Monday, May 23, 2016

Where He Is Now: Five Years Later

Derby and me in Central Park in April 2016.
Today is Commencement Day for Yale SOM's Class of 2016, making it five years since I graduated from my MBA program, and one since my last post.

James channeling Elvis
Since last I posted, the basic bio remains unchanged: I still live in Forest Hills, Queens, with my boyfriend (James) and our dog (Derby). We also now have a roommate, Matt, a friend to whom we're renting our spare room. This July, I'll celebrate five years at Deloitte, where I'm still in the human capital consulting service area, focused on the TMT (Technology, Media, Telecom) industry. My projects have ranged in topic -- outsourcing, tech adoption and learning strategies. And as a manager I have ever-increasing responsibilities, like playing counseling/coaching roles, interviewing candidates and leading project teams. I still like what I'm doing but am not sure whether it's what I want to do long-term. I'm starting to suspect I'll say that every year until I retire from Deloitte in 2041.

Five-year reunion photo.
Given that I'm now at "Five Years Later," I'm probably supposed to sound surprised by how quickly the time has passed, but actually business school feels like a long time ago. I continue to visit Yale regularly for recruiting, and went there last month for our five-year reunion. It was much better-attended than I expected -- about 90 students from our class of about 230, traveling in from as far away as Australia and Switzerland. It was good to catch up with people, and in some cases have longer conversations with them than I'd ever had. Most of them looked the same. Some seemed tired and beaten down, others refreshed and revived. Many brought kids.

Business school seems especially long ago when I read this blog, which I do every now and then. I make a point not to change any posts unless I spot a typo; I'm horrified there are so many, since I used to be a copy editor. When I read old posts, especially the very old ones, these are my most common reactions:
  • Confusion about why I was so anxious. I often can't believe how stressed I was about what now seem like relatively unimportant things, and how guilty I felt about "wasting time" by doing things like watching TV or going out. Wish I could go back and say to myself, "Dude, relax."
    Me in New Zealand in March 2010.
  • Incredulity at how much energy I had. Especially when I read posts that go into (painful) detail about my day, I just don't know how I managed, or where that energy came from. Don't think I could swing the hectic lifestyle of a student today.
  • Puzzlement over events and people I don't remember ... at all. Seriously, some of these posts I read and I have absolutely no idea what I'm even talking about. Like this post about musicians I'd met and wanted to start a band with? I met a flute player, a harpist and a trumpet player? I'll be. 
  • Amusement, and perhaps mild regret, about having avoided discussing my dating life. I dodged this topic for obvious reasons, but the result is that the blog is an incomplete story.
  • Affectionate embarrassment about my general naiveté. My age and inexperience shine brightly throughout this blog. And that's understandable, since I was transitioning into unfamiliar waters, and all of us are always learning. But sometimes it's funny to read.
  • Gratitude I found the time to keep up with the blog. It would have been very easy to just drop the whole thing and focus on the task at hand. I'm glad I made time to keep plugging away.
Back to the update: 2016 also happened to be the 15-year anniversary of my graduation from undergrad, and although I didn't attend any reunion events, I did take James down to visit my old stomping grounds in the the Durham-Chapel Hill area of North Carolina. I hadn't been back there since 2001, so it was a very interesting experience -- a combination of memory overload and total disorientation.

My friend Carla and me in Seattle.
I did some traveling over the past 12 months, though not as much as the year prior. My business trips tended to be one-off jaunts for a specific purpose, like to attend a workshop, observe a facility or conduct in-person interviews with executives. In the past year, work took me to Miami, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, San Francisco and Wilmington, DE, but I'd estimate that 80%-90% of the time I was in the New York area. Vacation-wise, I made it to a few nice places, like Seattle, Orlando and South Florida, and have upcoming trips planned to Colorado, England and Key West this summer.

A Whole30 meal we made.
The past year also has been good for healthy habits. I got a personal trainer, continued to play a lot of tennis, went on the Whole30 diet/cleanse three times (total: 90 days), and in all lost about 25 pounds. Whole30 is a paleo-inspired diet that's fun to challenge yourself with if you have the means to prepare your own food. James and I did it together, and it prompted us to cook more, something I used to enjoy doing but got lazy about once I moved to New York, where kitchens are small and delivery is abundant.

In my spare time, I'm populating two blogs. One is a joint effort called Was It Dope?, about the '90s. So far I've been doing the content about music, while my friend Carla has been doing posts about films. The other is about new music, called New Good Songs. Visit both today!

Me and Mom, then and now.
Among life's inevitable bumps over these past 12 months was the somewhat recent development that my mom and one of my best friends were both diagnosed with breast cancer within days of each other. The most common and treatable kind, caught very early, fortunately. And so far, knock on wood, they are responding well to treatment and pulling through in good spirits. But, still, a reminder to appreciate those around you amid life's unpredictable wrenches.

See you in 2017.

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