football win of the season.
  • My new job and team.
  • Taking my parents on their first vacation since 2000.
  • Great reads.
  • Honesty, on both giving and receiving ends, even when it makes me feel stupid.

Cheers to a fantastic year ahead!

Automattic Happiness

This post is likely going to be too cheesy for most, but those who really know me recognize that I have a tendency to lean this way anyway. :) Also, I’m not the most eloquent person in the world, so bear with me as I attempt to organize my thoughts/feelings into a coherent, digestible format. Here goes!

Since I started at Automattic ~5 months ago, I’ve been bitten by some sort of wonderful bug. I’ve been reinvigorated — I want to see and experience everything. I feel motivated, intellectually stimulated, exhilarated, and unencumbered.

Chicken or the egg, right? Maybe I shrugged off some extra weight I’d been carrying around from my old company/job. Maybe I’m in a good place in my life. …Or maybe it’s just Automattic happiness. Here’s why I think much of what I’m feeling can be attributed to the latter:

  • My hours and time zone don’t matter since we have ~215 employees across 28-29 countries, so as long as I get my work done, I can work whenever it makes sense for me. This. Is. HUGE. My work schedule accommodates me, not the other way around. If I need to go to the doctor, accommodate a long lunch, pick someone up from the airport, or just hit the gym during off-peak hours, I can — no questions asked. If all of a sudden I’m not feeling well, I can take a break and pick back up later. Alternatively, if I’m really in the zone, I can work until 3am and then sleep in, not having to worry about speculating officemates. Nothing is forced. Inspiration, productivity, health, happiness, and life in general come much easier this way.
  • I can work from anywhere that has a decent internet connection. Seriously, anywhere. A couple of my coworkers are currently living a nomadic lifestyle, traveling wherever and whenever they see fit. For me, anywhere usually means my living room or our office (which is way too awesome for “office” to be the right word), but the fact that I can travel or move wherever I want is both immensely liberating and comforting. Sure, it’s fun to travel, but it’s nice to know that if my family ever needed me for anything, I could physically be there to support them without stressing about how it’ll affect my team.
  • Principles with which I have been indoctrinated no longer apply. I’ve worked with some brilliant and talented people, and was often taught to handle issues the way I’m “supposed” to handle them — usually in the interest of the company for which I work. But there’s no assumed way of doing things any more. This has been the hardest for me to adjust to because I’ve been trained so well to always CYA, but I’m getting there. Automattic is refreshingly pro-user, and we do what we think is right (within normal constraints of course).

This freedom and flexibility at both micro and macro levels permeates into everything. Suddenly, nothing is crazy and everything is in the realm of possibility. Yes, I know how ridiculous and new agey I sound, but you have no idea what an impact this can have until you get a taste.

Last, but certainly not least, my team is delightful and eclectic — compromised of scientists, artists, and everything in between from all around the world. I was fortunate enough to meet most of them during an all-company retreat in September. Not only are they terrific coworkers, but they’ve also done and continue to do incredible things outside of work. Their passion and curiosity is very infectious. Thanks to them and Automattic, I’ve been exposed to new books, music, places, cultures, experiences, challenges, motivations… I could go on forever.

I don’t know how someone as ordinary as I am ended up amongst this extraordinary group, but I’m grateful. Even on days where I doubt myself and my work severely, I’m happy because I know that I’m learning and growing tremendously. If any Automatticians are reading, thank you for your part in this! I wish everyone could live and work this way.

The Automattic family

The Automattic family

A coworker snapped this photo of me because he said I looked "so Automattic." Quite the compliment, IMO. :)

A coworker snapped this photo of me because he said I looked “so Automattic.” Quite the compliment, IMO. :)