2022, Fastest Yet

As 2022 draws to a close, I cannot help but feel perplexed just how swiftly this year seems to have flown. I recall at my company’s Christmas party last year, which feels like a few days ago, soon after I found out my trip to Korea had to be abruptly canceled with the country’s sudden implementation of a ten-day quarantine due to the Omicron variant, telling my colleagues I would not wait another full year to go see my family. Over a year later, I conclude 2022 from Korea, a trip that was nearly postponed again because of the rapid and unrelenting skyrocketing flight costs. I remember, upon the suggestion of my mother, praying to God, “If it is Your will for me to go to Korea this year, please help me find a way.” The following morning, my CEO somehow found this out and decided to pay for my entire personal trip, leaving me, who has trouble having someone pay for my coffee, speechless and overwhelmed with gratitude both towards him and his generosity and to my Father who answered my prayer so immediately that I temporarily forgot I even prayed for this. This would be my first time seeing most of my family and closest people in three years.

My team lead, former colleague, and mom!

I daily prayed to God for heavenly wisdom, understanding, and knowledge in addition to efficiency and productivity prior to going to work and conversed with Him throughout. Whatever I do, I do with all my heart as working for Him, and as long as I know I have given my all, I remind myself to stay content no matter the result. I only focus on being the best version of myself without trying to put anyone else down, and when I saw that I finished the year #1 in the company in revenue generated by a single employee, total submittals, and direct-source submittals by immense margins, in addition to contributing to my team securing #1 in overall performance, I knew my help comes from the Lord alone; to Him be all glory, honor, and praise. I did feel uncomfortable when some colleagues half-jokingly put a target on my back and began observing my public metrics and trying to surpass me specifically, as I only care about competition with myself and find no pleasure in beating anyone.

No surprise, I continued my running endeavors. Albeit far fewer races than last year, I have run more ultramarathons in a single calendar year than ever with three out of the ten running events, totalling 174.78 miles, for the year. My mother made a spontaneous visit to see me for the first time in 2.5 years in Raleigh, North Carolina, which ended up being extended due to our both contracting COVID-19 with hardly any symptoms, thanks to God. I attended my best friend’s bachelor party and wedding. I formed an unexpected friendship with arguably the greatest athlete in the history of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Erin Matson. After signing a newly introduced NIL partnership with my company last year, Erin joined our marketing department as an intern this summer, where I got to know her as a person. Her endless accomplishments aside, her humility and maturity for her age were a breath of fresh air, and even though my knowledge of her sport of field hockey started almost nonexistent, I became more emotionally invested in following her journey to her fourth NCAA DI title than sports I do follow.

I plan to continue to reflect on all God has blessed me with this year, decompress from work, and come back next year refreshed and recharged for another strong year, with His hand leading me.

Team Pilots! PC: Ashley Kirstein

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