2016 has been one heck of a year. While there have been crazy up and downs, 2016 has also been a year full of rich experience, meaningful growth, and influential memories. As my lovely roommate eloquently put it, “2016 was being shown that we survive, and we unite, and in the presence of all fires and hatred and ugly hearts, we love.” Inspired by her moving Facebook status (who knew a status would ever make me cry), I wanted to start a new #befatbehappy tradition. I always say that I love God, food, family, and friends, and each year I wanted to write out why this statement will always be true for me, and how it speaks to my identity as a person and how it motivates the furthering of my passions as expressed through this blog. So here is my year in review through the lens of the things that I love, and how each group has challenged and stretched me. Hope you enjoy reading along.
- This year, God has shown me what it means to trust in His will and pursue my plans and passions with Him guiding my steps. 2016 for me has been the year of rapid change. My brother and his fiancée continue their wedding plans for 2017. My parents are moving to California in a few days. I’m finally finishing my degree, much earlier than anticipated, and I decided to make a huge move to the Philippines summer of 2017 to pursue an opportunity dealing with food and philanthropy (more details on that to come). My whole life is shifting, and I already feel an immediate shift to a new chapter, and frankly, it’s daunting. I keep saying that I feel like my life is on fast forward, and there are many uncertainties in what lies ahead of me; But the one thing that remains certain is God’s goodness and grace. While the normalcy of my life is altering, I know that God has a plan for me, one that is greater than I could ever think or imagine. I mean, if there is one thing that continues to surprise me each day, it’s that @befatbehappy is where it is today. To me, my blog is a reminder of how being in the center of God’s will opens up opportunities and doors that I could have never thought of or made come to fruition on my own. So while change is scary, and there are times where many questions arise in my head about the future, God has a plan and he’s teaching me how to trust in that. My life does not have to be conventional, and I do not have to follow the traditional path for security or self-sense of confidence, because my hope and confidence is in the Lord – and I trust and have faith in what ever he has planned.
- 2016 has been a year filled with LOTS and LOTS of food. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten more food in my life, and I’m so thankful for all of the various cultures I’ve been able to immerse myself in and experience through eating. I mean if any of you know my boyfriend, his weight gain (and mine too, but it’s easier to talk about his than my own (; ), can attest to all the food we have eaten. Anyways, I digress. 2016 has been the year of food porn trends: from #yolkporn to #cheesepull – we have become engrossed with these tantalizing crazy food photos. While I think these crazy, creative ideas help popularize the spread of food images and food blogging, I think we need to pull back a little – get back to straight-forward great food. While it is important for food to be visually and aesthetically pleasing, let’s stop sacrificing taste for the visual. Maybe then, restaurants that make great food can get popular on Instagram too without the crazy milkshake or the insane cheese pull. 2016 has also been the year of food trends in general. Last year it was avocado toast, this year it was poké and an slew of new “farm-to-table” restaurants (for NYC at least). It’s hard to predict what’s in store for 2017, but it does seems that a greater dichotomy will grow between super healthy foods and super unhealthy foods. Again, I’d like to see us get back to the middle where we can live and eat what we want (in moderation of course). If you know anything about me, #befatbehappy is more than just a “pig-out” mantra (peep my about me page for that spiel). 2016 has also been a year for new cultures being integrated into the food industry. It makes me immensely happy to see Filipino food in the NYC food scene, as it has always been a goal of mine to make Filipino food cool and mainstream – and I hope to continue to see its growth as well as be a part of that growth.
Family & Friends
- Family is my rock: they always have and always will be. And as for my friends, you know who you are, they have also become my family. 2016 has taught me several things in relation to my family and friends. For one, I don’t have to be friends with everyone or try and please every person I meet. While I think you should be kind to everyone, it’s actually good to define that small group who are your truly great friends. Over the years, I’ve found that I have friends that are around when they’re around, and ones that I know will be there, no matter where life takes us. I don’t need everyone to like me, and I don’t need to be close to everyone. Maybe the city has made me a little more cynical with this, but it sure has been freeing to be able to let go and be confident knowing who my family is. Two, real friends and family are supportive of each other’s journeys and encourage each other to grow. True, genuine people should be there to make each other’s lives better, be there for the good and the bad, and truly come to an understanding with one another. I 100% believe that life is all about cultivating relationships and influencing people’s lives through connecting with each other, serving each other, and loving each other. God has blessed me with some amazing people in my life, and 2016 has brought me some great new friends and allowed me to see which old relationships will only grow finer with age. To my new IG food family, thank you for being you. We see each other almost everyday through this food world, and I couldn’t be more thankful to be able to sit side by side and share memorable moments around fantastic food with you. To my family, thank you for being you, and continually supporting me through this journey. I’m forever grateful for your unconditional love and encouragement.
So for those that have made it this far, thank you. I’m wishing you the best 2017, and that you will take all of your 2016 experiences, positive and negative, and use them to your advantage in the new year. Take time to reflect, learn, and grow from this past year so that you can have an even better one this time around.