And with a blink of an eye, even 2021 is almost over.
Can you believe that it has been almost two years since we got into this pandemic? Where did the time fly by? In spite of all this, I made 2021 special for me. It was a year of rebirth and growth. The younger me would probably be proud of how far I have come and how far I still need to go.
So today, I want to share my eight accomplishments of 2021.
I passed my level 2 exam of the CFA program. Studying for level 2 was no joke; it was mentally exhausting especially after it got postponed twice. But unlike the rest of the people that embark on this journey, I enjoyed every bit of it and I loved studying for it.
I did a 6-week running challenge with an amazing coach. I always used to run, but never in the way, I got trained by my coach. With her program, I used to run at least 2-3km per day that I made a habit of out of it and now I even started to run in the winter. Never in my whole life, I would have ever thought that I would have run outside in the cold and freezing winter of Canada.
I did fundraising for my birthday. This year was a special year for me and I wanted to make something special for my birthday. I am not the type of woman who likes to throw lavish parties or go to fancy birthday dinners. To be honest, I never do anything myself. It is always people throwing parties for me, and this year I wanted to do something different. I run a fundraiser for an organization called- She Is The First which focuses on providing education to girls in several parts of the world. I managed to raise $1290. It was my first time handling a fundraising event and I am very happy with the accomplishment I got.
I became an online English and Italian Tutor on Italki. I was hesitant of creating a profile on an online teaching platform, but I knew that I always had so much to offer especially when it came to languages. I know at least four languages and becoming an Italki teacher was the best decision I have ever made. I almost gave 100 lessons to 30 different students all over the world in a span of six months. I met incredible people where some of them became my closest friends. Not only did I teach them a language, but I learned so much from them too.
I got promoted for the second consecutive year at work. Work has been tough and extremely busy with the pandemic. With people quitting and not having enough people to distribute the work, a lot has been put on my shoulder. There were days where I thought I couldn't make it and days where I thought everything would fall apart, but it came with its rewards, and hard work always pays off.
I did 5 Youtube Videos. One thing that I learned about networking was networking virtually. Thanks to my connections, I got invited to three different youtube channels to talk about finance, public speaking, and career. They went viral and I received so much positive feedback. So many people saw me as an inspiration. Some saw me as an accomplished person and some wondered how I managed to do so many things. I don't have a golden rule for everything that I do. I just follow this philosophy: " you will always find time for the things you love".
I joined 4 non-profit organizations. I am all about women's empowerment and I am determined enough to make a change and inspire others to do the same. So I joined many organizations all dedicated to empowering girls and women and one of my biggest accomplishments was to join UNWOMEN LA Chapter. It was a lengthy process, but I did it and that's all that matters.
I became President of my Toastmasters Club. I have been part of the Toastmasters Club for almost 3 years. I initially joined it because I was struggling with personal issues and I can say my journey at Toastmasters has been therapeutic and helped me so much to grow in my public speaking and leadership skills. With the role of President, I really hope I can inspire other women to use their voices to evoke change and to speak up when things are wrong.
I believe these are all the accomplishments I achieved this year. I didn't think I had so many until I wrote this blog!
No matter what I do in life, there is a part of me that will always be sad because of my ethnicity and how people from my community see me.
Coming from a South Asian family, girls and women are not allowed to behave and do certain things. If I ever mention all of my accomplishments to my parents or to other South Asian people, they will say I am a disappointment, a failure, or even a disgrace which to specify, I was told this already.
To give you a bit of background, growing up I was never allowed to think differently than my parents told me, behave differently than what they taught me or even say things they didnt like to hear, and I knew deep inside that whatever I was doing or saying was nothing bad. There were times where I was told even by people that I thought were close to me "you are whitewashed". So now not conforming to what the whole South Asian community thinks means to be "whitewashed"? Life would be really boring if everyone behaved and thought the exact same way!
Most of the time, till this day, it feels like I am treated as a mannequin- always told what to do, how to talk, how to behave, how to dress, and more. I feel everyone wants me to be a replica of what a typical South Asian woman should be and obey their "rules".
Growing up, I felt neither Bengali enough nor Italian and I was never sure where I belonged; I felt like an outsider, but now that I gave time to discover myself, I don't need to label myself as being only Bengali or only Italian. I embrace both cultures and identities. I am Bengali- Italian. That's how I identify myself. This is who I am and I am not changing myself for anyone in this world. This year was a year of reflection that really helped me to shape the person I am meant to be. I love eating pasta, speaking Italian, and using hand gestures when I speak, but I also love wearing South Asian clothes and learning about the history of Bangladesh.
I don't need anyone to tell me who I am supposed to be. I decide who I am, not you or anyone else in my circle.
And with that, I want to leave you with the following quotation.
A Butterfly was not born a Butterfly. Keep going and do not stop until you've made yourself proud, not them. You
- Alysha Waghorn
How people talk about you defines who they are and not you. Always choose yourself and your happiness no matter what.
Happy New Year!