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Every year has its high and low points. Sometimes it’s easy to look back and think “I thought I’d be much further along than where I am today – what did I accomplish?” I think it’s important to acknowledge the goals that you had (or hadn’t) set when the previous year began, and consider why you did or didn’t accomplish them. Then you can use that reflection to inform your future goals for 2016.

All of us faced challenges this past year, and we’ll face more in 2016.  But however cliche it might sound, and though it may take some deep diving, each experience really does teach us something, even if it means learning what not to do. And no matter what dark times we face, somewhere in those past 525,600 minutes there were good times, too. While I dealt with my own challenges and changes, the year also some great highlights:  adventuring in Iceland, celebrating my younger brother’s engagement and gaining a new sister, attending the UN Global Diversity Leadership Exchange, ECOSOC Forum, and #SocialGood Summit and getting connected with some wonderful new charities, including the Challenged Athletes Foundation, I Had Cancer, Young Survival Coalition, CancerCare, Beautiful Me, and Gabrielle’s Angels Foundation.

2015 taught me some new things, but also reaffirmed others:

1. Tech is helping to transform differently abled communities: 3D printers are dramatically reducing the cost of prosthetics and there are now wheelchairs that can climb stairs.

2. Keeping a running record of memorable quotes from your friends and loved ones is a great pick me up for a rainy day.

3. Iceland is like another planet.

4. Stress is powerful, but it’s your reaction to it that matters. Kelly McGonigal gives a great TED talk on how to make stress your friend.

5. If you are debating about whether or not to attend an event, go. And talk to someone. More often than not, you’ll make unexpected connections that lead to other unexpected connections.

6. People will come and go in your life, but even when you feel alone, others are thinking about you.

7. There will always be more work. It’s ok to accept that.

8. No one has life all figured out, though some people are better at pretending that they do.

9. No matter how many times you’ve thanked the people you love and appreciate in your life, it’s never too many.

10. Not everyone we knew and loved was here to witness all of 2015. I am grateful that I was, because all things considered, we’re pretty lucky to be here.