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40for40: 2023 Year in Review

If you know me at all, you're well aware that I love planning. Growing up, my father often recited the saying, "When you fail to plan, you plan to fail." And so I grew up learning to appreciate and eventually loving the process of planning. 


For me, there's something magical about watching your plans come to fruition. Simultaneously, there is something incredibly powerful about visualizing your plans and witnessing your visions come to life. When you put your plans and intentions on paper or a vision board, they become tangible reminders of what you're working towards. This year, as I turned the page into my fourth decade, I decided to take planning to a new level. #LevelUp


So I went all in and created a list of 40 experiences, achievements, and goals I wanted to conquer before I took my last breath aka my bucket list. But then, a light bulb went off… I thought, why not celebrate the journey and not just the destination? Additionally, I am an ever-evolving being. My bucket list today definitely won’t be my bucket list 10 years from now. I decided to make my list more immediate, and more present while leaving room for iteration. So, I transformed my list into a roadmap for the year, a compass guiding me through 40 adventures, milestones, and moments of growth for me to accomplish before midnight on December 31st. 


Chile, let me tell you!


My #40for40 year was remarkable! I divided my list into four categories: Friends & Family; Growth & Development; Financial Security; and Travel & Leisure. Now, I didn't manage to complete everything, but I did conquer 21 incredible goals. I'm still actively working towards the rest and I'm looking forward to a fresh new list for 2024.


Here are a few highlights from my year!


Family & Friends

This year marked a turning point in my life. 


My baby girl transitioned into a whole adult, and it feels like she went from prom night to college in the blink of an eye. I was determined to make these moments not just memorable but also incredibly fun.



My mom celebrated her 60th birthday this year, and it dawned on me she had never had a proper birthday party before. One of my goals was to throw a birthday bash that she would treasure forever. She was pleasantly surprised and we had a blast.



If you know me, you know QT is my love language and I yearned for more intentional quality time with family and friends. By 'intentional,' I mean coming together not only for fun but also for personal growth or to make a positive impact on others. So, my family and I organized our first-ever paint-n-sip event called 'Colorful Conversations' and hosted our inaugural ‘Caribbean Catch Cookout & Family Fun Day.’ The joy and laughter we shared during these gatherings were simply unforgettable. [Include pictures to capture these heartwarming moments]




Growth & Development

On the personal side, I completed my first Five Boro Bike Tour and subsequently joined my very first bike club, 'Black Girls Do Bike.' I started Oil painting and completed my first two paintings. I completed an MIT course in Design Thinking and my team's project was featured in the end-of-class presentations. 





Professionally,  I coauthored and published my first ACM paper on The Important Role Social Capital Plays in Navigating the Computing Education Ecosystem for Black Girls in ACM Transactions on Computing Education. I was honored to be promoted to the role of Global Programs Manager for Google’s Community Programs, where I acquired new amazing team members and a new Global Program - Women Techmakers.


I had the privilege of participating as panelist, sharing my insights and experiences with the WTM community on Navigating Change: A Career Development Panel for Women in Tech and our Code Next team had a big announcement. We’re bringing our Computer Science Education program to Inglewood California!



Financial Security

I’ve been thinking a lot about my legacy and that of my family.  With this in mind, I set goals to revisit my estate plans and financial strategies. Thanks to valuable recommendations from my LinkedIn colleagues, I found and hired an amazing wealth management company - Zenith Wealth Partners. Additionally, I pursued my desire to diversify my investment portfolio by acquiring my very first investment property.


Travel & Leisure

This year I set goals to embrace more local adventures and exploration. It turned out to be a year filled with wonderful escapades right in my own state and backyard. A highlight was our inaugural family road trip. This year we travelled to Upstate New York. It was a journey filled with stunning landscapes and delightful spontaneous discoveries. Our adventures included a visit to the New State Museum, a captivating exploration 156 feet below the earth's surface in underground caves, a majestic sail on Lake George, and more.



Our family embarked on a camping expedition with my 1 year old. 0_0 We hiked, biked, danced by the campfire, and shared stories, all while waking up to the sweet songs of birds.


My partner and I visited our first Michelin Star Plant-based Restaurant at Eleven Madison Park. 



Our explorations brought us to the iconic United Nations, where we got a tour, a history lesson, and stood in awe of its global significance. In light of the current state of the world, it has provided me with moments of profound reflection these days. However, in a contradictory kind of way, the pinnacle of our adventures (quite literally) was ascending the 350+ steps up the Statue of Liberty. The heart-pounding climb from the ground to the crown and the panoramic view of the city skyline from Lady Liberty's crown are now etched in memory.




Phew What a year! As I look back on the past twelve months, I'm overwhelmed by the richness of my experiences, the depth of my personal growth, and the warmth of cherished moments with family and friends. Ready for 2024!


One Love,

Peta-Gay

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