2016 Is the Year of YES!

 Photos by:  Jose Cervantes  

Photos by: Jose Cervantes 

2015 was epic! I love the end of the year when we can reflect on all that we accomplished, the things we learned and reflect on how we can be better, do better in the next year. Below is a round up of the best of 2015. Things I wrote and things that inspired me. 

Here are some of my favorite pieces From 2015: 

1) The One Where I Talk About Being an "Anchor Baby"- For the record, this term needs to die! It's offensive. But a las it made it on to the byline for my first Marie Claire piece. This was such a personal piece for me because for the first time I addressed the instances growing up when I felt "different." I also talk about being the daughter of immigrants. I had so much support and great opportunities come from this piece. I will always treasure it and the follow up piece I wrote for Project Enye a project that is releasing a documentary in 2016 about the children of Latinx immigrants. 

2) The One Where I Explain Why Millennials Don't Have Kids- Boomers might find this one whiny. But truly we have a unique set of circumstances. We are the first generation projected to have less financial security than our parents. Don't blame us for not having kids, or only wanting one or for not living life on your terms. I also realized that there's a way to blend what I know: public policy, cultural criticism and first-person narratives all into one. Find the piece here

3) The Pieces You Never Saw- I wrote a ton and pitched more often this year. I found that even pieces that you never saw were useful, or were then re-purposed for pieces you never saw. After reading Elizabeth Gilbert's book, Big Magic I decided that sometimes we have to separate the art from outcomes. That pressure to have every piece I write be a paid, published piece can be too much to bear. 

What Inspired Me in 2015

1) Podcasts- After delving into the "Jess Lively Show" last year. I've told you before but that podcast can change your life!  I went down the podcast rabbit hole after finding her. Dear Sugar is absolutely another one of my favorites. I also have to mention the Super Mamas Podcast, not only because they featured me in August but because they have created a much needed space for Latina Millennials moms to talk about all things related to being a modern Latina in the U.S. We need more spaces like that! I wrote about some of favorite podcasts for Mom.Me earlier this year. I keep finding others I like! I keep thinking I should start my own podcast! Ok, maybe in 2016! 

2) Books and Essays- I have always sought answers in books. This year I wanted to read one book per month. Some books took me longer than others, and some I want to re-read because they were so valuable. I met my goal! (although it wasn't one per month it was more like some months 3, some months none) My favorites were:

  • Citizen, by Claudia Rankine- A must read in the context of all the racial tensions in this country.
  • The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod- These habit I admit are hard to keep up, but I want to re-read this one to get inspired all over again. The weeks I was doing the rituals religiously I pitched more, felt better and more productive.
  • Excavation by Wendy C. Ortiz- I met Wendy at a writers retreat this memoir is a page turner that will remind us all of the teenagers we once were. The wonder, the beauty, the temptation and the dangers that we confront at this age are all brought to life in her book.
  • More or Less: Choosing a Lifestyle of Excessive Generosity- This books is about minimalism, essentialism and encourages us all to think about how there's peace in giving more and having less.  
  • Fiction- I am trying to read more fiction. The Amado Sisters by the bad ass Desiree Zamorano finally showed me a family of strong Latina women I could relate to! Anything by Joan Didion. I read her for the first time this year and she lived up to the hype. Practical Magic was beautiful. 
  • Essays, Essays and More Essays- Since I write essays I read a lot of them! In fact a perfect day for me involves good coffee, books and essays. I keep track of them with a nifty app called Instapaper. I love any essay by Roxanne Gay, Anna March, Ann Friedman(who has THE best newsletter) or Rachel Vorona Cote (who seriously writes some of the most beautiful sentences I have ever read) and Leigh Stein.  

Note: These are in no particular order. I forgot some of the books I read. There was some I am still reading that I will finish, eventually. 

3) People- I took more of an interest in learning from people this year. I pushed myself to strike conversations with people I didn't know online and in-person, to reach out more, to ask more questions, listen more. It was life changing. I joined Bindercon a conference and community for women and gender non‑conforming writers and helped put together the first L.A conference. I can't even list all the connections, and inspiration I have gained from this group. I want to give to them in the same way. There's so many people I met that embraced, and inspired me this year that are part of the Super Mamas Podcast community. That all happened because I sent an email! An email can change your life!  I also truly enjoyed connecting with the great women from  Be Visible, a startup that is connecting and empowering Millennial women.  All my friends new and old. Thank you for loving me, constantly forgiving me, and supporting me. I can only hope I am returning the favor. 

Finally, the amazing Josh Sandoval who inspires me everyday and without whom none of this would be possible. As an artist, creative and designer he pushes himself everyday. He lives and breathes his art, and his commitment is mesmerizing. (Even if it means he forgets to take out the trash sometimes because of it.) I see his spirit in our beautiful boy and that brings me so much joy. Living happily ever after is hard work and he is willing to be in the thick of it with me everyday whether things are good, bad or mundane. I do not know what I did to deserve him but I am taking full advantage and never taking it for granted. 

I am so delighted by the year that was. But am aware that I need to be better, happier, and less anxious. I made a vision board that i'm excited to share at some point. But I need to do some internal work this year. The same qualities that make me efficient, make me nervous and edgy sometimes. I want 2016 to be the year where I say yes to all the good things, embrace opportunities, but also the year where I say yes to myself. Yes, to sleeping, yes to exercise, yes to mindfulness, yes to simple things like skincare. One of the greatest joys of being alive is the opportunity to re-invent ourselves. I'm reminding myself to be grateful for the opportunity. Happy New Year! Happy 2016! 

xoxo,

Betsy Aimee