5 Lessons Learned in 2016


I’ve read AND heard a lot of chatter about 2016 these past couple of months.  Let’s face it; the latter half of 2016 was a bit of a shocker.  Lots of unexpected events for sure!  That said, I wouldn’t say that 2016 was all bad.  Personally, 2016 has proven to be…pretty awesome!

Each year, I find that I grow in ways never before imagined, and I also learn more about myself than ever before.  5 things I’ve learned about myself this year:

  1. If I put my mind to it, I will achieve it.  Career-wise, my goal for 2016 get 15 publications.  I managed 11.  Which is the same number I published last year.  This past week, I was immensely disappointed that I didn’t make my goal, but you know what?  I also managed to get a big grant funded, another that may get funded, and collaborated on a center grant and R01.  On top of that, I prepped for two courses in winter/spring of 2017, and spent three weeks in SF intensely training in implementation science.  Now that I put that all down in writing, I feel quite productive, actually!  Blog-wise, my goal for 2016 was to appear in a magazine.  A small mention in a magazine was my goal.  Well, I’m so excited to say I blew that one out of the water!  I cannot believe I managed to get on the cover of Redbook Magazine!!! The fact that it happened still boggles my mind.  FB_IMG_1471044495614
  2. I am strong of mind.  I’ve always sort of known that.  My willpower is pretty amazing. Sadly I’ve learned that this often means my strength of mind will sometimes result in a weakness of body and health.  This past week, I ended up in the ER with symptoms of stroke!!  I’d had headaches for two weeks (rare for someone who rarely gets headaches) and suddenly, the left side of my tongue was numb and tingly.  It was the scariest *ish I’ve experienced in a while. 😦  Docs think the headaches were stress/anxiety induced.  Imagine that!  I didn’t even know I was stressed!!  I did know I was feeling a little overwhelmed, but didn’t realize the toll it was taking on my body.  For months, I was working 7 days a week, especially while writing grants, and even after while trying to catch up with manuscripts.  Sigh.  So, I’m taking this to heart and hoping I remember this episode as I progress into 2017 so that history does not repeat itself! quickmemo_2016-01-04-23-56-58-1.png.png
  3. My family means everything.  When you feel like you are on the verge of a major health event, things often come into perspective.  When I was at the ER I thought to myself, what if something bad is happening to me???  Are my finances in order?  Is my home organized?  Have I prepared the kids for life without a mom?  So many questions!!  It’s really made me appreciate the fact that I’ve prioritized my kids over my work and the blog.  Hubby will disagree, haha, as he always feels like he’s at the bottom of my totem pole, but I’ve also tried to prioritize him as well.  In my own, small ways.  As a result, we have enjoyed some very special moments this year, including a quick getaway to SF this past summer while I was there for work! He may think that he is at the bottom of my totem pole, but the bottom is the foundation – the stronghold – of the totem pole, and that he is.  He is my biggest fan, my biggest source of support, and ultimately my rock!  I love my family!13697280_10209960428432157_2833473835229620693_n.jpg
  4. Clutter stresses me out.  My life is SOOOOOOO crazy busy these days, that organization is an absolute must to get through hectic days efficiently.  I learned this lesson the hard way this year.  Holiday breaks are often a time for me to get organized, so I took advantage this week and called America’s Thrift Store to come pick up a huge load of stuff that was simply non-essential.  I also managed to sell some things to a local consignment store, but otherwise, I donated it all without looking back.  It actually feels really good!!  My goal for 2016 was to declutter, so it looks like so far so good!  I even managed to declutter the kids’ today and was also able to implement an organization system for their toys. At work, I think about categorizing data; at home, I think about categorizing toys, lol! 1229162046_hdr.jpg
  5. I NEED alone/down time.  Usually a few days, actually.  Every year, hubby takes the boys to visit his family out of state.  I usually take the first 2-3 days to completely decompress.  I see 0 people for several days.  I eat occasionally, nap a lot, and watch the TV shows I want to watch.  Not just PJ Masks and Disney movies because that’s what the boys want to watch, lol.  This year I didn’t get that week because we had our kitchen under construction.  Yes, I know our kitchen is under construction now, but that story is way too long to get into here.  So, just know that our kitchen was under construction and I got very little time to decompress.  So, I was exhausted when the fall semester began!  I didn’t get organized, my house was a mess, and therefore, so felt my life.  Although I haven’t necessarily gotten much alone time this holiday break (impossible with two VERY energetic boys under 7), I did get lots of down time and I feel like myself again!  I feel mostly prepared for 2017, and really that is all I can ask for given my circumstances. 🙂  Here’s a great article about the importance of alone time, if you have some time to read it! Of course, sometimes, when given alone time, I often end up at the stores shopping….soooooo, maybe it’s a good thing I don’t get alone time TOO often, haha!20161203_172109.jpg

I haven’t come up with goals for 2017 yet.  I often come up with them the first week of the year, and often after having analyzed outcomes of 2016.  That is, what worked, what didn’t, what I haven’t tried, etc.  In preparation, I have pinned some graphics on Pinterest that I think will help.  Find them here, here, and here.  So with that, I leave you, friends! Last post of 2016, and geared up for some exciting content in 2017.  Hope you will come along for the ride!  Thanks for all your support thus far and for continuing to enable my sartorial and other adventures!!

I wish you all a Happy New Year and an amazingly productive, healthy, loving, successful 2017!!! xo

Until next time!  Stay ‘Chic’!

2 thoughts on “5 Lessons Learned in 2016

  1. Reshma Prashad says:

    Hi Berta,

    Thanks for sharing this, I can relate to all of it. I’m an aspiring academic myself(Canadian), I completely understand the struggle to not overwork and focus on what’s important. Like you I’m always working on so many things at the same time (my disertation, research, publications, conferences, TAing and teaching my own courses at times) that I love to do, but struggle to find the balance between all of this and spending time with my family. The sad thing is that I keep taking on more because I feel they are all important to my career.

    Thanks for being candid and honest about this struggle. My biggest 2 are locking myself away in my office when my 4 year old is at home to get work done, but I feel so guilty because I’d rather play with her. I also struggle with finding the time to keep up with cleaning my home. People suggests that I hire a cleaner, but I still feel weird about that. I feel that my Indian upbringing is haunting me on that front lol. I’m a clean freak too and clutter stresses me out immensely too, my husband thinks I’m the only one in the world that gets so stressed out by clutter. It’s good to hear that there’s at least one other person out there that feels this way too lol.

    Thanks for reminding me that my health and family are the most important!

    Anyways, best wishes for a healthy, happy and productive 2017!


  2. Southern Señora says:

    Great post, Bertha!!! So sorry you’ve had some health issues lately. I’m glad you are focused on getting that under control! As I’ve gotten older that has definitely been a priority for me so I can keep doing fun and exciting things! All the best for the new year! I know you will be extraordinarily successful and I can’t wait to see what it brings you!!!😘


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