Life lessons

Goodbye 2021 #YearInReview

It’s New Year’s Eve and I posted a caption on Instagram a few hours ago to wrap-up my thoughts about 2021. But in the past, I’ve also broken it down into different sections and it’s always been nice to look back on. I started 2021 with the intention to prioritise. I’d like to think I made sure I did this for most of the year but there were times, particularly at work, where it was hard and I ended up feeling burnt out. That said, I still prioritised a lot more than I did in the past.

Work in 2021

Work was stressful this year. I started the year in a role that I’d started in late October 2020 but within three months of 2021, there was a change in management. We had a temporary manager and then went into lockdown in NSW. Major changes we were meant to roll out in July got pushed back. Sort of indefinitely. We finally got a new manager at the end of September and rolled out some of those changes in November. With so much uncertainty, I was grateful for a supportive workplace. But it didn’t quell my anxiety. I also realised I needed more – I needed client work. I started a bit of my own private work and announced taking on new clients in October. It’s filled with its own anxiety but hopefully, it will be worthwhile in the end. For now, it’s a journey I am about to explore.

Writing in 2021

2021 was a pretty good writing year. I started the year being shortlisted for a short story and then having it published in the Better Read than Dead Writing Anthology 2020. Mid-year, I was also shortlisted for the Peter Carey Short Story Award. I managed to submit to 7 competitions overall – the most I have ever done. And while I didn’t receive any other honours, it was a good experience to write stories and submit. I was also pretty happy with my writing habits – I wrote in the mornings for the most part except in March and then in November-December when I was burnt out with work. I’m hoping in 2022 that work doesn’t get in the way of writing and I can make time for both.

Reading in 2021

I set a goal to read 48 books this year and have finally finished today with 74. You can check out my top fiction, nonfiction, and short story/poetry reads.

Health in 2021

A time when so many people are catching Covid, I have been relatively fortunate so far. That doens’t mean I haven’t battled health issues; I have. I’ve had some gastro issues which in the end, I’ve figured might be due to stress because we’ve never been able to find an organic cause and it flared up everytime I was under significant stress. My mental health, while better than 2020, has still been up and down. 2021 was filled more with anxiety and trying to ensure I didn’t spiral into a depressive state. Continuing to see my psychologist this year has helped.

Relationships in 2021

In a year where we spent four months confined to a 5 km radius, I was super grateful for the old connections I strengthened and the new ones I made. I met some online friends IRL and continued chats with those I couldn’t. I had friends support me in tough times, when dealing with grief early in the year, and also, anxiety in the latter half. I am very grateful for all the people in my life and in moments of loneliness, I need to remind myself of them.

2021 Moments

Lessons from 2021

2021 has seemed like twenty years rolled into one; one with a ‘before’ and ‘after’. There were so many things ‘before’ that felt like a wholly different year. Yet, what remains in the mind, is the ‘after’ – the never ending lockdown, the return to a weird sort of normal, which let’s face it, will never be normal. And yet, this is life. When someone says 2021, my automatic reaction is ‘ugh, can we not?!’ But as I take time to reflect, I’ve realised it wasn’t all bad. In fact, there probably was a lot of good. 

I had a short story published in anthology at the start of the year, another one shortlisted in May. I submitted to a lot more competitions than I ever have before, wrote a lot more words with a relatively regular practice. I helped roll out some big changes at work during a crazy time for us all and also started my own private practice on the side. I connected with people – those already in my life, and those online. Some I met in real life, some I am yet to meet. I experienced live gigs again for a brief period before lockdowns. I started training at a new gym and felt better for it. I cuddled my cats, made friends with all the dogs. I walked in my beautiful 5 km radius on and on and on. I swam in the ocean, felt the sun on my skin. I laughed, I cried, I raged, I despaired. I fell into the worry pit, but knew I wasn’t alone. I continued therapy which was good for me. I haven’t figured out my life; I doubt I ever will. But I know this: it’s been made richer by the people, the experiences, and the emotions. 

When you focus on a certain period in 2021, it can seem pretty bleak. And sure, we were all limping towards the end. But here it is now. A time to reflect. To know we have survived. And maybe more. 

2021: it wasn’t all rosy but I wouldn’t change a thing. 

Hope you all have a safe NYE spending it the way you love. I’m here with my cats, wondering if I’ll make it to see the fireworks.

Featured image by Pono Lopez on Unsplash

Until next year,

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    2 January 2022 at 2:32 am

    It’s been a tough year, Congratulations on your accomplishments

    Wishing you a happy, healthy new year
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  • Deborah Cook
    3 January 2022 at 11:48 am

    I love that you’ve been able to reflect on the positives from the year but also take ‘lessons’ from the negatives.

    Congratulations on all of your achievements – from your writing and consistent exercise to your commitment to your mental health. The psychologist I was seeing went on hols in September or October and I hadn’t made other appointments so things fell by the wayside. I guess I should get in contact with her…
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