Amirite? Lord. First off, I'd like to state the following: When I was a tween/teen/20something I'd hear my older friends/fam/mom tell me that the older you get the faster time flies. I didn't know what the fuck they were talking about... until this year. 2016 truly flew by, and here we are. The last month with only 28 days left in the year. And as I said. WHAT. A. YEAR.

I have seen on my social timelines how much the events of this year hurt many people... deeply. From Prince to the outcome of our national election, this year feels like it has left us in mourning week after week. IT FEELS LIKE IT (I KNOW IT). But I'm here to tell and encourage you, that as you depart from 2016 and land in 2017 you should try to find some of the good things that happened this year in your life. And say thank you. I think a lot of times the negative/sad/unbelievable situations of everyday life can turn into us rolling down an endless hill of "what the fuck is going on, is the entire world on fire...did i forget my keys again and why is my savings still at $950 dollars" moments.

I know for me, I tend to go into retrospective mode on my birthday and in December. Because, hindsight is always 2020 (aka oh shit, that makes sense now and that led to this). So in an effort to share my learnings and my future aspirations (so that maybe you feel inspired to be mindful of your wins/goals) I'm going to share the best of 2016 for me, below (in no particular order):

I took a leap of faith on this brand. In just a few months this brand went from girlgangnyc to theGIRLMOB. It has a larger purpose and creates an intersection for women of color (Latina, Black, Middle-Eastern, Filipino etc)to connect and relate to each other. It has a je ne sais quoi about it that has been organically created by my team, a group of layered/ funny/ intelligent/ driven/stylish women. They've each added to that "thing", making this brand so much more beautiful and fulfilling to work on. This brand, is also a reflection of you. An extension of you. And that I am proud of.

I said yes to L.O.V.E. - not easy. I have serious abandonment issues and the idea of vulnerability with another human makes me feel... well, vulnerable. But this human, this man, came into my life and for the first time I am in a healthy relationship. It is full of support, honesty, laughter, hugs... and you guessed it! VULNERABILITY. And I wish that upon you as well. Because you deserve good love, special love, honest love and yes -- even vulnerability. You deserve, as Bridgette Kelly said: a Partner Lover Friend. And IF you are out here giving someone the evil eye because you are sitting home bored and unloved - CHECK YOUR SELF. The universe does not reward that. I had to do a lot of self love and soul searching before love happened. I went through heartbreaks and therapy. So support other folks love, learn from their healthy relationships (and their bad ones)- so that you too can know love when it presents itself. So that you too can know when to say yes to L.O.V.E. and not be scared.

I saved my money. I'm not gonna tell you how much. I'm not rich and I still have student loans just like the rest of us who are in a long term relationship with Sally Mae. But I saved some of my coins, I was diligent about it and can I tell you how good that feels? Adulting is not fun and no one said it would be (who wants to make their own doc appointments and pay bills? not I) - but when you get it right, like saving your money or investing in your future... it feels ah-ma-zing. S/O to 2016 Yari for really caring about 2017 Yari.

I traveled. As you may or may not know I went to Cuba for my 30th birthday (please don't ask me about how I got to Cuba. Planning a trip is as easy as typing in google: "tips on traveling to Cuba" and hitting search- promise). Cuba was everything I needed to kick off a new decade. It gave me perspective & reminded me of the privilege I have in living in the states, and more importantly being a part of such a rich community. NYC I love you. I got to interview women there as well as when I went to LA... and that felt truly rewarding. Ladies of the world, I love you. You're wonderful magical beings and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

I cared. My self-awareness and "wokeness" were heightened this year by leaps and bounds. Yes it was painful at times, and yes I still believe I am caught in the matrix, but it ultimately felt good that the all mighty tapped my shoulder and lit my lightbulb and showed me that I have a bigger purpose here on earth. That I was not created to tweet/gram/snap and wear super duper fly outfits in the streets - those are added bonuses. I was placed here, TO CARE and to show others (cough you cough) that you should care too. Care about your communities, care about your spirit and lack of sleep, care about the human rights of others, care about your friends, care about your 401k and why having a creative outlet is key... care about who you are as a human and not who you are known to be - but rather who you WANT people to know you as when all is said and done.

Life is not easy, life can indeed be cruel. We all have our story(ies) and just because the person next to you suffered more does not make your suffering any less important... what it does mean however, is that you're not alone. Stop living in silos. Choose to participate in humanity.

My goals and aspirations for 2017 are that I learn more from people, that I collaborate more w/ those who care about life, that I make more time to meditate and reflect on my blessings, that my team and I create content and events that inspire you and leave you feeling powerful, that I grow as a leader and never forget to raise my hand at the table, that I save more money (white kitchen), travel because it teaches me about other cultures, laugh a little harder at my silly bf, show others why being a better human being matters (be a better human being) AND most importantly love a little harder because we (you) need to know that someone out here gives a fuck about you and your feelings (insert virtual hug here).

So goodbye 2016, you were kind of an asshole and left me with a few bruises but I am, and always will be, a warrior.


Peace & Light

Yari B.